Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Uncomfortable yet Comforting Questions

by Adam Bailie

I have been reading Job in my personal worship and this past week I finally arrived at my favorite section of Job, chapters 38-42. Having read chapters 1-37 more thoroughly than normal, this section was increasingly uncomfortable to read yet comforting in its implications. Job made his final challenge toward “the Almighty” in 31:35, followed by the rebuke and defense of God by Elihu in chapters 32-37. In 38:1, Yahweh answered the challenge of 31:35. God’s initial response is made up of a call to attention (38:3), a series of questions (38:4-39) and a rebuke (40:1-2). Each of the questions God asked suffering and complaining Job slams down like a sledgehammer, but each of the answers God implied comforts like the firm grasp of a daddy’s hand.

Suffering Christian, consider these realities and stop challenging God for answers:

  1. Your God laid the foundation of the earth (38:4).
  2. Your God determined the measurements of the universe (38:5-7).
  3. Your God set the limits for the waters of the earth (38:8-11).
  4. Your God commands the dawning of morning every day (38:12).
  5. Your God produces all snow, hail, wind and rain (38:22-30).
  6. Your God produces and preserves the constellations (38:31-33).
  7. Your God commands storms and weather (38:34-38).
  8. Your God feeds the animals of the wild (38:39-41).
  9. Your God watches the goats, donkeys, oxen, ostriches, horses and hawks (39:1-30).
  10. Your God has no worthy opponents (40:1-2).

This is your God, your Father through the adoption granted in Christ. He knows you and your circumstance, and He desires and accomplishes your good for His glory (Rom. 8:28-30).
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Blessings From the Gospel

by David Morris

Having presented freedom and sonship as two blessed results of the Gospel, Galatians 3:27-29 continues with two further blessings: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

The Father had only one beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased. When He chose to add you to the family, He stooped to call you son as well. Your sonship comes through that of Jesus Christ, and you get it because you are one with Him.

If the Spirit has baptized you into the body of Christ, you are one with Christ. You have dressed yourself with Him. Because everyone else who obeys the Gospel receives this same union with Christ, we are all one with each other. Gone are the economic, ethnic, sexual distinctions men prefer to use. Worth, status, meaning—all are lost to be replaced only by Christ.

Once upon a time, long ago, a promise was made to a man named Abraham. That covenant made Abraham’s descendents the special property of Christ. If you belong to Christ, then you are also in the line of Abraham.

We enjoy the unique position of heirs to Abraham because of the Abrahamic Covenant. God promised Abraham a lineage of untold numbers. He promised that Abraham would bless the nations. He promised eternal loyal love. You are part of the fulfillment of that promise, and you are an heir to those promises.

What a glorious Gospel! Every thrust of Galatians exalts and defends this Gospel. The glorious Gospel has untold blessed results, causing eternal praise to the Savior that should begin here on earth. Let’s live in a manner worthy of this great Good News.
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Glorious Gospel with Blessed Results

by David Morris

Like an incredible diamond, the true Gospel sparkles with new brilliance when viewed from different angles. Like an unending onion, every layer of the Gospel we peel back reveals deeper layers. The entire book of Galatians elevates the glorious Gospel and its manifold, wondrous results, and Galatians 3:25-29 gives us four more of those blessed results. Here are the first two this week.

“But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the tutorship of the Law. That’s a huge blessing, because the Law convincingly proved that no one could ever please God. It taught mankind that God was holy and we are not, and no amount of effort on our part could ever rearrange that equation. The Law is good, but to be left only with it is to be left with despair. It is to be left in a childlike, immature state, permanently stunted and enslaved.

But, oh, the glorious Gospel, which taught us that Christ-like righteousness was possible for us! The work we could never do ourselves is done, and we are now free to be righteous. We are free from our inability to ever reach God, free from the hateful power of the flesh that we could never overcome, free from the tyranny of a destructive lord.

We have a new Master through the Gospel. But even though we live in service to One we must obey as Lord, who has the right to dictate our every action and demand our entire allegiance, we also have been blessed with the intimate position of sonship.

We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. It is a magnificent repercussion of the Gospel, that the high and holy God would use the familial, intimate, close relationship of sonship to illustrate who we are. The true Gospel brings us into intimate contact with the high and holy one who inhabits eternity and makes His last name ours. Let’s worship, today and every day, in a manner worthy of this great Gospel.
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Who Loved Whom?

by Adam Bailie

I was recently reminded of the powerful narrative of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9. The most striking reality to me is the divine intervention that is so evident in this and every careful story of conversion. Paul was the foremost Christ-hater in his time. He was splattered with blood from the murder of Steven, and he was eager to round up and imprison Christians across the known world.

Paul was not a “seeker.” He wasn’t “open.” He was a scoffer. He was closed.

But God (Eph. 2:4)….

Galatians 1:14-15 holds a special place in my understanding of God’s sovereign grace. Here we have the privilege of reading Paul’s words to the churches of Galatia regarding his confidence in God’s sovereign election and ministry calling in his life. Paul did not give the average testimony around the campfire, where the convert is the center of the story. His story was one consumed with what God had done completely outside of Paul’s control or opinion. God had loved, chosen and called, and Paul was ready and willing to love Christ in return with his allegiance and obedience.

Oh, that we would grasp the miracle of divine intervention! God has crashed through the iron gates of our sinful hearts; He has pried open our blinded and crusted eyes; He has unclogged our deaf ears; He has quite amazingly intervened. 1 John 4:10 states, “ In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God…intervened…for my salvation…for His own praise and magnification. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Brothers and sisters, let’s keep that in the right order.
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