Well, I hope the last couple of posts have been helpful for all of us struggling to believe that God is for us. The fact that God loves and saves people not according to our good choices or moral uprightness but just because he wants to is one of those realities that turns our hearts either toward or away from him. Once we grasp the fact that our seeking of God can only come after he has sought us out, we either throw our whole lives into his care or we batten down the hatches and hide out from his power.
Either way we will only prove God to be a just, holy and gracious Father.
I did want to say one word before the week is out, regarding the endless source of comfort God’s reigning power can give us. The theological word for God’s reigning power is sovereignty. I hope it does not sound overly pious to use this word from here on out.
You see, God’s sovereignty is absolutely the best news we could hear. The fact that God has remained God through the last century that included Mussolini’s mass-murder of his own people, Hitler’s mass-murder of God’s people, two world wars and an explosion of technological advances will either bring us to our feet in rebellion or our knees in submission to him.
And if we are honest, we will admit that we have all had plenty of experience in rebellion against the God we claim to love. How else do we explain pornography, divorce, drug addiction, overeating, gossip and arrogance in the church? Our hearts are indeed desperately wicked. In the midst of all our work to destroy ourselves, however, God remains God.
And he remains for us.
How can we say this? Think about how John the Apostle opens his gospel. God so loved the world that he came and lived among us. He took on flesh. He became man. You know the rest…or do you?
God lived among us for thirty years then was turned over by one of his best friends (a man, incidentally, whom he knew would turn him over) and executed like a common criminal. Three days he stayed in the ground (how can we ever possibly get our heads around this?) and on the third he destroyed death by conquering it. You know the rest…or do you?
This same God, his name is Jesus, hung out with his friends for forty days and then went up to heaven (this is called the ascension). In ascending, Jesus assumed absolute authority in public form. Not only that, but he kept up his work of prayer for you and for me. He promised if he left us he would be going to prepare a place for us- then he would come back again. You know the rest…right?
Well, as we find in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he has become the point of all existence. There is no other way to please God than to trust in the person and work of Jesus. And there is absolute certainty that he will never, never let us down.
And at the end of the day, each of us is confronted with a simple question. Do we believe ourselves or do we believe God? Here is what Jesus wants us to know:
The word is near you…Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
So the question again becomes, do we believe ourselves or do we believe God? God says that he is for you in the person of Jesus. All you need to do is to trust in him. Your heart tells you that it could not be this simple; it could not be this easy; it could not be this good. Our hearts accuse us constantly of all the stupid, destructive things, hurtful things we have ever done. They work to convince us that God has given up on us.
But God did not give up on Jacob. God loved us enough to live, to die, to kill death, and to remain God for us. If he did not give up on Jacob, he has not- and will not- give up on you.
Will you believe your own opinion of yourself or God’s?