Monday, October 24, 2005

Time Change...

This Sunday the time changes back to normal from Daylight Saving Time. This change of the system by which we order our lives causes me to think about an attribute of God's nature that we have studied recently in our Sunday morning Bible study class...

On the first Sunday in April every year we change our clocks. April changes to May, and spring changes to summer in June. By August our weather can change by 30 degrees when a thunderstorm rolls through, and my grass seems to change from freshly mown to overgrown in hours. Our clothes change from cool and dry to sweaty in minutes.

As summer fades, our days become shorter and our nights become cooler. Trees change from their common color to radiant hues of red and orange and gold and yellow.

We cannot fathom life without change. We live life as a succession of changing moments. We go from sleeping to awake; from lying to standing; from dirty to clean; from scruffy to shaven; from hungry to full; from busy to bored; from happy to sad; from apathetic to fanatic; from young to old; from healthy to ailing. We do not experience any portion of life without change. Every moment details change in our existence.

We, however, are reminded by the Bible of One who never changes:

"God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind." -- Numbers 23:19

"For I the LORD do not change" -- Malachi 3:6

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." -- James 1:17

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." -- Hebrews 13:8

God is our Rock; he never changes; he never fails. God never loves us more (or less) than he does right now. God is always wrathful against sin. God is eternally just and righteous and holy and beautiful and kind and merciful and gracious. God is never surprised; he is sovereign over the past, present, and future. He is consistent. He is faithful.

So when you wake up on October 30, 2005, remember that though our clocks may change, the One who created time will never change.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sometimes Life Seems Too Busy!

I haven't posted in several days; between work, school, and family, we decided to add car shopping. Whew! We just purchased a 2000 Mazda MPV minivan, and I am glad the deal is done. I hope to start posting again more regularly soon. Thanks for visiting my site!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Comments? Questions?

This whole blogging thing is somewhat new for me. If it is new for you too, I just wanted to point out a couple of things. If you like, agree, dislike, disagree, or have any comments or questions, all these things are welcome! If you look at the bottom of this post, you will see a link that says something like "0 comments." Click this and you can post your comment or question. I hope you leave lots of comments.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Saved? Saved from what?

If you can't tell, I am regularly influenced by the ministry of John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Recently I have been listening to his sermon series on Romans. In the message I listened to today (on Romans 1:16-17), Piper discussed "the gospel, ... the power of God for salvation." He asked of the text, "What are we saved from?"

This is a great question! I have heard many answers to this question, and they are all biblical. The gospel saves us from: sin, death, hell, bondage, etc. But in the CONTEXT (which is so terribly important for us to understand precisely what the author intended to convey), we see in the very next verse exactly what we need to be saved from. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Piper went on to point out more verses that support this, but we don't need to dig much to understand Paul's argument. The gospel is the power of God for salvation from God's wrath against ungodliness and unrighteousness.

This also helps us see the difference in regeneration and salvation. (Regeneration is the point in time which God changes our hearts and we become believers.) It is biblical to say that I was saved at some point in time in the past, but it is also biblical to say that I will be saved on that great day when the cup of God's anger is full and he pours out his wrath on all unrighteousness. We have no hope at that time except for the shed blood of Jesus Christ! God may never say, "Why should I let you into my heaven?" He may say, "What will stay my hand from your eternal destruction?"

If we do not depend only on Christ's sacrifice to pay for our sin, and his righteousness to make us acceptable to God, whe have no hope. This is the power of the gospel.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Another Covenant of Grace

In 1 Corinthians 11 the apostle Paul records for the Corinthians (and for us) Christ's institution of the Lord's Supper. Christ institutes for his followers a replacement for the Passover; a commemoration of the events that brought about salvation for God's people in the new covenant to replace a commemoration of the events that brought about salvation for God's people in the old covenant. The symbolizm is incredible. The Israelites sacrificed a lamb, and the lamb's blood painted on the door frame of the house was the sign of their salvation. Likewise, the Lamb was slain, and his blood is the sign of our salvation.

What is this new covenant? The old covenant, or the Mosaic covenant, was the covenant God established with the people of Israel in the wilderness after he delivered them from slavery in Egypt. God did not force them into the covenant, and they did not deserve this covenant. It was a covenant of grace. It was, however, a covenant that God's people could not keep. God was not surprised, however, and he planned a second covenant to replace the Mosaic covenant.

In Jeremiah 31:31-40, we find God's promise of a new covenant: "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." This time around, God did not write the covenant on stone tablets or scrolls, but he wrote the covenant in the hearts of his people! As a matter of fact, in Ezekiel 36:26-27, God promises, "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."

So, what is this new covenant? This covenant is God providing salvation to people in bondange, changing sinners into saints, and accomplishing his purpose to glorify himself through the Suffering Servant/Man of Sorrows/Messiah/Jesus Christ/King of Kings! "This cup is the new covenant in my blood."