- The Reformed Pastor
- My real name is Charlie Albright. I am the pinnacle of evil who God has flooded with His mercy. Declaring my sinful self righteous and holy in His sight! Lavishing His grace upon me by the blood Jesus shed on the cross! Carrying me through this life and giving me satiatfing joy! Anything good about me is only because of His grace!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I will try to pick up the amount of blogging around here the best I can. I am sorry that I have be distant from most of my blogging friends. But I should have the time now to pay you'all a visit.
Friday, November 14, 2008
1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
2 if it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
3 then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
4 then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
5 then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
6 Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
I had had one of those times in the Word of God this morning that it seemed as if God was literally speaking to me. (Thought, God is speaking to us every time we open the pages of Scripture. It is our ears that are hard of hearing that makes the Word seem unexciting). This semester has be particularly hard on me. Working 20 hours a night, trying my best to stay on top of the Greek language, and getting around 5 hours of sleep during the week have taken their toll on me.
And one of those things that have taken a hit is my walk with God. It is not as if I rebelled (God forbid!), but one has to spend time in Scripture, prayer, other spiritual disciplines, while being under the shadow of the cross to grow spiritually. Yet, one thing that a person has to have to do all this is time. That was one thing I did not have. My schedule was packed beyond standard. And I was running on what little sleep I could get. So all of this to say that my spiritual walk was not were it should have been nor was it growing.
So this morning, before I opened up the Scriptures, I whispered the prayer that God would bring me back to Himself. That he would graciously restore me. Then I flipped open to this chapter to read for the morning. A full chapter exalting in the fact that God has stepped in and saved his people from there troubles. If God had not taken their side, there would be no hope. My mind was hearkened to a familiar passage that I have turned to many times, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31)
As one that is under the blood of Christ I have the immovable promise that God is for me in all things! Since I have be united to Christ God has removed all hostility against me. Where there was wrath there now exists peace.
But having God's wrath removed is no guarantee that God is for me. For one can have no hostility against someone but have no concern for their well being. What is my bases for saying that because of my salvation God is for me in all things?
Not only am I justified before the sight of God, I am also united to Christ. "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Col 3:3). The Father has united me to the Son so that everything that is His is now mine. "And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" (1 Cor 1:30-31). My soul is hidden in the perfect wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of my savior. My entire salvation is in the Christ and I am hidden in him.
Since I am hidden in Christ, the Father is for me as much as He is for Christ. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places," (Eph 1:3)
It is mind blowing to consider that my life has become a recipient of the love that flows between the Trinity. And it is this truth that vanquishes any doubt about God being for me. Even though I have fallen down, even though I have not pursued Christ as much as I should God looks upon me with mind blowing love! for my weak, puny, defenceless life is hidden in the glorious person of Christ. Therefore, all the love that God the Father is pouring upon the Son is being poured on me! For I am in the Son! The day God turns His hand against me is the day that the Father turns his hand against the Son. Which is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER! For that would mean God would turn against Himself. No. The love that exists between the members of the trinity is of a proportion that dimensions cannot handle! His love for the Son is unimaginable and I am receiving it because I am in the Son!
I myself have not fully worked through all of this (and I never will). It is so mind blowing to consider that: I know God is for me in all things because God the Father has place me in the Son which makes me a recipient of the inconceivable love the Father has for the Son.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Grace and peace to you. These are very familiar terms to those that turn the pages of scripture. You come across them every time you open up an epistles of Paul, Peter and Jude. At the beginning of the letter you will find the terms used in a manner like the one I quoted above.
But do we really think about what is communicated by these words? Many times, familiarity with all things Biblical can create a callousness in us to those things. Not that we disdain them, but we will never take the time to ponder over them since, “Hey, I know all that stuff.”
If that is what familiarity does to you then you are in a dangerous spot indeed! Just look to the Israelites and you will find what happens to a group of people that let familiarity bred callousness.
I know for me that I let myself slip in this regard when it came to these verses. I mean, “It is just a little phrase. I hear about grace and peace so much, I should already know all that there is to be known about it.” What foolish thoughts!
As I was humbled to look at these verse like it was the first time I read them I was struck by the magnitude of its meaning. What is the very first words that come out of the God’s mouth? Grace and peace! Not condemnation! Not a stern rebuke! Grace and peace! No matter if Paul was writing to a messed up church in Corinth or writing to encourage believers in Philippi, God’s first words to them were grace and peace.
Grace: communicating that God has poured upon them blessing that they do not deserve. God is not dealing with his children according to what their works have earned. No, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32) God has decided to glory Himself by lavishing goodness and joy upon those that do not deserve it. And it is not just that they don’t deserve it. They deserve the opposite! Their sins were a declaration that they deserved hell and condemnation. They were children of wrath, dead in transgressions and sins. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:4-7)
Peace: No hostility exists between those in Christ Jesus and God! Where as, we rebelled against God, laughing at his law, insulting His glory to the infinite degree, Christ has reconciled us! Where as God answered our rebellion with his righteous wrath, God instead directed His wrath to His Son on the cross! “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Rom 5:6-11)
So ,whenever you open up a didactic latter of Paul, no matter what kind of rebuke you will receive from God as you read, remember, the first thing God wanted to say to you is this; Grace and Peace!