Romans 11:33

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable his judgments,

and his paths beyond tracing out!

34“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been his counselor?”

35“Who has ever given to God,

that God should repay them?”

36For from him and through him and for him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

I see Paul hunched over his writing table, earnestly wrestling with the place where God’s holy and perfect sovereignty meets our free will. “32For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe 
If you are anything like me, you lean in one direction or the other, but oh the power we will have when we accept the full wildness of who God is. We want Him to be safe, or we want God to be powerful, but we don’t want him to be safe and all powerful at the same time. We try to place a divider between Old and New Testament and treat Him as if he is two separate Gods. Remember, the cross of love was brutal, the scars permanent, and the forgiveness complete. That’s inconceivable! Man meant (acted in our free will) crucifixion for evil, but God meant it for our good. To save many!
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It is uncomfortable being shaped inside the Chrysalis of His hands! It was the same for all the patriarchs!  Joseph’s journey was painful, but he was able to see that God was both sovereign and gave mankind free will. He told his brothers who sold him into slavery, 20“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Transformation occurs when we both submit to the sovereignty of God and exercise our free will to obey and glorify Him.

I believe standing in this spot, meditating on the fullness of God’s character is where I accept that he did not cause my son’s death AND His perfect will is working through Jonathan’s death. How can both statements be true? I know this much, I would not be sitting here sharing my story with you. As I reconcile myself to God in the flesh, who used his free will to die for me,  I also open myself to His will for my worst enemy! Many will be saved. That is indisputable. Amen and Amen!

 

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Repentence Leads to Paradise

Luke 23:39-43One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”…

“Christians are forever being asked to forgive, but there seems to be little emphasis on responsibility and repentance.” my friend contemplated today.

The criminal on the cross shows us what true repentance looks like.

  • Fear God
  • Acknowledge our guilt and Christ’s innocence
  • Accept punishment as just
  • Believe that Jesus is the son of God
  • Godly sorrow

The result of true repentance is that we are with Him in Paradise!

Many of us have claimed that we are a slave to no one. Jesus would respond:

John 8:34-35, 44- “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.”

44You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies 45But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

On the flip side unrepentance looks like:

  • Fear man, but not God
  • Slave to sin
  • Inflate our righteousness and deflate our guilt
  • Worldly sorrow (sorrow that never leads to repentance)
  • Constantly demand proof from Christ
  • Do not believe the truth Jesus speaks into our lives
  • Follow Satan

There are no fence sitters. Faith is not dependent upon our parents faith or lack of faith. We must chose independently . . . will I go on cursing God and die in my sins, or will I accept that I am a sinner saved alone by his grace. One way or the other we are called to account for our actions. In this life or in death. Yes, forgiving others must be a part of our daily actions; Christ forgave the world because they did not know what they were doing, even as they crucified the Son of God. But, he also lay the ground work of repentance right up to the cross. Many believed as Jesus was being crucified! Like the criminal on the cross they saw the stark difference between themselves and the innocent lamb hanging on the cross.

It is hard for me to write that we either follow Christ or we follow Satan. I want to believe that mankind is naturally good. But in my own original repentance, the truth of Christ’s statements to those who were about to murder him, made me painfully aware of the gap between my guilt and Christ’s innocence. I was following Satan and despising Christ. It is in that uncomfortable place I was offered the free gift of Paradise– truth that daily transitions me from building my kingdom to delighting in His.

Forgiveness and calling to repentance are both necessary for head turning transformation. Some  will reject and some will embrace forgiveness and repentance, but both are necessary to accomplish Jesus’ work of salvation in us.

 

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