||2018-08-23 21:14:22, 조회 : 89, 추천 : 34
| Rediscovering God's Love|
Part 1 - Chapter 4 - Safe in His Love
To another beautiful day, filled with more, and more blessings! We continue our book, Rediscovering God’s Love, by the author Frank Allred. And we look at chapter 4, Safe in His Love.
And the author begins our chapter with a verse from 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Our God is Trustworthy
We begin this chapter by asking the question, “what is the definition of the word ‘security’?” Well, according to Merriam-Webster, security is the quality or state of being secure, such as freedom from danger (safety), freedom from fear or anxiety, and/or freedom from the prospect of being laid off. With that definition being said for the word ‘security,’ is there something like that in this world? The closest thing I would be able to relate to is to things like insurance? It gives you the security of the “what if?” and allows you to roam around a little less anxious but still to a certain degree a need for caution. But what I didn’t know, which I am sure many of us didn’t know, is that insurance companies are very selective as to who they want them to be their clients. For example, the author tells us that he tried to get auto insurance, and they were yapping along the whole time for how they have the best policies and then he tells them, “I am eighty years old,” and they said, “I’m very sorry but we don’t insure anyone over seventy-five.” In any case, all these organizations can do is to pay out when something goes wrong. In the very nature of things in this life our security cannot be guaranteed, and even if we have some sort of security, it is only temporary.
However, when we begin to understand God’s eternal security, it is completely different. The God whom we serve cannot prove untrustworthy. His policies cannot fail. Having predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, he has called us, justified us, and glorified us, as told to us in Romans 8:29-30. In other words, our predestination, calling, justification and glorification are all integral parts of our salvation and cannot be separated. It is impossible for God to break faith with us. He loves us so much that he is determined to do us everlasting good. He is against those who hate us. He may give them some leeway, but only so that he may use them as tools to shape our own spiritual development.
Even our ‘risks’ and ‘accidents’ and even ‘losses’ are under his control. As difficult as they may sometimes be, God uses them to further his purpose to make us holy. He loved us and called us in order to make us like Jesus and he can be trusted to finish the job. The Scriptures remind us frequently of this, Romans 8:29, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…” As ‘God’s chosen people’ we are to be clothed with ‘compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.’ We are to ‘bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you have against one another” (Colossians 3:12-13). “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do…” (1 Peter 1:15). To know that God in his sovereign grace has chosen us out of the teeming multitudes of this world to be like Jesus, when we have done absolutely nothing to deserve it and much to exclude us from it, is the strongest motive to holiness known to man. God’s trust worthiness provides the solid base for our contentment in this life and our assurance of the glory to come.
Our God is Love
When we say that God is trustworthy we do not mean that he is on hand if there is an emergency and if we choose to confide in him. On the contrary, his trustworthiness means that he is actively pursuing our ultimate good because he loves us. And because he is infinite in power, his love, like his trustworthiness, cannot fail. Nor can it be measured or contained. Therefore, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:39. Of this glorious promise the gift of his beloved Son is the pledge: in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
His love is also unchanging and eternal. It remains constant; never blowing hot and cold like our love for Him. And because his love for us has no beginning and no ending we are the objects of his everlasting favor. In a billion years from now we shall still be rejoicing in his love.
Not least, his love for us is unconditional. What a sorry plight we would be in if this were not the case. If God had attached any conditions to his love, our hope of eternal life would not exist. What hope would we have for example, if God had said: “I will love you on condition that you always love me?” We would have no security whatsoever.
What about our parents? Despite our frequent bad behaviors, they still had love for us. No doubt our behavior at time caused them much grief and sometimes we aren’t even sorry. But they never stopped loving us. Had they done so, our behavior would only have got worse. If they had only loved us when we were “good,” then we really wouldn’t have their love. God is displeased with us when we sin against him, just as our parents were, but he never stops loving us.
When then do many believers not accept this? Why do they argue that for God to love us unconditionally would be an encouragement to sin? They argue, “what would be the incentive to live holy lives if God’s love could not be forfeited?” The idea is based on the seriously mistaken supposition that God loves us because of what we do. It is an insult to his redeeming love. For those who rejoice in the assurance of his unconditional love know very well that it has precisely the opposite effect. Those who entertain fanciful notions that their natural ability to love God will put him in their debt can never feel secure. Why not? Because their error acts as a barrier in the mind, preventing them from understanding God’s purpose in election. They have thrown away the key that unlocks the secret of Christian assurance.
A key verse that shows the contrary, that God’s love is conditional, is in Hebrews 10:26, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is life, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” A superficial reading of this verse would lead us to the conclusion that God loves us on condition that we do not sin deliberately after we have embraced the truth. But this cannot be the case because since no believer can claim never to have sinned deliberately since his conversion, there would be no salvation for anyone, then. The question would then arise: “Why did Christ die?”
So what does the Hebrews writer actually mean? First of all, he is not referring to an act of sin but a state of sin. He is thinking of those who keep on sinning deliberately after they have understood the gospel. Obviously, those who do so are not Christians because the proof of genuine faith is a changed life. If faith does not result in righteous living, it is dead. But it is not in line with the purpose of the writer to the Hebrews to stop and explain this. His intention is to warn the Jews to whom he writes that if they know the truth and keep on sinning, there is no hope for them. How can there by forgiveness for such deliberate sinning against the truth when there is no further sacrifice to cover it? And because people who do this express contempt for the gospel, they have only severe judgment to look forward to. So the warning stands, not as a threat to the true believer, but as a warning to those who know the truth and don’t do anything about it.
Those believers whose security is disturbed by warnings of this kind have nothing to fear. It would be a very different matter if they were adopting a policy of deliberate sin, but true believers don’t do that sort of thing. They may sin deliberately when under extreme provocation or temptation, but when this happens they cannot rest until the matter is put right. Unbelievers on the other hand who sin willfully are not likely to be disturbed about it. Fearful believers should remember that they were sealed with the Holy Spirit “who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance,” (Ephesians 1:14).
Believers who, for whatever reason, are not particularly concerned about growing in the knowledge of God’s love and are satisfied with mediocrity in the Christian life, can never be free from uncertainty. The Puritan pastoral theologian John Owen has some advice for these Christians that is a relevant today as the day it was written, “Be not satisfied with general notions concerning the love of Christ, which represents no glory unto the mind… Moreover, be not contented to have right notions of the love of Christ in your minds, unless you can attain a gracious taste of it in your hearts. The trouble is, too many of us are satisfied with general notions about the love of Christ today and we do not aspire after that “gracious taste” of it in our hearts, as we should.
Our God is Jesus
2 Samuel 22:32 reads, “For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?” The eternal Son is also the one who loved us before we were born. He is the one who revealed himself to Moses as Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the one for whom Moses suffered disgrace in the land of Egypt. He is the one who delivered his people out of that land of bondage.
Paul’s words confirm this, in 1 Corinthians 10:3-4, “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” Paul is not speaking literally of course. He is using picture language just like Jesus did when he said “I am the vine” or “I am the bread of life.” Christ is the one who supplied all the needs of God’s ancient people in their desert wanderings. Christ is indeed the Rock of Ages.
1) What does the word “security” mean? Can we think about anything in our world where something may bring us “security?”
2) What does Hebrews 10:26 say?