“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The crux of the whole matter

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2Cor. 4:3-6).

What does this tell us about why some are lost and others are saved for an eternity with God? Initially, it sounds like some were born to be kindling for the fires of hell, and others just lucked out with predestination. “The gospel is hid from them that are lost.” Its no wonder some people hate the gospel! They feel like they were born lost! Predestinated to burn forever!

But is that what Paul is really saying? Not at all. The god of this world, Satan, has blinded their minds, or the glorious gospel of Christ would certainly have shined into their darkened souls. The lost aren’t lost because God arbitrarily deigned them to be born and then burn forever. As if God is saying, Somebody has to roast! There has to be a hell! What kind of devil would God be if that were true? This has turned multitudes far from their loving Father and has crucified Him without relief.

So, why are the lost lost? They are lost by their own choice.

“For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt. 13:15).

“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (Jn. 3:20,21).

Why are the lost lost? One reason is that they don’t like to be corrected. They have never been humbled to the point of accepting that they could benefit from admitting to wrong and being punished for it. So, they refuse to be humiliated. Satan controls them like puppets through his pride which he instills in them. Under his delusion, they cannot be saved.

But I believe there is another reason the lost are lost. They refuse the prospect of a friend of infinite mercy—a kind of super-friend. God outshines them in mercy and righteousness; their proud competitiveness in morality brings them chagrin in the presence of divine grace, and even His mercy toward them they turn down.

“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Rom. 7:9-13).

When we see ourselves as decrepit as we really are, we have two choices. Either decide that I am hopelessly objectionable even for God’s mercy to ever let me into His heaven, then steel the conscience toward Him and run headlong into hedonism; or, look in hope for some possibility that God can accept me, realize that that would require infinite grace, then hear a voice of compassion in the conscience promising me His acceptance, and finally fall at His feet in a million pieces.

Here lies the whole crux of being saved or lost. What do we do with our detestable decrepitude? Can it be possible that there is a Savior from the blackest of sins? People might retort, Is there really a Savior at all? Yet, no one can deny that there is sin. Sin abounds; its loathsomeness is paraded before us every moment of our life, in others and in ourselves. Many might not believe in a Savior; but God, in His wisdom, has left us something to promote faith in Him. That something is the desolating effects of self-centeredness that fills this world like the waters cover the sea.

There is a Savior from sin. He speaks to us from the Bible. A voice from a book? Yes, the voice of the One who inspired that book. The Author who shows how long and hard He fought to save sinners like you and me. We can know for a certainty that He will work as determinedly for us as He did for Israel.

He used every method in the book—from nice to hard, both easy times and evil times. The only thing consistent about all His efforts was in His one determination to win sinners back and keep them for an eternity of love and fellowship with Him.

Who could turn that beautiful offer down? Its seems irresistible! It is irresistible—for those who will look at the offer. But, Satan can convince so many minds to love a cheap imitation. Then the mind accustoms itself to the counterfeit and feels no need for anything better. The drug is so mellow, life’s problems just melt away! At least for a few hours. The fun is so thrilling, the comedy is so hilarious, the knowledge is so deep, that the problems arising from our sinfulness seem to grow insignificant. But the thrilling fun, the hilarious comedy, the deep curiosities of knowledge never solve the problem of sin. Only divine gracious love can overcome the love for sin and make the act disappear, and later its linger effects.

Paganism plagued ancient Israel. It plagues us today, even in our enlightened 21st century. We have eyes, but we cannot see. Ears have we, but we cannot hear. The true essentials go unnoticed. Our need for a God of love is never a consideration. This world of sinners is blind and deaf and very dumb.

So what will we choose? The seeming impossibility of a God with infinite grace who is able to accept and transform great sinners such as you? Or the possibility that He loves to stay with you and I, despite our gross condition, making it is seemingly impossible for God to accept us, and bring us all the way until we are safely in His bosom?

When He has done so much to prove His love, why should we keep turning Him down and breaking His heart? Must He continue to be crucified afresh, as His heart has been slain since the foundation of the world?


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