Sunday, October 12, 2008

Be All That You Can Be!

Disobedience to the Lord has consequences. That is an axiom one would think would resonate with all. After all God is Almighty which is demonstrated in creation, in his mighty acts recorded in the scriptures and in the forgiveness of sin. This is something the old Adam in each of us will never bring to mind. This original sin nature will never be informed of God nor will seek after him nor learn of or from him.

Exodus 14:16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen." ESV

You have got to be kidding! After all the mighty and awesome plagues which came upon Egypt during the preceding period of time while Moses sparred with Pharaoh they would pursue in a divided sea after them? It would seem a rational person would stay on shore and bid them good riddance. However, the greed of having another accomplish work and the power of having slaves do your bidding will out weigh any rational thought.

In addition to have God actively remove any fear of consequence and there is absolutely no hope of sparing oneself of judgment. This is not God making a person do what he or she does not want to do. The old nature wants to rebel. It wants to have the level of godhood where no matter the action no repercussions will be felt.

Okay, one might say, the Egyptians were not the people of God. This is why they rebelled in such a way and brought upon themselves destruction. But we as Christians have the Holy Spirit. We would never fall that far from God. Would we?

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

"Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said,
'They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.'
11 As I swore in my wrath,
'They shall not enter my rest.'"

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.15As it is said,

"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

This epistle is written to those who are believers. To those who were tempted to have Jesus the way in which they wanted Jesus. They wanted to return to the good old days of ceremonial law keeping. They had the Holy Spirit and he spoke to them in this manner. Not to toss away the rest they have in Jesus.

We have this today, unfortunately, in much of what once passed as conservative bible believing churches. These churches will in one sense cry out against the works righteousness of Rome or liberals but in almost the same breath trot out good deeds to prove to themselves and God of their salvation. This is not resting in the promises associated with the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Part of this rest is in the knowledge when doing what is given them to do in the home, neighborhood, church and workplace are all pleasing to God for the sake of Jesus. Some of the motivation for doing these things is self centered due to being a sinner. However, some is fruit of the Holy Spirit which is admired by God. We cannot nor should we attempt to cipher how much is which. This would not be entering this rest as well. May God keep our hearts softened by his law and comforted by the restful good news in Jesus.

In the Name of Jesus. †

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