February 20, 2016

Considered perfect in Christ

When Moses came down from the mountain with the Commandments on tablets of stone, the people were told to obey them. This is the image that many have of God; He is up there someplace and thunders down His commands to a fearful or defiant people and that’s it.

Not so. There is more to this story. Sadly, many heard them, some tried to keep them, but everyone fell short. They could not do what God wanted. He knew all along, but humanity had to find out two things: one that God’s standards are high, He calls for perfection; and two, that we cannot do it. The purpose of the Law was not to make us perfect but bring us to our knees.

Were the disciples of Jesus there yet? Maybe, but the big difference between them and those Old Testament saints was that they experienced the Word of God made flesh, full of grace and truth. They saw Him and touched Him, ate with Him and heard Him talk. He told them many things, even gave them commands, yet while these words of Jesus were just as impossible to keep, He also gave them something else . . .

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:25–26)

They didn’t know what that would be like, but they were not left on their own with impossible commands. They trusted Jesus and would learn what it meant to listen to the Holy Spirit, to remember the words of Jesus, and to walk with Him, not to be perfect. He gave them Himself; He became their perfection. They were set free to live from impossible to become justified before God, made possible by His death and resurrection.

I try to imagine how puzzled they were. It would be like telling pagans in the jungle how a smart phone works. What a mystery! What an impossibility! Yet once it was in their hands and they experienced it, they would know it was true and their fear and wonder would be replaced by delight.

Jesus did not want the disciples to be troubled by this mystery of the Holy Spirit who would take over when He was gone. He also did not want them to brood over His commands, but move ahead in confidence. He said . . .

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. (John 14:27–31)

Chambers points out that when gave those wonderful words to His disciples, He didn’t tell them to go sit down and meditate over what He said. They had heard the voice of God, found out what He wanted, and now they must get up and go.

From these verses, Chambers points out that once we have sat before God to get in line with what He wants, we must go out and obey what He says. Further dreaming is procrastination. It is also disobedience which reflects lack of faith.

This one puzzles me. What about timing? God gave me (at least I think He did) an idea, yet each time I try to act on it, something happens to thwart my actions. Is this God’s way to tell me the idea wasn’t from Him? Or is He telling me that the timing is not right?

One thing I do know is just as I waited on Him for the idea, I must wait on Him for the answer to my questions. As He promised the disciples, He also promises me peace. The Holy Spirit will teach and guide me. He also will give me the power to rise up when He gives the command to go!

Family Update: Bob had an MRI of his head last night. While we joked that “they found nothing” we really don’t know what they found, only that Bob said it was an extremely unpleasant experience. He was smiling when he went in and broody and silent when he came out, not like him at all. However we are thankful for a medical system that will do these tests, even long after others facilities are closed for the night. One more test and hopefully a good word from his doctor on Tuesday.

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