April 3, 2016

God’s Unfailing Plan

The human soul is blind to spiritual reality. The reason is sin, and the answer is faith in Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. However, if that Light is rejected, then those realities cannot be known.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19–21)

Toward the end of His time on earth, Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph and the city shouted its welcome, but the people actually preferred their god, the human pride expressed in their Pharisaical religious system. Today we might call it the religion of “I can save myself by keeping my own rules. Chambers calls them “religious and upright” yet Jesus said they were like “whitewashed tombs” which appeared beautiful, but were full of dead people’s bones and unclean. (Matthew 23:27) This is the sinner’s attitude of hating the light and refusing to come to it. Their rejection had consequences . . .

And when (Jesus) drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41–44)

The city would perish for rejecting their Messiah, even as all who love darkness and reject Him will perish.

Chambers brings that reality to my life by asking “What is it that blinds me in this my day?” He is talking about holding on to something that might even look pleasing on the outside, but it is something that rules me and makes me blind to the things that give total peace with God.

Odd thing is that if I have such a god and suffer from such blindness, how could I know it? I would be blind to it, as unseeing as the Pharisees, as unseeing as the vilest sinner who has rejected all attempts to make him see. The only ‘cure’ for this blindness is an eye-opening from the Spirit of God, a piercing of truth that goes direct to the heart.

Luke 19:41ff is the response of Jesus to a blind heart. He wept over it, yet for those people He offered no hope. They had their opportunity. God appeared to them in human flesh and they said no, rejecting His rule over them. I don’t think this is how Jesus treats those who have said yes and who have seen His light.

I agree with Chambers in that Christians can hang fast to strange gods and that God will bring us face to face to our folly. I agree also that we often resist Him and fight truth. We can be blind to what we could enjoy if we would just abandon such vain foolishness. I also agree that God holds us responsible for what we do not see.

However, that is where the parallel ends. The Pharisees had set their course, but God never gives up on a stubborn child. Because He gave me new life in Christ and adopted me into His forever family, He sets my course and has planned my destiny. He promises that one day I will be like Jesus and that He will stay in my face until that transformation is completed. No matter how entrenched any ‘god’ or stubbornness might be, Jesus is my Savior and He saves His people from our sin.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. (Hebrews 12:6–10)

Chambers says “But now they are hidden from your eyes” — yet I do not believe that. Once Jesus gives light into a stubborn heart, we know it. God might close doors because of it, but He never stops His relentless discipline. My stubborn heart cannot alter the fact that I am His child. He loves me with an everlasting love. Regardless of any silly choices I make, my course is set. I am saved by grace and bound for eternity with Him. No matter what, His changeless plan without a doubt will change my life.


Darrell said...

Just as He urged His people to REMEMBER Egypt, so He continues today desiring we should occasionally cross the intersection in our minds of that “spiritual Egypt” to which we were once slaves. The Israelites were called upon to REMEMBER, not the joy of bondage (for there was none), but the power of God to deliver them. Only Satan wishes for a kind of remembrance that would discourage us and keep us living beneath the beauty of freedom in Christ. Jesus longs for us to be in touch with the CROSS, therefore, we must be reminded of why there is a need for the Cross, as it pertains to me alone, as well as others. The Holy Spirit most certainly brings my past to remembrance—precious remembrance, even with its bitter, lonely, and shameful overtones...joy does come in the morning. There truly is, beauty for ashes.

Elsie Montgomery said...

Remembering the past positives (God's doing) seems more challenging than remembering the past negatives (my sinfulness)! One thing to rejoice in and be thankful for is that God puts that yuck as far as the east is from the west and remembers our sins no more! Such amazing grace!