Sunday Thoughts: Matthew 18:6-9

If you were to see us not in our Sunday best, but in our spiritual armor, in our TrueSelves, what would you see? A congregation of beauty? Coiffed and pampered? Polished plate, gleaming and shiny? Our swords sheathed and our guns holstered? Maybe clean, on parade soldiers, unsoiled and unspoiled by war?

No, my dear friend, no.

You would see a congregation of scarred, maimed amputees. You would see intense listeners, leaning forward in their seats. We fight our exhaustion. We push through distraction. Our swords are in our laps, blades bare, guns drawn and ready.

Row after row after row of bone-tired warriors with missing eyes, fingers, arms, and legs, gather together. We wear dented, miss-matched armor covered in blood and gore. We’re broken, weary to the point of tears, hungry, and never out of the fight.

Look deeper. Look at our gossamer souls. Do you see the holes? Do you see the daily deaths we die to ourselves for one another? Over there is a battle with sin not going so well. Up front is a disfigured saint still gnawed at by a particular temptation. Back there is a weeping soul who fell yet again into the same trap. They bend under the weight of the battles they have waged this week. They stop their ears to lies and unbelief.

Do you see the dreams sacrificed? Do you see the wants set aside? Do you see the here and now given up? The prayers prayed during the dark of the night? The trials, great and ordinary? The hatred of sin? The suffering endured? The pain of refining? The constant ruthless severity with which each saint turns blade and bullet on his own heart and flesh to rend and fight the corruption within?

This isn’t clean.   

This isn’t pretty.

This is war.

Battle.

Look at us on the path to heaven. We have sacrificed beauty and ease here for glory there. We are the scarred, amputated, broken, weary warriors. We are the ruthless.

We are the loved.

Sunday Thoughts: A Letter to the Ordinary Saint

 

Dear Ordinary Saint,

Yes, you. The one who quietly slips into their pew every Sunday, stands, sings, sits, reads, stands, sits, and quietly leaves. Yes, you. You who have health issues and can’t even stand for the Bible reading. You with the wiggly children who can’t whisper yet. You who are bearing a weight of such sorrow, you can’t talk to others. You who don’t rush around after the service, don’t play a musical instrument, don’t manage anything big or small. You who don’t talk much. You who are there every week: we appreciate you.

There is nothing in the world as important as the preaching of the Word of God. Nothing. And there is nothing more discouraging to the Bride and body of Christ than empty pews where fellow brothers and sisters are supposed to be. You ordinary saints who move through this life with a quiet contentment as you raise your families, love your wives, and obey your husbands, are encouraging your church family with your faithfulness. Don’t belittle it, or think it unimportant.

Mothers, you think you spend the whole service hushing, shushing, calming, and disciplining your children. You worry that it might be better if you just avoided church with your noisy brood for the first five or six years of their lives. Please don’t! Your faithfulness encourages all of us. We come into the service bloody and bruised after a week of fighting sin, weary to death, and what do we see? You. Again. With your children, ready to hear the Word. Our faith is bolstered. Our hearts are lifted. We see God’s gentle provision expressed in your paper-strewn pew and we are reminded He will care for us.

Young people, you have a million things calling for your attention. Work, movies, concerts, friends, events, functions, education. There are hundreds of more exciting things you could be doing, and honestly, hundreds of more exciting churches that would love to have you on their worship team. Please don’t! Your faithfulness encourages all of us. We have all faced the temptation to play or work on Sunday, or attend an event, or just sleep in. Seeing you make the sacrifice of what is considered normal in our culture to be in church every Sunday encourages us to stay at the task. Our resolve to face our God- given duties is braced by your faithfulness. Have you ever realized that? That your cheerful willingness to be in church every Sunday helps all us old people?

Men, be you young or old, married, fathers, single, husbands, your faithful choice to set aside ease, comfort, and relaxation to gather yourselves, your families, your wife, your children, and be in church is leading. Your job tells you to work long hours. Your world tells you to use Sunday to enjoy yourself, or finish something on the eternal Honey Do List. Please don’t! You have no idea how many other men are struggling to be in church themselves or with their families. They may be drowning in the temptation to stay home. They may have lost sight of why we are in church. But they see you there, every week, in the same spot, and they’re encouraged in their duty. You didn’t have to say anything to serve. You probably didn’t even realize you are serving. But it helps all of us hold the course when our men faithfully attend church.

Last, for the sake of your dear pastors and teachers, please understand the power of faithful attendance. Do you ever think about your pastors’ week? They have spent hours and hours studying the scripture, testing themselves against other wise men, formulating something that is understandable. They have labored late into the day. They have forgone rest. Some of them have woken in the middle of the night to make sure, one last time, that what they’re about to say is true and edifying. They have agonized over each word. They have fought the temptation to say something popular. They have shredded their sermons and lessons and started over, on Friday. Their wives and children have sacrificed time with them, so they may study for you. Then, when everyone else is ready to have some rest on Sunday, they stand before you and give you the Word of God. They have brought word to the bride from her husband. They have prepared armor for you against sin and temptation.

You weren’t there to put it on.

You weren’t there because something more important came up. More important that the Word of God? How discouraging it is for these men to look out and not see you in your pew. To wonder if you are okay? To find out you sacrificed the Word of the Lord, the amour you need for the week, the defending of your soul, to stay up late last night, or to work on the house, or finish a project, or just cause you couldn’t pull yourself together. Not only does faithlessness discourage your pastors and teachers, it is unbelievably disrespectful to the Lord.

But, when you have made all the sacrifices and given up all the little comforts of this world to be in your pew, your pastors and teachers are encouraged. They’re inspired to continue in the work. They’re filled with hope that you will listen and be prepared for the fight. They’re cheered in their work and ready for another week of study and preparation.

Ordinary saint, you have no idea the power of your faithful attendance. Your year in and year out, repetitive sliding into the pew each Lord’s Day builds up those around you. It bolsters your pastors and teachers. A lack of faithful attendance is like sitting in a foxhole with a soldier who always avoids his duties. It’s his turn to guard and he’s not there. It brings the whole unit down. It’s dangerous for us and you. It may cost the lives of your fellow soldiers. Have you ever thought of it this way? Have you ever taken your church membership and church attendance this seriously? Are you willing to sacrifice everything else in your life (work, rest, status, art, sports, and cultural norms) to make sure you’re in church ready to hear the Word of God? Do you do this for your sake, and for the sake of your fellow church members?

We all need each other. We’re soldiers in the same war. We’re a family that will be a family long after our earthly families are dissolved. We believe that the preaching of the Word is Christ amongst us. Your faithful attendance is a reminder of His faithfulness to us. Never ever lose sight of how important our everyday, ordinary attendance to church is.

Love in Christ,

A fellow pilgrim

 

My Church is a Failure (Part 2)

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To see Part 1, click here.

Over the last few years, our particular church and our association have had some rough times. We’ve faced factures, splits, and a loss of membership. Some of this is normal, some due to impassibility, some due to our stance on the 1689, and some due to the common sinfulness of man.

All of these leavings, for any of the above reasons, are hard on those who stay. They are left battered, weary, and lonely as people they love just leave. Or worse, a trail of nasty words and unfair gossip follows behind the leavers inflicting deep wounds. I have battled with a fear of getting to know new attenders, felt sick anytime someone wasn’t in their pew, and struggled with an unfair and unkind level of anger towards those who left. (Pastor Jarrett’s most recent sermon on anxiety comes to mind here. I am constantly engaged in a war with the lie of peace at any price.)

Our two most recent departures raised up a new set of thoughts and feelings. Yes, anger was there, but it was mixed more strongly with pity and sadness. The anger was followed by a great amount of prayer for those who left and those of us still here. My anger burned away. I am far more concerned for those who left than I am for the pain they caused me and us.

It did strike me this time how surprised I was at the lack of success in my church and association. Christ was, well, Christ. He was God come down to us. God as a man. He had twelve men. Twelve. Less people than one of our family day get-togethers followed Christ, and I’m surprised when we’re not more successful than our Lord and Husband? Why am I always surprised that our Church looks like a failure when I’m looking at it with earthly eyes? Christ was a complete failure from a human perspective: thousands of followers at the start. None at the end. If Christ had this type of ‘success’ why do we expect to have more?

A big part of the struggle with those who left is my sense of betrayal. I hate betrayal. I esteem loyalty. (Thank you Sam Gamgee.) People I trusted, loved, prayed for, and helped when I could left, and left in an ugly manner. They betrayed us. Overwhelmed with the deep pain that caused, I saw Christ. He faced death on a cross and even his twelve, who knew who he was, left him. Betrayed him.

Struggling with my own sense of loss, betrayal, hurt, and loneliness mixed with the bitterness of worldly failure made the moment the twelve left more historically alive, and Christ’s humanity more real. I wept to think of my Savior betrayed because I know what betrayal and being abandoned feels like. Christ is 100% man. He knows what it is to be left by those who claimed to love him.

I found the connection helpful and comforting.

And! Eleven of his friends came back.

Christ restores.

But for the grace and care of God, any of us might start listening to the lies in our heart and from the Devil. Any of us might stop listening to the preaching of the Word, and start arguing with the preaching of the Word.

I know.

I’ve been there.

We left our church before for bad reasons.

God showed my husband and me far more mercy than we deserved. He used that rescue from sin to develop in us a great love for our particular church.

So I pray. I pray Christ would tend to those who have left, and tend to us who have stayed. I pray He would grant us all the grace to endure. We’re weak, feeble, sad sinners. We need His strength to fight the battles every day. To come to church, be there, and listen. I pray for our pastors, teachers, and deacons.  I pray they would stay the course and not give in, or break. That they would follow Christ, and not the desire to please men. That they would have courage! I pray that by God’s grace we would all earnestly endeavor to endure.

To the world, our church and our association will look like a failure. We are not mighty. We aren’t growing into a huge conglomeration with hundreds of members. In fact, we’re struggling. Always struggling. But that kind of growth isn’t our goal. Our goal is the truth of the Word. Our goal is sound doctrine so that we may worship God and know God. Our goal is the means of grace honored and practiced correctly. Our goal isn’t hundreds added with false security, but the steady sanctification of the saints, and the saving of the elect. May we, by and only in God’s grace, continue even if the world tells us we’ve failed.

Sunday Thoughts: Boredom

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Sometimes the everyday hustle and bustle of life rubs and rubs until you become blind, deaf, and dumb with the wear. You stop seeing magic. You stop seeing joy. You stop seeing life.

But, what has truly happened is you’ve stopped seeing by faith and started seeing with fallen, old-man eyes. Faith no longer clouds your view. Only deep dark shadows fill your world. You fall before the boredom and monotony of eating, sleeping, cleaning, chores, bills, needs, election cycles, loads of laundry, care for the young and old, wars and the rumors of war, birth and death. The repetitiveness of the world weighs down on you until you forget.

(NOTHING CHANGES!)

This malaise seeps into our churches. The preaching becomes only so many words falling together, powerless as autumn leaves. The saints are no longer a glorious army of the Lord riding forth on white steeds under Christ’s mighty banner. They’re dull, ordinary, offensive people you no longer wish to be with. Sunday isn’t our day of rest, or the Lord’s Day. It is an interruption, taking away hours that could be spent trying to maintain control of everything else in life, or actually resting.

Believers see with eyes of the world. Our old, dead eyes. We get lazy. We stop being Vigilant. Our Christian-colored glasses slip off our nose and aren’t pushed back up. We haven’t stayed in the fight. We haven’t kept the hope.

The regularity and rhythm of life bows us down.

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Awake! Awake! Awake, my soul!

Renew. Refresh. Push your glasses tight against your nose and SEE by FAITH!

The Kings of the earth rage and God laughs.

His hand isn’t weak. His kingdom isn’t failing or even losing the battle.

Put back on your armor and fight! Fight, by God’s grace and in His might, the temptation to see life with dead, old, rotten eyes. They lie.

See with truth!

The preached word is our mighty King speaking to us. The church is the body of Christ and our true family. Do not let the world push you down in the rut of life and cover your eyes with the muck at the bottom. See the world around you with the light of the Word! Christ has already won the war. He is King over-all and He is saving His people!

This is our true reality, our true eternity.

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(Inspired by Dr. Robert Oliver’s preaching on Psalm 2)

Not Without Hope

 

Me: How are you? (giving him a big hug)

Ron: Better now.

This. This is what I will miss. This little ritual that we had when we saw each other, that doesn’t really matter, but meant so much to me.

I first met Ron when he came down to visit his children who had moved to Texas and joined our church and a church plant we were part of. We often teased him and Joan that we were holding their children and grandchildren hostage to force them to visit more often. Ron fit easily in our church making me wonder if he wasn’t just a Texan at heart. Him and Dad, and a few other pastors I can think of, must have all shopped at the Reformed Baptist Pastors Hawaiian Shirt Shop. Before I had my own health issues, we spent many Wednesday nights at Chick-fil-a with Ron and a handful of others talking about theology, history, confessions, books, and movies. We enjoyed several movie nights whenever Ron was in town over at his daughter’s house.

What made me love him most though was how he invested in my husband, as a young preacher. My man doesn’t make friends easily. He loves his church and loves his family, but is a true introvert with only a handful of close friends. He and Ron took an instant liking to each other. I think it was their mutual love of the Old Testament. Ron would email him lists of books to read and constantly gift him books. That’s how the name Yankee Dad came about. Ron passed a book to me right as the service was starting on a Sunday and said, “Tell Price this is from his Yankee Dad.”

That’s what Ron meant to us.

Ron was one of the first people we told about my husband considering finishing up his Bachelor’s Degree so that he could go to Seminary. Ron had suggested it, talked with my husband about it, encouraged him to pursue it, and promised to pray for us. I was so excited to keep him posted on our progress.

A little earlier this summer, Ron joined me in the sound booth at church that I was managing, and gave me a gift. It was a book of letters Esther Edwards Burr wrote to her best friend. He said it reminded him of Pride and Prejudice as he read me a passage from it. Then he handed me a second copy and asked me to pass it to Stephanie, his “literary girls” he called us. I couldn’t me honored or in better company.

This was one of the last conversations we had. He preached one last time for us. And that was it.

The Lord took him home.

I can’t even type that without crying and yet it’s not a crying without hope. It’s not an angry crying, a bargaining crying, or depressed crying. It is the tears of a soul who has had to say good-bye for a time to another soul they loved. It’s is crying with HOPE. Hope and faith and love. This was not a mean death caused by some cosmic bully, but a kind and good going home of a faithful servant. Yes, we miss him. Yes, we all think of all the hopes we had of many more years of Ron’s faithful preaching and teaching and friendship. But, we trust the Lord that this was good.

I won’t forget the look on my husband’s face, the mixture of sadness and burden, when he came to tell me the news. I won’t forget him changing in a matter of minutes the Bible study he was doing to teach on death for a Christian and how is okay to grieve. I won’t forget him weeping himself through the study. 
Already, I’ve heard of two cases where moms were able to speak of the Lord to their small children because of this. How happy would that make Ron? My house is going to be filled up with Renihans for his Memorial Service. How happy would that make Ron?

This death didn’t shake my faith, it only confirmed it further. Death’s sting has been removed because we will gather together again, glorified, and with our Lord and each other.

One of my favorite quotes is “Never out of the Fight” from Lone Survivor. As a Christian, we’re never out of the fight against sin and temptation. We are always battling our own lust and pride and hate while dealing with the consequences of the fallen world around us. We’re never out of the fight.
But, Ron is.

Ron is out of the fight.

His battle is done.

Done. Can you imagine not fighting against the sin nature still inside you? How weary are you of committing the same sins over and over, of never being able to do anything perfectly, of never truly completing something? How ready are you to see Christ? To be united in perfect love with your church family with no more bickering or misunderstandings? How ready?

Ron is there. Now.

He is out of the fight.

He is with Christ.

That is why I can weep in hope and even with joy.

I will miss my Yankee Dad. I will weep for the things that didn’t happen, and for the family he left behind who I dearly dearly love. But I will see him again.

Sunday Thoughts: Repetition

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Courtesy of Bing.

 

This should probably be titled Wednesday Thoughts, since it was inspired more by our Wednesday night lessons on the Trinity, but since it’s inspired by preaching, I’ll just leave it Sunday Thoughts.

My husband has been preaching on the Trinity for about two years now, or about 71 lessons. He just finished up. What a challenging blessing this journey had been for our congregation. We’ve covered the basics of the doctrine, its historical development, the heresies surrounding it, and the theology of it. You can listen to all it on his blog, Rod of Iron.

I’ve had an interesting journey as I’ve listened to the preaching on the Trinity. I started out treating the doctrine as something I couldn’t understand and thus was exempt from understanding. Halfway through, I was terrified I was constantly thinking of God in error. Now, I am aware of how much I don’t understand, feel like I have a grasp on some things, and am more thankful than ever for the gift God gives us in our Pastors and Teachers.

One of the books I’m reading right now is By Common Confession, essays in honor of James M. Renihan, edited by Ronald S. Baines, Richard C. Barcellos, and James P. Butler. In it, there is an essay by Stefan T. Lindblad on the Eternal Generation of the Son. This was the first essay in the book that was way over my head. The language and subject matter are far above my normal reading level. And yet, due to the diligent preaching of the word by faithful men, I followed for more of the essay than I would have otherwise.

This led me to have a greater respect for repetition. You know that bit of review a pastor does at the start of every sermon in the series? You know that sermon almost exactly like the one he preached before his break? You know, that part at the beginning where you only half listen cause you just heard this last week?

That part.

I always viewed that part as necessary for people who weren’t here last Wednesday/Sunday. (Sounds so prideful doesn’t it?) I often encouraged my husband to not do so much review. I thought if he stopped reviewing so much, he could finish the series faster. And we’ve all heard it before. Thankfully, he didn’t really take my advice. The concepts, truths, and theology he was teaching are hard to understand, hard to hold onto, hard to processes. We want to skip it, so we don’t have to wrestle with it.

Over and over, on Wednesday nights, he repeated the same things about the Trinity. Over and over, we sat and listened. Things got deeper, bigger, broader, and my view on review started to change. From one Wednesday night to the next, I eagerly awaited the review because I knew I wasn’t holding onto all that had been taught last week. I needed to refit it all in my brain. Then I’d go home, meditate, worry I wasn’t thinking through it right, and be ready for the repetitive review by the next Wednesday night.

Repetition became one of the biggest aids in a difficult and often misunderstood or abandoned doctrine. It familiarizes us with the terms, re-aligns our thinking, and helps us gather up what we’d forgotten. Repetition gave me hooks to hang thoughts on allowing me to sort of follow an article about the Trinity written far above my normal reading level. Repetition is helpful.

This is why we never get tired of hearing the Gospel. I’ve been in church my whole life, was saved at a young age, and still, I come to church each week hungry for the gospel. I’ve sinned, fallen short, and I need to hear of grace again.

So, this is a remainder to me, and hopefully and encouragement to you, don’t check out when the Pastor is going over, yet again, the same thing he went over last week, and the same thing he’ll go over next week. It’s for our good. Listen.

 

Sunday Thoughts (Inspired Prose/Poem): Do Not Be Afraid

Do Not Be Afraid

Have you ever thought

how truly terrible

telepathy would be?

To read and feel and

know a fellow sinner,

a fellow monster’s,

inner thoughts?

All their anxiety, all their hatred, anger, lust, petty meanness, belittling, envy, covetousness. All that is selfish, self-focused, and disloyal in each of us. All that is psychopathic and sociopathic about each of us. All that is dark in us.

Can you imagine how that would tear,

rend,

bruise,

destroy

all of us, our families, our relationships, our world?

Monsters are we all, hidden behind our pretty clothes and jewels. Tombs, rotting and stinking, painted white and carved, all beautiful.

A King of pure holiness,

pure goodness,

pure light,

comes.

And horror of horror, mountains please fall on us, this King can see all that we are. Into our core, the very heart of us. He sees our TrueSelves: lazy, self-worshipping monsters, oozing rot and ruin, that we are.

He opens his mouth and we quail back from him.

We’re lost.

How can we be in his light?

“Do not be afraid.”

Worlds stop.

Sounds fall.

All stills.

Do not be afraid? He of pure light tells darkness not to be afraid?

“Your sins are forgiven.”

Worlds rejoice.

Sounds rise.

All is in peace.

True goodness says, “Do not be afraid.”

Grace, Grace!

We have found our hiding place where we are free, accepted, clean, and loved.

“Do not be afraid.”

With these words, we can turn and love washed monsters because we are washed monsters, fellow beloved of the good King.

-Abby Jones: inspired by Pastor Jarret Downs’ sermons on Luke 5

Sunday Thought: In the Trenches

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Courtesy of Google.

Pastor Jarrett gave an amazing description of the enduring church in last week’s sermon. I’m going to recount it here and develop it a bit.

You know when you see a billboard for a church and it has the perfect, upper-middle class couple on it with a catch phrase, welcome statement, assurances of acceptance, or a beautiful facility? You know the ones, right?

Just once, Pastor Jarrett said, I’d like to see a sign for a church that was a group of soldiers in a trench, something very WW1-ish.

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Courtesy of Google.

It would be the kind of picture where you can feel the damp squelch of the mud, the stiffness of your shirt from blood and sweat, and smell the stench. It would bristle with guns, knives, and grenades along with the rats and fleas. Faces stare down at the camera, but wait . . . they aren’t hopeless. They are beautiful with gritty, determined confidence. Love is found in the arms braced over broad shoulders, the gentle bandage being wrapped around a wound, and the quiet tears cried for one another. Over there is a soldier with a crutch and a bandage face. Beside him sits a soldier with his arm in a sling. Another writes a letter home. Someone with a harmonica plays a song and someone eats dinner out of a tin can.

Bullets fly overhead. They raise their rifles and fire as one.

The enemy charges. The fight becomes dark and grim hand-to-hand combat with knives, bayonets, and clubs.

 

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Courtesy of Google.

This is where we live. Not in that nice world on those other billboards. That is living life by sight. Life by faith is in the trenches. Hand-to-hand combat against sin. Bandaging, wounded, stinking, but confident because of grace.

An enduring church isn’t pretty or perfect. It’s a battlefield and we are fellow soldiers in the muck and mud. We must have each other’s backs. We must support and love each other, binding up wounds, wiping eyes, cleaning away the dirt.

When I get to heaven, I want to say in a heavenly way, that I wasn’t a hero in the Spiritual War we fight, but that I served in a company of heroes: my church.

 

Sunday Thoughts: Ordinary People

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(found on Google)

What is one of the must unsung things we as believers can do to help our congregations, our church family, our own pursuits of holiness?

Faithfully attend every service held in our local body.

Look! It’s so un-shiny, it’s so un-glitzy, it’s so . . . so . . . so boring.

Being there Sunday in, and Sunday out, on time, focused, in your pew, every week.

Where is the glamor? The excitement? The passion!?

Something inside us wants it to be more. We want to see!

Granted, there are some bigger and more obvious ways you can serve and encourage your church, but this is the best place to start. Start with the quiet and ordinary. Isn’t it funny how God always calls us to self-denial? We want something big and bold and he gives us something quiet and ordinary.

(From Google)

(found on Google)

Think about it. Faithful attendance:

First, it encourages your pastors. They’ve worked diligently all week to be ready to preach to you because they care about your soul. Have you ever thought about how discouraging it is to them when you don’t come, or you come in late, or you get up and down over and over? They are the messenger of Christ with a word from the Lord and you over slept?

Second, think about the other members. If so and so with five kids can get there, why not you? If so and so who is sick or over worked, or old got there, why not you? And how discouraging is it to your church when you decide not to make attendance a priority? Think how it might tempt others who are already struggling with faithful attendance.

You can encourage the whole body just by being there, not to mention feed your own soul!

Third, think about the outside world and the message it sends when you give up on all the ‘Sunday’ stuff to be at church. This sends a stronger message of your walk than all the tracks or evangelism you could ever participate in.

All that, and it’s so easy, so ordinary, so boring: be at church every Sunday, every Wednesday, faithfully.

We live in a world trying to divest itself of the ordinary. In doing so, it misses the beauty and power of living a quiet, ordinary life. Don’t listen to the lies. Be content and even joyful about being ordinary.

(found on Google)

(found on Google)

Sunday Thoughts: God’s Love

We're on a ship!

He loves me!

 

 

Using my husband, the Lord has graciously taught me the value of systematic theology and sound, solid doctrine.

It’s not like I didn’t know before that theology and doctrine were important. I did. But I kept theology in one hand and practical application in another as if the two were totally different things that never touched each other. It’s an easy thing for the modern Christian to fall into, even one raised in the Reformed faith.

Over the last three years, the Lord has shown me the practical benefits, personally and corporately, of sound theology.

During this process, one of the greatest things I’ve learned is that the greater God is, the greater our salvation! The more we grasp and hold to the creature/Creator difference, the more powerful, gracious, and merciful our salvation is. Praise God that He would save me!

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Pastor Pascal Denault

This same truth struck me a few Sundays ago when Pascal Denault preached for us after our SBFC-SW: God didn’t save us because He needed us. He saved us because He loved us!

What a powerful thought! What a harbinger of hope!

Think about all that Christ endured in this life only to die a torturous death, but then you see He did that out of love for me and His church, oh my heart! Here is beauty! We, the church, the chosen bride of Christ, are loved by Him that much! Not because He was incomplete without us. No, because He loves us. Oh how great God is! How great is salvation when it is all of grace! How great is this love!

He didn’t need me! He loved me!

We sell our salvation cheap when we think we are saved because God needed us somehow. It lessens God and glorifies man. It’s all about me. It’s all about me being something. It steals glory from God and leaves room for my pride. And, perish the thought, if He ever doesn’t need me anymore, or a better me comes along, I’m lost. What slavery!

I don’t want my husband to keep me around only cause he needs his socks cleaned or his meals cooked. I want him to love me outside of my abilities. I’m sick and can’t do much. One day, I’ll get old and be able to do less. If he only wants me for what I do for him, then I’m sunk. But, if he loves me, cooking and cleaning because a joy and no longer a burden. Old age can be faced with less fear because I know he loves me. He won’t abandon me when the road is dark, because he loves me.

The same is true of the Christian walk. If I obey out of fear that God will stop needing me, I don’t love Him. I’m only thinking about me. But If I obey not to earn God’s love, but because of it, than I am free from fear. I’m free to obey without worrying about losing my salvation. I did nothing to earn it. It is safely held in the sovereign, impassible hands of our mighty God.

Do you see how sound theology is infinitely practical?