Trusting in God’s Promises

In Genesis 12, God speaks to Abram and promises to make him a great nation, to give him land, bless him, and curse those who curse him.  This is incredible.  All of mankind has rebelled against God but God in His rich grace reveals Himself and enters into a relationship with Abram.  God is creating a people for Himself and He does so solely based upon His grace.

So what does Abram do?  He believes God and packs up all that he has and takes his wife and his nephew Lot and they begin journeying to the land that God will provide.

But it is not long into the journey when Abram’s faith if challenged.  In 12:10 we read that  because of a famine they go to Egypt. And as they enter into Egypt, Abram tells his wife,

“I know that you are  woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live.  Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”

At this moment, Abram’s faith in God’s promises is being challenged.  And rather than trust that God will keep His promise, Abram trusts in himself and tries to scheme a way to survive.  When reading this chapter, it easy for us in the comfort of our couches and lazy boys to ridicule Abram’s lack of faith.  We think how silly it is for him to not trust in God, and we might even think, “I would never do that.”  And while we may never ask our wives to pretend to be our sister, it is true that we often struggle to live by faith and trust in God’s promises.

When money is low, when time is short, or when suffering and pain are high, it’s easy to to stop trusting in promises like Romans 8:28,

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good…”

But this is why God has given us the Bible.  He has given us 66 books that speak of His character, His glory, His steadfastness, His righteousness, His grace and mercy, and so much more. God’s word proves to us with every turn of the page that He keeps His promises.  And the ultimate proof is that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross when we were His enemies so that by His grace and mercy we would be saved and forever experience His eternal riches in Jesus Christ.  Because God sent His Son to die, we know that He will never withhold grace from those who have believed in Him.  That is the point of Romans 8:32,

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Our sin will always try to cause us to doubt God’s promises.  Our sin will always try to convince us to trust in ourselves rather than God. But just because our sin will try to attack us does not mean we need to fall prey to it.  Romans 6:11 (ESV) says,

11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

By the grace of God we are now alive in Christ Jesus.   We are no longer a slave to sin.  We are now in-dwelt by the Spirit of God who is transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.  And it is through the Word of God that the Spirit is growing us in our love and knowledge and devotion to God.  Let us read and study God’s Word knowing that the Spirit is strengthening us in our faith so that we would trust in God’s promises and not ourselves.


Praise God for the Gospel

I just finished reading Romans 3. It’s easy to read 3:9-18 and think of the wickedness and evil of the world and other people. But if I read it that way then I miss the meaning. This text is not just about others but it is about me. It describes me apart from the grace of Jesus.

I am not righteous.
I don’t understand.
I do not seek for God.
I have turned aside.
I am worthless.
I do nothing good.
My throat is an open grave.
My tongue is deceitful.
My mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
My feet are swift to shed blood.
My path is full of ruin and misery.
I do not know peace.
I do not fear God.

Conclusion: I deserve the full wrath and judgment of God. I am full of sin. Sin naturally flows from me like water flows in a river. Because I am sinful, I am not good enough to save myself. I have no means of rescuing myself. I cannot earn or merit the help of someone else. I am helpless and hopeless.

And that is why verses 24-25 are so amazing. I am “justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.”

God’s grace in Jesus is what saves me. Praise God for His grace and mercy. Praise God that He is full of love and patience. Praise God for pursuing me when I ran from Him and wanted nothing to do with Him. Praise God for making me beautiful when I was not beautiful. Because of God’s grace in Jesus we who are helpless can have hope. Jesus has come to save and by faith in Him we are saved. May I never forget that glorious truth. May I never forget how wonderful and beautiful and necessary the grace of God is. Thank you God!

Our Spiritual Worship

Warning: this post is a bit of a ramble.  Everything written below is what I am praying and working through right now.  Okay, now that I have prefaced this blog (not sure that is good to do or not), last week I preached on Romans 12:1-20.  Particularly focusing on verses one and two.

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

As I  studied this text, preached this text and have continued to think about this text, one thing is clear, I cannot stop thinking about this text.  The implications are massive and I mean world-changing massive.  Paul says we are to present our bodies as sacrifices to God.  The basis of this command is on God’s mercies.  Because of all God’s mercies that Paul has talked about in Romans 1-11,  we are to offer our bodies as sacrifices to God.  The reason we do this is because we are worshippers of God (identity) and it is as we present our bodies to God as a sacrifice that we worship Him.  Paul is clear, this “is your spiritual worship.”

The word “body” refers to every part of our lives.  This means everything we do as Christians is for the glory of God. Everything we do is to be an act of worship.  I cannot get that out of my mind.  God did not save me so I would live for Him sometimes but that my life would be a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice to Him at all times.  I have been saved to Worship God all the time.

In one sense this is not a very difficult passage to understand.  It is pretty clear and straight-forward.  But if we really begin to think about what it means then we quickly come to the realization that it affects everything.  It affects:

  • what I do everyday
  • where I eat
  • how I spend money
  • who I spend time with
  • where I go
  • how I vacation
  • how I relax
  • when I get up in the morning
  • when I go to sleep
  • what hobbies I have

It is these implications and so many more that continue to run through my head.  My life is not my own.  My life is to be used as a sacrifice to God.  My life is for God’s glory.

The reason I say the implications of this passage are world-changingly massive is because if we the church lived this way, then this world would be different.  And I don’t mean marginally different, I mean radically different.  Perhaps the world would once again repeat the words of Acts 17:6, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”

As I write this, I am very much humbled by this verse and by the fact that I fall so short.  At the moment, my prayer is that God, through the transforming of my mind would help me to be a sacrifice for Him at all times.  That he would help me as a father, a husband, a pastor, a friend and a disciple of Jesus to be a living, holy, acceptable sacrifice to God.  I pray this becomes an increasing reality in my life everyday.