Archive for July, 2013
“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also” (John 10:16).
These words of Jesus offer the needed reminder that God’s salvation is expansive and not exclusive. We must be leery of humanly construed teachings of a salvation that is for some but not others. The God who condemns the sin of partiality in James 2 would not, himself, practice such. Let whosoever will come.
“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 1:11).
To imitate is to reproduce someone’s behavior or look. Paul challenged two congregations to imitate him–the Corinthians and the Thessalonians. You are imitating someone. Who is it? Someone is going to imitate you. What will they see? And is what they see worth imitating?
“Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” (John 4:36).
For those who embrace and live their faith as a missional pursuit discover that there is a reward to be realized “already.” The reward for faithful living isn’t for the after life only but life here and now. We are being paid already with a deep satisfaction of living a life that matters.
“Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16).
Have you ever wondered why God performed the work of salvation in your life? The temptation is to contemplate this introspectively–focusing on one’s own life, merit, potential, or just the plain wonderment that he did it at all because we are so undeserving. Yet, Paul offers this reminder that salvation is never really about us, even if we refer to it as something personal. It first is about the sovereign reign and goodness of God and what he is accomplishing. Secondly, it is the example our salvation provides for others in the hopes that they, too, might believe. In other words, he has saved you for the benefit of someone else.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful” (1 Timothy 1:12).
A constant source of strength and encouragement in the life of faith should be the fact that Christ has considered us, even when we were undue consideration. Even in the light of who we were as lost sinners, and who we are as struggling saints, he considers us faithful. What a remarkably gracious God and sufficient Savior we serve.
“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11)
Of the various Greek words that could have been translated as “good” in the English language, Jesus utilized the one that manifests itself in a form of goodness that is beautiful. In other words, the goodness of his life was portrayed in such a way that it was attractive. While religion can often portray goodness and moral uprightness in a way that is repulsive, the winsomeness that is to characterize the Christian faith is borne out of our relationship with Christ, the good and beautiful shepherd.
“But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:4).
The providential care of our Heavenly Father should be an ever present reminder that the negative, external forces of our broken world do not have to shape our lives. In his own purposeful and omnipotent way, God is able to take the negative that was intended against us and use it in a transformational way to mold and shape us into the people he has designed us to be.