Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Thursday, May 1, 2014

All and Not All

What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 
By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged. – Romans 3:3-4

One of Paul’s main points in his Epistle to the Romans is the universality of both sin and redemption.  Sin pervades every heart and soils every soul.  Yet the Cross is raised to trump our fall and deliver every soul from both iniquity’s penalty and power. 

To the believer, the nearness of salvation is axiomatic.  When one realizes – and that’s really what it is – that one is saved, the power of God becomes an ever-present reality that is, at times, almost tangible.  Before we believe, though, God often seems distant both in location and time.  After all, God’s throne is in heaven – wherever that is.   Up there, we say.  We are down here in the dirt of earth.  The miracles of the Bible happened a long time ago.  God used to speak to prophets, but He doesn’t do that anymore.  Jesus was crucified back two thousand years ago.  The Apostles died and were buried.  The men and women who heard them and were taught by them are dead and decayed, and so on for generations and generations.    

Nevertheless, we … seek God, in the hope that [we] might feel [our] way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ … For we are indeed his offspring (Acts 17:27-28).  This is the truth, not for some only but for all.  The truth is true whether everyone believes it or no one believes.  That some of us fail to accept, refuse to hear or acknowledge the truth does not negate the price that Jesus paid for our redemption; it does not restrict His grace or void His faithfulness to us. 

All are redeemed in Christ, just as all in Israel were God’s chosen, just as we are all His offspring.  Any given individual may realize and recognize this, or he or she may continue to follow the gods of self and sense, dust and dung, metal, matter and mortality. 

Paul continued in his warning to those very religious Athenians:  Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man (Acts 17:29).  The carnal mind craves a carnal god.  Christians have no quarrel with physics, chemistry or biology.  We only reject the dumb god, Chance, and its imaginary brethren dwelling atop the dung heap that is their holy hill. 

There are many reasons not to believe – pride, fear, ignorance, rebellion, misunderstanding, et al.  Many will embrace those reasons, rationalizations, and excuses and continue to bow to dead idols.  I wish there was a way to change that, for through disobedience and unbelief the world will be rocked and racked with suffering and destruction and turmoil.  Still, God reigns, and all who enter His kingdom will know His peace.

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