devotional

20JAN
2014

Remembering Life

 

In all that we study and meditate on regarding the life to come I think I’ve been reminded this week of something that, although difficult to imagine how, is easy to overlook or marginalize, and that’s life itself as we are currently to live it.

     God has given us this world in its beauty. We know how Scripture repeats the refrain that it was “good” all throughout its first week. Sin has since ravaged it more and more through each passing century. God, nonetheless, has given many pleasures. Section 6.1 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession reads:

Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honor; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory. (Emphasis mine).

     It’s this last part that I want to remind you of here. The world is not, “Out of control.” In spite of all that breaks our hearts that we see around us in this gigantic insane asylum we call home, this world is not its own maker or sustainer. God purposed its fall to His own glory, and He is being glorified. Satan did not surprise God and neither did Adam or Eve.

     Sometimes, somewhere between understanding that the gospel is primarily a promise of the life to come, and focusing on the utter depravity of mankind we can sometimes easily forget that God is still not only the author of life, but the author of life as we now know it! What I mean is that even though men sin and bring destruction upon themselves under Satan as the god of this present age, it’s still His world. Everything is still God’s. I wonder how often many of us are reminded of this in our lives. Ultimately, God is in the happiness business. We should take time to remember this. Any good father or mother who’s ever held their baby in their arms as they slept peacefully knows something of the joys it’d be sin to never be happy about. Even in this world there are wonderful foods to enjoy, intimacy with one’s spouse, the tickling of children, music, arts, pleasant memories, friendships, sports, work, etc. God designed these things for the joy of man and they are still good when enjoyed as He orders them to be. It is okay to remember this. It is good to be happy. Scripture speaks on the joys of life abundantly and we see the effect even in the lives of God’s suffering Apostles and prophets. Recall with me how Paul and Silas sang at midnight while in prison in Philippi! Acts 16:25. In 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Paul speaks of the rich not trusting in their riches but in the God, “…who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” God does that. Jesus Himself was constantly present at weddings or the feasts that He Himself had instituted for the Hebrews under Moses in that culture long before He became a Man. The Apostles Barnabas and Paul discoursed in Lystra with the people reminding even them that God, “…gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17b. It is God’s wisdom that, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,” Proverbs 15:13. Jesus promised a fullness of joy predicated upon His Resurrection saying, “…I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you,” John 16:22. Peter wrote of our current faith nested in a, “…joy inexpressible and full of glory,” in 1 Peter 1:8, and spoke of the eternal promise of it when Christ appears in 1 Peter 4:13. Scripture is replete with reflections on the fact that our lives, while intermingled with great sorrow for good reason, are yet mostly defined by the joy of our salvation. We shouldn’t forget this in our prayers. We’ve been reconciled to God! What joy to know we have peace with God through Christ! Romans 5:1. It's because of this that we can truly enjoy all that God has given us. This is what I mean by remembering life. 

     There is mourning to be had. Jesus spoke of this very poignantly. Sadness is believing and joy is believing. I am not talking about a false gospel that promises no stresses or difficulties. Christians do not and cannot live flippant lives. A person who has never been brought to sadness over their present condition will not understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ at all. Christians live lives full of the sober intoxication of the promises of eternal life confirmed in their hearts daily. What I’m talking about here is a needed reflection on the joys of that that we can sometimes greatly benefit from. Of course there is reason to be sad when you observe your world. Remember the sad things. Let your compassion for a lost and dying, rebellious world compel you to act. Do these things since God has saved you yet left you here for a purpose. Do them. Be diligent in whatever task He gives you and remember that there is indeed a time for every purpose under heaven…including joy, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Do all this but also remember that eternity will not have weeping. That alone is something to rejoice over. Near the right side bookend of Scripture we read, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away,” Revelation 21:4. Amen! That’s surely to come. Yet still now there is life to be lived and we should not forget it. Eternity has the promise of a perfect will of God without evil. Remember that joy for which Christ has redeemed you and rejoice. Be here reminded that Christians are called to a celebration with Christ and not a funeral, Revelation 19:9; Matthew 26:29. Take this knowledge to work on Monday morning with you. God left you here to do so. Take it out with you when you’ve got to change the flat tire. Fight to remember these things if you need to. Recall it when praying for your un-saved loved ones.

     In all that you study, just remember, there is much to rejoice about. Live life! We’re not here by accident as we are. There’s a reason we’re still in this world, and that reason is good, Romans 8:28.  

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