Romans 5:1-2 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
There are a lot of people in this world of ours who are not at peace with God. And, it breaks my heart. Many of them know that they need the Lord, and yet they continually resist him. They hold on to their old lives, many of them even knowing that scripture teaches that they will die in their sins, and that they won’t have eternal life with God.
And, some of them are literally at death’s door, and yet they are still resisting him, and that brings me to tears. Why won’t they let go and let Jesus be king of their hearts?
I wonder what they are afraid of. I wonder what it is that holds them back from trusting Jesus Christ with their lives, especially those over the age of 90, some of whom who are in nursing homes. Why are they still holding on to their independence? Why won’t they yield control of their lives over to the Lord? What is it that they think they will be giving up?
If they only knew what awaits them when they do let go and let God reign supreme in their lives. If they only could realize that there is no better way to live than in the freedom our Lord gives us from our slavery to sin. If only they could understand what it is like to be free from their chains, I don’t think they would continue to resist the Lord.
For, God’s grace provided a way for us to be free from those chains. Through Jesus’ sacrifice for sins on that cross we can be delivered from our bondage to sin, and we can, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, walk in holiness and godliness. This doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but that sin will no longer have mastery over our lives. Amen! Those chains can truly be gone!
And, this is cause for much rejoicing. For, Jesus made the way for us to come out from underneath our slavery (bondage, addictions) to sin and for us to walk (conduct our lives) according to his Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. And, that is awesome! But, yet many people choose to remain in their addictions to sin, to walk in them, when they could be free, if only they would stop resisting God, and if they would yield to the Spirit’s control.
Romans 5:3-5 ESV
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For me, right now, I am suffering the pain of watching loved ones dying in their sin yet still resisting the salvation that could be theirs through Jesus Christ the Lord, if only they would say “No” to their sin and “Yes” to Jesus Christ and to walking in his will and in his ways.
But, the Lord Jesus is encouraging me much through his Word and through song. He gave me much encouragement last night through the song “Rescue the Perishing.” He encouraged me that my labors of love will be rewarded, and he encouraged me to not give up, and to keep persevering, and that what I was doing was making a difference, even if I am not yet seeing the fruit of it. And, that encouragement really helped!
For, sometimes we do get disheartened and discouraged over people’s lack of response to the gospel. But, that is because we love them, and we know what they are missing, and we know what awaits them if they don’t yield their hearts to Jesus Christ, and if they continue on the path of destruction.
But, the Lord uses these times in our lives to strengthen us in our faith, and to strengthen our resolve to keep pressing forward, even when all looks hopeless, and to keep believing him for our loved ones’ salvation. For, only the Lord can save their souls from hell and give them the hope of eternal life with God.
Yet, God uses us humans as his messengers. So, we do have a part in their salvation, but only under the guidance and direction of the Spirit of God, as the Lord leads, and as he empowers us with the words to say to them. And, as he leads and empowers us in our prayers for them, too.
But, when we love people with God’s love, and we are compassionate and merciful to them, and we reach out to them, in faith, in demonstrating God’s love to them, and in sharing with them how they, too, can find freedom in Jesus Christ, we better be prepared to suffer, too, for the sake of the gospel.
For, not only might they continue to resist the Lord, but they may resist us, too, and they may persecute us in return for the love and kindness that we show them. So, be prepared.
But, know that God will use this in our lives to grow us in him, to conform us to his likeness, and to strengthen us in our walks of faith and in our resolve to keep persevering, even in the storms of life when sometimes all looks utterly hopeless.
But, we can’t let the storms get us down, but we need to be encouraged that we are being called to suffer for the sake of Christ and his gospel. And, we need to recall that scripture teaches us that God’s Word will never return empty, but that it will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. Amen!
Praise You in This Storm
Mark Hall and Bernie Herms
And I’ll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
Monday, April 8, 2019