Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Holy Giver

When we think of God as the Giver, we tend to consider always for the things He gave us. But, notice what Jesus pointed out in His prayer in John 17. Let's just take verses 1-2:

"... Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him" (ESV).

God the Father gave Jesus "authority over all flesh." And He gave special special people to His Son!

In John 6:44-45, Jesus said:

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophet, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me."

The chosen ones given by the Father to the Son are the people drawn by God to Jesus. They are "taught by God" -- able to read and learn the Word. And as they received the inner call of God they come or have faith in the Son.

And they received eternal life!

What mercy! What grace! What love! What blessing and honor to be given to the Son!

If God the Father did not give us to Jesus, or did not us draw us to Him, we will not come to Him. And He did not draw everyone to His Son. And not everyone will come to Him and believe to have eternal life.

Paul wrote, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessings in the heavenly places even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before, In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:3-6).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Divine Planter

What could we learn from Psalm 1?

In the opening verse, we read the first few words: "Blessed is the man..." (ESV). Who is this "blessed" or "happy" man?

Let's continue reading the verse, "...  the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers..." And the man is really blessed, because verse 2 states:

 "... his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night."
A man could be happy not just by avoiding sinners, but delighting in the law, instructions, proclamations, messages, or words of God. And why does he delight in His Word? 

First, let's read verse 3, "He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." The man who is happy is "like a tree planted by streams of water..."

As we read also in Jeremiah 17:8, "He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."

Verse 7 clearly identified the "man" planted by streams of water: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD."

If we trust in God, in the New Testament words, believe in Jesus or have faith in Him, we are happy. We are like "a tree planted by water" or in Psalm 1:3, "a tree planted by streams of water." A tree planted by streams of water "does not fear when heat comes..." A true believer also does not fear also when fiery trial comes.

A tree planted by streams of water  "is not anxious in the year of drought..." A true believer also is not anxious in the period of difficulty. When he believed in Jesus, he became a child of God (John 1:12) and he knew that his Heavenly Father will provide for his needs (Matthew 6:32-33).

Now, notice the comparison of God's Word with others. We read in Psalm 1:4, "The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away."

He who trusts in God or believes in Jesus is like "a tree planted by streams of water." But, the wicked "are like chaff that the wind drives away." 

Until now, we could find men who don't really believe Jesus -- who walk in the counsel of the wicked, who stand in the way of sinners, who sit in the seat of scoffers, who do not delight in the words of God. But, they will not continue on forever -- not because they will be reformed, as others teach. What we read, they "are like chaff that the wind drives away." 

Jesus Himself said,  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'" (Matthew 7:21-23).

As we read verse 5 of Psalm 1, "Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous."

While some would like us to entertain the idea, that there is no difference in the end whether we believe now Jesus, or not -- the Bible teaches differently. Verse 6 states, "...for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish."

What would happen to those who are righteous -- those who have faith in Jesus, the true believers? We read in John 3:15-16:

"...that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

While the believers will have eternal life, the unbelievers will perish -- not become penitent. 

However, we could learn in Psalm 1 not only the difference between the righteous and the wicked, but we could also ask, "Is it possible for the tree to grow by the streams of water?" Of course, not. Someone planted it. 

When Jesus explained the "parable of the weeds of the field," He said:

"The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear" (Matthew 13:37-43).

Notice, "The one who sows... is the Son of Man" -- referring to Jesus, also the Son of God. This may not be a perfect analogy, but we could also believe that God Himself is the One who planted the tree by the streams of water, Faith or belief in Jesus  does not grow in our hearts. It is also planted or given by God (Ephesians 2:18).

And now we can really answer the question we asked earlier: Why does the blessed man -- one who have faith in Jesus -- delight in God's Word?

Because the kind of faith that God granted is not just a human decision or mental agreement to a certain fact. In 1 Peter 1:8, we read: "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory."

True believers really love Jesus. They rejoice in Him. And because they love Him above all things. They also love and rejoice in His Words above any human teaching. 

May God plant also that faith in our hearts.