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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Suffering, The Reward, and The Responsibility

To the extent that we (our gifts) are being used and discarded, misunderstood, maligned, slandered, injured, or ignored by people, especially “friends”, we are suffering with Christ and we should rejoice. The lostness of humanity is an eternal reality and we, Christ's disciples, must be made broken bread and poured our wine in ways that are not so glamorous as standing before a crowd that agrees with us and may even praise us. No, the real work is at the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). Yet, in the process of God's economy, "the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." Hold on.

The best is yet to come. For now, let it suffice that we are baptized into Christ in His death (Romans 6:1-4) and resurrected with Him unto newness of life. Therefore we turn the other cheek and persevere with a grateful heart full of the love of Christ as, by God's grace, we are transformed into the image of His Son unto eternal glory. Hebrews 12 denotes the reward for persevering in this race until the end. May the grace of our Lord be with us as we run suffering towards the prize of our inheritance that is stored up for us," incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4, 5)

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18)

“But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?” (Matthew 12:48)

In kind, I would venture to say that it remains to be seen who our friends are. If it can be said that friends don't let friends drive drunk, how much more should we say that friends don't let friends perish for lack of knowledge? What are we talking about when it is promised that we shall give an account for every idle word?

The eternal condition of those lost without Christ is a death sentence and the Gospel is the only efficacious means of bestowing the grace of God that results in eternal life. Not many of us would fail to act if we saw an infant running towards a road buzzing with heavy traffic or reaching for a boiling pot of water. How much less then can we, as disciples, be driven to evangelism and missions by the knowledge that “Jesus came not to make bad people good, but to make dead people live.” (Ravi Zacharias Sermon, "The Lostness of Humanity")

Jesus alone is the exclusive way to the Father. I make myself a target for the violent terrorism of Jihad extremists and humanistic "good" people alike by stating the truth of God's Word, breathed from His own mouth just as He, Yahweh, breathed life into our nostril's when we became living souls. There is no other life raft. How can the lost not starve to death throughout eternity unless they accept the bread of life, and, how can they accept the truth of God’s Word unless it is offered to them so that they have a chance to be “saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8)? “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV) I believe that to the extent one has been fully persuaded of the truth of the gospel message and come to faith in Christ, that is the extent to which one is powerfully motivated to act responsibly in the areas of evangelism and missions. Hence, to Christ’s disciples, the lostness of humanity is to the heart a clarion call to action born of love.

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