12 June 2013

Fortress of Faith- Pillars of Faith: Study Five

Pillar Two- God the Savior
Thank you for coming back for this next study.  Previously, we have learned about the first Pillar: God our Creator, and God our Father.  A couple weeks ago, we learned about God the Son.  Today, we learn about God our Savior.
When you think of a savior, what attributes come to mind?   Many of us probably associate a savior with a hero.  Someone who acts to save a life- a policeman, a firefighter, a soldier, a doctor, even a regular guy who happens to act to help someone in distress.  In our fiction world, heroes and saviors are essentially one and the same.  A superhero that saves the world from some supernatural force.  A team of heroes that take on evil villains.  There are plenty of examples in day to day life, both real and imagined, that play on the inherent human need to be saved, even if we do not realize that is what we are looking for.
Throughout the Old Testament, God promised His people that He would send a Savior.  From a human perspective, the Jews envisioned a Savior who would free them from earthly persecution and tyranny, who would reward them with their uncontested promised land, and would sit on the throne as their King.  Never did they imagine that God would send His Son to be their Savior, to save them from eternal damnation, to sit on an eternal throne.  Yet, according to Matthew 1 verses 18 through 23, we learn that Mary and Joseph were both told of the coming of Jesus who would be the saver of sins, who would be God among men.
Then when Jesus was born the humble birth in a manger, an angelic host proclaimed to nearby shepherds: "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord..."  Luke 2 v 10-11
That Jesus is not just the Son of God but also the Savior that our Lord spoke of is not something to take lightly.  First, we must understand that Jesus had the ability, given from God, to save us all.  Second, we must understand that Jesus was WILLING to take on our sins in order to save us.
According to Romans 5 v 6-11, Christ's ability and willingness to die for us saves us from God's wrath.  We all know, as it is repeated throughout both the Old and New Testaments, that our God abhors sin. Sin frustrates Him, angers Him, and disappoints Him.  He gave us life.  He gave us free will.  But like any parent, as He directs us one way and we struggle against Him to go our own way, especially to the point that we knowingly break away from morality, He experiences all the same pains a human parent does when they walk through those trials with their child (of any age.) With our human tendency to simply continue to sin, He certainly feels a large amount of wrath at our willfulness, our stubbornness, and our blatant disrespect.  Wrath that He has rained down from Heaven throughout history, though now many, I am sure, would reason away with modern technology and "understanding" of science.
Not only does Christ's sacrifice save us from God's wrath, but according to John 1 v 29, Jesus also saves us from our sins.  This is repeated throughout the New Testament.  The book of Romans especially covers the wages of sin, and the price Jesus paid to pay those wages.  However, this does not mean that we can continue on in the sins we commit.  Rather, as new creations in Christ, we are encouraged to try to leave those sins in the past, to move on to a more Holy life, to try to be more Christ-like.
In Romans, we learn that the wages of sin is Death.  This Death is not dying and being non-existent.  No. Eternal death- in this case, eternal damnation.  Eternal suffering.  The wages of sin is to be separated from God for all eternity.  In John 11, Jesus very clearly addresses this with Martha upon learning of Lazarus' death.  He said to her,"I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?" Jesus very clearly identifies Himself as not only the Son of God, but also as the Savior of us all.  "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19 v 10
Throughout the rest of Jesus' life, he performed miracles, he spoke of love, peace, and humility.  He showed us that "righteousness" is not always "Godliness."  He lived a perfect example of living last, putting others first, striving to fulfill God's will no matter how hard.   Then, when the time came, He took up the Cross, not His Cross- OUR Cross, and He carried it upon His shoulders.  He took the lashings.  He suffered the humiliation.  He suffered the betrayal, the ridicule, and the torture.  He sacrificed His very life in order to fulfill God's promise of salvation to all mankind.   He paid those wages.  Then He rose victorious over death and damnation, and offers us each salvation, hope, love, and peace.

10 June 2013

Musical Monday

PCS season is upon us.   Like my family, if you are in the midst of a move, you will be leaving your assignment with mixed feelings.  On the sad side of those feelings are the friendships, the lasting relationships you have made with neighbors, with coworkers, with church members.  

The following song is a favorite despite it being a classic at this point.  However, it reminds us that those friendships that are based on His Truth- love, respect, truth, honesty, integrity, hope, and peace- will last throughout our lives no matter the time and distance that separate us.

God bless you, your families, and your friendships!

03 June 2013

Musical Monday

Two words- You are...   (He IS)

This song by Colton Dixon makes a great prayer.  Take a moment to use this song as a prayer today.  A prayer of recognition of His love and grace.  A prayer acknowledging His presence in our lives.

God bless you!

02 June 2013

Sacred Sunday

A reminder on the constancy of our Lord.   A reminder that His promises are not like our promises.   Humans are fickle.  We change our mind.  We fail to keep our promises.  We lie- big or small, white lies, justifiable lies- still lies.  We are never constant.   God- OUR GOD- is constant.  He does not lie.  He does not promise and then forget His promise or break His promise. 
God bless you this week as you remember His promises, and take comfort in knowing those promises will be kept.

19 God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?
20 I have received a command to bless;
he has blessed, and I cannot change it.
~Numbers 23 v 19-20