By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth (Psalm 33:6)
It has been a challenge for my family to live by a completely new set of rules. I’m sure you can relate. It’s an understatement in many ways to say that God has shuffled things around so much in life that we have had to make adjustments. However, life hasn’t changed for me as much as everything has for my wife, Mary and our two girls. My wife, a kindergarten teacher at Zeeland Christian School had her entire year planned for her kindergarteners. A good plan that I know involved her Christ-filled heart, soul and the very best the children would need—just like her fellow teachers. This reminds me of a story from, “The Chronicles of Narnia,” that Pastor Davis referenced in his message this past Sunday to our Corner Bible Church family. What Pastor Davis knows but did not yet share is that the “beginnings” tale he told from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, has a prequel that no doubt echo’s in the minds of any believer in Christ who reads it as it does mine:
In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing… Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it.” (The Magician’s Nephew, Chapter Eight)
Reading this for the fist time years ago I remember it now reading it to my seven year old the same as I did to my eleven year old daughter and as years ago I did to myself (though I’m not giving you clues to my age, that’s for sure!). So beautiful is the picture painted for us in words of Aslan singing into order all that could be seen and heard and smelled that I always have to stop and reflect as I did when I recently read it to my youngest, mirroring the first time I took in the revelation. “Can you even imagine,” I said to my little girl with her eyes and her smile so bright now it reminded me of the sun God tossed into the expanse and it provoked me to want to skip the rest of the story in our hands to unfold the rest of redemptive history for her. “Can you even imagine being present when Jesus, before it was necessary to redeem us by dying (as we understand the story as a whole) sang the universe into existence by the breath of his mouth?” And I didn’t think her smile could get bigger… her face brighter.
While it may seem today like a turn of events has taken place in the world, it is not for our God. Remember that God had an original plan for us all that still is in effect and what has unfolded in this world is not to it an afterthought. God of course knew in the beginning that we as creatures would need a real stimulus to understand how wide and how deep is the love he has for those who believe that God the Son would leave his original haven of heaven and the perfection of His position to pay a price he should never have to pay. And this became our gift of redemption as children of God.
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one that overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? It is the Spirit who testifies because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement… 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself” (1 Jn 5:1-4, 6b-10a, NASB)
This seems like a confusing passage of scripture but I’ll break it down at least a little for us in the time we have now. This passage lays out for us that The Spirit is in all those who believe from inception of belief onward—is the same Spirit who witnessed (“testifies”=witnessed or witnesses in the passage) in Christ Jesus who became flesh and was baptized (the “water”) and died after a life of self-sacrifice in perfect obedience (the “blood”). The point is this. Whatever changes may come in life you will make mistakes in your flesh and struggle with temptation and even morally fail, just like myself and Pastor Davis and Pastor Nick and the rest. But praise God with me because those mistakes are not the “be-all and end-all” of your journey. Christ and His accomplished work is. The question now is, what can you do daily to honor that payment in full for you? The answer is, sanctification. This does not mean, then that a generous donor paid your mortgage in full in order that you can take your resources and squander it all. Your sanctification now is an eternal gratitude to our loving God who paid our debt at the highest of prices. What, then shall we do? I know this much. If someone paid my mortgage in full I would work my hardest to make sure I never again had one. The end-result of our sanctification is Christ’s work and believing in Him and The Spirit is in us to make sure we never have to face the world, the flesh and the devil without Him. We have been justified and someday we will be glorified as Christ sits in glory where he started.
My wife now in her altered school year’s close has a new opportunity to engage her students in ways she didn’t before. What’s more she now has the added blessing of more time with me—just tell me that can’t be something great! Now too, then in Christ we have the privilege to meet temptation with the Spirit of Christ in us who overcomes the world. You will not reach moral perfection on this side of eternity but today and every day we have the privilege, not the predicament of finding one more way to kill how our flesh has been programmed to respond to cheating, lying, stealing, gossiping and more, ultimately denying our God the victory that He, for us has already won.
33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have
tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).
In you he has already overcome the world. Now, what will you do with it?