A State of Grace

“He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.”
Psalm 72:13

Today’s message comes to you from the couch, courtesy of a steady supply of Cold and Sinus medication, and a strong cup of coffee. The Sayler house has the Flu – I feel like there should be a “bio-hazard” warning sign on our front door. It’s really pathetic; I can’t sleep at night because of the cough and the chills, but can’t seem to muster the strength to accoppmlish anything during the day. The kids (the healthy ones, anyway) have made it to school, dressed, fed, and on time – and the dishes are done, but that’s about the extent of my abilities today.
A Doctor friend of mine put it this way, “The first day you’re afraid you’re going to die, the second day you’re afriad you won’t.” Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. I think I’ve said more than once in the midst of all this, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Lying here, however, I realized once again how each and every sickness is a parable of the sickness of the soul. I can’t rally the strength to get off the couch today, and there is work to be done. I know what I need to do – for the family, and for work – but my body is working against me. My head feels thick and weighs about a ton, and someone keeps playing with the thermostate in here, from cold to hot every 10 minutes. I feel useless, Christi said I looked old, and there is nothing I can do to make myself better. Is that not the condition of the soul in sin?
And this is where the gospel says, “Exactly.” In 2 Corinthians 12, we are reminded that God’s grace is suffifient, for his “power is made perfect in weakness.” It is precisely when we are at our weakest, when we are unable to do anything for ourselves to bring about our own salvation, our own health, that Christ comes to us in his Grace and Mercy. “When we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).
Those who think they are strong think they have no need of a savior. It is those who are weak, those who cry out for help, who find it. God has great compassion on the weak. Psalm 72 teaches us, “He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.”
So am I glad to be sick, and to come from a house of sick people? No, not really. But I can rejoice in all things, even in this, and I can give thanks! Why? Because even in this condition, no especially in this condition, I see the Good News of God’s grace. When I was utterly helpless to do anything about my own salvation, God secured for me forgiveness and everlasting life through Christ my Lord.
Grace and Peace,

Christianity without a Safety Net

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
(Proverbs 3:5)

Facing a serious writer’s block today, I turned to the shelves and found something worth sharing.  This is from A.W. Tozer’s The Root of the Righteous, and says everything I couldn’t say in all my failed attempts.

True Faith Brings Committal

To many Christians Christ is little more than an idea, or at best an ideal; He is not a fact.  Millions of professed believers talk as if He were real and act as if He were not.  And always our actual position is to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk.

We can prove our faith by our committal to it, and in no other way.  Any belief that does not command the one who holds it is not a real belief; it is a pseudo belief only.  And it might shock some of us profoundly if we were brought suddenly face to face with our beliefs and forced to test them in the fires of practical living.

Many of us Christians have become extremely skillful in arranging our lives so as to admit the truth of Christianity without being embarrassed by its implications.  We arrange things so that we can get on well enough without divine aid, while at the same time ostensibly seeking it.  We boast in the Lord but watch carefully that we never get caught depending on Him.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Pseudo faith always arranges a way out to serve in case God fails it.  Real faith knows only one way and gladly allows itself to be stripped of any second way or makeshift substitutes.  For true faith, it is either God or total collapse.  And not since Adam first stood up on the earth has God failed a single man or woman who trusted Him.

The man of pseudo faith will fight for his verbal creed but refuse flatly to allow himself to get into a predicament where his future must depend upon that creed being true.  He always provides himself with secondary ways of escape so he will have a way out if the roof caves in.

What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at the last day.  For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God.  Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away and we shall have only God.  To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.

It would be a tragedy indeed to come to the place where we have no other but God and find that we had not really been trusting God during the days of our earthly sojourn.  It would be better to invite God now to remove every false trust, to disengage our hearts from all secret hiding places and to bring us out into the open where we can discover for ourselves whether or not we actually trust Him.  That is a harsh cure for our troubles, but it is a sure one.  Gentler cures may be too weak to do the work.  And time is running out on us.

From, Tozer, A.W. The Root of The Righteous (Harrisburg, PA, Christian Pub, 1955)