Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Encouragement for the Redeemed

“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you (Deut 20:1 NASB)

In this passage, God's Old Covenant people are preparing to go into the land of Canaan in order to literally make war on the people there, driving the Canaanites, etc., out of the Promised Land. God's giving the land to the Israelites was not based upon their own righteousness, but due (at least in large part) to the great wickedness of the people that were currently inhabiting the land (Deut 9:5). Israel was not some awesome military force-- humanly speaking-- rather, the nation was made up of the descendants of slaves and shepherds: they were people who had spent their entire lives as nomads in the wilderness. And so the command to conquest was intimidating in the extreme. God encourages His people through reminding them of the great work He had done in securing their redemption.

In the New Covenant era, the Church is not called to fight as a military: as a Church, we are never to take up arms-- swords, guns, etc.-- to seek the harm of nations or people-groups, yet we do have have a spiritual battle before us;  "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph 6:12 NIV 1984). Our struggle is as intimidating as the task before the ancient Israelites, for the forces of this world, the Devil, and even our old sinful desires are all set against us; we have been promised trouble (John 16:33) and persecution (2 Tim 3:12) as we seek to live for God and proclaim the saving message of Jesus Christ.

Again, God encourages His people through reminding us of the great work He has done in securing our redemption. Rhetorically, the Apostle writes: "[Since God] did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom 8:32 NASB) Jesus was delivered over to death on our behalf to accomplish our redemption. Having done this mighty work, having made this great sacrifice, God will certainly be faithful to see that we are granted everything necessary to be "conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom 8:29). Our great struggle-- our struggle against sin, our struggle to find peace and meaning in life, our struggle to bring glory to God-- will end in victory.

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