Friday, March 8, 2013

For Pain Prescribe the Gospel

"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another. Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last." Isaiah 48:10-12

"However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, 'We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.' " Acts 14:20-22 NKJV

God's message to His people has never been 'Things are going to be easy.' In fact it is quite the contrary. The furnace of affliction is a common theme.

When grace is sufficient than the Gospel is sufficient because Christ is our all in all.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" Rom 1:6a NKJV

We learn that we can trust the message to deliver because we can trust Christ to deliver. God will use pain and pleasure... He will employ joy and sorrow... riches and poverty... sickness and health... youth and old age... the Gospel spans the length of the human experience. This love covers the multitude of sins.

Perhaps if I like Paul have something that I ask God to remove again and again and His answer becomes 'My Grace is sufficient for you.' that thing becomes a furnace of affliction for us. In the furnace is where the fourth man is revealed. The furnace burns away my bonds and leaves the garment of righteousness untouched.

If I learn to trust it for myself then I can boldly entrust it to others.

This deliverance is a deep deliverance. It delivers the depth of a person and the height of a person. The experience of the Gospel disarms fear in my life. If fear is disarmed and pain has purpose I will not prescribe comfort as a solution. The Gospel is the only method we will prescribe once we are fully convinced.

Christ was not sentimental. He cried tears over Israel for what they had been through and the suffering that was to come to them. He wanted to gather them in His arms and He also wants to gather us into His arms.

In those arms we find a deep hope that transcends our state and healing that makes us truly whole. When the gospel is presented people see an entrance into Christ's embrace.

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