Monday, October 21, 2013

Fireproof Victory

There is a victory that has been put on our account as believers in Christ. Perhaps we want ownership of that victory. Why wouldn't we? Our victory is in our connection to Christ and that connection can not be severed. We believed and God saved. The whole operation was possible because of grace.

Here is Jesus imparting a truth to the disciples. It is before His crucifixion and all of their lives are going to change forever soon. He is giving them words to prepare them knowing that there is no context for them to understand the words yet.

" 'Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.'

Peter said to him, 'Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.'

Jesus said, 'I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.'

And he said to them, 'When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?'

They said, 'Nothing.'

He said to them, 'But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.' " Luke 22:31-36 ESV

God has the power to keep us. When our good intentions fail us. When our faith mechanisms change form. The missionary sent out with little but it is multiplied on the field in a sustaining way returns to their home country and has to find a job to support his or her family. It might feel very mundane but the God who was with them when they were sent out is the God who is with them when they come back.

The tragedy may come that rocks our faith to the foundation. Death, sickness, career changes and changes in Church leadership. These things happen... what will happen to us? Things won't be the same... we won't be the same.

I love verse 32 "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." it is written in red. These are Christ's words.

We think we own the victory. We want to own the victory. The victory really owns us. That is why conversion is possible and the connection will never be severed.

This circumstance is the extreme case. It may only happen once or a handful of times to us in our lifetime. But the principle is one we can live in. It gives us a confidence.

Grace is durable. When I say Christ performed so I don't have to and Christ was responsible so I don't have to be. The weightlessness is refreshing and we go out ministering with no moneybag expecting that God will provide. Works get pushed to the back burner as a distant but still accessible option. But then the bottle of trouble gets uncorked and the unthinkable happens and we realize we are not surviving on our own power. God is keeping us by grace through good decisions and bad... God's grace is durable. The illusion of our good intentions goes out the window.

Grace gets worked into us by God. We wrestle with it and we seek to grasp it. But really it holds us all the while. The trial whisks away the chaff... that is what sifting does... then a strengthening of the brethren ministry can begin in force.

Just like gold needs fire to be purified and have the dross rise to the top and be taken away. Our Grace based theology also benefits from and withstands the flames and we are reduced to grace and nothing but grace.

Religion is not fire proof and some folks spend their lives rebuilding cathedrals. I want to spend mine strengthening the brethren.

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