“Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus, says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 41:1-3, NKJV).
God’s plan has always been to have relationship with man. It was never to give man the impression that He is somehow this angry taskmaster, sitting high in the heavens somewhere, ready to swing the hammer of judgment. To think of Him that way, really, is not to know Him at all. While the Old Testament can certainly give the curious onlooker that impression, when we dig a bit deeper, we see that before Jesus came and paid for the sins of mankind, anyone in covenant with God who willfully resisted Him and blatantly snubbed their noses in abject rebellion, personally paid the price with their own lives, which God gave them in the first place.
The difference between then and now is that Jesus stood in our place and took the full measure of the wrath of God against our sinfulness – something present in every human being ever born. Now, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are judged righteous, rather than unrighteous, because the righteous Judge became unrighteous for us. Jesus took your place, whether you believe in Him or not. However, in the words of Jesus, “Unless you are born again, you can never get into the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3, TLB).
Think about that for a moment. In the greater context of life, whatever everyday problems you may encounter, Jesus purchased your right to have peace (Isaiah 53:5; Ephesians 2:14), and as the opening scripture implies, God’s desire is to refresh you, pour out His Spirit upon you and your descendants and bless you and your children! He desires relationship with you.
Only when we have discovered and truly grasped this fact, may we then affectionately, compassionately and effectively reach in to other believers with forgiveness, empathy, care and concern and reach out to the world around us. I believe the greatest witness to the world is not so much what we say, but what we demonstrate; our peace, joy, kindness for one another and for those who are very different from us, whether our lifestyles agree or not.
Last week’s mid-term elections brought out the best and the worst in the various sides represented. As a Christian, I certainly have a particular point of view I share with many others like myself, but there is also a people-group with very different values. I may completely disagree with those values, but it isn’t my job to judge them, but to display the kindness of the One I am in relationship with.
“Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). When you reach up and spend time with God, you can’t help but reach in with love for other believers and reach out with that same love to the world around you.
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Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.