Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Freely Offered, Freely Received"

Friends: Today marks the 400th anniversary of the publication the King James Version of the Bible. We give thanks for the gift of His written Word, and for the gift of the living Word it so beautifully proclaims. Glen

It is interesting - and unfathomable - to ponder a perfect God's allowance of evil by both the angelic and human races He created.

I don't attempt to figure out such mystery, but I do believe certain truths present themselves to us that we can understand, at least to some degree.

First, the character of the Creator presents itself to us. The God who "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" nevertheless has no interest in domineering and forceful control of His creatures (Ephesians 1:11). Creation is not a chessboard in which its Lord moves angels and people as if they were inanimate objects. Personhood and its inherent freedom are valued in the Divine heart because "heart" is His primary interest (I Samuel 16:7). "God is love" declared the Apostle John, and the two great commands affirmed by both Old Testament and New call us to respond in kind (I John 4:8; 16). As defined by Scripture, such blessed sensibility cannot be forced or coerced, but is rather won as the character of the Lord Jesus Christ shines forth in such winsome display that "we love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).

We see also the wisdom of God. Indeed, only the Lord of Scripture could give creatures freedom without jeopardizing the ultimate sanctify and security of His creation. "His understanding is infinite" proclaimed the Psalmist, and the amazing capacity of God to weave all things into His perfectly assured eternal purpose in Christ Jesus astounds us as we ponder Providence in both personal and universal terms (Psalm 147:5). Over and over and over again, evil and its terrible consequence seems to carry the day, portending of no hope and destruction. Over and over and over again, however, we see in countless ways the risen Christ come forth from tombs of death. We bow our hearts in both devotion and wonder as we see how true it is that "all things work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Finally, a God who would win our hearts rather than force them is someone who can be trusted. A perfect Heart, a perfect Mind and a perfect nail-scarred Hand rules creation. Such a glorious One knows how to elicit faith in those who will trust Him, and He knows how to work in us to freely love, desire and perform His will (Philippians 2:13). The end result displays the sublime enigma that a long eternity will witness the saints of God glorify only the Lord Jesus for the inexhaustible blessedness they enjoy. Nevertheless, all will testify not of coercion by force, but of freely offered entreaty of love, freely received. Great security will fill our hearts, and thus great confidence in the One who has filled our hearts. Eternity will not be long enough to love, adore, honor, worship, trust and obey such a One, and all such devotion will be offered freely with real and genuine love fostered not by force, but by Faithfulness.

"I will freely sacrifice unto Thee: I will praise Thy name, O LORD; for it is good."
(Psalm 54:6)

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