"Character and Capability"
God's way of salvation provided as a free gift could not compromise the integrity of His character, nature, and way.
"Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).
Our Lord's spiritual and moral perfection meant that He could not merely decree the redemption of lost human beings. He must be both "just and the justifier." As the saying goes, "when God created, He spoke. When He redeemed, He bled." This truth emphasizes a vital doctrinal understanding for born again believers in the Lord Jesus. Our Heavenly Father will not, and indeed cannot act in a manner that violates who and what He is in righteousness and holiness. "God… cannot lie" declared the the Apostle Paul to Titus (Titus 1:2). Moreover, the Lord Jesus and Paul both thrice prayed for deliverance from challenge, namely, the cross and the thorn (Matthew 26:36-46; II Corinthians 12:7-9). "If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me" requested our Savior. It was not possible, however, because the redemptive promises and purposes of God required the suffering and death of Christ for their fulfillment. Our faithful Savior therefore also prayed, "Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39). God also could not remove the thorn from Paul, for the same reasons. He provided sufficient grace for the Apostle's enduring and overcoming. But the Lord did not and could not apply the efficient grace of removing Paul's challenge. Again, God's purpose in Paul's life stayed His rescuing hand, even as He applied the sufficient grace of His heart.
The Apostle John taught that we must pray "according to His will" in order to be confident of God's answers (I John 5:14). A primary reason for this involves the subject at hand, namely, the Lord's inviolable integrity. His almighty capability always flows with the current of His pristine moral character. Always. Thus, in some cases, we can pray, beg, plead, and even cajole our Heavenly Father to act on our behalf in deliverance from our troubles. He does not act, however, because He cannot act. Just as our salvation required death rather than decree for its full implementation, sometimes God's purposes for us involved lingering crosses and thorns. We do well to remember this truth about our wondrously perfect Lord, as we pray and seek to live in accordance with the newness of character formed in us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Character governs capability, in God, and in His trusting children as we walk with Him.
"The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God."
(I John 4:7)
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