Saturday, March 04, 2017

Renewed in Thankfulness and Awe

God amazed and humbled me as I spent my quiet time with Him again this morning. (I explain quiet time here and here.) To consider God marshaling His majesty and power to take the form of a servant and make purification for my sins on a cross, when I take time to consider it, overwhelms me.

When coupled with an amazingly answered prayer from yesterday, one answered in the most unlikely of ways, I'm looking at God with renewed awe and thankfulness this morning.

From my journal, here's what God told me today as I read Hebrews 1 and found my attention drawn to Hebrews 1:3. (The parenthesis show verses of Scripture to which God led me today.):
Look: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3)

This verse tells me everything I need to know about Jesus in order to be reconciled to God and saved from sin and death.

Jesus is God, reflecting the radiance of God that shone on Moses’ face after he met God and the holy fire that so intimidated the people of Old Testament days.

The whole world exists and continues to exist because of “his powerful word.” Jesus is the Word uttered by God in Genesis (John 1:1-14; Genesis 1-2). He speaks and life happens.  
If Jesus weren’t still speaking, “Live!” the universe would cease to exist.  
And one day, when the Father gives the signal, He will bring an end to speaking this world to life and He will usher in a new heaven and a new earth for all who believe (Matthew 24:36; Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1).  
This will come to all who have believed the Word about Jesus, the Word made flesh (John 3:16-18; John 10:30; John 14:6).

Paul says in Romans 1:16-17: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

The Word shared about the Word Who sustains the universe and Who “provided purification for [our] sins” creates new life for those who believe (2 Corinthians 5:17). Simply put, speaking the message about Him makes faith and new life happen: “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17)


And now, in consequence of the victory He’s won for us, Jesus sits “at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” From there, He can bring the prayers who are empowered to speak to God by the grace Christ gives to sinners who repent and believe, to the Father. Jesus speaks His Word of forgiveness over us (Acts 10:43) and we can then approach God in intimacy and boldness that the ancient Israelites chose to delegate to Moses (Hebrews 4:16; Exodus 20:19).

It remains “a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Were we to do so uncovered by the grace of God given in Christ, we would stand naked in our sin, condemned, and ticketed for death. But when the Word of Jesus has been spoken over us and we believe, we can come before God as children, just as Jesus has taught us to come to Him (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Luke 11:2).

Listen: In this verse, I see God as, in Tillich’s phrase, “wholly Other,” infinitely different from me, infinitely greater than me, infinitely purer, infinitely more self-giving. I see Him as the One Whose word brought the universe into being and Who continues to speak it into being even as it dies in its sin (Colossians 1:16-17).

I also see Him as the God Whose love for me and all sinners is so infinite that He chose the path of submission to a cross in order to provide purification for my sins.

How can I callously disregard all that God has done and is doing for me by sinning against His revealed will?

And when I do sin, how can I callously refuse to repent and once more trust in the One Who has done all of this for me?

When I do, the One Who did all of this speaks promises through His Word given to the apostle John: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)

Respond: Lord, help me today to hear and heed Your Word, to trust and live: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15) In Jesus’ name. Amen!
[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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