Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation.

Psalm 68: 19

 

Your story may be something like mine, and you may be able to say that salvation is something that was secured long ago; or, you might have very recently recognized the need for Christ in you and surrendered your life to Him. Another possibility is that you haven’t made that decision, and Jesus is still someone that you know something about, but He is not your God, your Lord, and your Savior. Regardless of how your story reads, God is your salvation; for, this has proven to be true for me, and it has been true throughout the long history of human existence on this earth.

 

Christ is actively in my world, and He isn’t just existing in the background or involved in only the church oriented aspects of my life. The Lord is working in every area of this world, and He has an involved interest in how even the most routine events and situations play out. As he was writing this Psalm, David might have been thinking about the many times that God had revealed Himself to him, and he could have been recognizing the fact that he had been saved from harm and death by the hand of God on what might have seemed like a daily basis. During David’s many days of wandering and his numerous struggles he had witnessed simple and profound times when God reached into his world with His loving touch that brought a safe place to rest, a pool of fresh water to drink, a friend to offer encouragement, and His Spirit to speak truth when David’s mind was filled with the deceptive voice of evil.

 

I know from experience that the Lord desires to help me go through this day with a lightness to my step that comes from the support and the encouragement that He gives me. Christ provides me with the only true and clear picture of how to navigate through the numerous twists and turns that life will throw at me today. The Lord does not want to tell me exactly what to do or specifically how to respond throughout my day; instead, He wants me to draw near to Him and to be so filled wit His presence that my thoughts and actions are fully influenced by His Spirit and are informed by His Word. There is no time in this life when I am strong enough to go it on my own, and there is no moment of my day when I am beyond my need for Christ’s salvation.

 

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All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5: 18, 19

 

It is hard to not become engaged with stories of reconciliation. We hear about an incredible journey that a lost cat or dog has taken to find its way home, and we are filled with emotion. Accounts of children given for adoption and finding their birth mother as adults are powerful, and the times when estranged or even divorced married couples are brought back together carry a very special touch of God’s grace within their narratives. Perhaps the most striking tale of reconciliation comes about in Luke’s telling of the restoration of the relationship between son and father in what we know as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Yet, the Bible contains an even greater and more powerful story of separation, loss, and God’s work of reconciliation. Its entire narrative from beginning to the very end is one long accounting of God’s unending and successful pursuit of people.

 

In knowing Christ, people are brought back into a relationship with God that is our true natural state of existence. Living in intimacy with God is the way that humanity was designed and created to be. However, much like that impulsive puppy who runs off from the care and the safety of its owner while chasing a squirrel we have broken away from God through rebellion, and we have taken ourselves out of the peace and provision that in this world come only from the heart of God. Yet, Christ does not leave us there in the lost state of spiritual and physical separation from God. He reaches into our orphaned hearts and gives us the gift of a place within the eternal family of God’s children. Just as these stories about the reconciliation of human relationships come from every aspect of humanity. So too does Christ’s work of reconciliation apply to any and to all people in the world.

 

This story of reconciliation doesn’t stop with Christ’s bringing of people back into relationship with God. It continues on from there in a manner that is intended by God to be the true never-ending story of our age. Christ desires for each of us who know Him to go out into our world and think, speak, and live in a manner that continues this narrative of reconciliation. In Christ our lives are to be dedicated to the same purpose that God has set forth for Himself from that time long ago in distant history. We are to be people who bring the grace of heaven into a harsh and a violent world. Christ takes us along a path that leads out of comfort and personal safety and into the wilderness places where lost souls go to escape God’s view. Yet, this journey of faith with its discomforts and dangers is one that leads all who take it ever deeper into the heart of God.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

Romans 3: 21, 22

 

God’s character stands above everything else in creation. In fact, it is this character that sets the standard for what constitutes rightness and righteousness in everything. The character of God is itself an expression of His nature; so, when God, Himself, is considered, absolute righteousness is what is on view. No other standard, rule, or law that has come in any sense from the hands of humans can match that exact image of the Lord, for all others are nothing more than copies or amateurish sketches that were crafted by ill-informed and shaky hands.

 

Now God’s Word, as God’s Spirit has directed it onto the page, does give us our best written facsimile. Still, it is expressed in our imperfect human language, and it requires that people engage with it out of our relationship with the Living God in order to gain our best understand of its content and direction for our lives. Also, when it comes to viewing God’s character in earthly terms, the lives of people who have been transformed by Christ in them is the world’s living depiction of God and expression of His kingdom in its glory among us on earth. God desires that all people would know Him and be in relationship with Him; so, the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live as us and among us, and Christ sent His Spirit to continue that earthly dwelling with all of us who enter into a relationship with God.

 

In Christ all that is God, His nature and character, have been made fully known to all people. I do not pretend to know exactly how this happens or the ways in which God brings His story of redemption and salvation into the minds and the hearts of every person on earth; I just accept His word when it says that He does. What I do know is that everything that is good, righteous, and holy in my experience of life has come out of and from God, Himself. I do understand that Christ produces my own goodness as He resides within me and as I am submitted to His perfect will, and I pledge my mind and my heart to seeking to know Christ more fully and to actively responding to His calling to live righteously that this knowledge and understanding produces.

But for you, O LORD, do I wait;

it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.

For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,

who boast against me when my foot slips!”

Psalm 38: 15, 16

 

There are a couple of the really big aspects of David’s life on display in these few words. Firstly, he knew God, and also, he had some big experience in the area of foot slipping. David was well aware of the harm to his relationship with God that his disobedience and sinful passions had caused. He was also far too aware of the damage to his ability to lead as a Godly ruler and as a servant of the Lord that these sins had caused. His failures gave ammunition to his enemies and to those people who opposed the Lord. There is one simple answer to this problem for all of us, don’t sin. However, that answer doesn’t work so well for most of us.

 

Personally, I would like to blame God for any and all of my sinful departures from His will and way, for God is the designer and the maker of the drive, passions, and independence that leads to most of my wandering days. However, I know that the sinfulness of my heart is not the part of me that God designed. So, in response to the rebellion of the soul that my human ancestors grafted into the make up of all people, God provided His son, Jesus Christ, to me and to all of humanity as our answer to and our salvation from the death that sin assures. We need only to accept that answer in order to enter into a relationship with Christ that brings about transformation of the heart and the mind and the peace of security for our souls.

 

As each of us enters into the unfortunate inevitability of sin in our lives, we need to turn to Christ in repentance and confession of our sin. Then we can wait and listen to the voice of truth and righteousness as our Lord speaks to our hearts and guides our minds into His path of restoration and holiness. Sometimes that voice is loud and persistent and clearly direct, and at other times it seems to be silent as it forces us to wait and to listen so that our faith is stretched and our ability to hear is made deeper and strengthened within us. It is my faith in God that assures me of his answers even before they have become audible to my ears. It is my trust in God’s purpose and plans that leads me to rest in Him so that I allow my Lord to be my defender and my protector in this journey through the hostile land where I dwell.