Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ramblings Part 1

2 Chronicles 7:14,"...if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Humble themselves - humility - James 4:10 says"...humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord,..." Humble comes from a word meaning 'to make oneself low'. A consciousness of being accountable to a sovereign, majestic, infinitely Holy God should defeat the pride in me and bring about contriteness.
Isaiah 6:5,"...woe is me, for I am undone! because I am a man of unclean lips...for my eyes have seen the King..." I have seen the mercy and grace of God in Jesus my Saviour (he who has see me, has seen the Father John 14:9) and realize the state of sinfulness that I allow in my life in contrast to God's majestic holiness.

The second area of forgiveness (of conditions) for forgiveness is in prayer. There are two ways of assessing the heart, through the eyes and through the ears. Reading God's word and listening to God in prayer. Entering into His presence and allowing him to get into my head and deal with me and change me and make me a vessel worthy of His honour.

Thirdly longing for God. Psalms 42:1 says, "... as the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." Matthew 6:33,"...but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness..." Jesus is urging us to seek salvation. In Revelation 21:6 Jesus says, "I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts." Knowing my soul to be parched by sin, I must earnestly seek salvation and eternal life and the Kingdom of God upon earth and in this existence. Jesus extends an invitation in Revelation 22:17,"Come, and let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." An unlimited offer of grace.
This is the same invitation given to the woman at the well in John 4:10. Jesus answered "...if you knew the gift of God...you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The term living water is derived from the Old Testament. In Jeremiah 2:13 God says, "They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns - broken cisterns that can hold no water." This Old Testament metaphor spoke of the knowledge of God and His grace which provides cleansing, nourishment spiritual life and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Water is symbolic of eternal and spiritual life mediated by the Holy Spirit from Jesus. In John 10:14 Jesus says, "...but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him, will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." The 'water' that Christ gives - spiritual life - comes from the depths of our being. The soul is no longer a cistern, for holding water poured into it from outside (and possibly unable to hold besides) but a fountain, springing, gushing, bubbling up and flowing forth from within, ever fresh. ever living. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the secret of this life with all its enduring energies and satisfactions. 'Never thirsting' means simply that these souls in possession of the Holy Spirit have the supplies at home, resident within them.

The fourth and final condition of forgiveness is repentance. The Hebrew word is shuwb (shoob) meaning to turn back, not to start over again, but to retreat from and make a break with sin. Isaiah 45:22 "Look to me and be saved ... for I am God, and there is no other. When a person first cries 'look', your first action is to turn your attention to the sound of the voice and its location. The second action is then to focus on where the caller is directing you to look.
What does this have to do with repentance?
First God is directing us to look at Him, and then secondly to His provision for our salvation. This action has a secondary and fundamentally causal effect in that by turning your attention this way, you have turned completely away from sin. This is repentance 'to reverse' or turn away from sin. You cannot look at God and be involved in sin. They are polarized positions.
Matthew 6:19-21"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on Earth,...but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,...(21) for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luther said,"What a man loves that is his God. For he carries it in his heart, he goes about with it night and day, he sleeps and wake with it; be what it may..." We protect what we love. There is a tendency for people to flatter themselves that it is right between them and God, while they exhaust themselves in the pursuit of earthly possessions. Acts 14:15,"Men, Why are you doing these things? We are also men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God,..." This is repentance - turning our lives focus to treasures of heaven (the Kingdom of God). "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the Earth." Colossians 3:2
1Thessalonians 1:9 "For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God." Salvation is found in turning from false idols and trusting in earthly substance to Jesus Christ. It involves becoming willing slaves to the living God. This conversion experience is described nicely in 2 Corinthians 5:17,"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old tings have passed away; Behold, all things have become new." The term in Christ implies 4 things:
1] believer's security
2] believer's acceptance by God
3] believer's future assurance of eternal life
4] believer's participation in the divine nature of Christ.
'A new creation', a new level of excellence, regeneration or new birth - encompassing the forgiveness of sins at Christ's expense. 'Old things passed away', here is the repentant part, old values systems, priorities, beliefs, loves, plans are able to be turned away from. All these prior things should be seen from a new perspective and no longer have control over the repentant believer. Hebrews 12:1,2"...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. The faith-filed life is a demanding, disciplined effort of turning, repenting, enduring and constantly looking to Jesus. If our focus is on Jesus we have already turned our back on sin.

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