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

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Death and Mercy

Philip. 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Death is full of suffering and sorrow; suffering and sorrow that overwhelm life. Death breaks the spirit and binds the heart in bitterness and pride, despair and guilt, fear and shame, distress and discomfort, for " ... the sorrow of the world produces death." Death takes life captive to itself for life has been held captive to death. Death is unmerciful and cruel.

With God, death and love are synonymous terms. Death is a severe mercy. Romans 6:3-5, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, ..." " A mercy as severe as death, a severity as merciful as love.

" Death is seen as the great evil, perhaps the great escape, it is the cessation of life, separation final and eternal from the loves of this world. There is very little which would appeal to man to die and therefore it is difficult to make an appeal to die. God calls us to 'die to self', in essence to cease from living an independent existence. Romans 8:13, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."It is by this concept of dying to one's self that God assaults our sensibilities. God is showing through what we have always longed for; what we have always sought; the desires of our heart; the need for a greater love, a love which fills with great delight and joy; a love which fascinates, for those loves given in this life are mere glimpses of the fullness of life to be had with God. Life becomes a treatise wonderfully proclaiming the soul's need for love. Love which is compassionate, passionate, indulgent and fascinating, imbued with grace and mercy and forgiveness.

All of life's loves require the act of grace and the response to grace, that unmerited favour, that undeserved preferential treatment by one who loves because there exists no other desire of greater necessity than to love. Life as exemplified through love is illustrative of the theological truth that grace, rather than destroying the natural love, ennobles and dignifies it and that there is always agreement to be found between the natural and the supernatural -- between the principles of sound reason and the manifestation of Divine grace. Psalm 68:9, "You, O God, sent a plentiful rain, whereby You confirmed Your inheritance, when it was weary." Fresh mercies await when old mercies are forgotten.

Weariness of the loves of this life, when there is no longer any pleasure; when all appetite, taste, and color are lost, then, and only then, can the fear of death we have carried be annulled by grasping to the life offered through Jesus Christ. What a spiritual awakening does is to take Jesus Christ out of the realm of 'religion' and into the world of personal reality.

'Death to myself' should enliven an honest appraisal of the 'I,myself', where I am stripped of all protective coloring and veneer and awaken my soul to faithful assent to the actuality that the decision is not one of either/or, but a release from captivity to one 'good', in order to hold to a greater 'good'. The sin and temptation, the sorrow and grief that hold me captive in this realm; those things that are arrayed against me have been defeated by Jesus and His death for my sins and my life in service to Him through that propitiatory sacrifice brings honour to His name. In this I am Christ’s property and servant, and Christ is my portion; that is the first 'good'. The greater 'good' is the fullness of the "God-life' as I am released from the weakness, misery and disappointments of this life through perfect indifference to the consequences.

When we are devoid of life, then can we see. Psalm 36:9, "For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light." Romans 14:7-9, "For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living." This fellowship with God through the death of His Son demands 'dying to one's self' for the purpose of living to God.

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