Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is God fair? and Rejoicing in Trials

Every now and then I hate the fact that God has forgiven me. I look at my sin and grow to hate it so much and understand that Holy God must hate my sin infinitely more. And sometimes when I think that He allowed Christ to take on the punishment for that sin it makes me hate my forgiveness.

The fact that I am forgiven is completely unfair. The fact that I'm not suffering in Hell today is unfair.

No God is not fair at least as I see it but He is just. My forgiveness is not fair yet it is Holy. It is righteous. The one who had no sin took my sin upon Himself and while it is true I don't in anyway deserve it God in His compassion and for His glory has called me out of my sin and forgiven.

My forgiveness is not a subject to be despised, but one in which I should constantly rejoice.

That is one of the challenges with growth in Christ. The more we grow the more we see our see sin. The more we despise our sin. But in seeing and despising our sin we grow in understanding how truly gracious and merciful God is toward His people.

This topic makes me think of my Sunday School class discussion this week. We are going through James. And after three weeks we made it to James 1:2 :) (studying this actually takes us throughout the Scriptures so its truly a blessing and while we might not make it far in the book I think the knowledge is more important than speed).

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds

Now how do we count it all joy? Do we say to ourselves: "Well the Bible says we'll have trials so we might as well take them with a smile"?

No, I think their are many reasons we have to be joyful through trials.

When facing trials we can continually bring the following to mind.

First, we know that the trials themselves can be considered a joy to the Christian. We understand that while it may be hard to see at the time God is going to work these trials for our good. I personally believe this is one of the greatest blessing in understanding the complete sovereignty of God in all things. We can know that He cannot fail in His promises.

Rom 8:28-29 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Secondly, we know that some trials are tests from the Lord.

Tests to show His righteousness and cause people to fear and honor Him so that we may not sin.

Exo 20:20 Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin."

Tests can also help us discern the will of God.

Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Finally, we know that at the end of testing is a great reward.

Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

When we understand that this world and its trials are not the end of all existence then we are truly free to rejoice as the believers in Hebrews rejoiced.

Heb 10:32-35 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, (33) sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. (34) For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. (35) Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

When we truly set our heart on these things, on the things above, then we will know how we can rejoice in our trials and we truly can count it all joy.

Now join me in rejoicing our glorious savior. If you do no wish to sing or know the tune then just read the words and worship in verse.

O for a thousand tongues to sing

1. O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

2. My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.

3. Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life, and health, and peace.

4. He breaks the power of canceled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.

5. He speaks, and listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

6. Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,
your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold your savior come,
and leap, ye lame, for joy.

7. In Christ, your head, you then shall know,
shall feel your sins forgiven;
anticipate your heaven below,
and own that love is heaven.


It is well with my soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


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