Psa. 33:16 The king is not saved by his great army;
                a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17          The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
                and by its great might it cannot rescue.
Psa. 33:18         Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
        on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19         that he may deliver their soul from death
                and keep them alive in famine.
20         Our soul waits for the Lord;
                he is our help and our shield.
21         For our heart is glad in him,
                because we trust in his holy name.
22         Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
                even as we hope in you.
Eccl. 9:11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people…14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
In each of these texts there is a call to rest in the action of God. The king is not saved by the might of his army, though it appears that way. The horse is made ready for battle, but his legs do not stand on their own. The race is not to the swift, though a betting man will put all his money on him. Why? The unifying theme of each of these passages is the fact that we belong to the mercy of God. He gives the battle to whomever he wishes. He decides to love Jacob but to hate Esau (Malachi 1:2-3; Romans 9:13).

The paradox reveals itself on the bloody cross. Christ redeemed us from all lawlessness so that we might be freed to live lives of abandoned obedience. Titus 2 begins a list of qualifications for elders and commands to the older women and slaves in the congregation. There is a line drawn between the godly and the lawless. We are not called to step over the line by our own strength. Indeed, there is no pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps because they are chained to sin. More than this, we didn’t even see we were chained to sin because we were blind. (Is. 59:10) Even more than this, we didn’t know that we were chained because we couldn’t move because we were dead in our sin (Eph. 2:1)!

And so the wisdom of God foreordained Jesus to hang on a cross to cover our sin with the blood that oozed from the holes in his hands, feet, and side. He redeemed us. That is, he bought us (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23). He brought us forth from the dead giving vigor to our flesh to walk in obedience. God does not ask dead people to walk. He commands them! Notice that the active verbs belong to God – He gave, he redeemed, he purifies. We are the objects of this divine forbearance. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow from his wounds.

Saturday, April 23, 2005 10:32 PM