Friday, November 4, 2016

Innocent blood cries out!

“They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.” Psalm 106:38

Matthew Henry: “Our case is awful when the outward church is considered. When nations professing Christianity, are so guilty as we are, no wonder if the Lord brings them low for their sins. Unless there is general and deep repentance, there can be no prospect but of increasing calamities. The psalm concludes with prayer for completing the deliverance of God's people, and praise for the beginning and progress of it. May all the people of the earth, ere long, add their Amen.” 

For a person who desires to be the Chief Executive of our nation and at the same time declares, “An unborn person has no rights” is nothing less than reprehensible.  No greater violence can be imagined then the ripping of a living conscious innocent human being from the supposed safety and security of his or her mother’s womb.  When I contemplate such a heinous atrocity, the only way I can describe the feeling is one of sheer anguish.  

John Calvin writes: “For the fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man's house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.”

I have no doubt that at the moment of conception, that my children, although lovingly nourished and protected by the body of their Mom, possessed a body of their own. Every fiber of her being desired to protect that virtuous body being formed within her own - and could not conceive of doing violence to that precious child.  The prophet speaks, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you;...” Jeremiah 1:5 

From a letter published within the last few days by a coalition of Black Pastors concerning the upcoming presidential election: “Particularly relevant is the innocence of the unborn child. The Bible places an extremely high value on human life and particularly on the lives of the innocent who are under the special protection of God. Those who take the life of the innocent violate a key biblical principle as well as a fundamental principle of natural justice.”

Can any nation - even this nation - who may by a majority vote give acquiescence to this dreadful crime, escape the fate of ancient Judah who were carried away into captivity because the walls of Jerusalem were filled with the shedding of innocent blood?

For innocent blood cries out to the Lord for vengeance. “The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground.” 

I will lay it waste;
            It will not be pruned or hoed,
            But briars and thorns will come up.
            I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.”

      For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel
            And the men of Judah His delightful plant.
            Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;
            For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.
Isaiah 5:6-7 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Can that which is lost find itself?

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10

How often we glibly remark something such as this, “He found God.” The last time I checked God wasn’t lost. “no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Romans 3:11 

Must it be said that even while we were not looking for Him He found us? “For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.” Psalm 86:10  From my friends in the African-American Church I often hear this declaration: “He is God all by Himself!”

The prophet announces this all-consuming passion of the Father for His chosen ones. "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.”  Ezekiel 34:12

What role does the lost coin have in being returned to the purse? It must be sought by the One longing for its return, fetched from its forlorn place of estrangement and deposited securely in the pouch which is so near His bosom.  

Paul, who was not only not looking for the Savior, but was violently opposing Him {“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”} later writes. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” Colossians 1:13 The commentator Charles Ellicott expounds: “Delivered” is “rescued,” properly applied to dragging [italics added] a person out of battle or the jaws of danger.”

This deliverance is with, by and through the sole prerogative of God alone in the Son of His love. He is able to deliver those who have no power to deliver themselves.  “For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6  Who determines the time but the Father in Christ our Lord alone? 

“In Him we were also chosen as God's own, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything by the counsel of His will,...” Ephesians 1:11 

For another metaphor:

Is it possible to birth yourself? Or even cooperate in the process? It does not depend on the will of the child - nor even that of the mother. There is something - or in the spiritual Someone - that transcends all of human frailty. Concerning the children of God: “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13 “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth,...” James 1:18 

And we might add - once the process is initiated, can it be aborted?  “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

In this truth lies our confidence and our supreme motivation to love and good deeds. “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful. Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works,...” Hebrews 10:23-24 

And from a modern hymn:

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.”

Solus Christus - In Christ Alone