“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30 NLT
God does not need anything from humans. He doesn’t need help with things, He doesn’t need praise from us; He doesn’t need our money in the offering plate.
He allows us to join Him as He brings about His plan.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26 – 27 ESV
Our church is studying what it means to be members of the church. Recent lessons are on unity within the church and building one another up. As I read the passage above I was struck by Paul’s command five verses later:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31 ESV
[O]ften those of us that follow Jesus can find it emotionally challenging to let go of the shame of our sins.
It is valid to experience shame that accompanies our guilt before the only holy God when we are in our sinfulness for He is perfect and we aren’t. The sense of shame that accompanies our recognition of how we’re sinful, however, isn’t God’s ultimate goal. Our recognizing Him, coming into a right relationship with Him on His terms then worshiping, glorifying and enjoying Him is. Once we’re forgiven based on the blood sacrifice of Jesus, He sees us through His grace as perfectly sinless; the shame should lead to repentance and then freedom and a deep sense of value as we realize the living God loves us but often we get hung up on what demons, our messed up human brains and our fellow humans tell us.
I’ve made the mistake of thinking my salvation is primarily about me. To be sure, God’s love is for me but a deeper reason He saves is for His purposes and to bring glory to Himself.
In my myopic existence I don’t focus my attention on Jesus. I often consider my benefits and blessings, which are truly benefits and blessings and I should recognize them as such and thank God for them but His purpose goes beyond just saving me; He saves me as a testimony to His faithfulness, His grace, His love, His patience and His sovereignty. His desire is to see all people choose Him and enter into an eternal relationship with Him but in Paul’s case, specifically:
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. – Galatians 4:4-5 NASB
I don’t know any details of God that He hasn’t shared with everyone but I take the clause here “… in the fullness of the time ….” to apply to history.
Jesus was born when God, the Father, planned; not before, not after; His birth wasn’t hastened or postponed by anything.
Sometimes, however, English translations have subtle differences from the original texts. Take for example a passage from Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. 1 Timothy 1:5 NLT
The Bible presents lists like this passage in 1 Timothy. My question when I read this was which part is “the list?” I see two possibilities and the difference may change what I focus on as I seek to follow Jesus.
God expects that Christians live lives characterized by holiness (1 Peter 1:14-16 “You shall be holy, for I am holy”) and Paul explains to Christians how they are to not live in sin but be slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:1-19).
Holiness in the highest sense belongs to God (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 15:4), and to Christians as consecrated to God’s service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God (Rom. 6:19, 22; Eph. 1:4; Titus1:8; 1 Pet. 1:15). Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance (1 Cor. 1:30; 2Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:23, 24).
Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary