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“Saints in the Hands of a Loving God”

October 20, 2009

Daily Bible reading:  Philippians 1

Johnathan Edwards was exactly right in his famous sermon.  We all were, at one time, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. And that is the condition of most people in the world.  The wrath of God is what everyone deserves, myself included.

However, for some reason I will never understand, God in His undeserved, unbelievable love; chose to overcome the stubborn, rebellious, pride of some of us and redeem us.  He chose to wipe the dirt off our faces, give us clean clothes, and call us His children.  We are all “Little Orphan Annie’s”.

But, just like Annie, now that we are adopted we are no longer orphans.  Just as the label “orphan” could no loner describe Annie, the title “sinner” no longer describes us.  Annie was now a Warbucks.  You are a child of the most high God.  In fact, if you are a follower of Jesus, the Bible cause you a Saint!  You have a royal stamp on you, you are royalty (1 Pet 2:9, 2 Cor 1:22).  But, remember you didn’t do anything to earn it.

God no longer has any wrath towards you, only love.  God brings no evil thing to your life, only good.  Bad things will come, because of this fallen world and the dark forces at work.  But even in these things, God promises to twist them around and make good come out of them (Rom 8:28).  God will discipline you when you go astray, like a loving parent disciplines their child (Heb 12:6).  But, this is not His wrath.  Even the evil forces of darkness must seek God’s permission to mess with you (Job 1).  If God allows it, it is because He is using it for your good!

What unbelievable protection and love!  If you know Jesus you are a saint in the hands of a loving God.

This knowledge should affect how we view everything that happens in our life.  As I was reading the first Chapter of Philippians this morning I was struck with how much Paul’s understanding of God’s grace toward Him (not just in forgiving his sin, but also in his present circumstances) changed how he viewed his life.   He saw EVERYTHING that happened to him as the grace of God.  That included massive hardships.  In chapter 1 he says:

“It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.” ~ Phil 1:7 (emphasis added)

Paul is making a BOLD statement here.  He is saying that God has given him grace by allowing him to be imprisoned and allowing him to defend the gospel.  I don’t know about you, but on the surface, that doesn’t look a whole lot like grace to me.  But it is!  Paul goes on to explain that his imprisonment is causing the gospel to be advanced.

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” ~ Phil 1:12-13

Paul’s suffering is being used for good, just like God promises.  Paul’s whole passion and mission in life the spreading of the gospel.  It is his one desire.  And God is using the seemingly bad circumstance of being in prison to make it spread even further.  Even more, God is adding to Paul’s eternal reward because of the faithful work he is doing while in prison.

God really does know what’s best for us.   Most of us wouldn’t pick to be in prison.  I’m sure Paul would have chosen to stay out of jail and continue his missionary trip.  But we don’t see all sides.  God knows what we need far better than we do.  We need to learn to trust Him and be at peace in His loving hands. Have you ever wondered how Paul could rejoice in these circumstances?  That’s how.  He knew they were bringing good.  What does in say in this chapter?

“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. . .” ~ Phil 1:18-19

Child, do you trust your father enough to rejoice when hard things come?  Do you continually thank him for every good thing he brings?

[Oh loving father, thank you so such for your grace.  It abounds to me in such abundance that I can never see the top.  Your grace and mercies are new every morning.  Than you for the troubles and difficulties that you allow in my life, and how you are faithful to use them for my good.  Thank you for your loving discipline that serves to make me more like Jesus. Bring troubles and suffering that I might be granted the privilege of not only believing but also suffering for the sake of Christ. Amen.]

Praying that Christ will grow me in these areas:

  1. Discipline
  2. Self-Control
  3. Hospitality (friendliness)
  4. Humility and being slow to anger
  5. Holiness (being unworldly)
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