Romans 8:38-39 ASV “ For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There’s an awful lot of different persuasions out there in the world to filter through. And human beings, being what they are, means there are more spins being applied to more topics than you can shake a stick at. And of course, everyone has their own little take on things, which means there aren’t, in all probability, too many topics out there where everyone is exactly of like mind.
And, just to make it interesting, we all have our own personality traits or likes and dislikes, things that we are attracted to or we have a tendency to move away from. It’s really amazing when you stop to think about it, all the different variations that there are.
One of the good things about getting older (it’s a short list), is that one’s perspective has a tendency to change as we go through all the life lessons that life gives us. Sometimes I wonder how God has the patience to put up with me, really, because of the state of my mind, at any given point in time. There is a definite tendency to bounce around from one subject of interest or concern, to another. Sometimes, it’s not that hard to get lost in the maze of your mind. Staying focused isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
The interesting part about getting old is that in hindsight, one begins to comprehend that what you thought you knew and what you really know, aren’t necessarily one and the same. There’s a big difference between God’s wisdom and our own wisdom. There’s also a huge difference between God’s knowledge and our own knowledge. The way I differentiate between those two words, “knowledge” and “wisdom” is as follows. Knowledge is what you thoroughly understand and wisdom is where you know how to and do apply it. Big difference. There’s a lot of “knowledge” out there but “wisdom” is in darn short supply.
If you want to see someone who was totally focused, who understood “knowledge” and “wisdom” you need to look no further than Jesus. Jesus never went “off script”, He consistently gave us the truth, He consistently spoke the words and did the things that God our heavenly Father asked Him to do. And, He never missed an opportunity to reinforce the reality of the knowledge and wisdom that He was sent here to give us.
Here’s one particular “event” captured in the Gospel of John that caught my eye recently. Jesus had left the crowd after “feeding the 5000” and had returned to the other side of the lake.
John 6:25-29 NIV “When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
If I was to paraphrase the question they asked Jesus I would state it as follows, “what is that we are to do that God requires of us to be at one with Him?” Or in other words, what is it that we can do to be approved of God? You know this train of thought, it isn’t new, we earn acceptable in God’s eyes so to speak, by the things we do in this life, good deeds outnumber the bad like in the Islamic faith, or be a “good” person in our own eyes is another popular response. Just a couple of those “various persuasions”.
And Jesus responds “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Number one, it isn’t our work, it’s God’s work. We can’t do it, via good works, God did it for us by sending us His Son. That’s the whole point of the Tabernacle, the Temple(s) and the Law, not to mention the sacrifices and the Prophets in the OT. That’s the whole point of the coming Redeemer, the Messiah, in the OT.
Number two, our part, our only part that matters, is to believe in the one he has sent us. That’s where our faith or trust is put in the knowledge and wisdom of not what we have done but what Jesus did. We, through God’s grace acquire this knowledge and we have the wisdom, to apply it. And most importantly, this isn’t man’s knowledge and wisdom that we are applying, it’s God’s knowledge and wisdom.
Notice Jesus could have said “The work of man is this:”, but He didn’t, it’s never been man’s work.
There is no other persuasion known to man that is more important than this. None. It’s the difference between Christianity and every other major world religion. And there is no other persuasion that has so many different conflicting perspectives. Why, because Satan knows it’s critical. He doesn’t care which one of the alternate persuasions you pick, just as long as you don’t go with the one that Jesus and our heavenly Father specifically gave us.
Luke 9:35 NIV “A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
John 3:16 NIV “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Acts 2:38 NIV “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
God’s love is extended to us through our faith or trust in His Son and what He has done for us. And once you accept that, in your heart, and commit to following our Lord on a daily basis, in spite of our shortfalls, Romans 8:38-39 takes effect.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!