March 2, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ Jesus. It is the power of God to bring salvation to everyone who believes; first to the Jew and then to the Greek [read ‘to the rest of the world].” (Romans 1.16)
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFLECTION:
Let us take measure of this “good” we are intended to be being created in the image of God, that is Christ through whom all things that were made have been made. We are called and challenged to be stewards of the gifts of life (both flesh and spirit) which have been given to us so that the body of Christ may be built up until it attains to the fullest measure (the height, depth, breadth) of Christ Himself. Yes, He who is the Head of the body did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but being in human form took on the role of a servant (the good servant) and accepted His calling to “seek and save those who are lost” by taking up the cross and bearing it to Calvary. There He showed the full measure of so great a love that He not only laid down His life for another but for us all. Therefore, we are intended to “preach Christ and Him crucified.” Not only do we proclaim His crucifixion which brought death to His body and the opportunity to surrender His soul into the hands of His Father (and ours!) but His resurrection. It is His resurrection that verifies the power of the Word of God that on the third day He would be raised from the dead which indeed He trusted and was raised by. And knowing that to be the truth on the witness of so many we also know that His sacrifice for our sins, once and for all and for always, is thus validated and is true for those who will believe it, receive it and declare it in their lives and with their lives…”loving one another.”
The measure of that “good” to which we are called as those created by the will and plan of God (yes, even the “unplanned” births are evidences of God’s will and plan for creation because pregnancy is no accident and never “just happens”) is clear. The world may attempt to muddy the waters of wisdom and knowledge with its own but that which is of the Kingdom of God shall never pass away, never be undone, never be outdone and will be as a light in the darkness as easily as it is a light in the day. That measure of “good” is to be “God’s people.” We are called to trust Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are called to love Him in the same manner. We are commanded to love ourselves with the same intentionality of honoring God and doing good. We are commissioned to love one another with the desire of creating the fellowship and community of a spiritual family. And first, we must learn to how to that within the fellowship and community of the spiritual family we are in. I dare say, the promotion of Adam and Eve into the world beyond Eden, was God’s means of “working all things together for good.” I know you may have wondered “where did those people from over the hill come from” and “who built those safe cities in which Cain fled to and lived out the days of his life.” Regardless of the where and who, we certainly know the what. The calling of the nation which would be known as Israel was to be evidence of the kingdom of God in the world. As the psalmist declared, “This earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the world and all who live in it.” (Psalm 24.1) We might see then that the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden may not have been an eviction and punishment as it was then the commissioning of incarnation: the Word of God made flesh. Well, that would be perfectly true if Adam and Eve weren’t already sinners. But, who better to testify to the mercy and grace of God than those who were themselves saved by grace. What? You think that “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” was merely a New Testament revelation? And sadly, where Adam and Eve and their descendants fell short according to the Word and the Law, Jesus did not. So, Israel was called to be a “light to the nations.” (Isaiah 49.6) By their faithfulness to God themselves, the world should have desired to be one with them. Of course, Satan had other plans just as he did with Adam and Eve, so he worked within the people of God and those without God. It is a work that continues today and sadly it is at work within our own “one another” fellowship and community as a spiritual family. In our evangelism and mission work, are we making as much effort to “heal ourselves” as we are seeking to bring “healing to others”? Did the disciples not first have the blessing of the Holy Spirit fall on them so that “all nations could hear the word of God and follow the preaching of the Word so that faith could and would be at work in them?” So, there is a first group to hear and obey and then there is a second group. The second group is contingent on the first just as our ability to “love one another” is dependent on “loving God who loves us.” Is this not the fullest measure of “the good” we are meant to be and to do?
Father, may Your love abide and abound in us and thus through us to all people everywhere in Jesus’ name. Amen.