Thursday, November 24, 2016

Basis for Thanks

When we give thanks we should not neglect to give thanks for the fundamental truth of God's coming into the world to save us. One of the basic truths of Christianity is that God became a man (John 1:1-18: Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:6-10). Sometimes familiarity can cause us to lose the impact of a great truth. The God who calls the stars by name (Isaiah 40:26; Job 38:31-33), who controls the weather (Job 38:19-30), who provides for all his creatures (Psalms 104:10-18), before whom all human opposition is nothing (Psalms 2:1-6; Isaiah 40:22-24) became a human being. He was born as a human baby (Luke 2:1-7). He worked as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). He went to weddings and provided wine when the wine ran out (John 2:1-12). He challenged a powerful religious leader (John 3:1-21) and dealt with a social outcast from a despised race (John 4:7-38). He ate with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:9-12) and rebuked those who trusted that their own righteousness would commend them to God (Matthew 23:23-28). He was tempted in every way like we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He was put to death as a criminal to pay the price for our sins, but rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Romans 4:22-25; Colossians 2:11-15). Now the main point of God’s becoming a man is that it was to pay the price for our sins (Mark 10:45). But in doing so, He left us an example of how human life is to be lived (Ephesians 5:1,2; Philippians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). Further, He not only is our example, but He promises to be with us through the Holy Spirit to work these things out in our lives (Matthew 28:20; John 14:16-21; Romans 8:9-13).   

Now sometimes we can be more “spiritual” then God. We can try to confine God to “spiritual” contexts and separate Him from the rough and tumble of everyday life. But this is a mistake, for wherever we go in the rough and tumble, He has been there before us and goes with us. This can be both reassuring and scary. It is reassuring in that however difficult our situation is, He is with us, He understands, and He is there to comfort us. Scary because wherever we go and whatever we do, God is there and there is no evading His presence or hiding anything from Him. But as He came to be in this world and not of this world, He calls us to do the same (John 17:14-21; Romans 12:1,2; 1 John 2:15-17). Therefore, we need to go forth into the everyday affairs of life with a recognition of His presence with us and His example before us. We must not put God into some sort of Sunday morning box, but we should understand He goes with us into the ups and downs of everyday life. For when God became a man, He broke down all such artificial barriers.

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