Exemption was never a promise.

9 Feb

There is this belief that Christians choose to believe in God for the hope of a cushy life.  As if, believing in God all the sudden makes one exempt to disease, poverty, hunger, heartache and death.

If God’s purpose for us on Earth was to follow Him so we had a free pass in which we’d avoid all consequences of sin on Earth, we would never gain the wisdom of our eternal existence.  And without eternal existence….there would have been no reason for Jesus to go to the cross.  And if Jesus didn’t go to the cross, we wouldn’t even be reconciled to God in the first place, so His creation of us would have no real relevance in our life on Earth at all.

Eternal existence changes everything about our life on Earth.  Without Heaven and Hell, moral law has no relevance. In that case, we’d only love God if that guaranteed our life on Earth was abundant and free from anything bad. Otherwise, we might as well do whatever we want. Right?

The truth is, we are eternal beings.  Through sin, we are separated from God for all eternity, while on Earth and when we die.  Because of God’s great love for us, He sent Jesus to be a once for all blood sacrifice to reconcile us back to Him. For all those who understand their sin and need for a Savior, forgiveness and redemption is available at any moment! Once saved, a believer spends their life running after truth by loving God and loving others.

No exemption is offered in the plan of salvation.  The promise is that through it all, God will be glorified and the gospel will advance.  Those who love God, willingly lay down their lives – no matter what, with unshakable joy because anything that happens to us in this life will all pass away, and will be counted as loss compared to eternally being with our Creator.

Believers in God fall into three categories:

1.) Those who believe in a God…. but pick and choose their own moral law and essentially define who God is for themselves. They don’t usually attend church or read Scripture. But they quote things they’ve heard that they like.

2.) Those who believe in God and worship frequently (through church, prayer and some study) when life is good, but when the storms come, they fall away in disappointment that they weren’t exempt to the disappointments of life on Earth.

3.) Those who believe in God, and run hard after knowing Him for who He tells us He is in Scripture, and trust His moral law is good and just since He created us into existence in the first place.  Even when that means dying to the desires of our flesh, and facing situations in life that we don’t want to face or feel God should change on our behalf.

My friend Karina is a # 3 believer. She’s in her early 30’s, married and has three girls ages 8, 6, and 3. Four years ago she found out that she was facing total kidney failure.  She received a transplant on March 17th, 2011 from her older sister, almost three years ago.  A good kidney transplant should last 8-10 year (maybe longer!) She is now back in the hospital and received the news that her kidney is in rejection and even if the process is slowed, it can’t be stopped.

In the midst of all the human emotions, she will tell you with bold clarity that God is still good and His love is a promise she’d never trade, even if it meant immediate health. Because she knows, this life is NOT all there is to live for.  And that through every situation we face, her character is being refined and molded into the image of Christ and the gospel will advance.

For those of you reading along who know and love Karina personally (and to those of you reading along who know someone else who loves Christ and is up against a situation that seems so unfair) the best gift we can offer is obviously prayer.  The second best gift, is to advance the gospel.  No suffering is ever in vain when lives are turned to Christ.  Karina’s legacy and unshakable joy is passed on through us, in sharing the story and truth.  She was guaranteed no exemptions in this life, and yet, that changes nothing about her faith.  No matter what she’s called to face, the prize is eternity with Christ.

When your eyes are opened to eternal existence, you can’t help but fall in love with Jesus for being the Savior of us all, facing death on a cross.  Even if we were never given another blessing from God (which is NEVER the case, He blesses us all daily) that single act alone is the greatest gift we could EVER be given.

Take a look at the lyrics of this song “I will follow” by Vertical Church Band, and then listen along.

When the sea is calm and all is right
When I feel Your favor flood my life
Even in the good, I’ll follow You
Even in the good, I’ll follow You

When the boat is tossed upon the waves
When I wonder if You’ll keep me safe
Even in the storms, I’ll follow You
Even in the storms, I’ll follow You

I believe everything that You say You are
I believe that I have seen Your unchanging heart
In the good things and in the hardest part
I believe and I will follow You
I believe and I will follow You

When I see the wicked prospering
When I feel I have no voice to sing
Even in the want, I’ll follow You
Even in the want, I’ll follow You

When I find myself so far from home
And You lead me somewhere I don’t wanna go
Even in my death, I’ll follow You
Even in my death, I’ll follow You

When I come to end this race I’ve run
And I receive the prize that Christ has won
I will be with You in Paradise
I will be with You in Paradise

Practical Application:

What kind of believer are you?

How are you being apart of advancing the gospel when you or the ones you love are facing those moments we all define as “why do bad things happen to good people?”

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