[Calvary Chapel] 2003-10-16 - All of the Advantages

Rev 20:7-9 And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (NAS)

The story is occasionally reported of the son or daughter of a well-to-do family that goes astray from society. The child has had all of the advantages of good family, upbringing and education and yet they have come to a bad end. The reporter is often saddened and stunned. And while this kind of news is sad indeed, it is no less sad than a child from the lowest ghetto going down the same path. Nor is it any less surprising when the human heart is seen clearly.

Shortly after I became a Christian I wondered why God did not simply do this or that and solve the whole problem of humanity. One thing that I wonder was why did He simply not setup His rule and show mankind this love and benevolent rule and all of the benefits of peace and grace. The truth of that is shown here. After a milena of exactly what I had thought would be the tonic for all of the problems of this world the nations turn their backs on God and go to war against Him.

Jer 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (NAS)

We are easily deceived, and indeed often deceive ourselves saying this or that is the best way because it is what we want. Even if it is the whispered lying promises of the enemy that turn the hearts of the nations after a thousand years of peace and lack of want or pain, we are still responsible for our actions. The enemy will be judged but that does not absolve humanity of its' decision to rebel.

Unless the human heart is truly changed at the core by the salvation of Christ there is no depth of self-deception we are not capable of delving. But there is hope. Once salvation is accepted, the work of change begins. It will not be completed until that heart stands on the presence of the Lord. Salvation is freely available to anyone who will come. And forgiveness and guidance are equally available to the broken, repentant heart that comes and asks. The bumper sticker reads, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven" may seem trite, but it is so true. And while the world scoffs at us as emotional cripples or at a Christian who stumbles and falls, we do indeed have the advantage of knowing the love of God for the fallen sinful race of humanity. And since we are not perfect, we will need to avail ourselves of that forgiveness again and again. In fact, as we learn more of sin and forgiveness, we learn more of our own failures and frailty; and understand more and more of the depth of forgiveness, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Rom 11:33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (NAS)

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com