Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.
This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All, Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid; here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave HE ROSE AGAIN!
And as He stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me!
For I am HIS and HE is mine; bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death. This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no schemes of man can ever pluck me from HIS hand.
Til HE returns or calls me home, hear in the power of Christ I stand.

(by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty)

I've been thinking a lot tonight. That's not always a good thing. But tonight it's been about Christ. I was reminded of God's command to boast only of Him while reading, of all things, Daniel 2.

In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar has had a dream and commanded the wise men of Babylon to both tell him what was in the dream & interpret it... or be executed. So Daniel and his friends pray all night for revelation from God. When HE gives it, they break out in praise to Him as the revealer of mysteries. Daniel goes to the king, tells him the dream and interprets it. Afterward, Nebuchadnezzar also praises God as the God of gods, Lord of kings.

As I was meditating on the praise of Daniel and ole' Nebu, I remembered two commands about boasting:

This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. ~Jeremiah 9:23-24

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." ~1 Corinthians 1:27-31

For a long time, I didn't really understand it. I certainly get the implication that I'm foolish. That, I heartily agree with! But what does it mean to boast of Christ? Why would I do that?

I think I'm beginning to understand. The more I learn about God, about who He is, the more I realize how hopeless I am without Him. Just a few words to describe the God of Heaven:
*holy
*awesome
*all-powerful
*righteous
*just
*merciful
*kind
*love
*judging
*truth
*life
*all-knowing

And what am I? Unholy. Completely weak. Not in any way righteous - even when I do righteous acts, are my motivations righteous? Not on my own. Unjust. Unmerciful. Unkind. Unloving. Judgmental (unfairly so). Confused. Dead. Knowing nothing.

And yet, look at what God has done - for me, of all people:

1. He, who created the entire universe with just the power of HIS word (Genesis 1:1-31, John 1:1-14), gave up the rights of being God and confined himself to the body of a tiny baby growing in a woman's womb (Philippians 2:5-8, Luke 2).

2. He spent thirty-odd years on this earth enduring everything we do (Hebrews 4:15, Matthew 4:1-11), only to be unjustly executed. In that death on that Roman torture device, He had laid on Him every sin of every person who ever will have walked the face of this earth (Romans 5:6-8, John 3:16, Philippians 2). He was cut off from the Father, condemned, abandoned, rejected (Matthew 27:46, 69-75).

3. And then - oh the glory of it! - He conquered death. HE LIVES!! (Isaiah 25:8, 1 Corinthians 15:26, 55; Revelation 1:18, Revelation 21:4, John 11:25, Acts 4:33, Romans 1:4, Job 19:25, Luke 24, Matthew 28, etc.)

4. Romans says that through Adam, sin came to all men, but through Christ, life comes to all who receive Him! (Romans 5:12-21) He serves as our intermediary, granting us access to Himself, to the Creator God (Hebrews 7:11-28, Ephesians 3:12).

5. He gives to us (Matthew 7:-12. He answers our prayers (Psalm 102:19-20). He listens. He cries with us.

6. He loves us (John 3:16, and the rest of the Bible!).

7. He saves us (Psalm 18:27, Psalm 91:3, Isaiah 38:20, Ezekiel 34:22, Daniel 3:17, Zephaniah 3:17, Zechariah 8:7, Matthew 1:21, Luke 19:10, John 3:17, 1 Timothy 1:1, John 10:9, Acts 2:21, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13, 1 Corinthians 15:2, Ephesians 2:5, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5, 2 Peter 3:9).

8. He gives us abundant life (John 10:10).

9. He prepares a home for us. He prepares His kindgom that will never be destroyed. (John 14:1-7, Revelation 21)

10. He has plans for us - plans to prosper and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11).

11. He will NEVER let go of those who are His (Romans 8:28-38, John 10:28)

Glorious, wonderful, awesome God!

How can we not but boast of Christ? How can we not be awed by this?

Oh, Lord, help me to never boast save in you. You are the one who gives life. You are the one who gives peace. You are the one who gave me the energy to teach today when my body had none. You alone got me through this day. Let me boast only in you and the salvation of Christ.

For it is truly in CHRIST ALONE that we have hope and are saved. Glory be!

2 comments:

Scientist said...

I've been catching up on your posts and I can't help feel that you should go into Ministry. I may be wrong but I think you're being called to share and teach the word, maybe even seminary school.
I 'm glad you're posting again.

Historian said...

Thanks for reading and commenting! I hope you are still doing well physically! And yes, I've been praying about that over the last year or so. We'll see what God does after June. :-)