Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pentecost 11

Readings: Deuteronomy 7:6-9, Psalm 125, Romans 8:28-39 (sermon text), and Matthew 13:44-52.
Paul concludes a lengthy logical streak. Begin at verse 28, an oft-quoted and oft-misunderstood verse. God is not the author of evil - Satan and our sinful nature are. Better rendering: "God works all things together for good." Every day in Christ is blessing. God is in charge! He makes lemonade out of lemons, so to speak, strengthening our faith in trials.

Verses 29-30: begins before time (foreknew) and ends after time (glorified). Predestination, whenever mentioned in the Bible, is a message of encouragement, not of confusion. Receive it thus, as a sort of icing on the cake of salvation. Everyone who believes was predestined to do so. But the Bible NEVER says that He predestined the rest to hell. Logic fails us here. Rejoice in this teaching nonetheless.

Called - this refers to the present time. God calls people from any nation. Justified - at the point of your receiving Christ. Glorified - future.

Verse 31 - another beloved verse. God is on your side! No one - not even your sinful self - can stand against you, because Christ sacrificed Himself for you. Verse 32 is proof. But not necessarily "felt needs." Daily bread is what you actually need. One thing is important: how we stand before God. Christ will judge the world. But Christ also loves and died for you.

Verse 35 - yet another favorite verse. "Felt fears" (not having the *right* outfit, perhaps) fall far below what God has promised to protect us from. Through everything, God holds on to us, through all of time, through all of space. His love, sealed with blood, is infinite. Take comfort in your struggles with sin.

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