Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blessings and Curses

Deuteronomy 28:1-2, "If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God..."

Deuteronomy 28:15, "However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all His commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you..."

I met a man on the streets of Texas today.  His life has been rough.   His mom bore him and his siblings at an early age...and then left them, though he will not fault her.  His grandparents on one side died when he was young.  The other grandparents raised him, though they were not emotionally there.  He has known a life of abandonment.

He spent some time in prison.  And this is where he met Jesus.  He responded to an alter call and went to several Bible services a week.  He grew a lot in the Lord and was on fire for the Lord.

When he got out of prison, to a certain degree he went back to the old way of life, and this has resulted in his ending up on the streets.

First I addressed the issue of abandonment.  God says He will never leave His children (Hebrews 13:5).  Never means never.  I know some like to say you can walk away from God, but if God never leaves, how is that possible.  Maybe it's possible for us to ignore Him at times, but we can never walk away from a God who never leaves us.

I quoted Ephesians 1:13-14 to him, "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of His glory."

The above verses tell us that the guarantee that a child of God has an inheritance with the Lord is from the moment he first believes until the Lord comes back for him.  We find that the redemption is the time of the resurrection of the saints.  Romans 8:23, "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

Not taking away personal responsibility, he said the devil and the powers of darkness had a part in luring him back into the world.  I quoted Romans 8:38-39 to him, "For I am convinced...neither angels nor demons...will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Not even the powers of darkness can separate him from God.

Abandonment by God is not something he will ever face.  He has been united with God through Jesus Christ and has the assurance of salvation.

Now there is the issue of the consequences of sin.  He has escaped the coming wrath, but that doesn't mean that God won't punish or discipline us for doing the wrong things...but He will do this for our good.  As a child of God, he will never be under God's curse.  We know the Scriptures above that list in Deuteronomy 27 and 28 the curses due for disobedience to God.  And God is just in announcing and carrying out these curses.  Since all of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, we are all justly deserving of these curses.

But as a child of God, when reading these chapters, it's important to read them through the lens of the Gospel.  Galatians 3:13, 'Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."'

God was just in decreeing curses for the disobedient (which includes all of us), we are deserving of those curses, but for the child of God, Jesus became a curse for you.  You are no longer under God's curse.

The man I met was very encouraged.  We prayed together.

Pray for him, that he would learn more of God everyday, what it means to belong to Christ, who he is in Christ, and that God would deliver him off of the streets.  In talking to him, I think it's okay to say as much as one can, that he belongs to the Lord, loves the Lord and is sincere in his faith.  He needs you prayers.