Proclaim, do not excuse (thought for May 2017)

May 3, 2017

in Monthly comment

Proclaim, do not excuse.

Have you ever been confronted with a question about God that you struggled to answer? I am sure it is so. Can you relate to this: I used to think that unless I can answer every question people direct at me, I give the impression that Christians are ignorant. Hah!

As if people around us knew the answers to all life’s questions! No, this is a balloon that is now popped and flat for me: I am very happy to admit if I do not know something, ask for time out till I find the answer, then come back with it if I can.

There is another species of questions, though, that I must admit I… well, not exactly shiver when I hear, but that certainly make me more careful to answer.

Questions that relate to God’s sovereign rule, goodness, justice, and how these can all live together in one God, definitely seem to bother people. For instance, people find it difficult to relate God’s goodness to all the suffering that is in the world. Yet again, some point out that if the Christian message is the one that God uses to save people, then those who die without hearing it, die and are judged unjustly. Then again, other more theologically savvy people question God’s justice and love in election and predestination. “Why does God choose some but not all to give His grace to?” Now, to all these there are answers, I believe, that can be found in the Scriptures.

And we are tackling questions like these in ‘Equip’ once a month on a Wednesday night. Please let me know if you would like us to look at any particular one you have encountered.

But here I just want to flag up one very important thing. Some of the answers we find on the pages of our Bibles may not please the one asking the question; they might perhaps make us feel uncomfortable (see, for instance how Paul answers one of these in Romans 9:18-21). Yet: they are the answers. We are not to excuse God when what He says makes Him “look bad” in society’s eyes. We are to proclaim Him as He reveals Himself in Scripture, His Word. God is God, God is Who He says He is, and God does as He pleases to do. He does not conform to what we make Him to be, want Him to say or want Him to do – that is idolatry, and the world is steeped in it. Our job as His creatures, and especially as His people, is to proclaim, submit and uphold God’s sovereign rule over all.

Our job (and, if you are a Christian, your delight) is to say with Nebuchadnezzar: “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes towards heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34–35).

Pastor Calix
May 2017

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