Now What?

June 29, 2015
Thus far I have resisted addressing the recent SCOTUS ruling that came down on Friday. It’s not that I don’t have opinions on the matter (we all know that’s not true), nor do I think they are not worth sharing (because I think one of my jobs as pastor is to respond to cultural issues), but because I wanted to take some time to formulate the best response on the issue. Despite some people online implying that pastor’s who didn’t address the issue this past Lord’s Day are wishy-washy and you should look for new churches, I didn’t want to interrupt the momentum our church was working on with our series on prayer. Plus, just a week and a half ago I posted my entry on gay marriage that cost me my regular column in the Hudson Valley News. So, my position is hardly surprising. But now that the Lord’s Day is over, I’ve felt it important to respond now, and ask the question, now what?

Let’s start with a few foundational truths we all know:

  1. God is in control. Our sovereign God was not surprised by this event, nor was He attempting damage control in some board room in anticipation of a press conference following the announcement.
  2. Just because SCOTUS rules on something does not make it true, it simply makes it legal. When SCOTUS ruled in Dredd Scott vs. Sandford that African-Americans could not be American Citizens and therefore not have standing in Federal Court to sue for their freedom, it did not make it morally right. In Roe vs. Wade, SCOTUS determined that privacy laws under the due process clause of the 14th amendment allowed women to have abortions. Both of these positions were morally wrong. Just because SCOTUS rules does not make it true.
  3. Despite the left’s intention that opening the doors for same-sex marriage would not lead to other forms of marriage, like polygamy, this very thing is beginning to already be addressed. The slippery slope had begun despite all attempts to argue otherwise.
  4. While business is usual for churches, the claims from the left that churches would continue to be free to do their own thing is already being challenged in the public square. The next step is potentially removing tax exempt statuses from churches.
  5. It seems clear that despite claims to otherwise, the intention is not just equalization among people regarding marriage, but moral acceptance of said positions as well.
Now, where do we go from here? Despite the unique argumentation upon which the SCOTUS majority legislated their position (dignity in the 14th amendment which is not a usual basis for the interpretation of law, and the disavowal of tradition and history which is a common basis for the interpretation of law), there’s probably not much that the church can do on a political level. 57% of Americans approved of this decision. Even within Christendom the cheers go on for “equal rights.” Yet, there is a serious issue with a country that approves en masse something that God disapproves of. 

In some ways, like Dredd Scott and Roe v. Wade, we see here one of the single biggest institutionalization of something for which God’s Word is opposed to. Slavery, while described and regulated in the Bible due to historical context, was something to which the church was moving out of (1 Corinthians 7:21). Abortion, or the murder of children in the womb, is clearly opposed by precept and the warp and woof of Scripture. And finally, there can be little doubt that Scripture describes homosexuality as sin. God has already identified His judgment against those who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).  

Hence the church cannot rightly rejoice in this ruling, because by judicial fiat the US government has now made legal something outside of the will of God. While we can acknowledge that in a sinful state this is something that is bound to happen, we still need not rejoice along with everyone else. Yet, what we should do differently?

Not much really. There are two major things we should do, which is exactly what the church has been doing since the very beginning:
  1. Love all people, no matter their sinfulness and provide for them the hope of the Gospel that God has promised to all of us who are sinners.
  2. Continue to teach and practice the truth. Just because something is acceptable in popular opinion doesn’t mean that we should hesitate from identifying sin and offering the solution: Jesus Christ.
So friends, it’s business as usual. We will continue as a church to preach that all people are sinners and are under just condemnation. God does not excuse sin just because it is politically popular or because of majority position. God does not excuse sin, but He does forgive sin. So while we will preach condemnation for all sinners, liars, cheats, adulterers, and homosexuals, we will also preach forgiveness and peace in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This SCOTUS decision, in the end, isn’t the important decision. The only important decision is the decision that God made in sending His Son to die for sinners and rise again for eternal life. Pray for sinners, love sinners, teach the Gospel to sinners. That’s the answer to the SCOTUS decision.

The Other Side…

June 24, 2015

Until just this week, I wrote a semi-regular column for the Hudson Valley News. In response to a previous columnist’s work on speaking positively about his church’s acceptance of homosexuality, I sought to write a fair and balanced treatment on the other side of the equation. That column was too much for my editor who found it offensive and canceled my column for future issues of the paper. I think the issue though, is of great importance, and so I include that column here for a wider readership. I noted to my editor, it was not with me he was offended, but what God’s Word taught.

The times sure are changing. Cultural mores of which we have been used to for generations are quickly being discarded for the sake of toleration (although those who are opposed to such abandonment are usually not privy to toleration). Rarely, if ever, are underlying philosophical and worldview issues behind these changes examined by the average person. People today are simply willing to go with the ebb and flow of the prevailing thought of the culture, especially as represented (perhaps misrepresented) by the media. And surely, there is no hot-button issue bigger than same-sex marriage. However the Supreme Court rules, there is more to understanding the acceptance of an issue than whether it is legal or not.

I’m certainly no philosopher. My expertise is in the Christian Scriptures. So, that’s the only way I can truly speak on this issue. And while some denominations have chosen to change their position on whether God finds homosexuality acceptable or not and whether or not it is acceptable for the church to marry said people, the vast majority of the church around the world (and in North America) continues to affirm that homosexuality is sin and that same-sex marriage is forbidden in the church. For instance, the three largest Christian denominations in North America (the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the United Methodist Church) all see the Bible as condemning homosexuality as sin and prohibiting same-sex marriages.

What does this say about the state of Christian thinking on this most pressing issue? It means that, while there has been some dissent from the majority opinion, the majority opinion is just that, that homosexuality remains outside the bounds of God’s will for humanity.

Does that mean that folks like Westboro Baptist Church are right in their attitudes toward homosexuality? Of course not. Instead, the church should be loving and kind and gracious to those with whom they disagree. But loving and kind and gracious doesn’t mean capitulating to positions with which they disagree or tolerating behavior in their midst of which the Bible outlines as sinful. Sin is sin in God’s eyes, whether the sin of adultery, lust, theft, pride, jealousy, or lying. All sin separates us from God (Romans 3:23). But just because some people, and some churches, want to make it seem like homosexuality is not sinful (whether they were made that way or not) does not actually change what the Bible says nor what the collective wisdom of the church has taught for over 2000 years.

So, while I will not affirm someone’s homosexuality as being acceptable to God (as it is not – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10), and nor will I marry you to celebrate in affirmation that sin, I will love you as Christ has called me to love all people. And love, that abounds in wisdom and discernment, will also require me to tell you that as a sinner you are separated from God—whether as a homosexual, a drunkard, or a gossip—but that you can have forgiveness of your sin and that you can have hope that God will accept you if you place your trust in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1).

No matter how we seek to twist the Bible out of its context, the text says what it says, that homosexuality is sinful just like all other sins in the Bible. But it also says that forgiveness is available to all, because Christ loved you enough to die for you (Ephesians 1:7). So while I cannot affirm your sin or celebrate your union in sin, I can love you, and show you the way to forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

Church: Pray for Caitlyn Jenner

June 2, 2015
I hesitate to address every single cultural issue that comes down the pike, but with the prevalence of the news media addressing the recent Vanity Fair cover of former Olympic medalist, Bruce Jenner, now called Caitlyn Jenner, it seems like a few important points need to be addressed from a biblical standpoint.

One caveat to begin. I do not know what Bruce Jenner is going through, nor has been going through, so anything I do say comes not from empathetic experience, but simply from care and compassion, and a humble dose of Gospel grace (“There but for the grace of God, goes I” – attributed to John Bradford [1510-1555]).

The first thing we should note is, despite what the world understands, the Christian should judge sin. Matthew 7:1’s call to “Do not judge,” is often mentioned minus vs. 5’s note that we must simply address our own sin before we address the sin of others. Therefore, I carefully acknowledge my own sin, but note, it is important for us to call sin for what it is: an affront to God. And therefore, to cast off how God has made us, in His image He has made us, male and female, and take our sexuality into our own hands, is just that: sin. The Christian church should stand firm on our understanding of sin, resulting judgment, and the desperate need for all sinners to respond in faith in Jesus Christ for any hope of redemption. 

That leads me to the second thing. The call to judge sin is not a call to judgmentalism. Surely, the church has been notoriously guilty of this over the years: an attitude of constant “I am better than thou” which misinterprets our growth in holiness as our own doing apart from the gracious work of God in our own lives. Truly, but by the grace of God, you or I could be Bruce Jenner. That means that when we react, we should not react with a barrage of constant judgment, but a heartfelt attitude of gracious compassion. Instead of simply reacting in revulsion, have you stopped to pray for Bruce Jenner and those like him struggling with the sinful inclinations of their hearts? Have you prayed that instead of them throwing off the authority of God in their lives, that instead they would submit every part of themselves to Jesus Christ?

Lastly, no sin is truly new. We should not be surprised by this turn of events in the life of Bruce Jenner, or in countless other people’s lives. The first sin of Adam, was one of casting off their God-given identity of submission to God and seeking out his own identity as a God-substitute. Bruce Jenner’s sin is no different that the sin of our forefather, frankly, than all of our sins: namely, we don’t want God to be in charge. We think we can do it better. So we cast off God and set up ourselves as idolatrous replacements for God. The result, is our failure to rule our lives let alone our world and right condemnation for our treason against the sovereign God of the universe. So don’t be surprised my friends, but instead, see to it that your heart breaks for those who continue to spurn God and elevate themselves in His place. For their destiny is Hell, just as ours was once before. Pray, and reach out with the life-changing Gospel to people suffering in their own idolatry.

It seems only slightly ironic, that Bruce Jenner’s cover shoot appeared in Vanity Fair. For John Bunyan fans, you’ll note that Vanity Fair is a place where everything to satiate the desires of sinful humanity are sold daily. It is a place of death and destruction that Pilgrim and his companion Faithful make their way through on their way to the Celestial City (in the classic Pilgrim’s Progress). Sadly, Faithful is put on trial and martyred for his failure to enjoy the wares sold in Vanity Fair. Is it any surprise then, that Jenner appeared in the magazine Vanity Fair, to demonstrate how each whim of our deceitful hearts can be fulfilled in what this world has to offer, but in the end leads to destruction? And for those who are Faithful, who reject what Vanity Fair has to offer, they will receive the condemnation of the world that worships self rather than the creator God. Christians who respond biblically to Bruce Jenner’s “transformation” will too be mocked and condemned for their failure to enjoy all that the Vanity Fair has to offer.

Friends, let us not cast stones, for we too are sinners. But we are sinners that have been shown the way to the Celestial City. We must not stop and buy the wares of Vanity Fair. Instead, we must persevere in faithfulness following our God and calling out to all those trapped in the sins of their own selfish idolatry to submit and worship the glorious God of the universe.

There was hope for us, and there is hope for Bruce Jenner. There is hope in the Gospel. Not in Vanity Fair. 

Book Review – The Fringe Hours

May 19, 2015

A book review by my wife Tracy of The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner.

Women, by nature, are hard workers. Whether they work in the home, out of the home, or both, women give of themselves and serve others on a constant basis. Jessica Turner’s book, The Fringe Hours addresses the very real need women have to find things they enjoy, and then find the time to do the things they enjoy!

As a mom, I was encouraged and convicted by this book. Sometimes in the extremely demanding life of caring for three young children, I feel like I lose a bit of myself. Where is that woman who used to enjoy a variety of activities and actually had a few moments to pursue those things? Turner begins her book by freeing women from the guilt of spending time on themselves, as well as confronting the fact that women can be their own worst enemies by imposing impossible standards on themselves and comparing themselves to others.

The second section of the book helps women uncover their passions and offers some very practical suggestions for how to find time in their lives to pursue the things they love. Yes, you have to get creative—Turner uses her morning hair-drying time as an opportunity to read her magazines—but as she points out, five minutes a day is enough to keep up with her subscriptions!

The third and fourth sections offer readers help in organizing their time, accepting help, and overcoming other barriers to finding time for themselves. Turner also encourages us to make time to sleep and to build meaningful relationships into our lives.

Self-care is a tricky topic because it can so easily become a very self-focused obsession. However, Turner tackles the topic carefully and builds her case well that taking care of yourself will help you be more fulfilled, happier, and will allow you more energy to care for others. She emphasizes the concept of balance in life which is a life-long pursuit for most of us.

No book can make time for you in your schedule, but this book will encourage you to really look at your life and to revisit some of the things you used to love to do. The questions to answer and motivation prompts throughout the book make it interactive and help you start applying what you are reading right away. Overall, a well-written book with a timely message for today’s busy women!

Book Review – Salad Love

May 19, 2015

A review from my wife Tracy, on the book Salad Love by David Bez.

Salad Love is one of my new favorite cookbooks! As someone who enjoys eating as healthfully as possible, and tries to incorporate as much produce in my diet as possible, this book is a wonderful addition to my cookbook collection.

The book offers readers 260 salad recipes that can be eaten as side dishes, or as full meals on their own. Since the salads were originally designed to be prepared for lunches in an office building, the ingredient lists are short and the preparation time is minimal. There is also a picture for every single recipe—I love that! Another wonderful feature is that the book is organized seasonally. This allows readers to take full advantage of any local markets or farm stands that may be available.

There are a few recipes that call for what I would consider to be slightly more exotic ingredients—quail eggs, octopus, and truffle paste to name a few—however, most of the recipes are completely doable and even quite affordable. Those that do make use of more unusual ingredients sometimes offer suggested substitutions as well.

If you eat a lot of salad, or are simply looking for some variety from the standard tossed salad, give this book a try. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you can love salad!

This book was provided free of charge from “Blogging for Books” in exchange for my honest review.

Church, It Is Time to Become Unattractive

May 18, 2015

I wanted to share with an article that, while perchance a bit provocative, is certainly challenging to us who are striving to reach a lost and dying world with the Gospel of Jesus. It is good not only to hear from me, but to hear from other helpful voices in the church. I would welcome your thoughts on it as well. Iron sharpens iron as the Word says. The article addresses the question, what are we trying to make the most attractive about us to the lost? Is it the trappings of ministry, or the pure and unadulterated Gospel. So, on that note, here is the article, Church, It is Time to Become Unattractive by Sam Kee:

Book Review – Ulrigh Zwingli

May 14, 2015

My friend Bill Boekestein, has provided a vital resource in his new volume on Reformed theologian, Ulrich Zwingli in Evangelical Press’s, Bitesize Biographies series. Today, Zwingli, if he is known at all, is known purely for his view of the presence of the Lord in Communion, and nothing more. Yet, there is much more to the man and to his legacy for Christians today. Boekestein fills this lacunae in providing us a relatively brief, yet lucid description of his life and legacy for the average Christian.

Zwingli (1484-1531) was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland, not only theologically, but practically in battle (in which he died) as Zwingli’s Reformation alliance fought those supporting the Roman Catholic Church. Part of his legacy, Boekestein notes one of the legacies from Zwingli was the move on Bullinger’s part (he followed Zwingli in his pulpit following his death) was to denounce formal involvement between the state and the church.

His greatest legacy, perhaps, is his efforts to Reform the church over and above any of his lasting theological legacies. Although, the controversy over the real presence of Christ in the Lord’s Table, wherein Zwingli and Luther could come to no accord at the Marburg Colloquy, is informative of how churches sought to be unified and yet, issues that seem unimportant to many Christians today, where, and are, quite significant still today. Many churches hold to more “memorial” approaches to the Lord’s Supper (although half-teasingly those churches are said to be more Zwinglian than Zwingli was), and should see Zwingli’s influence then in that area. While Zwingli’s approach did not become the majority position among Reformed churches (Calvin’s spiritual presence view is the most common), Zwingli still bears importance for today.

It’s important to know about God’s servants, and Boekestein admirably introduces a new generation to this hero of the Reformation and how his love for the pure church of God, should continue to influence us today. So, take up and read, and see how God’s choice servant of the past can continue to have meaning for us in the church today.

God’s Favorite Color is Green

May 11, 2015

The famed American theologian-philosopher Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) once remarked on the color green in the rainbow mentioned in Revelation 4:3:

This rainbow was ‘in sight like unto an emerald,’ which is a precious stone of an exceeding lovely green color, so green that this color appears in nothing else so lively and lovely. This color is a most fit emblem of divine grace; it is a very lively color, not so dull as blue or purple, and yet most easy to the sight, more easy than the more fiery colors of yellow and red. It is the color of all the grass, herbs, and trees, and growth of the earth, and therefore fitly denotes life, flourishing, prosperity, and happiness, which are often in Scripture compared to the green and flourishing growth of the earth. As the benign influence of the sun on the face of the earth is shown by this color above all others, so is the grace, and benign influence, and communication of God fitly represented by this color.

Now, no one can truly know the color most loved by the Divine, but truly at this time of year, with the vast outpouring of verdant hues it is of little surprise that Edwards might think that green would be the color of God’s pleasure. From the front porch of my house in the woods of Stanfordville, I gaze out at the trees becoming lush with leaves and the beauty and “life” of the many shades of green I see. It’s a glorious moment in the transition from the harsh brutality of winter to the lush warmth of summer for that moment of spring when suddenly barren trees spring to life. Is there a more beautiful picture of life than the green of spring?

Far too often though, we fail to think upon or focus upon this momentous event that happens all around us. Gone are the days when we would, as children, gather leaves for pressing into assignments to note the variety of trees in our backyards. Gone are the childhood climbs into the branches of said trees to admire and appreciate the green around us. These and many other adventures and experiences among the flourishing greenery have been replaced with a weary thought that the mass of green will become a mass of brown simply to be cleaned up. Yet, it is the transition from green to brown to barren to green again, which should cause us to stop for a moment and focus upon that moment when life is restored and the green returns.

As much as winter is a necessity, we mourn during it for the life that we saw during spring summer and into fall. When the leaves fell we mourned for the life for which we saw all around us and the impending foreboding of snow and harsh wind. Then, when seemingly winter would never end, life bursts forth, unable to be contained forever, and demonstrates that life conquers death. Is it any wonder that Edwards might have thought that God’s favorite color was green in that it rendered for us, in color, an “emblem of divine grace” since life so clearly conquers death (1 Corinthians 15:55). Just as Jesus Christ burst out of the tomb at Easter to show that death had no hold on Him (Acts 2:24), the green leaves burst out from the tomb of winter to show, in visible representation, that God’s grace is not bound, nay, can be bound, but is ready to burst forth in glorious abundance.

So, regardless of whether God’s favorite color is green, take a moment to stop, relax, and enjoy life in its lush and green goodness. The green all around is evidence of our abundant riches of life that have been bestowed upon us. As Martin Luther (1483–1546) once wrote, “For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”

The Actual Job of the Pastor

April 13, 2015

I’ll mention from the outset, that not all of you will agree with some of the positions that I take. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise since I’m an evangelical pastor that some of my positions are counter-cultural. But that’s not why I’m writing on this issue today. I’m writing concerning well-meaning Christians who don’t think people like me are going far enough.

Recently in the Northern Dutchess News, a letter to the editor appeared to call on the carpet pastors who are “apathetic cowards, invisible apostles, silenced saints while the cross lies abandoned in the gutter.” Strong words. He chastises the church for capitulating to the culture around itself instead of striving to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13–16). This is true in a number of cases. There are certainly churches and denominations that have given up on the book that undergirds all they say, think, and do: the Bible. Through amazing feats of hermeneutical gymnastics they rip the book from its context and make it say things it was never meant to say, all to appease the current cultural bugaboos. But, this writer specifically goes out to address evangelical pastors (like me) of not doing our job in leading the troops into the ongoing battle of the culture war.

Now, if all the job of a pastor was to lead a war against and ever-shifting culture, then frankly, I think I have my medals to prove my worth. I don’t normally brag, but I’ll pull a Paul on this one occasion (2 Corinthians 11:16–33):

  1. I have stood out front praying in front of Planned Parenthood.
  2. I have raised money and supported pregnancy resource centers and helped start one in the last community in which I ministered.
  3. I have spoken at a rally for religious freedom.
  4. I have participated and encouraged letter writing campaigns in support of persecuted brothers and sisters around the world and taken a stand for Christian values.
  5. I have publicly spoken out against the ongoing moral decline of our Western culture.
So, according to the letter writer, I should be fine. But unfortunately, the letter writer addresses issues which, fundamentally, are not the core part of what a pastor’s job is. Sure, a pastor is part of the larger world and should be exercising his rights of freedom of speech and religion, but his job is fundamentally about helping the people that the Lord has entrusted to him, and not necessarily as the leader of a culture war. What are the pastor’s jobs?
  1. To teach and preach the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1–5). My primary obligation is to instruct my people what God has told us in His Word. That certainly includes what is morally right and wrong according to the Scriptures, and how Christians are to live in a world that fundamentally disagrees with them on said morality. But teaching the people is the primary obligation of the pastor. Not necessarily to lead a culture war as the general.
  2. To equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12). As a product of teaching and preaching the Word of God, we are seeking to help our churches do the work of the ministry. It’s actually not my primary responsibility to be doing the work of the ministry (whether within the confines of our church doors or outside) but to give my people the tools and resources to do it. In the end, they’re the generals in a war against evil. I’m simply a military advisor.
  3. To lead the church (1 Peter 5:1–4). My job isn’t to lead the world. My job isn’t to be the world’s police officer. My job is to lead the church and exercise authority over it. While I need to speak the truth of the Scriptures into the world at large, my primary responsibility is to effectively lead the church God has given me. That’s enough work already than trying to lead the world too.
While I certainly have moral stands I take that are rooted in what God has revealed in the Bible, my primary job is not as a general of the culture war. Certainly I will speak the truth into the world (and expect the freedom to do so, just as I expect those with whom I disagree to have that same freedom), but I will primarily consider and care for the people that God has given to me. And I’m not going to whip them into a frenzy to brow-beat people of the world into submission. All people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and deserving of our respect and goodwill (Galatians 6:10). And, while that means not calling what is evil good and what is good evil (Isaiah 5:20), it does mean we’re going to be gentle and kind, and show the world a different way, based upon our love for each other, and our love for people (1 Peter 2:12).

I’m not a general. I’m just a humble servant of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, trying to help prepare my little sheep-fold for glory.

Hope for Today

April 6, 2015
Easter sort of builds us up to a heightened level of spiritual frenzy just to let us down again on Monday. We move through a season of preparation, are confronted boldly with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our forgiveness of sins, and then move to a crescendo of joy at His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Then, the next morning, we wake up and everything was as it was before. The climax is over. We move into the denouement of the story and conclude and ask ourselves, “what does this all mean for me today?”

It’s a good question. Why does the resurrection matter? We understand the cross and forgiveness and appeasement of God’s wrath, yet the resurrection looks so much like an end of life thing. When I sin, Jesus death has paid for that sin. But how does the resurrection bear on my life today, and not just as promise of eternal life? How does His resurrection, and my resulting resurrection bear upon my life today?Our hope, not only in the future, but for today, on Easter Monday, and every day, is bound up in the resurrection. Consider Peter’s words in 1 Peter 1:3-9,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Peter tells us, that those of us who are in Christ Jesus, have a living hope through Jesus’ resurrection. Not only do we have a future hope, but our hope is living and real and active for us today. The promise that we will receive our own resurrection, that is imperishable (it’ll never waste away), undefiled (never to be corrupted by sin), and unfading (it will never fade or lose it’s luster). Everything of which we see in our own lives today will be forever changed.

  • The chronic disease or pain will be gone. Have hope in the midst of it today, because it is momentary.
  • The sin issue that you’re constantly battling will be conquered. Have hope in the midst of it today, because it is momentary.
  • The signs of wear and tear and aging will be reversed. Have hope in the midst of it today, because it is momentary.

This is all being kept for us (preserved) by God and His power ready to be revealed to us at the end of our lives here on earth. This is something in which we can rejoice! All of our failed efforts, all of our desires to be young and beautiful, active and in good shape, pure and holy, are momentary pit-stops on our race to the finish line. At the end of the line is Jesus, and the promise of no more pain, sorrow, or tears. These things we experience in this life, are trials of faith. Will we trust in Jesus and the hope He offers in the resurrection, or will we turn our backs from Him.

All of this is simply making us more like Jesus. The trials, the pain, the tribulation, the suffering, is making us more like Him. Refining us into pure gold. So, when I see my trial, my pain, my disease, my sin, I see how Jesus is preparing me to inherit that incorruptible gift of new life. And while we may groan today under the weight of corruption, one day we will receive anew what was promised on Easter Sunday and will rejoice and praise Jesus! We will get to rejoice because we will one day receive the outcome of all of those trials that have refined our faith: salvation. Full and final.

So friends, take the resurrection of Jesus with you daily. Remind yourselves that Christ rose from the dead, and corruption and sin and disease and death have no lasting sway over us. Remember, when these things bring us low to the pits, we can remember, “this is momentary. I will receive an inheritance that will be eternal.”

We have hope through the resurrection of Jesus. Hope for tomorrow, and hope for today.