A message from the EMW General Secretary: Life in Uncertain Times
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Life in Uncertain Times
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Human life is built on a number of great foundation stones, and chief among them all is the sovereign will of God.
In our present situation, when things are happening that we cannot control, it is vitally important that we all stop and think about what this really means.
God is Sovereign
God is infinite, eternal and unchangeable in all his ways. Simply put, this means he exists on a plane above anything we can fully understand. We are part of creation and time, but God is above it all and is the great “I AM”, the same yesterday, today and forever.
God’s Will is Sovereign
Simply put, this means that God operates on a plane above anything we are able to fully understand. He has a plan for the whole creation, and he is working it out, and no-one is able to resist his will.
The Bible tells us that God’s will is this, to bring men and women to know who he truly is.
But what relevance has this for us today?
God reveals himself to us and it is the heart of atheism to suppress that knowledge - to not listen to his voice because we do not like what he says. The creation all around us makes us aware of God and his power, but we can ascribe it all to something else, chance perhaps. God also speaks to us through our consciences as they tell us that there are such things as right and wrong and that we are answerable to him, but we can play it off until sometimes our consciences seem to give up on us altogether. All sin is a form of atheism – a refusal to let God be God.
God is Speaking Louder Today
It is a sign of God’s goodness, that when man and women do not want to listen, God speaks louder still.
In the blessings of life he speaks warmly, showing us such remarkable goodness and kindness that he leaves us amazed. How many of us have known this, perhaps in a wonderful experience like the birth of a child, and yet have failed to acknowledge God, confess our unworthiness and give thanks?
In the trials of life he speaks harshly, showing us the uncertainty of life and making us question what God thinks of us, and how we can stand before him. Is this happening in your life right now? Is God showing you that one day you must give an account to God, but you are not yet ready to meet him?
God Speaks Loudest in Jesus Christ
In the coming of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, he speaks most loudly of all, because the coming of Christ reveals God in the clearest terms we can comprehend, and what he reveals amazes us.
We see his power to still the storm; he is sovereign over all creation. We see his holiness in his hatred of sin as an offence to God and a destructive poison in the lives of men. We see his justice in exposing the hypocrisy of so many of the religious leaders around him and making plain that God takes sin seriously and will punish sin in hell. We see his compassion for men who in their lives wander like sheep without a Shepherd, and so he taught them. We see his goodness and kindness in caring for the broken and the needy, feeding the hungry and healing the sick.
He Speaks of Love, Grace and Mercy
Most wonderful of all, in his cross he speaks with a voice that echoes through eternity. What does he say? He speaks of love to enemies, grace for the undeserving and mercy for the needy.
Sin has made us guilty, damaged our lives and our relationships, and caused the whole world to be cursed. We see that curse all around us today, as this virus spreads, damaging lives and bringing death. But in the cross of Christ, love, grace and mercy win the victory. The cross shows us that God will inevitably punish sin - that is only just and right. But it also shows us that God has found a way to justly punish sin without punishing the sinner - the Son of God has become the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and “greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Here is love for those who do not love him, a love that is stronger than death.
And from the cross flow grace and mercy:
‒ we can be delivered from the punishment our sin deserves - that is mercy;
‒ and we can be blessed in ways we do not deserve - that is grace.
In the cross, the separation between God and man has been overcome. Christ was forsaken by the Father so that we can be brought back to God. As the veil of the temple that was torn in two from top to bottom illustrates - when sins are forgiven, we can draw near to God unafraid.
In the cross, the power of sin in our lives can be broken. All true Christians have new life by the Spirit of God. Sin is no longer their master, and they are free to love and serve the one who died for them.
In the cross, the uncertainty of day to day life has been removed. Rather than being without God and without hope in the world, we know that God has his hand on us for good. He will deliver us from evil, and when we are called to suffer, he will sustain us, even in the valley of the shadow of death.
In the cross, our eternal destiny has been secured. Christ has gone to prepare a place for us, and when the time comes to die, we need not be afraid. A gift of God’s grace to every believer is that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
He Calls us to Himself
In love, grace and mercy, he is speaking to us, and telling us that we need a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who can deliver us from our sins, and keep us safe in life and safe in death:
A man will be as a hiding place from the wind,
And a cover from the tempest,
As rivers of water in a dry place,
As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
How Should we Respond?
His voice calls us to repentance
God speaks loudly because we do not listen. We need to confess our failure to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and our neighbour as ourselves. We need to confess our failure to put him first, and the myriad ways we have lived for ourselves in disregard of God’s law. And we need to seek forgiveness for this and the grace to live a new life.
His voice calls us to faith
Love, grace and mercy are revealed in the cross of Christ. He calls us to believe in him so that he might be our Saviour; to trust in him alone for forgiveness with no other hope of acceptance before God other than his finished work on the cross. His blood can wash the foulest clean. Maybe now, for the first time, you realise that you need a Saviour. Listen to his voice, and come to Christ in faith. He will not turn you away.
His voice calls us to humble confidence
Are you a Christian? Is the Lord Jesus Christ your Saviour? Do you now that your sins are forgiven? Then trust the Lord in these difficult days. He has brought you to know himself, and he will never leave you nor forsake you. You are safe in his hands. We are not promised lives free from trouble. We live in the same cursed world as everyone else, but nothing will ever separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Trust his promise, even in these difficult days: his grace will be sufficient for you. We might be facing a situation we cannot understand:
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Mark Thomas, EMW General Secretary