The Planks of the Faith: Remembering for Re-Membering, Part 11
Welcome all who have worked up a good appetite by running the good race this week!
It doesn’t take much effort for me to recall that when I was running up a storm year’s back. I could eat pretty much however much I wanted and burn all the calories I could take in.
You got it: The ‘ol “intake-output relationship” shifted dramatically when the nexus of my base rate of metabolism slowed (E.g., aging), and my running way too many miles… stopped (pretty much over night).
Now, today, I’m not a heavy-set guy by any stretch, but I weighed 35 pounds less when I had to stop “running the good race” on the roads and trails of life!
Some people say that my resemblance to a starving Biafran child at the time I was running an average of 60 miles per week wasn’t healthy. But, and here’s the point, I was absolutely “honed to run the good race”, as fit as one could be, and experienced sheer delight as I planned a great trail run in the Rockies with friends… and ran unencumbered… as far as we pleased.
Then a major paradigm shift in me occurred when I was born again: Marathoning of any kind is demanding, disciplined, and extremely rewarding, but the glories offered us by God as we have been “saved to serve” (a synonym for “running the good race”) are innumerable… will be reflected for eternity… offered us every day… in so many, many ways!
Running the good race requires a regular feast of the heart: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17—ESV).
A Most Worthy and Legitimate Dr. Phil Question of God: “How’s this workin’ for ya?”
It wasn’t until I plumbed the depths of suffering, began to write my book on the subject of suffering, and made it my business to dig deep into many people’s ideas and experiences of suffering, that I could understand how so many folks couldn’t believe in a God who would allow such a wide array of, and the never-ending depth of, suffering.
Unlike all other counterfeit gods, of any other of the approximately 2,500 world religions, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the Bible has not been left without an answer that we can put our complete trust in—as well as use for the purpose of our lives to help others believe as well:
Article 17: The Recovery of Fallen Man
“We believe that our good God, by His marvelous wisdom and goodness, seeing that man had plunged himself in this manner into both physical and spiritual death and made himself completely miserable, set out to find him (man), though man, trembling all over, was fleeing from Him (God).
And God comforted man, promising to give him his Son, “born of a woman,” (Gal. 4:4) “to crush the head of the serpent”, (Gen. 3:15) and to make him blessed.”
Article 18: The Incarnation
“So then we confess that God fulfilled the promise which He had made to the early fathers by the mouth of his holy prophets when He sent His only and eternal Son into the world at the time set by Him.
The Son took the “form of a servant” and was made in the “likeness of man,” (Phil. 2:7) truly assuming a real human nature, with all its weaknesses, except for sin; being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, without male participation.
And He not only assumed human nature as far as the body is concerned but also a real human soul, in order that He might be a real human being. For since the soul had been lost as well as the body He had to assume them both to save them both together.
Therefore we confess, against the heresy of anyone who denies that Christ assumed human flesh from his mother, that He “shared the very flesh and blood of children”; (Heb. 2:14) that He is “fruit of the loins of David” according to the flesh; (Acts 2:30) “born of the seed of David” according to the flesh; (Rom. 1:3) “fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary”; (Luke 1:42) “born of a woman”; (Gal. 4:4) “the seed of David”; (2 Tim. 2:8) “a shoot from the root of Jesse”; (Rom. 15:12) “the offspring of Judah,” (Heb. 7:14) having descended from the Jews according to the flesh; “from the seed of Abraham”—for He “assumed Abraham’s seed” and was “made like His brothers except for sin.” (Heb. 2:1; 4:15)
In this way He is truly our Immanuel– that is: “God with us.” (Matt. 1:2) (Article 17, 18, The Belgic Confession of Faith, 1561—emphasis added)
Please consider anchoring a summary of the Gospel (The Good News of God’s plan of salvation and restoration) in your heart, your emotions, and your will in word and in deed to be a witness to the truth of it… in some way, shape, or form… to everyone God providentially places in your path… every day:
1. The fact of sin. Romans 3:10,23; James 4:17; Galatians 3:10; James 2:10.
2. The penalty of sin. Romans 5:12; Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:20.
3. The penalty must be paid. Hebrews 9:27; Hebrews 2:2,3, 9:22; Romans 2:12.
4. The penalty was paid by Christ. Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18; Isaiah 53:5-6.
5. Salvation is a free gift. Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5; John 3:16.
6. We must accept. Revelation 3:20; John 1:12; John 6:37; 1 John 5:11- 12.
Can’t wait to see you back at the Training Table next week, Beloved of God! Stay fit. Each person you come into contact with “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8) is a divine appointment. The time is short and eternity lasts forever.