Who Cannot Lie...

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Titus 1:1-3
"Paul, a bondservant of God and an aposlte of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords witih godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior..."

Hebrews 6:9-19
"But beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

"For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one grater, He swore by Himself, saying, 'Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.' And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.

"Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enteres the Presence behind the veil..."

On Saturday, I had an encounter with God who is not in a box. I found Him in Applebee's, of all places, when I was sitting by myself with no one to talk to while I waited for my order of french fries and buffalo chicken strips. For lack of anything else to do (isn't that sad?), I pulled out my Bible and tried to pray about where I should begin. Titus had been coming to mind for a while, so I started there.

And got stopped in the middle of verse two as I read the words, "God, who cannot lie." In context or out of context, that is a huge claim. Especially for someone that I've had so much trouble trusting.

It was a big beginning.

I called Pete to tell him about my discovery, not quite sure what to do with it, and he had been reading in Hebrews 6 that weekend and shared with me a furtherance of the concept I'd found in Titus. The passage above stunned me. I've been longing for a hope. I've wanted to persevere and not to fall away. So God began with an encouragement for me that made me cry.

"I am not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward My name in that you have ministered to My people, and do minister even now," was the sound my heart heard.

After swallowing another astounding concept, "God is not unjust," I read on to find that not only could God not lie, He had affirmed His own truthfulness with an oath by Himself, who cannot change either.

It's interesting to consider that both concepts, while true, take faith to believe.

And then God moved on to the hope He was talking about. He swore by TWO immutable, unchangeable, unchallengeable truths so that He could give me a strong consolation, an anchor for my soul, a refuge and a sure and steadfast hope that I could run to Him because of the One who had gone before me behind the veil.

I grow tired sometimes of everyone talking about how Jesus is our only hope. I know that He is, but the depth often seems missing. There seems to be no understanding of what He accomplished for us.

Yet when I am weak, weary, and feeling far from the Lord, when I am unable to talk to Him and afraid to speak His name, and confused and frustrated and He feels so far away, I can find a hope in a God who is always true, and who made a promise He would never renege on in the deposit He made in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and ultimately in the oath He took by Himself, our Savior and Holy God who dwells in majesty as He reigns on high, far above the boxes and theological philosophies of men.

He gave me a passage in Lamentations this week too. As Jeremiah speaks of the temple offerings every morning that renewed mercy from the Lord, his broken, weary soul found hope. How much more now has His mercy offered me the opportunity to see my mourning turned to gladness, and my sadness into joy?

Even when I lose faith and cannot trust, He is faithful, and He is able to keep me from falling. He cannot, after all, deny Himself.


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