The Sinners Prayer

I think in some ways we get this wrong, and it confuses not just new believers but also those who’ve believed in Christ for much longer.
The sinners prayer.  It goes like this –
Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.

I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.

You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.

Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life. AMEN.

This is a great prayer for asking Jesus Christ into your heart, for asking His forgiveness and acknowledging his power, love, and grace.  It outwardly proclaims that in my HEART I believe Jesus was raised from the dead.  And really, all of Christianity rests on that point – the resurrection of Christ.  Paul  directly tells us in one of his epistles that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, we are to be pitied above all people, because if He did not, our belief is in nothing.

But really, the question I have today, what’s on my mind, is..is that all?  We say a prayer like the one above asking Jesus into our hearts and lives, maybe get baptized, and that’s it.  We go to heaven.  I know that is what is believed.  But – if I say this prayer today, check that box, and tomorrow I go out and just live as I had every day before saying that prayer – am I saved?  If I proclaim that Jesus is Lord of my life, that He was indeed raised from the dead, but go forward as if he hadn’t, did I really believe in my heart what I said with my mouth?   Or did I simply check a box, complete a to-do list?

Think about something Jesus said – “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”   Matthew 10:32-33  One of the scariest verses in the bible. Don’t forget that all the disciples (except John) followed in Jesus footsteps all the way to execution.  Peter insisted on being crucified upside down because he counted himself unworthy of dying as Jesus had.  Why did these men die proclaiming the name of Jesus?  Because they believed in their hearts that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  That confirmed He was the son of God, that all the things  He had said with them and to them were the truth.  So, they were going to do as He told them.  And they certainly were not going to deny Him in front of men.  Even if it meant their life.

“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew‬ ‭24:11-14‬ ‭.  “The one who endures to the end will be saved.”  This is ongoing, not one and done.  Jesus told us over and over hard times will come, be prepared to endure suffering.  Do you think lawlessness has increased?  Do you think we have false prophets among us?   Has the love of many grown cold?  Our walk with Christ requires perseverance to the end.

The apostle Paul, who wrote Romans 10:9, upon which we base our sinners prayers, told us – “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” Philippians‬ ‭2:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  We don’t work FOR our salvation, we work it out.  The sinners prayer IS where we start.  It is where we accept Christ into our hearts and declare our belief.  It is our entrance into the family.  But, is it just a beginning, or is it the end?  If we believe in our HEARTS that Jesus was raised from the dead, proving He was the son of God, it will simply be the beginning of our walk of faith.  What does your heart believe?



“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””

 

‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:8-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/rom.10.8-13.esv

John Lewis

Jesus IS Lord!!

 

One of the beloved parts of the bible, where the simplicity of our salvation is set before us.  Paul contrasts the simplicity of our salvation with the impossibility that existed in trying to perfectly follow the law of Moses.
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.   Many to this day are trying save themselves by living by the law.  But try as they might, even they are human, and fall short.  So they try to justify themselves, comparing themselves against the world around them, and devise their own “system” that says ‘I’m a good person, I do a little more good than I do bad, that’s all anyone can do.  Besides, I’m better than those people over there…”  
But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).   Who will go up into heaven to bring Christ down??  Who will go into Hell to raise Him (and us)?  No one, that’s who.  We can’t go up into heaven or down into hell to fix our relationship with God – we are where we are.  We are born into this planet, this is where we live out our faith and commission.  But here’s the point – But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim).  The word, the salvation of God, is near us and with us.  It is accessible to us, especially so since the Holy Spirit has been sent to us and written into our hearts – “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah‬ ‭31:33‬ ‭ESV.   So, this is not impossible.  It is right here, and simply requires a heart-made decision – if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.   As always with Jesus, it’s all about the heart.  This is exactly where many people are tripped up.  So many people live the way they want, refusing to participate with Gods plans in this world.  They don’t go to church, read their bibles (if they have one), and they aren’t generous, either with their time or their money.  And they justify themselves very simply – “God knows my heart.”  What they don’t know is that they are right, God knows their heart – and that’s their problem!!   “”If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” ‭‭John‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭ESV‬.   What are his commandments?  “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew‬ ‭22:37-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬.
Simple enough.  He does know your heart.  If you don’t even go to church on Sunday, how can you begin to say you are following that first commandment?  If you’re not generous with time or money, how are you following the second?  Your heart indeed.
“For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:5-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/rom.10.5-13.esv

John Lewis

Seeing is Believing

Poor Thomas.  After being with Jesus and the rest of His disciples from the beginning, he misses this!!  After following Jesus for 3 solid years of his life, being there for miracles, being there for the confrontations with Pharisees and other religious leaders, and ultimately being there when Jesus was betrayed, captured, tried, and executed, he misses the resurrected Christ showing Himself to the disciples!  Where was he??   We have no idea.  Maybe he was hungry.  Maybe he went to see his family and let them know that he was ok.  Regardless, after seeing so much with Jesus, this is what he missed – “Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”  Seriously, he left for probably a short time, comes back, and all his friends are telling him Jesus just showed up!  The same Jesus he had seen be beaten nearly to death, then nailed to a cross to finish the job.  The same Jesus that Joseph of Arimathea had taken down from the cross and put in his own grave.  Yes, his body is gone, and Jesus had told them He would be returning to them, but for Thomas, this was his point of disbelief.  But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”   There is no way he’s believing that the risen Christ had just been standing there with his friends.  Look at his strong declaration here – unless I see all these things…I will NEVER believe.  His mind was made up.  He had hit his own point of disbelief.  Even though it was widely accepted by the Jews that there was to be a resurrection, he simply could not believe a dead man was up and walking around.  Do you have a point where you say “I just can’t believe that.”  What is it?  What are you waiting on in order to believe?

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.  Here, despite his unbelief, we see something Thomas gets very right.  It is eight days after he declares his own unbelief, but where is he?  He’s still right there with his friends, the rest of Jesus’ disciples.  When we go through our periods of questioning and doubt, it is important to stay plugged in to other believers to get us through, to continue to walk with us.  I had a conversation over the weekend, and it came up – “Why does it have to be 2 or more gathered for God to be there?  I think he’s there with me wherever I am.” Which is true enough, but what we sometimes don’t understand is that God almost always works through people.  He works through other people to get us through challenges, he wants to work through us to help even more people.  When it came time to reveal his ultimate plan of salvation, God even came down to earth to work through the man, Jesus of Nazareth, right?  He didn’t just send down a lightning bolt to burn up those who weren’t working with Him.  He came to us as a man, to work through Him, to choose his disciples and apostles, work in His own earthly ministry, and ultimately die on the cross to fulfill all the law and prophecy which came before.  And through those disciples and apostles, His word and story are still told, person by person.   
Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”   Thomas, here is your proof!  Now…believe!!  

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  So…Thomas does not actually check the hands and side.  But, seeing is believing, right?  Again, what are your doubts?  What is it you are waiting to to see?  Today, we are on a scientific quest.  We make new “discoveries” all the time.  Our technology is moving generations in matters of months.  But…we are simply not as smart as we think we are.  Johann Kepler, the famous astronomer and scientist, said “science is simply thinking Gods thoughts after him.”  We are discovering NOTHING God did not put here.  We are figuring out NOTHING He does not know.  As we make more and more discoveries, trying to prove He does not exist, but instead being pointed back to the fact that He HAS to exist, we need to grasp what Jesus says here – Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””
‭‭John‬ ‭20:24-29‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/jhn.20.24-29.esv

 

John Lewis

They Just Don’t Get It…

 
 
 
 
Quite a contrast here, between Jesus and his disciples.  Jesus tells his disciples of the pain and suffering he’s going to Jerusalem to endure…”“Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”.  The insensitive jerks he has himself surrounded with (aka tge disciples) are thinking about what’s in it for them.  “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.” “What is your request?” he asked. They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.””  He’s talking about pain and suffering…they are talking about status!!  
 “When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant.” I think we usually read this to mean they were upset over the fact that those two were selfish enough to be thinking that way.  I think they were ticked off because James and John beat them to it!!  These guys are all just like us, all full of themselves and worrying about their own glory.  That can either be depressing or encouraging.  I say encouraging.  Even Jesus closest followers weren’t what we would call the best of the best.  They were just regular people like you and me.  Even as they’ve been following Jesus through his whole ministry, seeing all they’ve seen and hearing all of his teaching, they (WE) still don’t get it!!  
“You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.”   What Jesus knows that they don’t know here is the future to come – That all of his disciples will indeed suffer on his behalf after he goes to be with the father.  They will drink from his cup of suffering, which probably explains his patience with as they remain worldly in so much of their thinking. 

 “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.Like Jesus tells his disciples here, if we want to be true followers of Him, we must be servants of those around us.  Just as he did not come to be served but to serve….so we must also serve.


They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.” Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.” “What is your request?” he asked. They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.””

‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:32-45‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/mrk.10.32-45.nlt

Sent from my iPad

Glorifying Who??

 
We know we are called to give and be generous, but here is a warning from Jesus himself against giving with the intention of glorifying yourself.  As usual, He is interested in our hearts, our motivation.  Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.     We are not to make a show of being generous.  We are not giving in order to earn our way into heaven.  We are not trying to earn our salvation.  That is a gift freely given.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  But – we are to give.  Because, if we are truly walking in Christ, how can we not?  We must simply remember that as we are not giving to earn salvation, we are also not giving to earn that pat on the back from men either.  We don’t give in order to show our neighbors how great we are.   We give because we simply love God and we love our neighbors.  It’s all about motivation.  You can give without loving, but you can not love without giving.


““Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/mat.6.1-4.esv

 

John Lewis

Deceptive words

   

The word of God through Jeremiah the prophet.  The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord.  Notice what Jeremiah is told specifically to do.  He is told to stand in the gate of the Lords house, and give this message directly to Gods people.  This message is specifically for those who are active in the worship of the Lord, who consider themselves to be people of God.  In other words, church people.

So what does God want Jeremiah to say to his church people?  Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’   God wants to tell US to stop hiding our own sins behind those church doors every Sunday.  Going to church on Sunday does not give us the right to point and condemn the rest of the world.  As Jesus would put it much later – “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  We think we are getting it right by Christ when we say “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”  But you know what??  Even in this attitude, while we are reminding ourselves of the call to love the world around us, we are still self-righteously patting ourselves on the back, congratulating ourselves for having it so “right.”  I say, “Love the sinner, hate your own sin.”  Big difference.  Or maybe not, after all, I’m still a dirty rotten scoundrel anyway.  In loving the sinner, I need to just start with myself, if I can’t do that then my neighbor doesn’t want me to love him like I love myself anyway.   
 
“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.   Now there’s a kick to the gut, isn’t it?  However many years ago (2800 or so, if I’m right) this was written, it still reads true today.  Theft, murder, adultery, false witness, IDOLATRY.  Most of us will never literally commit murder, but every other thing on this short list from the Ten Commandments are simply commonplace today.  Some of them are almost expected of us.  I capitalized idolatry because that is one that most people think they are good with, but is probably our most epic fail.  We worship so many things over God today.  Maybe I’m wrong, and most of us know we get this wrong.  After all, we even name our TV shows things like “American Idol.” And we do idolize as Gods those who have a talent for entertainment, don’t we?  We idolize the TV itself, for millions of people that is their God, hour after hour.  Cars, homes, careers, clothes, so many things.  Probably most of all, we simply idolize ourselves.  Even when we do go to church regularly, even that is all about ourselves.  If we don’t like the music, if we don’t like the message, if we don’t like what the pastor has to say about the offering, anything that is not just as we think it should be, we are likely to leave irritated.  When we feel this way, it’s a good time we are putting ourselves ahead of our God.

The 4th commandment tells us – ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”  We usually think this refers simply to curse words.  But really, if we are gathering in church on Sunday, pointing our fingers at the world around us in judgement, isn’t that taking His name in vain?   We are called to share His message of salvation with a hungry world around us.   If that world sees wagging fingers intimidating hungry people from coming through our doors, instead of open arms welcoming them in, is that not the worst kind of taking His name in vain?   What does that do for the temple of the Lord??

 
 
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord. Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these things, declares the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭7:1-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/jer.7.1-15.esv
 
 
 

John Lewis

There’s Something about Job

 
I’m back in the book of Job.  I am fascinated by Job.  There is something about Job, and something to this story.  What is it?   Ponder this for a moment – do you think God let Satan attack his servant Job without knowing the result.  Do you think God allowed this test to happen without knowing that Job would pass the test, and the “the satan” would be proven wrong?  We know that Job has much to teach us about our own pain and suffering.   Job has much to teach us about our ability and tendency to hurl blame and accusation.  But the book of Job is also very troubling for us.  Why would a kind, just, LOVING God allow allow such awful things to come upon the most loyal and faithful servant of his day?  We read this book and wonder who, exactly, is the God who would unleash “the satan” to so completely take a mans health, wealth, and children??   Do we even want to serve such a God?
Maybe a better question to ask is, just WHO is Job?  Job was the wealthiest and most powerful man of his time.  Job 1:1 tells us “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭ESV.  God himself tells us …“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”” ‭‭Job‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬.   We should remember this throughout the book as we begin to play our blame game, to create reasons for ourselves at to why this could happen to Job and not us.  God himself says he is blameless and upright.  Why do we spend this entire book trying to prove otherwise?  Even after “the satan” takes his wealth and children from him, God tells us – “And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”” ‭‭Job‬ ‭2:3‬ ESV.   God tells us Job remained blameless and upright though he lost all most of us live for.   Again, who are we to argue?
So now God allows “the satan” to take it one step farther, and take Job’s health as well!!  Seriously – what’s up with that??!!  Why does God allow this to happen?  Why does God just blatantly give “the satan” PERMISSION to attack Job for no reason?  Because He does have a reason.  HE knows who Job is.  He knows Job will not fail the tests “the satan” has for him.  Notice here that God still has full control.  He explicitly gives “the satan” permission to do all he does.  This is not Him working these out after the fact for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  This is God intentionally planning beforehand knowing what the outcome would be.  God has a purpose in this, and that purpose is to give us this example in our bible to show us that we all will have to endure pain and suffering at some points in our life.   Job endures so much here that his own wife tells him –  “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”   Things were so bad his own wife is tempting him to just commit suicide!!  But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.  In all this Job did not sin with his lips.  Yet we spend this entire book looking for ways to blame Job for what happens.  We see up front that God allowed Satan purposefully to attack Job, precisely BECAUSE he was blameless and upright.  Why do we spend our lives trying to concoct schemes to figure out ways to be better than Job, so none of these things happen to us?   Why do we think we can be better than Job?  

I think maybe we look at this book in the wrong way.  We wonder why God would allow so much bad to happen to Job.  We invent all sorts of reasons why it happened to Job, and more ways to be sure it won’t happen to us.  Because we want to be in control.  If Job shows us nothing else, it is that our lives are completely unmanageable.  We are NOT in control, ever.
So, just who is Job, really?  We believe that these events are a history, that there was a man named Job who lived through these trials.  But, WHO was Job, that God KNEW he could allow all these tests, trials and accusations to be heaped upon him, and he would not fail?  I don’t really know, but clearly there is SOMETHING about Job.


“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭2:1-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/job.2.1-10.esv

 

John Lewis