Lesson 1 -- fourth quarter 2002
September 1, 2002
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
Faith of our fathers
I appreciate the rich heritage of faith and practice left to me by my Christian and Anabaptist forefathers. I want to follow in their steps. I want their faith and commitment to be mine. I want their zeal to drive me. And I want to pass along to others that faith, practice, commitment, and zeal.
In following the faith of our fathers, though, we must avoid their failures and shortcomings. We cannot allow our appreciation for them to obscure the reality that as men they were just as prone to error as we. That means we take their faith and practice as a starting point, not as the finish line. I believe God expects us to humbly build on the faith of our fathers, improving on it where it failed to reach the will of God.
Does this mean we scour the teaching and practice that have been handed down to us, searching for the errors that "surely" exist? No! You see, such an approach turns our focus away from where it ought to be. Let's keep our focus on the Bible, God's holy Word. Let's determine to know God, His Word, and His ways. As we follow through on this kind of focus and commitment, God Himself will show us when and where the faith of our fathers needs improving and maturing in our own lives. May we be at least as noble as the Christians in Berea, who took the teaching given to them and "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
How will God respond to me?
We all respond to people, and our responses are likely never the same from one person to the next. Frequently, our response to an individual is based on that individual -- how he comes across to us, what we know about him, what we have heard, how well we know him, and so forth.
I find it interesting to consider that God responds to me, and that His response is determined at least in part by me. Our current Scripture passage gives us some factors that allow us to know how God will respond to us.
"Turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you" (2 Chronicles 30:6). God turns to those who turn to Him. When I discover that He is distant, the solution lies with me. When I turn and start walking back toward Him, He will joyfully come meet me!
"They trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation" (2 Chronicles 30:7). God allows failure and destruction to overtake and overcome those who deal unfaithfully or treacherously against Him and His ways. Again, the solution lies with me. When I find myself in such a state, God calls me to become a faithful servant once again, living in obedience and submission to His Word and Spirit.
"Serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you" (2 Chronicles 30:8). God pours His wrath and vengeance on those who refuse submission and holiness. He lovingly calls us to a broken heart and a holy life of service yielded to Him. When we respond, we become the special objects of His love and grace instead of His wrath and judgment.
"The LORD your God . . . will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him." (2 Chronicles 30:9). My friend, if you have deliberately or careless turned away from God, His face is turned from you. Please, return!
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