Lord's Day Liturgy

No Other Bride for Christ

While studying Genesis 29 I was encouraged by the thought that God is nothing like Laban. We will not wake up one morning in heaven (if we sleep at all) to find that we’ve been tricked. God promised us Christ, and that is who He’ll give us. How can we know?

Unlike Laban God does not make us work for our relationship. Salvation is not a wage we’ve earned. We couldn’t earn it in seven years or seven thousand years. He is not seeking to employ us for His advantage, though He does call us to work. We work in joy because He adopted us, not because He hired us or because we must justify our position with Him.

Unlike Laban God will not switch the prize, and we know that because God already gave the prize for us. All our treasures are in Christ (Colossians 2:3), and Christ already came and died and rose again for those the Father gave Him. He will be given to us because He has been given for us.

Of course we are actually the Bride in the illustration, so we are also like Rachel, not just Jacob. God will not put another bride in front of us, either to be equal to us or to replace us. “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or writing or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27). There is no other Bride for Christ.

It is good to be reminded that God is true, His Son is true, His Spirit is true, His Word is trustworthy and unfailing. The bread and wine of communion represent our Beloved, and we cannot be separated from Him. That is worth celebrating every week.

Lord's Day Liturgy

The Goodness of God’s Discipline

None of us have endured the sort of hostility that Christ endured, not even one. He is an example par excellence that we “may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:3). Keep running the race. He did, so we should.

Hostility and difficulty prove the grace we’ve received; joyful responses are not natural but supernatural. Struggles also train us to grow up in Christ. The author of Hebrews has a lot to say about this training and, in particular, about the goodness of God’s discipline.

God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7)

A son left to his own, says Solomon, is hated (Proverbs 13:24). A loved son is a corrected son.

We have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not must more be subject to the Father of Spirits and live? (Hebrews 12:9)

God the Father knows best. Really. He knows where we need to be in life and how to help us get there.

He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)

He’s imparting His own nature, sharing it with us.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

God does not deny that there are painful parts. Sometimes learning and growing hurts. But He does tells why He’s doing it.

He loves us as His children. He sent His Son to die for us. Because Jesus died for us, He will correct us and consecrate us for His family. For Christians, discipline is a feature, not a bug.

Bring Them Up

Fiction as a Political Weapon

The second Raggant Fiction Festival is less than two weeks away. This year’s theme is: Fiction as a Political Weapon

I get to lead off the day comparing two dystopian imaginations, That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis and 1984 by George Orwell. There’s a new children’s track this year for kids ages 3-10. I wrote a short story that I’m going to read for them in the afternoon. Check out the festival page for the full schedule and titles of the talks. Registration closes next Monday.