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June 11, 2014 – Isaiah 43

Click here to read Isaiah 43 on BibleGateway.com

fire

Why is it we like to add to the Bible? A few years ago, one of the more common phrases you would hear in sermons was the idea that “you will never be happy until you get saved,” or something along the lines that when you get saved, then you will have few problems in life. This is an amusing take on the Christian life, since Jesus pretty much guaranteed “in this life, you will have troubles.”  Hard to see how those two ideas are compatible.

One of the biggest (and easiest) dangers of sharing Christ with others is modify the gospel into what we think the Bible “should” say.  We add in our own interpretations, because that’s what the Bible “really” means.  We all do it, and there’s probably no way to really get away from it altogether, but it’s vital that we present the Gospel as close to how it’s presented in the Bible as we can.  You doubt? Let’s consider two scenarios.

A-B

Suggesting that somehow getting saved is your ticket to a life of ease is not only laughingly unBiblical, it’s also harmful. Let’s imagine that you are a non-Christian, and some well-meaning believer tells you that once you get saved, God will remove all your problems. Sounds like a good deal, so you sign up. You walk the aisle, you say the prayer, you buy the study Bible, you join the choir. Six months later, you lose your job because you can’t work because you just got a diagnosis of Brazilian Inflammatory Disease, which your health insurance won’t cover. What now? Where is the problem-free life you were promised? Perhaps this Jesus isn’t who you thought. Perhaps all of it is a lie. Perhaps you were wrong to ever start down this road in the first place.  Maybe that friendly cult down the street is taking new admissions. Soon you’re eating only rice cakes and wearing a lime-green toga.

Now let’s look at what the Bible actually says. Isaiah 42 says “when” you pass through the waters, “when” you walk through the fire, “when” you pass through the rivers; no “ifs” in there. The troubles will come; no doubts, no exceptions, no maybes. But God says I Will Be With You. Yes, troubles will come. They always do in this fallen world; sometimes through our doing, sometimes we are completely innocent. Regardless, they come. But God will be with you. The fire will not consume you. You may have a singe here and there, you may have a smokey smell of a weekend barbecue gone wrong for a while, but you will come through it.

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That’s the promise God gives. To go through it with us. To suffer right along with us; to give us that peace that passes understanding in the midst of all the chaos of life. And why? Because “you are mine.” We are His. He has called you by name, out of the billions of people that are or have lived. He knows your name; He’s calling you.

When you understand what the Bible actually says, the problems that come in life will not rock your theology.  After all, why should it surprise you when troubles come, you were already expecting it.  Instead, you can rest in the trust you have that God is working through the troubles to bring about His will.

Take heart; He has overcome the world.

 

 

 

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