Jesus came not to effect a moral reformation but a mortal resurrection

“I was reminded once again that Jesus came not to effect a moral reformation but a mortal resurrection (moral reformations can, and have, taken place throughout history without Jesus. But only Jesus can raise the dead, over and over and over again).”

-Tullian Tchividjian, read more here.

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Sin exploits our empty places

“On the most basic of levels, I desire fullness, and fleshly lusts seduce me by attaching themselves to this basic desire. They exploit the empty spaces in me, and they promise that fullness will be mine if I give in to their demands. When my soul sits empty and is aching for something to fill it, such deceptive promises are extremely difficult to resist. Consequently, the key to mortifying fleshly lusts is to eliminate the emptiness within me and replace it with fullness; and I accomplish this by feasting on the gospel . . . As I perpetually feast on Christ and all of His blessings found in the gospel, I find that my hunger for sin diminishes and the lies of lust simply lose their appeal. Hence, to the degree that I am full, I am free.”

Hedges, Brian G. (2010). Christ Formed in You (Kindle Locations 3189-3194). Shepherd Press. Kindle Edition.

Your plan or His

““Ah, stubborn children,” declares the LORD, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation. For though his officials are at Zoan and his envoys reach Hanes, everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.”” (Isaiah 30:1–5 ESV)

Judah sought protection from Assyria by entering into a pact with Egypt for protection.  But God had promised to protect them.  They were a stubborn people who carried out their plans that was not His and they they had not sought His wisdom or insight on.  They made an alliance for protection that was not fueled by the Spirit – all the while, true protection was found in yielding to God and casting their cares upon Him.  When we make our own plans and execute our own agendas, the ultimate result is always disgrace and failure – there is a way that seems right to us (and may go well for a time), but in the end it always unravels.  When we reject God’s plans and do not earnestly consult Him for wisdom and direction then we are really rejecting God then judgement and one sin following another happens.  Let us never abandon a practical trust in the living God and seek His will and way in our lives, let us not lean on our own understanding or press our own agendas.

Religious motions or real worship?

“So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”” (Matthew 15:6–9 ESV)

Have we made our own traditions and religious preferences on par with the doctrines taught in the scriptures?  This is the same thing that the religious elite did in the first century.  Are we going through the motions externally, but worship is absent?  It is easy to look good on the outside by our mechanical obedience to a list of dos and don’ts, but God is after our hearts!

Our blind, small desire

“my biggest problem is not that I desire to be happy when I ought to be more concerned about doing my duty. This is not Jesus’ diagnosis of human need. My biggest problem is my blindness to the source of true joy. I need opened eyes and a renewed heart so that I will desire what is truly satisfying! ”
“The greatest hindrance to our deep transformation and spiritual growth is the smallness of our desire. We trifle with the “mud pies” of lust and greed, when we could enjoy a “holiday at the sea” or, to use biblical language, “pleasures at God’s right hand forevermore” (Ps. 16:11). We are content to play with Monopoly money when we could have eternal treasure. We desperately try to drink from broken cisterns, while neglecting the Fountain of Living Waters (Jer. 2:11–13). “

-Hedges, Brian G. (2010). Christ Formed in You (Kindle Locations 3113-3116; 3125-3129). Shepherd Press. Kindle Edition.

Perfect peace

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:3–4 ESV)

Perfect peace is supplied to those whose minds are “stayed” on God and TRUST in Him alone!  He is an unmovable Rock.  What are we trusting in?  Our own self salvation or the eternal God that reigns on high?  God will humble those who trust in their own self sufficiency.  “For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.” (Isaiah 26:5 ESV)  Trust in God!

Redmeption is coming!

“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill. And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim, but the LORD will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill of his hands. And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down, lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.” (Isaiah 25:6–12 ESV)

In contrast to the world’s party that is portrayed in 24:7-11, God reveals a picture of His bounty and grace.  It is marked by people from all nations who will feast on spectacular food and perfectly aged wine (verse 6).  Death will be swallowed up, God will wipe away the tears of sorrow and suffering and He will dwell with His people – they will never again feel abandoned or alone (verses 7-8).  God will humble human pride.  The hope that His people had about being identified by Him is now a reality, they experience that they are His!  Salvation will prove to be worth the wait as He makes all things new, He will renew the earth, society and culture – we will set them right, the way that they were intended to be (verse 9). The powerful hand of God will squash all opposition to Him; He will reveal the uselessness of self-salvation and human pride (verses 10-12).  This is the enduring hope that our faith offers to us, there is coming a day when God will restore all things, judge evil, redeem His chosen people, and set up a kingdom where there is no oppression, pain or strife.  The harmonious rhythm of the Garden will return and this time we will have redeemed hearts that will worship instead of rebel.