Going Deeper 3/21/2019

The second reading for Lent 3...
1 Corinthians 10:1-13   I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.  Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.  Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play."  We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.  We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.  And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.  These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.  So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.  No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Our encounters with God are to change the direction of our lives.  That is one of the consistent messages of the Bible.  Remember, God does not love us once we have changed, but He loves us so that we can change.  This change-- what we call transformation-- must happen.  Our text makes this clear.  Israel's consistent rebellion after God's dramatic and powerful rescue of them from abusive slavery at the hands of their enemies eventually led to their demise.

The hard truth is that if change doesn't happen, then our encounter(s) with God may not be legit!

This is very dangerous theological ground here.  This can become a slippery slope in two ways.  One, we can fall into thinking that we are saved by our works after all, that our salvation is based on what we do when all is said and done.  No!  Good works which give evidence to our transformation are to be done in response to salvation, not in order to be saved.

A second way we might slide down a slippery slope here is if it leads us into despair.  Our failures can be so frustratingly consistent we conclude that God must surely have given up on us by now.  No!  Our transformation will never be complete on this side of the grave.  While growth is important, struggle will be a constant reality, and therefore our need for grace will continue until our final breath.  Just keep struggling!!

Here is the bottom line: LOVE!  With a repentant heart and spirit open yourself up to receive the gracious love and mercy of your Abba Father every day.  Experience His embrace of abundant grace.  Grow in love.  This will lead to a legitimate transformation, to a love that casts out fear, to a life lived in gratitude and peace. 

With You on the Journey,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."