Friday, December 21, 2012

Another Day Extended to this Sinful World

Genesis 15:5 (ESV)
And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
If I were to give into the temptation to hypothesize about the end of the world and the second coming of Christ, this is where I would start. This promise that God made to Abraham. When it is fulfilled, the world will end. Or as it is later reiterated with God speaking to Jeremiah and to the rest of us: “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me." (Jeremiah 33:22 (ESV)
This overrides everything in my book. Want to know why you woke up in this sin ridden world this morning, where church bells ring not with the glad joy of Christmas but in the remembrance of the kids who reenacted the slaughter of the innocents last week? This is why. God still means to follow through on his promise to Abraham, the promise that Abraham’s offspring would be as numerous as the stars of the heavens, and numerous as the sands of the sea, because God loved Abraham who believed in him whose faith was counted as righteousness. Why? Because it is God’s desire to see the wicked repent and live. It is God’s desire that no one should perish though they die. It is God’s desire for you to repent and believe. It is God’s desire that we all become offspring of Abraham. “And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:29 (ESV)
The problem with this approach though is the stars have yet to be numbered. From what I understand we still find new ones. And then there is the problem that we do not know how many have become Children of Abraham, who have joined the family of faith in Jesus Christ. We do not know. Neither will we know the day or the hour when God’s love and patience will run out with this world full of sin, where flesh like grass is mowed down in countless atrocities, and the flowers of the field are crushed even before they have a chance to bloom, when he will finally put an end to the evil. We can’t be angry with a God incensed enough with a world like this to end it. But perhaps we can also be grateful for a God who patiently loves the world despite its sin, loves it enough to pay for its sins with his own blood, to die on the cross for those who hate and despise him. Perhaps we can be grateful for this God who is patient with this world, so that in fulfilling the promise to Abraham, he extends another day that those you love can hear of Christ’s death and resurrection, that your son or daughter who have abandoned the faith might be extended another opportunity to believe, that your friends who have never been to church would be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, that relatives embittered toward God would know that God is not embittered toward them, but reconciled to them in Christ. Yes another day extended to this sinful world whose end the world waits for with more gleeful expectation than a five year old does for the joy of Christmas, another day extended that others would help God fulfill this promise and become offspring of Abraham.

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