When your nation asks you to give it the honor and allegiance due to God alone, confess, “Jesus is Lord.” When your pride tells you to do what you want or stand up for what you think is your right, confess, “Jesus is Lord.” If you are a Christian, you are a citizen of heaven. You are called to die to yourself every day. Whether that means submitting to a law that galls your pride or being burned alive as lights for Nero’s gardens. Jesus is Lord
The goal of the Christian life, salvation itself, is, apparently, a participation in the life of the Trinity. This may well be the greatest mystery in Christianity; perhaps it is, for in it is bound up the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation. But, what can it possibly mean that human beings, mere creatures, are called and given to share in the very life of the Triune Godhead? How can this even be? “Or do you not know that those of us who were baptized, were baptized into His death? For we died with Christ through baptism into death in order that by the power of God the Father, who raised Christ from the dead, we too might walk in newness of life… For, if we have become partakers of His death, we will also be partakers of His resurrection.” “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” “For we are the members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.”
He felt our sin in all its magnitude, horror, and depth of evil so that He could forgive – really forgive – us. He suffered all the hurt and evil of our sin, and so forgave us. That is why we forgive: because God has forgiven us so much more.
Sometimes, people wonder whether faith comes before regeneration or the other way around. Other times, people trust in and look to faith, or what they think is faith, instead of God. I believe that all these issues (and maybe more besides) stem from a misunderstanding of what faith is. “Now, faith is the confidence of things not seen and the assurance of things hoped for.” That’s from Hebrews. In 2nd Corinthians, Paul writes, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen, for what is seen is passing away, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Meanwhile, on earth, faith is our seeing of God, faith is our living on God. Faith is walking in the Spirit, instead of in the flesh. The vision is eternal life; seeing it is faith. For now.
For most things, clarification and disentangling of different meanings present in a word is helpful. I believe that by ISIS we generally mean two things at the same time which together form one thing; namely a group of people who do certain types of despicable things. Firstly, we mean the actions of ISIS... For the most part we are not stupid enough to think that God can not accomplish His will, but we are not concerned with God's will; we are concerned about our will. Fortunately, for the most part we are not stupid enough to expect God to accomplish our will, but if we are we not only get angry when things don't go our way, we get angry with God and feel He has let us down... We have our will, and we want to be a little god to defend our will and punish those who threaten or destroy it... What if we concerned ourselves with things that will last, with the things of God? What if we set our hearts on eternal things, things which can not be taken from us? What if what was important to us was not our life and how we live it, or those of our loved ones, but the eternal life we have in Christ Jesus, and living our lives to the glory of His name?... Even if we don't cling to Him, He will keep us. He is Almighty God; ISIS can neither take us from Him nor Him from us. Even if they kill those we love before our eyes, even if they slowly torture us to death, they can neither take us away from Him, nor Him away from us... Neither our sins nor those of the people who form ISIS can separate us from God's love, or thwart a single one of God's plans.
Yes, Lord, whom shall we envy? You have given us all the real good there is, Your very self, that we shall see Christ just as He is - look upon Your face in righteousness - and that we shall be like Him, be conformed to His image - be satisfied with Your likeness when we awake. Yes, to live is Christ, to die is gain. There is no good anywhere but You, for You are the only good, a good more real than the ground upon which we stand or the air we breathe.