God is not a State Farm Agent

Cross-posted at Vertcal

Many Christians love to recite verses from the Bible such as Romans 8:28. “God is on my side; it will all work out,” they say. “God is in control and working everything out for my good,” they will tell you. It almost sounds like God is a State Farm agent, ready to help out whenever trouble strikes.

But is that really what the Bible teaches? Just open it up and look at Romans. Paul’s thoughts don’t stop at verse 28. There are two more sentences that too many of us ignore. The Bible tells us that God is not just working things out for our good. No, God is working all things together so that His elect will be conformed to the image of Christ and attain eternal  salvation.

[28] And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called  according to his purpose. [29] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. [30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 ESV)

Paul is teaching us that God wants to do more than just help solve our earthly problems. He is conforming you into the image of His Son. In fact, there is no guarantee that God will solve your plight. Just ask John the Baptist (Luke 7:20-23). Does that discourage you? It shouldn’t.

Watch this clip with Matt Chandler.

The Good Shepherd

Cross-posted at Vertical

Brothers and Sisters, if you died tonight do you know for certain you will go to heaven?

Do you say, “I hope so!”?

Do you say, “No one can know”?

Do you say, “Yes, because I…”?

As a child I would have said, “Yes, because I am Catholic.” Today, my answer couldn’t be more different.

In the tenth chapter of John we meet Christ, the Good Shepherd. It is here that we can go to learn the answer to our question. It is here that we come face-to-face with God’s sovereign grace.

In answering the Jews questions, Christ gives us the answer we are looking for.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

(John 10:27-30 ESV)

Do you understand what Jesus is saying here?

We are His sheep (v 3-4) and He is our Good Shepherd (v 11). He is the door (v 9) by which we enter eternal peace with God. He lays down his life for His sheep (v 15). Christ is the one shepherd of one flock (v 16) and we are to follow Him. He gives us eternal life that begins in the here and now (v 10).

We are His sheep. All of His sheep hear his voice. None of His sheep will ever perish. Not one of His sheep will be lost. He joyfully receives His sheep from His Father. The sheep are held together in the hands of of Jesus and the Father. Jesus, the Father (and the Holy Spirit) are one in unison here.

If you died tonight, do you know for certain you will go to heaven? The sheep find rest in the answer. Yes, my Good Shepherd shed His blood to reconcile me, a sheep gone astray, to God the Father through his death and resurrection. I will be with my Shepherd for eternity!