Friday, July 24, 2015

A Nation of Never-Ending Favor

A friend recently told me that her church leaders were saying that America was in danger of losing “God’s hand of protection” because, as a nation, we are not upholding His commands.  Presumably, our government’s position and action on abortion, immigration, gay marriage and the like is in danger of causing our otherwise beneficent and gracious God to throw up His hands and say, “I can’t help you.  In fact, I am against you.”  Whoa.  What trouble that would be.

Frankly, I don’t see God as having a hand of protection that can be moved or removed by a worldly defined, boundary drawn nation of people who earn or lose His favor by the behavior of everyone within it.  That might have been true for the vagabond nation of Israel and the Jewish people during the first covenant, but that covenant was for them alone and it’s over now.   It’s finished.  It’s all done.  Further, those of us who are Gentile (and that likely includes you) were never part of that (See Ephesians 2:11-12).  Now there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female—only sons and daughters of God (See Galatians 3:28-29). 

In Christ, we have how many things?  We have all things, every perfect gift and every aspect of His favor.  We have become His heirs (See Ephesians 1:3-13), and that cannot be reversed, making us “un-heirs.”  Our inheritance can never perish (it’s not going away), our inheritance can never spoil (there will never be any rot threatening it), and our inheritance can never fade (it will never lose any of it’s luster), and our inheritance is kept for us—it is preserved and guarded for us by God Himself (See 1 Peter 1:3-5).  Can we lose what we never earned and what is not ours to secure?  Can God’s gift to us in Christ be taken away?  Fortunately and evidently, no.  In every way we are secure because we have been secured by The Security Expert.

Can individuals do foolish things and look lousy while still having all things, every perfect gift and every aspect of His favor?  Yes, they can.  Yes, we do.  Look around you.  Isn’t it true?  God’s favor goes to everyone, especially to those who deserve it least.  Maybe that bothers you, maybe that bothers some church leaders and speakers, or the authors of the books you’re reading, but it’s still true.  Grace, or favor, if you like, is freely and magnificently given in Christ, but that’s such a bother, it’s such a confrontational collision to our better sensibilities.  You know, our “just look at our behavior—you know what we deserve.  God ought to give it to us.”  These “better sensibilities” become easy avenues to target and by which to motivate us—falsely.  Poorly.

Here’s the question:  if lousy-behaving Christians collect themselves together and the misbehaving continues, is there anything they lose?  Well, yes.  They lose the enjoyment of God and of His people. That gets all tangled and fouled up.  You’ve probably noticed that before.  But they do not lose what they have been given in Christ.  The collected Corinthian Christians went temporarily nuts (their behavior reflected it), and Paul wrote a letter to revive them, but not to tell them that they’d lost anything (See 1 Corinthians 1:4-8).

So, believers are secure in Christ, having all things in Him, and are not identified by this world’s lineage or geography but by heavenly.  We’re in Christ, we’re born of Him, we come from His lineage and are His family now, and we’re His holy nation—on purpose, with purpose.

1 Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

God sees “a holy nation” not according to worldly boundaries and geography, but heavenly.  All over this world people are going nuts and doing nuts.  You’ve no doubt noticed.  There’s a parade of it on television every night.   And God’s holy nation—likely you and me—is right there with them, no matter the desert, no matter the valley, no matter the plain, no matter the mountain.  We are His nation, His chosen and royal people, never changing, who inhabit ever-changing, worldly boundaries, which do not and cannot identify us.  We will endure what they endure:  nuttiness affects everyone—you and me—and that’s why we’re here.  We are secure; they are not.  Let’s help them to life.  Let’s help them to The Security Expert—to Jesus.  Nuttiness proves the need.

And the next time you hear or read about God’s hand being lifted from our nation (or the nation you’re from), taking His favor and blessing with it, remember your heavenly geography.  Don’t look to the boundaries of this world to find it.  You’re in Him, and you’re good.

(This is a transcript of yesterday's video, "A Nation of Never-Ending Favor," and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, scroll down this page, or click

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