Draw Near to God By Scarlett Stough

Reading the description the Apostle Paul gives in his letter to the Romans is like reading a description of the times into which I was born and am living (Romans 1:21-32).

  1. Truth about God is suppressed and ridiculed in all areas of society.
  2. Failure to give God thanks for all the resources he has provided for us.
  3. Creation is personified in "documentaries" and given status above that of the Creator.

Because of this failure to acknowledge God, God has given the ungodly over to their greed and lusts. People who gave themselves over to sexual sins God gave over to depraved thinking which leads to a disregard of human life—drive-by shootings; church and school shootings; abortion; genocide; terrorist attacks and on it goes.

Terrible suffering went on in the decade in which I was born, WWII and the Holocaust. Wars and rumors of wars, as Jesus said would be the norm during the last days (the time between his first coming and his second coming), continued and still continue.

Yet, even though all these horrible things were happening all over the world, I remember being safe at school; I remember the word Christian was synonymous with a person of good character and kindness; I remember being able to board a plane without even thinking that someone might have sabotaged it. Somewhere in those decades, the values I was taught were gradually being replaced with a focus on "if it feels good, do it" mentality without any regard to the needs of anyone else.

Everyone has suffered at the hands of selfish people doing unjustly. Jesus declared that God will bring justice to the earth, but asked, "However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" I fear the faith he taught is fading from this earth.

Some people state dogmatically that they do not believe The Holy Scriptures are absolute truth as revealed by God to men who faithfully wrote them. Phrases are picked out as worthwhile quotes, but living by God's word as Jesus did is rejected.

Others teach from the Scriptures but do not obey them while they condemn others for the very same acts they do in secret. All of us will give an account to God for how we live. Knowing what God says will not rescue us from God's wrath:

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when the righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
Romans 2:5-11

But in this same letter, we are given hope for a different outcome:

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, as through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26

There are those who reject the idea of a need for Jesus to have died to make them right with God, redeemed and justified. There is a saying in my family: "What is, is." We cannot change reality simply because we don't like it or don't agree with it. Jesus remarked that we cannot change our hair color or height by simply wishing it were. We cannot make God into the "god" who does it "my way" by any amount of intellectual gymnastics. He is who he is. He humbled himself to live as a human being, resisting temptation and living a sin free life to be the perfect substitute for all people.

The writer of Hebrews warns us to be careful we do not neglect the salvation God has given us by his grace through faith. We do have a responsibility to continue to mature in Christ, yielding to God as he transforms us by his Spirit, his Word, and his discipline (Hebrews 10:10-39).

Let us, as we are exhorted in the Scriptures, draw near to God.


Volume 18 Issue 08 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation

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