Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Greatest Miracle, Sign and Wonder - Salvation, Obedience and Faithfulness

I am very much a believer in the work of God, the Holy Spirit, to do things that are considered miracles, signs and wonders. I have witnessed tremendous healings, deliverances, and interventions of God into the physical world that as Wayne Grudem says, “… arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to Himself.” Of course, there are scores of things that God did throughout the Old Testament and Jesus continued to astound the human mind and heart by the things that He did. But we seem to be in a time and age of seeking the supernatural to the degree that we actually miss what faith is intended to be in our lives. I often wonder why faith is even necessary if the supernatural (as defined by some contemporaries) is normal. Jesus told Thomas, who required a miracle sign in order to believe, that those who never see yet believe are highly blessed. This was a shout out to genuine faith, “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And while I may be perceived by some to be downplaying the supernatural, I really want to heighten our appreciation for the things that often go overlooked. I want to challenge the attitude that reflects a “yeah, yeah we know those things are miracles, signs and wonders, but there’s more” and then a list of the profoundly mystical are vigorously put forth. I want to regain our awe and respect for the greatest miracle, sign and wonder of all - salvation, obedience and faithfulness!

Now some may disagree with me that these are the greatest and that’s fine. Everyone today can blog their thoughts. But we must never lose our amazement and awe over the fact that God would save us from our sin and from our selves drawing us unto Himself and positioning us in Christ! This, my friend, is the greatest of all miracles. That Christ, who knew no sin, became sin so that I could become the righteousness of God. No other miracle surpasses this! We were dead in our trespasses and sins, yet God in His mercy breathed life into our hearts and gave us new life. My hope is that we will never get over this miracle which, by the way, is an ongoing miracle in our lives. It isn’t a one-time event that happens and then it’s over. It is an ever present miracle working in our lives both now and forever. That, in my opinion, is what makes it far and away above all miracles. We are spiritually alive because God graciously redeemed us and we live because Christ lives! When the amazement and appreciation of this wears off, it is normal for the human to want a higher high. Thus we look for other thrills and excitement. May the miracle of salvation be more humbling and fresh today than ever.

I consider obedience a sign of the miracle of salvation. After all, obedience is a life of faith that follows salvation. Obeying God is an indicator that something truly happened to the human heart. And while we may fall back into a Jewish mindset from time to time looking for external signs of this and that, let us be gravely aware that the life of an obedient disciple is itself a sign of spiritual reality. The statement, “If you love me, you will keep My commandments” is not a condition for salvation but a result of salvation. Obedience is to salvation what breathing is to life. Life gives breath and breath indicate that there is life. It is a sign! May this be the sign we are most passionate about seeking.

It is a real wonder that a human can be faithful to anything other than sin. So when there is faithfulness to God, we know something miraculous has happened in the human heart. Some may think that there is no difference between obedience and faithfulness. But here’s how I explain the difference. Faithfulness is persistent obedience - a lifestyle of obedience. If obedience is a sign of salvation, then faithfulness is one’s lifelong expression of their salvation. This is a wonder to behold - a consistent, disciplined, holy, pure life that perseveres through every trial and temptation. I am not talking of perfection, but a faithfulness to live in humble repentance always aiming to exalt and glorify God in a life well lived.

So while there are whole movements of people always looking to experience the next “wow moment” or to see something that has never been seen before or to have something done to them that is super unusual and even extra-biblical, let us focus on what really matters. Let us glory in the cross from where our salvation comes from as the greatest of all miracles. Let us evidence this great miracle by surrendering to the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to God’s Word as a sign of spiritual reality. And may we always be amazed in awe and wonder at the faithfulness of God to work out faithfulness in us. May God enlighten us all and may Christ our King be highly exalted!

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