Faith Not Sight

November 28, 2022

I don’t like the fact that our bodies disappoint us with aging or disease or both. Somehow it just doesn’t seem fair that the best body we will ever have is at age 18 (at least in this life). We see the aging process in others, but eventually we have to admit to it in ourselves. What Paul called “the outer person wasting away” is observable in life (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Yet Paul placed beside this unwelcome fact another wondrous observation. In Christ, the inner person can continue to grow and become better. “Our inner person is being renewed day by day” (1 Corinthians 4:16). God is transforming us to become more and more like His Son. Our character, our kindness, and our love can grow and mature throughout our lifetime. The best our inner person can be in this life may be the day we breathe our last.
Paul compared this body that disappoints us to a tent (1 Corinthians 5:1). Tents are temporary. They are fragile and frail in comparison to a permanent structure. The disappointments of our bodies are reminders we are sojourners here. We are just passing through; this is not our enduring home. A tent may become frayed and worn until it wears out, or it may be suddenly pulled down, but it is never permanent.
The God who renews our inner person also builds us a permanent dwelling. As Paul wrote, “[W]e have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (1Corinthians 5:1b, ESV). In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul described our physical bodies with words like “perishable”, “dishonor”, “weakness”, and “natural”. While the resurrection body that we await at Christ’s return is described by words like “imperishable”, “glory”, “power”, and “spiritual”. The transient will be swallowed up by the eternal.
The processes of the outward wasting away and inward being renewed take place in the course of daily life. Daily life filled with its ups and downs, its trials and temptations, and its moments of doubt and faith. Paul used the word, “groaning”, to describe this present life. He spoke of “slight momentary affliction”, although slight affliction doesn’t seem to adequately describe Paul’s life (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-28). He could only call it that when weighed on the balance with eternal glory.  The eternal outweighs the transient and makes the walk of faith worth it all.
Paul had confidence that to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord. The God who is doing a great work of renewing and transforming in our inner person is also preparing for us a permanent dwelling place. Eternal glory is worth it all “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV).

He Who Comes to God Must…

November 22, 2022

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NAS95)

We need to clearly understand the message that it is impossible to please God without faith.  No one will be accepted by God without it.  We can multiply good works, but without faith, God will not be pleased.  We can have a great knowledge of His word, but without faith, God will not be pleased.  We can be very “religious” people, but if we don’t truly have faith, God will not be pleased with us. But what is faith? This verse gives us two essential elements of faith that must be understood if we want to come to God.

First, the one who comes to God must believe that He is.  We must believe that the God of the Bible exists.  Many will say that they believe God exists, but they go about their lives as if He does not.  It is not merely saying the words “I believe in God” but ordering your life in such a way that reflects your belief that He is real, He is present, and that He is all-powerful. 

Many people stop with this first condition of faith.  Believing that God exists is a necessary part of faith, but this alone is not sufficient.  The second thing that we must believe is that God rewards those who seek Him.  To be pleasing to God, we cannot think of Him as a distant, uninvolved God.  We must believe that He is actively involved in our lives, that He actively rewards those who will listen to His word and respond to it, and that He blesses those who will come hard after Him.  How are you doing with this?  Sometimes we carry on like God doesn’t see what’s going on in our lives, or that He doesn’t care, or that He is not able to help us.  Brothers and sisters, we need to trust in the promises of God and not waver in our belief that He will reward us!  This is the second essential element of faith, and without it, we cannot be pleasing to Him.

As you read through the rest of Hebrews chapter 11, you will see these conditions of faith played out again and again.  Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, all of these found favor from God because they believed that God is and that He rewards those who seek Him.  We too will find acceptance, favor, and reward from God if we will do the same.       

—Scott Colvin


November 15, 2022

Why did our Savior come to earth?  Jesus said, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 NAS95) Jesus came to offer His life as a ransom.  This was the heart of His mission.  What does it mean?

A ransom is the price paid to emancipate a slave.  When this price was paid, a slave was said to be “redeemed.”  You and I were enslaved to sin.  As Jesus said, “…Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (John 8:34 NAS95) In order for us to be set free from this bondage, a price had to be paid.  Because God is holy and just, He cannot and will not simply ignore sin.  Sin must be punished.  For us to escape the punishment due and to be set free, Jesus Christ had to pay our ransom.

And Jesus paid an awful price to purchase our freedom. He paid with His own life.  God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, lovingly gave His life to redeem us from sin.  As Peter writes, “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:17-19 NAS95) Jesus, the precious, spotless lamb of God paid for our souls with His own blood.  He gave His life a ransom for many.

We were ransomed at unfathomable cost.  That Jesus, God in the flesh, would suffer and bleed and die for us is breathtaking.   What is your reaction to all of this? What does it stir up in you?  Thankfulness?  Yes.  Joy?  Certainly.  But according to the verse above, the ransom that was paid should stir up fear in us.  It should elicit great awe for God and for Christ.  That fear should cause us to stay away from sin, realizing the price paid.  It should cause us to carefully consider the words we say, the things we pursue, and the way we treat one another. 

Jesus paid it all!  And we owe our all to Him!  Let us thank God today for the precious blood of Jesus.   

—Scott Colvin

Reaching Out to the Lost

November 8, 2022

I heard someone say recently that they used to teach that if you don’t baptize at least one other person, you “can’t go to heaven.”  I was appalled at the statement, and thankfully the one who made it had come to recognize his error.  We need to be careful about making pronouncements that the Lord Himself never made.  We need to be careful about binding things on people that the Lord never bound.  We can create feelings of unnecessary guilt in people about evangelistic outreach.  Some will think, “I am not a teacher,” or “I don’t know what to say or how to say it,” or “I am not good with words,” and therefore they feel guilty and inadequate.  The truth is we are not all teachers!  We are not all evangelists!  God gave some as evangelists and teachers (see Ephesians 4:11).  If you’re not sure exactly what to say to lead someone to Christ, that is okay!  You can still have a profound impact for the gospel.

Paul writes to the church at Colossae about reaching out to the lost and says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word…that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.  Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:2-6 NAS95) This is how we can all have a hand in reaching the lost.  Be devoted to prayer.  Pray for God to open up opportunities for the word.  Live a life of wisdom around those who are outside of Christ.  Look for opportunities to speak with grace to others.  These things have a powerful impact on leading people to Christ.

Of course, if anyone is going to be saved, the gospel of Jesus Christ must be taught and understood.  The gospel is the power of God for salvation, and it must be proclaimed.  We all have different, essential functions in the body of Christ, and God has given some the ability to teach and proclaim the gospel message.  If you know of someone who might be open to hearing, but you’re uncomfortable leading a study, reach out to another member of the body.  God can accomplish much in us if we will work together as a unit.  May we all continue to look for opportunities to reach people with the saving message about Jesus.

—Scott Colvin