Monday, May 27, 2013

Terra Firma

"I preached that they should repent and turn
to God and demonstrate their
repentance by their deeds.  
That is why some Jews seized me in the temple
courts and tried to kill me.  
But God has helped me to this very day;
so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.
I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets
and Moses said would happen  
that the Messiah would suffer and,
as the first to rise from the dead,
would bring the message of light to
His own people and to the Gentiles.” 
Acts 26:20-23
In considering Paul's discourse to King Agrippa as described above ~ in part ~ I am somewhat amused, if not altogether challenged.  Paul's predicament is not limited to the times in which he lived.  He'd not be welcome in many circles today, either ~ not to mention churches or synagogues. 

Across the doctrinal landscape, I am saddened to see so many "pet sins" minimized and/or rendered perfectly acceptable in today's world.  Or, worse, a Salvation Free Pass granted to anyone & everyone given to niceties, never mind what the scriptures to have say about Jesus being the ONLY way to God.  I'll spare you a rant.  But ...  
  • Repentance?  Whoa ... Whoa ... Whoa ... (which Paul, in essence, says is the purpose of his preaching)
  • Sin?  What else would someone repent of?  Whoa ...
  • Good deeds/works ... as a demonstration of salvation versus the means to it?  Whoa ...
  • Testifying to God's power & grace on a personal level?  Whoa ...
  • Connecting God's promises in the Old Testament to the reality of those promises coming to pass in the New; which begs the questions of whether or not one even reads their Bible to know the linkage?  Whoa ...
  • Dead people actually/literally rising from the dead?   Whoa ...
Not much more I can add to Paul's powerful polemic.  Given an opportunity, he made no attempt to cheapen God's grace.  He stood on terra firma which is, ever-and-always, a good place to stand.    

I felt compelled to write and urge you
to contend for the faith that was once for all
entrusted to God’s holy people. 
 For certain individuals whose condemnation
was written about long ago have secretly
slipped in among you.
They are ungodly people, who pervert the
grace of our God into a license for immorality
and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
~ Jude 3-4


My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.



Sharon said...

I love the boldness of Paul - and I love how his God-inspired words still speak strongly today.

Terra firma - yes, the Solid Rock is the only foundation that stands against the sinking sand that surrounds us.


Denise said...

I love that song. I will forever stand upon the solid rock.

manthano said...

Such a stand may not fill the offering plate.
But it is the only one that will stand when
we stand before Him.

Thanks for this post.

Skoots1moM said...

today's opinion that truth doesn't matter so much...even from the pulpit...God forgive us...yet, I am a firm believer that God's justice will still be that...justice...'vengeance is mine says the Lord'...some people may be quite surprised that day

Sonja said...

I've read this more than once. It's such a strong comparison. When we get back to the truth, it's a far cry from much of what we hear. Terra firma, it's hwere I want to stand, faithfully, willingly & safely!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

"But God has helped me to this very day;
so I stand here and testify to small and great alike."

And so must I stand and speak, by God's help.

Beautiful reminder.

myletterstoemily said...

i had to look up 'polemic.' yet, another
good reason to visit wonderful blogs
like yours.

it is true, that we have been bullied and
sullied into tolerating sin.

how to preach against sin and still love
the sinner . . . there's the rub.

Just a little something from Judy said...

In today's world, "a solid rock to stand on" is what I long for. A "solid, firm, unmovable, and steady rock" to place my feet upon, as I watch my Heavenly Father go about His amazing work in us as His vessels, and His ambassadors. I find myself singing "Amazing Grace" every day of my life. In the midst of a sinful, unstable world, I am given the privilege of standing on the solid rock. Wow! What a gift!!!
Thanks for sharing this today. The words of this song bring me such comfort.

NanaNor's said...

Powerful post as always Kathleen; somehow I missed it Monday. Hope you are having a very blessed week.
Hugs, Noreen

Rebecca said...

Ouch! "Repentance accompanied by deeds" cannot be ignored. Sometimes I think the pendulum has swung too far (if that is possible) in the direction of grace in the sense that we've gotten careless and lazy when it comes to tolerating and excusing our "pet" sins.

How I need to keep His blood and His righteousness ever etched in my consciousness!

rcubes said...

Like what the Bible says...we must be "doers" of the word...May His sWORD cuts the very core of our hearts and minds daily to expose and get rid of what shouldn't be there...Thank you for your greetings for my son. He is excited for his coming graduation next Friday. But we all know, as a family, if not for Christ, He surely won't make it...The glory be to our Solid Rock!!! Lead us to the Rock that is Higher than us!!!