Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Let's not be Pharisees

Mar 7:8  You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men."
Mar 7:9  And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

Having been raised in Fundamentalism it is not difficult for me to see a connection between it and Pharisaism.  I want to be clear that I am not saying that all Fundamentalist are hypocritical legalists, but the system lends itself to some similarities.  Also, some of the things I am going to point out are things that we all must be on guard for because it is easy for any of us to miss the point of biblical principles and go to one extreme or the other.

I remember my pastor of a large Fundamental church saying on more than one occasion that if the world moves away from biblical principles in some way, we Christians must move the other way.  So for instance, if the dress hems moved up I guess our women’s dress hems should move down, if the world drinks we must be teetotalers, etc.  This preached well in such churches because Fundamentalism tends to over react to the world around them.

And in that we can see a connection to the mindset of the Pharisees.  The Pharisees were so concerned that God’s Law not be broken that they went too far the other way and made up laws so that they wouldn’t get near to God’s actual law and then taught that these man-made laws were equally important as God’s laws.  Of course, the result was that they became judgmental because they assumed that if you didn’t live like they did you were not as holy as they were; your standards were lower than theirs.

Growing up we would hear a lot about keeping your standards high and your convictions uncompromised; to lower them was to compromise with the world.  This is all well and good if your “standards or convictions” were biblical.  But if your standards are a result of over-reaction to the standards of the lost then you are in danger of making up things in order to be different from the world in ways that God has not commanded. 

In the above illustration, if I am living as best I can based on my understanding of God’s Word and the world moves further away from God’s standards; why do I have to move at all?  To move in the opposite direction is to do something similar to what the world has done; it is to do things my way rather than trust that God knows best.  If I am living biblically then to move either way is to move away from that which is biblical.  So I end up making up my own list of rules in an effort to be holy which is exactly what the Pharisees did.

This results in my becoming “more holy than Jesus”!  The principles laid out in the Bible aren’t enough to be a good testimony of the grace of God so I need to develop stricter standards than God thought necessary.  And the real problem here is that I then must assume that those who don’t do as I do are sinning and so I can see myself as a “better, more committed” Christian than those compromisers out there.  And, again, this is exactly what the Pharisees did. 

To be sure the Bible doesn’t give us detailed commands in every area of life.  It sets forth principles to guide those that love the Lord and want to honor him in the way they live (which describes every true believer, by the way).  So we consider these principles, such as “Do all for the glory of God” and we decide what is wrong for us and right for us in gray areas or subjects that the Bible doesn’t speak to directly.  What should happen is that we can agree to disagree with other saints in these gray areas and work and fellowship together in service to the Lord.  But when we have a spirit that what I think is right is right for everyone, even in those things that the Bible doesn’t address, then I begin to judge everyone else’s hearts and motives and I become a Pharisee.

One way this is practically important is because if I don’t have this level of maturity it will be impossible for me to fellowship with people who don’t agree with me on secondary and tertiary matters and the church becomes even more splintered than it is anyway.  I have yet to be in a church in which someone (usually a husband and father) who assumes he knows it all and so if the church leaders don’t see things his way, it is his responsibility to take himself and his family away from the ministry of God’s Word because evidently only he knows the truth in every matter and so only his views are safe for his family.  Evidently the pastor will lead his family into all manner of sin if he lets anyone else but himself lead them. 

We all have to decide what is right and wrong for us according to the principles of God’s Word but we can’t make such things into laws that we then expect everyone else to live by.  Such legalism only divides and it is making obedience to the Lord more than the Bible teaches; it is being “more godly than Christ” and that, of course, is nonsense.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Let's Stop with the Excuses

1Pe 2:20  For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
1Pe 2:21  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1Pe 2:22  He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.
1Pe 2:23  When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
1Pe 2:24  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Christians have always struggled keeping themselves untainted by the culture around them.  Today we see this as many Christians, nominal but also true saints struggle with what has been termed determinism.  Briefly it is the idea that we are a product of our environment and genetic makeup so that freewill is illusionary.  Theologically it results in the belief that we are what we are by birth and so we can’t help but sin.  So for example the homosexuals use this to say that they have same sex attraction because of their genes and so it is God’s fault they are the way they are so they can’t and shouldn’t change their behavior.

Of course, there are many problems with this but primarily it is an attack on the biblical definition of sin and also an attack on the gospel itself.  The above passage offers one example in which those who find themselves in adversity cannot blame their attitudes and actions on their environment but must bring them under control through the power of gospel truth.  Peter offers Christ as the ultimate example of obeying God regardless of the pain and difficulty to do so.

So if our environment isn’t an excuse to sin what about our genetics?  The Bible teaches that this also is no excuse.  Sin has affected every person’s genetics for sure.  We are all broken by sin and we are all born with the desire to live for ourselves and not the Lord.  Our natural propensity is to put our desires ahead of both God and others.  This is seen in that we get angry when things don’t go our way and sometimes we want to hurt others as a result. 

The Bible teaches us that we are to subdue these sinful passions and love our enemies instead.  We can’t use genetics as an excuse to murder someone because we have a will that is to control what our bodies do.  So being born with a violent temper just means that it will be more difficult to control it but control it you must or suffer the consequences.  Up until the last couple of decades even a worldly society understood this.  But now we are being told that personal autonomy is more important than laws that govern our baser desires.

The Bible teaches us that we are all broken sexually as well.  Before the Fall men and women would have only been attracted to a person of the opposite sex and would have no difficulty being faithful to only their spouse because they loved God supremely and so would have obeyed whatever God told them to do.  But after the Fall our sinful nature is at enmity with God and loves self supremely and often this is seen in that we are attracted to things we shouldn’t be.  But nowhere does the Bible say that since we have a sinful nature it is okay to disobey God and act on whatever desires we have.  After the Fall our environment and genetics make loving God more difficult but they do not excuse sin.

As Christians we have been given new natures and the power of sin has been broken so that we can say no.  So it is especially disturbing when false professors stand in our pulpits and tell us that it is okay to practice the most perverted of sins and that God made them that way so it is his will.  This makes God the author of sin.

I say this hits at the heart of the Gospel because the whole reason God saves us is so that we can live for him and not be dominated by sin.  Is this not what this verse and many others teach?  1Pe 2:24  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.  Instead of things beyond our control determining how we live, the power of the Holy Spirit controls us. 

He revolutionizes our thinking so that we don’t have to think in a self-destructive way any longer.  It doesn’t matter if you weren’t loved; now you are.  We no longer can say that I am not a loving person and so don’t have to love because God loves us in his Son and that love is shed abroad in our hearts.  Change is possible, change is commanded, and we are free in Christ to live differently than the way we were born.  Greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world.  This is why the political correctness mess today strikes at the very heart of the gospel.  Christians are not to identify themselves by their past sins or past abuse but instead start living in the reality of what Christ has done for you and to you. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How Sinful Am I?

Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Rom 1:19  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Rom 1:20  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

It has always been fallen man’s tendency to reduce sin to acts that they can either commit or not commit.  It makes us believe that we can stop sinning by our own power and so the struggle not to sin isn’t all that difficult.  Probably this is why so many over-emphasize the 10 Commandments when it comes to the pursuit of sanctification.  Reducing the bulk of being “good” to a list of ten certainly makes it easier to convince oneself that he is winning the battle against sin.

Now to be sure, the 10 Commandments in their proper context can be useful for a Christian but I think there are better passages in the Bible that lays out to us the true nature of sin and so gives us a better idea of how to identify it in our lives and so guard against it and also point us in the right direction as to what true godliness is. 

I think a proof that there is merit to all this is in the fact that there are Christians that think they have quit sinning or can go long stretches without sinning.  As you talk to them you begin to see that what they have done is to lower the bar of what a sin actually is to the point that anyone with a little human effort can stop doing certain overt acts.  So if sins are acts I commit with my body but not necessarily thoughts I think or things I should have done but didn’t then it is much easier to convince myself that I have been pretty good from one day to the next.

There are many Scriptures that refute the idea that sin can be reduced in this way and the above passage in Romans 1 is a good example.  If we assume that the wrath of God is directed at man’s sinfulness as it clearly says then the things listed must be considered sinful; namely, suppressing the truth, and especially in vs. 21, not honoring God as we should and not being as thankful as we should. 

These things speak to a mindset, a way of life and not just overt acts that we commit now and then.  In other words, sin isn’t just acts we commit but acts and thoughts and motives that we omit from our life; sins of omission as well as commission.  Now I guess it is possible that I am such an awful sinner that the whole concept of being sinless for even a short time is just beyond my ability to comprehend.  But I am willing to bet that every descendent of Adam is just as unable to stop sinning and fully honor the Lord as they should. 

So sin is not honoring God in every moment of everyday as he deserves.  To have stopped from sinning we must always do everything for the absolute right reason and pride never enter into the picture.  It is to be so motivated by our love for God that we always do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason.  Being thankful is pretty much the same thing.  We always know that all that we have comes from God and is therefore to be used for him.  So we never take credit for what we have or have done and are therefore properly humbled.  Giving God his due and being thankful means that I give proper honor to his Word and always obey it, always know that it is right and never argue with it because that would not be honoring God as the only true Wisdom.

While in our hearts we might agree with all this, we all know that it is impossible to live it out moment by moment, day after day, year and after year.  For instance, it is not enough to not murder someone but we are to work out love for them by our words and actions.  So while I have never broken the commandment to not murder; I continually am unable to work out perfect, godly love towards anyone. 

I think this is important because it keeps me focused on my heart and not just on what I do with my body or my speech.  And it reminds me how sinful I still am and how much I need the Holy Spirit working in me to do God’s will and not my own.  It also makes me realize how much I need the ministry of the Word of God in my life and why we all need to be under the ministry of the Word of God in the local church.  Because we are so prone to sin we need the constant reminders and instruction of the Word of God; otherwise what does the Spirit have to work with? 

To dismiss the need of constant Bible study just shows how easy it is to be full of ourselves and not give the Lord the honor he is due.  At the end of the day sin is thinking I know better than God or living as if I believe that even if in my heart I know it is not true.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Both the Spirit and the Word

1Jn 1:6  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 1Jn 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1Jn 1:8  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1Jn 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In preaching on the subject of how the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to both convert us and sanctify us, I have used the illustration of a washing machine.  Our dirty minds and hearts are the dirty clothes that need cleansing, the soap is the truth of the blood of Christ that not only washes away our guilt but casts light on our sin so that we will believe what the Bible says and not what sin says and so this helps us clean up our lives so we live for the Lord.  The water is the Word, water that conveys the truth to us so it can do its work.  So the Holy Spirit is the agitator that gives power to the Word so it can transform our minds.

This might be a little convoluted but I think it stresses the need for both the Holy Spirit and the Word in both conversion and sanctification.  This is important since many fall into error because they want to emphasize or even ignore one over the other.  Let me press the illustration a bit further to show what I mean.

What would happen if you put your dirty clothes into the washer added soap but no water?  Not much.  You can agitate the clothes with the dry soap and expect no change.  This is what happens with many churches that emphasize the Holy Spirit with little to no biblical study; such as many charismatic churches.  They have a lot of agitation, emotionalism, but there isn’t much truth to direct the emotion and so it is misdirected and won’t help much when their emotions are under attack during trials.  They know much of experience but know little of God and his will.  They know a little about the Spirit and a little about the blood but how it all works together under duress is sometimes lost. 

The Spirit’s job is not to excite us but to help us understand and apply truth.  When we understand the Truth our own emotions will excite us.  The gospel is the good news of how our guilt can be alleviated.   We are saved by grace, through faith.  But what causes us to quit believing in this world and ourselves and start believing the gospel?  The Holy Spirit awakens us so that we believe the Truth!  He gets us to trust in Christ by shining the truth into our darkened minds and enabling us to flee to the cross and thus our sins are forgiven.  So he doesn’t “clean” us without us believing Truth and acting on it.  His work isn’t mystical in that he just does it all for us, but he brings us to the point that we actually believe the Word and live according to its truth.

What does the Word of God have that can convert and sanctify us?  In both cases it is truth.  Why did you go to church last Sunday?  It was knowing where the world is headed and that you have been saved by Christ and wanting to hear from your Savior, etc.  In other words, it was knowing truth.  Why does the drunk or drug addict or businessman or pleasure seeker stay home or go to work or play?  Because they believe sin’s lie that they are more important than God, and not the Word.  The Spirit has given us ears to hear and hearts to obey.

Let’s press the illustration the other way.  What happens if you dump dirty clothes into the machine, turn it on but don’t add water?  Not much.  To me this is the error that the Hyper-Calvinists fall into because they put all the emphasis on the Spirit’s work and power but don’t feel it is necessary for us to do anything.  But this ignores the need for the cleansing work of Truth.  The Spirit converts us by teaching us of the deceitfulness of sin and the sufficiency of the Cross and enables us to believe Truth and act upon it.  He doesn’t work apart from the Word.  I have met Hyper-Calvinists who have told me the Holy Spirit doesn’t need the gospel to save people; he doesn’t need us to respond by faith; he can do it all without means.  But that is just not biblical.  Another form of this is that the Holy Spirit believes for us or that he gives us Jesus’s faith.  One form of this is also the Deeper Life Movement where we are told to “Let go and let God”.  But the Bible doesn’t say that Jesus’s faith saves us but our faith is the means by which we are justified.  Notice in the above passage that we are to use truth to live for the Lord.  “Walk in the light” is another way of saying this.

We need both the Holy Spirit and Truth in order to be saved and to grow in our faith.  One alone would just produce emotionalism and mysticism; the other alone produces dead orthodoxy.    

Jesus teaches us that both of these will work in unity in Joh 16:13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. Joh 16:14  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The Spirit doesn’t magically make us holy, he uses the Word, 1Pe 2:2  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.  He gives us hearts that want to love Christ and so hear what he says that we might do his will, Eph 4:30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Let's Be Reasonable!

Rev 1:8  "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Rev 1:18  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
Rev 21:6  And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
Rev 22:13  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

I choose the above verses to show how the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is eternal.  We could add Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Joh 1:2  He was in the beginning with God. Joh 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  John connects all these verses back to Genesis 1:1 and to the Triune God himself.

What is sadly interesting is that when we quote such verses and make such points the atheists, who are by definition naturalists, accuse us of making a religious statement; something that they would never do supposedly.  Except this is just another hypocritical, self-deceiving assumption of those who hate God.  For example here is what Carl Sagan, perhaps one of the most well know atheists, said of the universe, “the cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.   Now that sounds almost identical to the verses above from Revelation.  The atheists assume that when we say it about Christ we are being religious; when a naturalist says it he is being scientific.  But it doesn’t take a high school degree to see how illogical such thinking is.

We are often criticized for using God as the “God of the gaps”.  By which they mean we use God to explain things we don’t understand.  For instance, how did the universe come into existence?  God created it.  They would say but that is a statement of faith by which we have no proof and so they look for physical proof and deny anything so “spiritual” or religious.  But it should be obvious that Sagan is using something to gap his ignorance as well.

I would contend that the statements of Carl Sagan and those of that ilk are exactly the same as the ones in Revelation, except much more illogical.  They are saying that the universe is either eternal or came from nothing.  So either the universe is a god that is unthinking and uncaring; that it is just matter; or they are trying to get us to believe that nothing produced something.  Either way, this is a “religious” statement in that you are expressing a belief.  Carl Sagan wasn’t at the beginning of anything and so to make such a statement is a wild guess at best.  But it is absurd since any rational person knows that unconscious matter cannot be eternal; it had to come from something and certainly nothing cannot produce something.  Such statements can never be more than a guess since no one was at the beginning; not one other than the One who created everything!  If a Christian suggested this they would be dismissed at once as a lunatic.  Yet similar “lunatics” are allowed to teach our children such nonsense. 

How much more logical is it to assume that someone who existed before anything else and with wisdom and power beyond anything we have created it?  Fundamentally it is the same reasoning of Carl Sagan only much more reasonable.  And, in fact, the Bible tells us that all men know this to be true but sin causes them to reject it,

Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Rom 1:19  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Rom 1:20  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Rom 1:21  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Rom 1:22  Claiming to be wise, they became fools.

Carl Sagan like all of us before God saved us was a fool who thought himself wise.  Unfortunately for him, he knows better now but it is too late; he’s dead.  May we learn to think through the foolishness of this world and teach our children how to think and pray that God will shine his light and wisdom in our hearts.  2Co 4:4  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Just before his death, knowing that he was dying, Ted Koppel asked Sagan if he had any pearls of wisdom for the human race.  “We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy, which is one of billions of other galaxies, which make up a universe, which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes.  That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering.”  He also wrote, “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.  In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”  This is why all of this matters and we must make the effort to show how the Bible answers these questions and objections.  This is about the person of God, not about science.  You won’t answer to science!  Such thinking leaves mankind without hope and without the salvation we so desperately need.  It is hardly a “pearl of wisdom” but it is the best a mind in darkness can come up with.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Spies or Citizens?

1Pe 1:1  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

Peter’s first epistle is written the Christians to encourage them to be patient when they aren’t being treated fairly through persecution and also to persevere through the everyday trials of life.  He uses the term “elect exiles” which immediately points out that we are to see our purpose in this life differently than the lost around us.  We are in a sense alien life forms.  We look like the average human being but our true home is up above and our loyalty is not to this world but to our Supreme Leader who sent us here for his purposes and there is a day of reckoning coming in which we will have to give an account to our time spent in this “foreign world”.  We are in the world but not of the world because we live for a different cause than the lost; we live for a God that this world rejects.

I think Christianity can also be compared to being a spy sent by a government to infiltrate a country they are at war with.  A spy participates in the activities of the country he is in but not for the same reason the normal citizens do.  He is there to undermine and compromise the country he is in for the good of his homeland.  What he cannot do is to forget why he is there and get a job and start living for the good of that country and become a loyal citizen and fail to send back reports to his government.  Everything he does is to be with his homeland in mind and if he gets so caught up in his “cover story” that he doesn’t have time to his undercover work, he basically becomes a traitor to those that sent him.

So it is also a little like an undercover cop sent into deep cover to infiltrate a criminal organization.  The whole organization is illegal and it is just a matter of time before it is all going to be brought to justice.  He is there to help this along, and it would be against his whole reason for being undercover if he actually started helping the organization in its criminal activity and failed to report back and follow orders from his boss.

The point I am trying to illustrate is that very often Christians forget who sent them into the world and why they are here and they start to act like all the rebels around them.  We get so caught up in life that we don’t work for our homeland and our King.  Of course, one big difference between my illustrations and being a Christian is that we aren’t undercover spies.  We are here to tell everyone that they are in a rebellious kingdom that is going to be destroyed.  We are to tell them that this whole crime family is about to be arrested and condemned and that they had better get right with the Law Giver before it is too late.

Peter, Paul and Jesus all make the point that this will turn most citizens of this present world into our enemies but don’t worry this is all part of the plan.

Joh 15:18  "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. Joh 15:19  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Joh 15:20  Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

Joh 16:1  "I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. Joh 16:2  They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. Joh 16:3  And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.

1Th 2:14  For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 1Th 2:15  who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 1Th 2:16  by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

It is our duty to think and act like we are citizens of heaven and not of this world or we undermine our message that this world is going to be judged.  How can we who are dead to sin continue to live in it?  If we tell the lost that this world is passing away and we live like there is nothing or no one more important then why should they believe what we are saying?  

1Jn 2:15  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1Jn 2:17  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Unable and Unworthy

2Sa 9:3  And the king said, "Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?" Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet."

Tucked away in the OT is an account of the kindness David showed to Mephibosheth, one of Jonathan’s sons.  Every time I go through this passage I see something of the grace that God shows sinners that I can identify with and reminds me why I must love the Lord with all of my heart.

This time I noticed that there were two things about Mephibosheth that removed any chance of him doing anything for David to earn his favor.  He was from a cursed family and he was crippled in both feet.  Without doubt these two things are mentioned in this passage to point to the fact that I also was from the wrong family and enslaved to sin and unable to do anything that pleased God.

Mephibosheth’s grandfather was Saul who had been rejected by the Lord and eventually killed in battle.  It was typical for a new king who had disposed the previous one to kill his relatives lest they lead a rebellion to take back the kingdom.  Mephibosheth realized this as is seen in the humble, fearful way he approached the king, 2Sa 9:6  And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, "Mephibosheth!" And he answered, "Behold, I am your servant."

We are all born into a cursed family line as well.  Our “grandfather” dared rebel against the King and brought condemnation upon us all.  The Bible says that the sentence of death hangs over everyone born from the first Adam.  But like Mephibosheth, we are also born of one who has a special relationship to the king, 2Sa 9:1  And David said, "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"  Jonathan was also born of Saul but he had entered into a previous covenant with David which promised life to all his descendants.  So while condemned by the first Adam, Saul, he gained pardon by being from the second Adam, Jonathan.  What a marvelous picture of Jesus born in the line of Adam but also being God pleased the Father in a way that no sinner ever could.

That took care of Mephibosheth’s first problem, wrong family, but what about his inability to please the king; his lameness meant he had nothing to offer King David.  We read that he was given a powerful servant that was commissioned to take all of Mephibosheth’s possessions and bear fruit for David, 2Sa 9:9  Then the king called Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, "All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. 2Sa 9:10  And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master's grandson may have bread to eat.

So God gives us his Spirit to work in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  He takes what we were born with and empowers us to use it for the Lord and no longer for sinful purposes.

In fact Ziba played a big part in bringing Mephibosheth to David to begin with, 2Sa 9:4  The king said to him, "Where is he?" And Ziba said to the king, "He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar." 2Sa 9:5  Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.  Ziba was sent and brought Mephibosheth to David.  As with our salvation this story is all about what David did for Mephibosheth, not what Mephibosheth did for David.  

I praise and thank the Lord that when I was both helpless and cursed, unable and unworthy, he sent his Son to bring peace and his Spirit bring me back so I can now eat at the King’s table and serve him with a new heart.  All glory to God!