Ephesians 4:7-16; Wisdom – Leave all results to God’s sovereignty and hope in Him, part 2.
length: 68:54 - taught on Sep, 8 2021
Wednesday September 8,2021
We can discover some of the complexity of the question of a perfectly good God and a world suffering with sin, evil, natural disaster, sickness, and death when we understand that God became a man.
Hope is injected into a suffering world when we find the Son God suffering on a cross, reconciling the world to Himself.
The Man, who was God, was found suffering and eventually dying on a cross. How do we solve that picture? God became involved in our suffering. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself on the cross.
Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord [JSOC in vs. 10], we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 12 We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, that you may have an answer for those who take pride in appearance, and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The fact of suffering in this word is obvious, the fact that God took part in that suffering is also obvious, and the reason He did so is right here. He was reconciling the world to Himself, and not by demanding that they become righteous, but by not counting their sins against them and dying for them, or in their stead, becoming sin on their behalf. How astounding.
Hence Christ resurrected, but by so doing, He didn’t remove our suffering in this world. On the contrary, He told us that we were blessed if we suffered for His name’s sake.
Suffering remains, but in Christ’s death and resurrection the world is given hope.
At Pentecost, Peter proclaimed: ACT 2:23-24 “this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” (ACT 2:23-24), and continuing, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear” (ACT 2:32-33).
Only Christianity gives hope to mankind in a suffering world. Death is not the end, and although other religions promise some kind of after-life, none of them are the life of God, in the believer who at salvation is resurrected, being made alive in Christ, which life is given through reconciliation by the love of God and grace of God.
Through Christ, death is not the end. In Christ there is hope.
Solomon’s mistaken search for the way of the world led him to many false conclusions.
As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.
Ecclesiastes is sprinkled here and there with the light of truth, which we can assume Solomon recognized later in life after he pursued full knowledge of the world. For instance, right before this passage, we find:
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor — it is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 15 That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.
But then he returns to the bleakness of the function of the world of mankind.