From the Pastor: Perseverance III
We are all familiar with the merchants of the so-called "health and
wealth" gospel, that if you live in the spirit, by faith, you will enjoy
good health and material prosperity, and to the contrary if you don't.
The real trouble with this type of message, apart from its selective
approach to Scripture, is that it involves a very simplistic view of
life and the world. The reality and perplexity of circumstances cannot
be pressed into this neat scheme. To refute it one only needs to read
the book of Job.|
The issue of persevearnce is like that: life has many mysteries which we
cannot explain. Christians fall into sin, just like the saints of the
Bible did: Gideon, David, Hezekiah, Peter, Ananias and Sapphira. Yet
they were still saved by the grace of God. Sometimes, however, their
fall was so serious that we are left wondering about their standing in
grace at all, again, just as in Biblical examples. What are we to say of
Solomon in the light of 1 Kings 11, or of the unnamed disobedient
prophet in 1 Kings 13?
It is good that we have these problems and perplexities: they spur us on
to encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, and stimulate each other
to love and good works (1 Thesselonians 5:14, Hebrews 10:24). There is a
ministry of one to the other, gently urging each other on until we gain
the prize. This in the end is far more important than having an
"explanation", and finish up being Job's comforters as a result. Those
three theologians rested content with their theories, and thus failed to
empathize with Job or to give genuine help in his distress.
Let us then leave the mysteries with God, but remember that in the race
of life there is a prize for everyone who finishes it and keeps the
faith. Otherwise, take heed to our duties.