God uses the raw power and life-sustaining abilities of rivers for several key metaphors throughout the Bible. Even from the very beginning of the Bible, in the account of creation, we see God setting Adam and Even in a garden that is fed and surrounded by four rivers. When man sinned and was banished from the garden, his access to these rivers and the precious tree of life fed by them was cut off. Psalm 36:8 compares experiencing the joys of a restored relationship with God to drinking our fill from a river – one with an inexhaustible supply. A river is also used as a picture for the extent and pollution of our sin. When God turned the Nile River to blood, fish and vegetation died because the water would no longer support life. This is a picture of what sin does – it pollutes, corrupts, and brings death. But even though sin flows from all of our hearts like a mighty river, the river of grace that God poured out in Jesus' blood is able to overwhelm it. The promise at the end of the book of revelation stands as a strong encouragement for all those who put their hope in Jesus: " Then [the angel] showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him."
Posts Tagged ‘God’s Sovereignty in Salvation’
The doctrines of grace are sometimes affectionately referred to as a “family secret.” Many of us who now cherish God’s sovereignty in our salvation were not aware of these precious truths when we came to know the Lord. While they are certainly not to be kept secret, a person does not need a firm grasp of them in order to surrender their life to Jesus and trust in His saving work on the cross to pay for their sins and reconcile them to God. That is what this song is about. The original anonymous 19th century author says “I sought the Lord and afterward I knew He moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.” We hear the gospel invitation that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13) and respond in faith, only to look back with a biblically informed perspective and realize that it was really God who gave us our faith and Him who was really seeking us. The Bible says that before we were saved we were “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and that we did not seek for God (Romans 3:11) But God stepped into our self-absorbed lives and promised that there would be people who would seek Him. Listen to how Jesus puts it in John 6:37: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Acts 10-11 recounts the story of Cornelius and his household trusting in Jesus and in 11:18 it says “God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” Praise God for the gift of repentance and faith that enables us to seek Him! May we now stand in that same grace that irresistibly drew us!
The doctrine of election (the sovereignty of God in choosing whom He desires to save) is often accused of making evangelism unnecessary, unfruitful, or even pointless. It is reasoned that if God has already chosen who to save then why should we preach the gospel and try to persuade all men to repent and believe in Jesus? While the Bible affirms election (Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 9:8-24), it also affirms the personal responsibility of mankind to believe the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8) and the fact that God declares that all men, everywhere should repent (Acts 17:30). The two truths of God’s election and God’s call to salvation stand side by side in a glorious harmony that is beyond the comprehension of humans. This song moves from thanking God for causing us to be saved (affirming His sovereignty in our salvation) to how that truth should motivate us to missions. Election is actually the strongest motivation FOR missions since we have been told that God has chosen some to be saved from every nation (Revelation 5:9). If it were not for God stepping in to open blind eyes and allowing men to repent of their sin, no one would be saved. Praise God that because of His sovereignty in salvation preaching the gospel WILL bring men to salvation! Let this truth move us, individually, and corporately, to share our faith wherever God has called us.