September 21, 2016

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.

Once again we are reminded of the polytheistic environment of both the Old and the New Testaments. Americans are so used to a monotheistic world view that they don’t relate very well. Japanese on the other hand are so used to polytheism that the Biblical insistence on salvation in Christ alone seems offensive to many. However under the surface, many Americans are offended by the insistence on Christ alone. That’s behind a lot of the “tolerance” push we see on every side. It doesn’t take much thought to see the devil’s hand behind all of that. He doesn’t care who or what we worship, just so long as it isn’t the true God. He is motivated by jealousy, and wants to deprive God of the worship that is rightfully God’s alone. With that awareness, we need to examine just what it is we trust and depend on, to see if it measures up to the Biblical picture of God. Things don’t have to have the trappings of religion to be idolatry. I read many comments on the Internet that disparage Christianity, most often by taking various Scripture passages out of context. You need the whole Bible to get an accurate picture. The thing that seems to offend them the most is the insistence on the holiness of God. They don’t want to be held to that standard! However, God’s grace and mercy have meaning only in the framework of understanding that He is so perfectly holy that the smallest sin completely disqualifies us from eternity with Him. We have to have a glimpse of God’s holiness to understand that we are sinners, and what that means. Isaiah’s vision of God, so marvelously recorded in Isaiah 6, is a good illustration. When we get a glimpse of God we understand that we are totally unworthy, apart from His sovereign act of atoning grace. Once we have that understanding, we will apply ourselves to communicate the good news of God’s grace to as many people as possible, with joy at participating in God’s salvation.

This is of course the central focus of my life at this point, as a missionary pastor. However, it’s taken me a long time to get here! I am not to put others down who don’t yet have that clarity of purpose, but always speak the truth in love and seek to set a good example. I am to proclaim in word and deed that there is no other object of worship and devotion that even begins to approach the Lord I love, so that as many as will may discover and receive Him for themselves, for their salvation and His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I don’t know what encounters You have in store for me in the month ahead as I’ll be traveling. I pray that I would be available as Your agent at all times, whether I’m expecting it or not, so that people may be touched by Your grace and know that You alone are Lord, to repent and believe for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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