Life vs. Death; October 11, 2019

Proverbs 8:35-36 “For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
But whoever fails to find me harms himself;
all who hate me love death.”

The section from verse 22 through 31 has a lot of parallels to the first chapter of John, particularly when you consider that the Greek logos, word, carries the meaning of knowledge/wisdom, as in a cardiologist being someone who has knowledge/wisdom about the heart. Seen that way, this is talking about Christ, and these two verses are all the more true. Christ is indeed the ultimate wisdom from God, and an encounter with Him brings life indeed. As came out yesterday, this brings to mind what Jesus said about Himself in John 3:19-21. Those who hate Him indeed love death, even though many of them think they are clinging to their own autonomy. True wisdom recognizes that we can’t draw a single breath without the grace, support, and permission of our Creator, and lives accordingly. Many people rail against the exclusivity of the Gospel, but there is only one Creator, and only one Son. Jesus was neither being conceited or exaggerating when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Those who know the Way to eternal life should be active in introducing others to Him as well.

This is of course why I’m a pastor in Japan. In America the majority of people at least know the outline of the Gospel, even if they haven’t applied it to themselves, but that’s hardly the case in Japan. That’s why every time I do a “chapel wedding” I give a clear presentation of the love of God displayed in the cross of Christ. I state clearly that Jesus’ cross was really my cross, the cross of each person hearing my words, because of our sins, but that the Son of God took it on Himself out of His love for us. Since Japanese tend to think of sin in terms of crimes, the examples I mention are lying, jealousy, and hatred. Everyone has tasted those! Using the three major Greek words for love I talk about agape, and say that we can’t generate it on our own, but that if we believe that God loves us that way and open our hearts to receive His love, we are then enabled to love each other with agape love. I haven’t had the privilege of harvesting from those weddings, but I’m getting the seed out there, and I sometimes receive effusive thanks from the parents and/or the couples who hear it. I am never to be deliberately offensive, but I am also never to apologize for the exclusive claims of Christ.

Father, thank You for the privilege of sowing the Word. I do ask for abundant harvest in Your time in Your way, for the salvation of many and for 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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