(A sermon preached in October 2011, at Calvary Bible Church — calvarybiblechurch.org)
Jesus Uphold All Things: Hebrews 1:3
Imagine being Moses, the prince of Egypt: There is the palace near the river. Long gardens cut by cunning walls slope down to the water’s edge. The flowers and trees are in bloom. The warm wind blows the scent into cool your room, where you recline at the table filled with fruit someone else has grown and picked and washed and cut and arranged. You taste an extraordinary melon of which you are especially fond. You take a drink and rest, looking out the window at the people busily working to keep you happy.
You couldn’t know a care in the world. You are a son of the Pharaoh’s daughter. No one can cross you; no one can hinder you. You can do and learn and plan and make and rest as you please. You sit secure behind a massive army, atop a well-run and secure nation. Everything in your world is built to make you safe and happy.
The world exists to bear your every care. Aside from the fact that some day you will die, there is nothing which can thwart you. But even death is secure for you. You have learned from the priests that your soul will be safely escorted to the Western Lands.
Then, you leave Egypt.
You leave for the backside of the wilderness. You tend animals. You find grass for goats and fight off wolves or lions which seek to take your life. You must find water in a land with little water. You sleep on the ground. Your bed is hard. Then later, you return to Egypt and take up the cause of the slaves.
You gave away all that ease. And why? What would be better?
24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:24–27 (ESV)
If you look only to what was seen, it would be best to stay: You can see the palace; you can see the food; you can see the garden; you can see the slaves. Yet, Moses chose life among the slaves over the privilege of being in Pharaoh’s family; he chose the disgrace of the wilderness over the ease of a palace:
26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt for he was looking to the reward.
And what reward was that? What could Moses see the Pharaoh could not?
He endured as seeing him who is invisible.
Moses chose the disgrace of Christ, the disgrace and pain and conflict one knows for rejecting the world and following Christ alone.
When we begin to look honestly at the cost of being a Christian it will look easier to go back. To go forward into the wilderness, to follow out after Christ may cost everything: It may cost family and friends. Jesus promised as much in Luke 12:49-53. It will cost the rage of the Devil. 1 Pet. 5:8. It will cost the denial of your – self and your flesh. As Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
It would be easier to go back, to quit. Often it seems that every step of the way is littered with traps and snares and weights. We will be tempted to quit. That was just the problem facing the church who received the letter to the Hebrews. They are warned and exhorted and encouraged over and again throughout the letter to not quit, to not grow weak, to not fail:
35Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:35–36 (ESV)
God, knowing that we are weak, and that faith is a wavering thing with us, made an unquestionable proclamation of his purpose. God knowing that we were hard of hearing, sent a loud, unquestionable call into the world:
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (Hebrews 1:1–4, ESV)
I am going to focus on that the clause in the middle of verse 3, “He upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
This morning I will state one doctrine and make one conclusion. Here is the doctrine: God has spoken in His Son who upholds all things by the word of his power. That doctrine has two parts:
(1) God has spoken.
(2) The Son upholds and sustains all things.
From that doctrine we can make the following conclusion: Since God has spoken in his Son who upholds and sustains all things, we can trust him. We can follow him follow into the wilderness because he is sovereign over all things.
First point of Doctrine: God has spoken. We will not dwell on this long, as it has been covered in prior sermons. This morning I only wish to again settle in your mind that God has spoken. God spoke by the prophets. And now, in these last days – for all days after the coming of Christ are the “last days” – God has spoken again. He did not send an angel or mere prophet. Rather God sent his Son.
By speaking in his Son, God has shown us the gravity and the importance of that which he proclaims. Certainly, God speaking at all is of the greatest importance. But, God speaking in his Son is of greater importance that can be imagined. God the Father has sent God the Son to make a pronouncement. It would be foolish beyond all measure to neglect such a call:
How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Heb. 2:3.
That warning should send a chill down your spine. Too often God has become tamed, domesticated, and kept on a comfy bed, like a house pet. He may bark at the door and chase the squirrels, but he is of little importance – until we need something big. In that case, we demand that he rush out of doors late in the evening and get some medicine from the store or some money from his special bank. And, if anything goes wrong, he is there to blame.
The God of our imagination is not the God of reality. We often down play the fear of God and make it into some sort of bare reverence – sort of like being quiet in a courtroom or a museum. No my friend, if you were to see a glimmer of the glory of God, your knees would quake and your body would shiver and you would know a kind of fear you can-not-now imagine. Oh, he will not destroy you if you are his own; but he is not tame. Our God is a consuming fire.
Second point of doctrine: God has spoken in the Son who has all power: The Son is the Creator, Sustainer and King of the Creation. In prior sermons we have looked at the Son as heir to the Creation, as the Creator of all things, as the radiance of God, as the exact representation of God. This morning we will consider the fact that he is the Sustainer of all things. The precise language is, “He upholds the universe – all things– by the word of his power”. The NIV has that he “sustains all things”. The slight difference in the language comes from trying to convey fully what is in the original.
The Son is said to actually carry or bear all things and so it can also mean to move things along and cause them to happen. Thus, he bears and he sustains all things.
It is the present active work of the Son to cause the universe – indeed all things, the seen and the unseen creation — to cause all things to continue to exist and function. Every angel, every possum, every child, every star, every moment of time and every inch of space exist because of him, “by Him all things consist” (Col. 1:17). Every disease, every wind, every butterfly, every bullet exist because he wills it to be. Both the mere fact of existence – whether physical or spiritual – and the providential control of all things in existence lie with Him.
Consider carefully what this means: The blood which is at this moment pulsing through your body exists and moves because the Son of God at this very moment is consciously and purposefully causing your heart to beat and your body to exist. The thoughts which are at work in your mind as you think about your body and become aware of your heart are upheld and sustained by the Son. As John Brown wrote 150 years ago,
The whole universe hangs on His arm; His unsearchable wisdom and boundless power are manifested in governing and directing the complicated movements of animate and inanimate, rational and irrational beings, to the attainment of His own great power, by His powerful word. All this is done without effort of difficulty. He speaks, and it is done; He commands, and it stands fast (32).
I remember when I was child considering the fact that God could see me. You know the questions: Can he see me here, under the covers? Yes, God sees you always.
But what I am saying this morning is far more intimate and profound. The Son not only sees you, he upholds you – he causes you to exist. The discomfort in your stomach, the tingle in your left hand, the memory of the beach – all those things exist, because he causes them to continue to exist.
Oh, it is very true that your thoughts and memories and desires and will are all the product of your own volition. You are not a mere toy or robot. But those thoughts and memories and desires are all continually upheld by the Son. It is absurd to think that you could avoid or hide from such a God. You are not merely present to his sight. He does not just look at you think, Oh, there’s so-and-so.
He must consciously and continually be aware of you and cause you to exist. He must cause the earth to bear up beneath you. He must cause the air to fill your lungs and your heart to be beat. Without his continual, purposeful, deliberate effort, you would simply cease to exist.
Does that cause you to fear – even for a moment? Do you see how utterly dependent you are? A baby being held by a mother depends completely on that mother for safety. If the mother were to let go, the baby would fall to the ground and could never help himself. You are far more dependent upon the Son for your existence than the smallest baby who sleeps against his mother. If the Son should forget about you, you would cease to be.
But, he does not merely cause all things to exist; he also providentially controls all things. Too often we are deists in function. A deist is one who thinks God made the world and then went out for lunch. Perhaps someday he’ll come back and see how it is doing. The way we pray – and the way that the popular culture considers prayer – has more in common with deism than with the picture of the Bible. When we pray hoping that God will act, we seem to believe that God has somehow failed to act. We think, God must be busy with something else. Perhaps if we make enough noise, he will finally hear. Maybe we can manipulate him into doing something.
No, no, no! God is here right now acting. Do not be so ignorant as to think that God is somehow absent. He is not merely causing things to exist – he is seeing to the relationship between this and that. You are here in the pew because God has ordained it to be so. God has ordained all things which have and all things which will come to pass.
This means God can be trusted:
When Moses left Egypt, he saw what the Pharaoh could not see. The Pharaoh could see his empire, his buildings, his army. Moses could see the God who upheld the empire and buildings and army. Pharaoh could see his gold. Moses could see the God who created the gold. Today, the Pharaoh is gone, his empire is disappeared. Sure, there are a rocks piled into buildings. But the empty buildings merely serve to remind that Pharaoh is gone. But, the God of Moses is as alive forever. Who was the wiser, Pharaoh or Moses?
Life is difficult, because we are constantly trusting in things which cannot save us. People trust in their money or their power or their prestige or their abilities – and all those things fail us. If you hope in anything in this world, you will be disappointed. If you put your trust in any human being, in any angel, in any car or house or job or anything it will fail and you will be disappointed.
This is a problem for everyone.
For a Christian, the problem is more acute. If your goal is to be rich, then money looks like the best bet. But to be a Christian, you are called to a place where money cannot go. To be a Christian you must go someplace that you cannot see.
What is the real problem of life? We have a problem with God. This is apparent, because the world is broken. Why is there crime and misery and poverty and pain? All our troubles flow directly out of sin: our own sin and the sin of others. Sin brought death and every misery. Do you want to know why you are unhappy? It is sin. Because of sin we are subjected to judgment. We are going to die and then we are going to judgment. There is the problem: This life is fraught with danger, and then we must face death directly and go to judgment.
The answer for most people will be: First, I will try to manipulate this world as well as possible to avoid misery and gain pleasure. If you are powerful, you can live like the Pharaoh. If you have less, you will do your best to make your way in this world. Second, you will try to rely upon your good works to fix things with God.
This strategy makes sense: You can see my pain and pleasure right now. You can see the connection between your job and your income and your income and your ease. You can see the car in the garage: You can’t see some eternal reward in the sweet by and by. As for God, all he can expect is that someone does their best. Right? That is what you have been taught all your life: It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. You think, I have always been taught that if I do my personal best, that is all that can be expected of me. How could God expect anything else? Interesting that such a God sounds more like the coach in a TV movie than the God of the Bible.
What does the Christian say? The Christian must say, I am going to risk losing my family and car and life so that I can gain God in Jesus Christ.
Someone might say to him, Christian, that is a good idea. Gaining God in eternity is probably a very good idea. How do you plan to get God on your side? You know that human beings and God haven’t been getting along so well of late?
Christian answers, I will trust completely and only upon the work of Jesus Christ. I will trust that God will accept the obedience of Jesus Christ as my obedience. I trust that God will accept the punishment inflicted upon Jesus as sufficient for my sin.
At this point, I am going to recount the Gospel, the story of what God has done for sinful, rebellious human beings. I am going to do this not merely for the good of those who have never before heard. I am doing this primarily for those who been here for months and years. I’m doing this, because you don’t understand the Gospel – not well enough.
If you truly understood how gravely God hates sin, if you had a thimble full of knowledge of what it means that God sent his Son – his own Son – to bear the weight of sin; if you could catch the faintest glimpse of the hell poured upon the Son as he hanged upon the Cross – it would chill your bones with horror. You could never again take a lustful glance or raise your voice in anger or lie or cheat. Don’t you see the eternal hatred of God against your sin?
If you understood the wonderful the Son bearing your shame and sin, you would never again be crushed under the shame and memory of your past sins, your immorality, your viciousness, your drug abuse. You would never again feel the shame of your abortion, or your drunkenness or the sexual abuse you suffered when you were nine and you were hiding under covers hoping it would never happen again. Oh, be rid of your disgrace it was borne by your Savior: it is a lie of Satan that you must bear that for a moment again.
If you understood the beauty of Christ, the grace of God the fellowship of the Spirit, you would at this moment break in tears and forgive that one who wronged you so, the love that one who is so unlovely. If you knew these things, you would never again daydream while reading that romance novel or watching that television show and think if only.
If you knew the Gospel, there would be no need to tell you to meditate: You would think of nothing but God’s glory in the Jesus Christ. If you knew the Gospel, you would never fail to pray – you could think of nothing more. If you knew the Gospel, there would never again be a call to serve – the shut-ins would be visibly loved, the good news would be proclaimed, the work would be done. If you knew the Gospel, we would never remind you to give; we would have to tell you stop.
If you knew the Gospel, you would be changed.
And yet, since I knew that you – that I – are sinful, unforgiving, ungiving, unloving, uncaring beasts – that we are selfish idolaters – I will tell you the Gospel again. Listen. Listen carefully.
The King of all – the very Son of God – became a man. The Son of God subjected himself to the limitations of humanity; he was born under the law. God became man in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus fulfilled all the demands of the law. Jesus did this as the representative of mankind. Jesus stood in as a champion for the many. Remember the story of David and Goliath? Goliath came out as a champion for the Philistines. David came out of as a champion for the Israelites. When David fought Goliath, David – although one man – fought for the entire nation of Israel. David’s battle was on behalf of all the Israelites. In the same way, Jesus is the champion for all those who will be redeemed.
Jesus did not merely obey – he did more. Jesus bore the punishment for sin.
Let me explain why that is important: You have two problems with God. First, you have the problem that you owe love and obedience to God your Creator. You must fulfill that duty perfectly, but you will and cannot do so. Therefore, Jesus obeyed in your place.
However, you have a second problem with sin. Since you have rebelled against your King, you are guilty of treason. Some people ask, Why would God send me to Hell for a lie or a covetous thought? God does not send people to Hell for lying or anger or sexual immorality. God sends people to Hell for treason – for rank rebellion of the Creature against the Creator. No one disputes that traitors are the worse of rebels. When the king captures the traitor, he will judge him for his treason. But the King will not stop there: he will also judge them for all their crimes: for their murder and robbery and every other wrong against the throne.
You are a traitor – but you are more. You are also a murderer and liar and an adulterer and whatnot. Your rap sheet is so great that an eternity of Hell can never satisfy the demands of justice. But Jesus – the King – did something that no man could ever do. He bore the full weight of that wrath. He was punished in your place.
Now here is where it becomes even more wonderful: First, Jesus, the King is the one against whom you have sinned. He is not merely the judge – although he is the judge. No, he is not just the judge, he is the one who was wronged. He is the King whom I offended who took my place.
But it is even more wonderful than that. Remember that we learned that this Son is the one who upholds and sustains the entire universe – including all of the people. The Son also controls by means of his providence all that occurs in the entire world. No one, not the priests, not Pilate, not the mob could have lifted a finger against Jesus unless Jesus made it possible. Remember when Pilate comes to Jesus and says that he has the authority to release Jesus? What does Jesus say,
You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.
John 19:11a. Who gave Pilate that authority? Jesus. The king not only bore the punishment for your sins, he made it possible.
No one made Jesus go to the cross. No one took his life. No one else freed the legions of hell to assault him. No one else unleashed the torrent of trial and temptation which dragged and threatened him every step of the way as he moved to the cross. Jesus upheld the arm of the soldiers who beat him. Jesus caused the nails to be as they cut through his wrist and severed the nerves. The men who mocked Jesus as he hung upon the Cross, could mock only because the Son himself sustained their breath and life.
It has been said that nothing will focus your mind like knowing that you will be hanged in the morning. Here is a moment more full of fear than a thousand necks hanging upon a thousand ropes. God himself has spoken in his Son who holds your throat and your soul by the word of his power:
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him, who after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Luke 9:4-5.
Yes, fear him. Now, that he has our attention, what is that he wants to say? What has he said that we must know and believe?
“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.” (Hebrews 8:1–2, ESV)
Here is the remarkable thing: God has spoken in such a fearsome and wonderful way to bring us to a pleasant and good land. God has thundered to shake us from our sin, but not so as to kill us, but to save us.
Let us get back to what Moses saw that the Pharaoh could not see? Moses could see by faith – not by sight – but by faith that the God who called him would do everything that he promised. Why did Moses leave Egypt? Because he, “looked to the reward.” There in the place between Egypt and the wilderness, Moses could see on one hand the treasures and towers of Egypt. On the other, Moses could see the reproach of Christ – that is all the pain which will follow should we leave off of this world and follow Jesus. But Moses could see more than mere pain. Moses could see the reward which lay at the other end of the wilderness. Moses could see the peace and rest of the promise land.
Moses knew that Egypt would be destroyed. Indeed, God brought judgment upon Egypt – and there will be more judgment for all the world. The whole planet is a City of Destruction. To stay in Egypt is not to be safe. To stay in Egypt is like booking a room on a sinking ship.
So in seeking to leave, Moses was not leaving one good place for a better place. Moses was leaving one damned place for only the safe place – with God.
Use of this Doctrine:
First Use: For those who do not know Christ there is an encouragement and a warning.
Encouragement: Let us be honest, because no one knows what you are thinking other than you and God. Picture yourself this moment before God who stands as judge. Don’t say, I don’t believe in God, or I don’t believe that God will judge anyone. You know that’s a dodge. You know that you don’t really believe that. Remember no one is listening except for you and God, so be honest.
What will you say to the judge?
You know that your good works, you best behavior is not worth a hill of beans. Do you seriously believe that the God of the universe is going to be impressed with the fact that you tried to be kind to some people most of the time? Stop treating heaven like some sort of participation trophy. Sure, if you do your best every week in T-Ball, you’ll get a participation trophy. But this is not T-Ball – this is eternal judgment.
This business is so serious for God that God the Father sent God the Son to live and die in the place of sinful men and women. This is as serious as death.
Why did the Son become a man and obey and suffer? So that he could glorify God by saving you from sin and death. God became a man, and suffered as a man in the place of men so that we could come to God:
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18–21, ESV)
Yet, his work did not stop when Jesus went to the Cross – it continued on. Jesus did not merely die and leave it at that. The Son did not merely become incarnate, obey and suffer and then go back to being God and not man. No. He is man today, at this moment. He is now the High Priest, interceding before God on behalf of men and women. Jesus now stands between God and man, the God man himself. He brings together that which could not be reconciled. The King – God and Man — the rebel – have met together in the person Jesus the Christ.
This is the point of what we have been saying: You have a high priest who intercedes for you with the Father. The Father sent his Son to redeem you from this present evil age. God has sent the Spirit to communicate Christ unto our souls, to wash away our sin – not merely to wash over our sin, not merely to cover our sin – no, the Spirit applies the virtue of Christ to us, and our sin is gone completely now and forever. If you are in Christ, you are “a new creation; The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Do you see now why you can trust God to keep his promise that he will bring a reward? God has spoken in his Son: the Son who willing “bore [our] sins in his body on the tree, [so] that we might become the righteousness of God” (1 Pet. 2:24). God will bring his reward, because God has already bought that which we need.
Your problem is not with your husband or wife. Your problem is not with your neighbor or child. Your problem is not with rent or work. Your trouble is not the government or taxes. Your problem is that you lack God in Jesus Christ. Moses looked at the world and saw that the world – the very best of the world – was nothing, was less than nothing, was a trap and a pit and darkness and doom when compared against the surpassing riches of God in Jesus Christ.
Here is your choice – you will have the King and Creator who upholds all things; the one who gave himself to save you from your sin – or you will have that country which is in rebellion against him. The rebels will lose – remember they exist only because the Son causes them to exist. Remember, he has promised to judge those rebels. Remember, he has promised to destroy this current order of things and to bring a new heaven and a new earth.
The king sees your rebellion and knows your heart. The King has been patient with you these many years. The King whose eyes sees through all pretense, the King whose will upholds your very existence, that King will bring judgment from which there is no escape. But that King desires that none should perish. That King takes no delight in the destruction of his enemies. That King has purchased your pardon at the cost of his own blood.
Here is how it works: Repent, believe, follow: Turn to God, confess your sin, trust fully and solely upon the work of Jesus Christ, then love God with all your heart soul mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself – no longer live for yourself but for him who died for you. 2 Cor. 5:15.
I want you to consider carefully the implications of your existence being utterly and solely in the hands of God. A preacher many years ago put it like this:
Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock. Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of God’s enemies. God’s creatures are good, and were made for men to serve God with, and do not willingly subserve to any other purpose, and groan when they are abused to purposes so directly contrary to their nature and end. And the world would spew you out, were it not for the sovereign hand of him who hath subjected it in hope. There are black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder; and were it not for the restraining hand of God, it would immediately burst forth upon you. The sovereign pleasure of God, for the present, stays his rough wind; otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff of the summer threshing floor.
Use 2: For Those Who Know the Lord
The Son upholds all things.
There are two things which may cause us to falter as we follow after Christ: those things which have happened and those things which will happen.
The things which have happened: To be alive long is to be injured, to be sinned against, to be hurt and shamed. Some shame and hurt has been brought upon us; some we have brought upon ourselves. Sin is grimy, filthy, oily business. It sticks to our clothes and skin and nothing can wash us clean but the blood of Christ. And even after we have been forgiven, we still live as if the filth and oil of sin were closer than our own skin. What suffering such belief brings.
I want to give a great secret for understanding the pain and suffering brought about by sin. God was and is sovereign over the cause and the fact of your suffering. The Son in whom God spoke, is the Son who upholds all things – even the cause of your misery. That may seem strange, but it is true. Hold that fact tight, it is the rope which ties you to the ship of hope so that you will not drown.
Let me quickly give you some reasons that this is a hopeful fact: If this suffering comes about by the determination of God, then it must work for God. What does that mean?
1) God has promised that all things work together for good for those that love God and called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:38. That does not mean ease – God has never promised ease or a pain free life. The Son himself entered into this world to drink a cup of sin and shame and suffering that none of us can imagine. We are not promised ease – but we are promised good.
2) This suffering is light and momentary, but it will be working an eternal weight of glory. 2 Cor. 4:17.
3) This suffering will only be for a “little while”: “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10.
4) This suffering will prove your faith. 1 Peter 1:6.
5) Proven faith will “be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 1:7. Your shame will be turned to glory. Someday Jesus himself will wipe every tear from your eyes and will clothe you in glory which no sin will ever be able to foul.
6) This trial will produce endurance. James 1:3
7) This trial will produce hope. Rom. 5:4.
8) That God uses trials to cause us to no longer trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 2 Cor. 1:9.
There are so many more things which I could say, but I have so little time – and so we will stop here.
You may think, but what of the sin I have committed? What of the shame which I have poured upon my own head? That sin and that shame were born by the Son in your place. The Son was the sacrifice for your sin, “We have been sanctified through the offering of Jesus Christ, once for all” (Heb. 10:10).
That also means that all the sins which were committed against you by other believers have been fully punished in the person and body of Jesus Christ. There is no reason for you to withhold love or forgiveness when you have been wronged. The sin was sin against God – not against you. God is the true offended party. You are not God. It is not your place to bring vengeance – Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Don’t be fooled by the Devil and try to parcel your own sinful punishment.
Let no root of bitterness spring up, cause trouble and defile many. Heb. 12:14. Strive for peace with everyone. Heb. 12:14. Let brotherly love continue. Heb. 13:1.
Let me put it like this: All of your natural reactions: Do fret about the future, to be bitter those who have wronged you, to despair over your trials, to refuse to love and forgive and all the rest – all of those reactions are the reactions of Egypt. God is going to judge Egypt. Is that really where you want to live?
Look to him who is invisible. Live upon God who is invisible.
Now, see with your faith – God is behind your trials. God has brought even extraordinary trials for your good – as hard as that may be to see at this moment. Yes, there is a wilderness, but there is a God who is invisible. There are sins and trials and temptations; but there is a faithful high priest seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty on high. Forgive. Love. Live in peace. Strive for peace. Hope in God. Be free from a love of this world, which is passing away.
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:11–14, ESV)