A Circle of Trust

WIFE has recently been going through Romans 8, and that is the inspiration for this blog post.

Anyone who has seen the movie “Meet the Parents” starring Ben Stiller remembers that a common theme running through that movie was the “circle of trust.” While initially this meant the group of people which the father-in-law (Robert DeNiro) trusted with key information, it ended up being a perfect phrase when describing the wedding ring Stiller’s character gave his girlfriend.

Now, I love how the Bible not only shows consistency when it comes to names, dates, locations (I recently discovered a great consistency involving Genesis 6:3 and Psalm 90:10), but also when it comes to Biblical principles, and in this case, it does so in a completely circular way so as to tie all of these principles together. God revealed in the Bible His own little “circle of trust.” Let me explain.

Romans 8:1 says this: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,…”. Christians have taken this a variety of ways, but the simplest way to look at this verse is to say that those who have accepted Christ as their Savior are not condemned to an eternity away from Him in hell. We have been redeemed.

But how is this reprieve from condemnation achieved? 1 Corinthians 10:32 gives us a good piece of the answer: “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” This could be thought of in terms of sanctification, where the discipline is not necessarily punishment, but more in terms of instruction to help set us apart through the process of making us holy. This is to allow us to step into this perfect holiness upon death and be fit to enter the kingdom of God. This discipline keeps us from condemnation. It’s very evident how these two principles (discipline and rescue from condemnation) fit together.

Now the word “discipline” triggered another verse in my head during discussions with WIFE. I looked it up, and you find it in both the Old Testament (Proverbs 3:11-12) and in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:5-6). It says this: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” So according to these verses, the discipline of the Lord is done because He loves us, and it ties in well that in love He would want to make us holy through sanctification.

This is where it all gets tied up so beautifully. The Bible, in one of the most famous verses, explains why we are able to get the rescue from condemnation that comes from discipline. John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” It was God’s love that caused Him to send Jesus Christ as a means of salvation and a rescuing from condemnation!

So these three concepts (rescue from condemnation, discipline, God’s love) are all interwoven so easily and with the same terminology in God’s Word. It’s not like these things are rocket science, or even hard to find. But the fact that God makes it so clear that salvation comes through the effect of sanctification and as a result of His love that it makes believing in this truth that much easier.

Thank you Lord so much for loving us in spite of ourselves. We turn away from you to our own way so often that we don’t deserve to be even recognized by you, let alone disciplined in love. We are completely unworthy of your salvation, but you made a way by sending your Son to suffer for our sakes, so man cannot say that God doesn’t know how to suffer like man does. I praise You for the ability that You alone possess to offer salvation and sanctify such an unclean heart, so we can spend eternity praising your matchless name. You are a great and loving God, and you reveal that every day through your Word and by sustaining us and supplying all we need. I love you, Jesus.

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