Sunday, December 05, 2010

Dec. 5 – What postpones the glory

Guest blogger, Stan Nussbaum, takes us on a journey through the messianic year calendar.

Welcome to the journey of our Messiah through the year with Dr. Nussbaum.

”The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)

Whenever we say that God has a plan to transform the world and he is working it out through the Messiah and the Holy Spirit, some people are bound to wonder what is taking him so long. If he is really serious about stopping evil and healing the world’s wounds and scars, why has it taken 2000 years and we don’t see much improvement? Does he lack the power to carry out his plan? Does he lack the will?

God’s apparent slowness or inaction makes perfect sense if we realize that the world is currently enjoying a grace period. The whole human race should have been destroyed by now. The Almighty God of heaven and earth sent his Son into the world to bring his light and life to everyone, and we treasonously rejected and killed him. God could justifiably vaporize us all and blow our remains off of this planet like specks of cosmic dust.

But our sentence has not been carried out yet, or I would not still be around to write this page and you would not be around to read it. Our crucifixion of Jesus, which should have got us all instantly obliterated, has instead bought us some extra time. God looked at our unspeakable crime through the lens of his love and decided to give us all a grace period, a very long second chance to welcome the Messiah who died for us.

Jesus’ own people, the Jews, missed their first chance partly because they had never expected the Messiah to have sacrificial love as his trademark. They thought the Messiah would bring the glory of God to earth by subduing evil with as much violence as required. He would destroy any evildoers who dared to oppose him, and he would intimidate the rest into submission. Problem solved. He would bring evil totally under control and make the glory of God totally visible.

But today the glory is hard to see and the evil is still running rampant. God is neither preventing it nor punishing most of it, and we are all in a world of hurt because of it. So back to our original question, what is taking God so long to step in and assert his control?

Ironically it is the grace period that allows the hurting and the hurt to continue. In other words, the only thing that is postponing the arrival of the glory of God on earth is his love and his patience. Of course he knows he could assert himself today. He could stop evil dead in its tracks right this minute, but if he did, the grace period would be over. It is so important to him to prolong the world’s second chance that he is willing to let the suffering continue.

As this week’s text says, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.” (1 Pt. 2:9)

As the Messiah’s people in a hurting world there is only one thing for us to do—seize the day. Let the glory arrive in us now. Let evil be defeated in us now. Let the love of our “God of the Second Chance” live in us now. And let us be done with the myth that God is a judgmental, vindictive, or angry person. That kind of God would have snuffed us out long ago. The real God sacrificed everything to give us a grace period.

Welcome: Welcome, King of glory! Let the fire of your glory burn all the evil out of my character and my life.

Affirmation: I will seize the day, the day of grace, so that when the grace period runs out neither I nor anyone within my loving reach will be destroyed by the glory of God.



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