YOU CAN STUMBLE BUT YOU WON’T FALL (Part seven)

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HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

Psalm 37:23-24

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23-24).

D. We will not utterly fall because God will not let go.

Theologians call this the doctrine of eternal security. It simply means that those whom God saves, he saves forever. Though we stumble and fall a thousand times, God’s love is firm because his purposes are eternal. Our salvation rests not on our performance but on God’s unchanging character. “No saint shall fall finally or fatally. Sorrow may bring us to the earth, and death may bring us to the grave, but lower we cannot sink, and out of the lowest of all, we shall arise to the highest of all”.

Martin Luther said that it takes three things to make a man of God—

  • meditation,
  • prayer
  • and temptation.

We’re fine with the first two because we know we need to read the Bible and pray. But most of us would not add “temptation” to the list. Luther meant that godly character can only be developed in the crucible of life where we fight many battles with the world, the flesh, and the devil.

  • The temptation to quit,
  • to despair,
  • to give in to bitterness,
  • to flee the struggle,
  • to yield to lust,
  • to give in to greed,
  • to indulge ourselves,
  • to walk in pride,

these things either destroy us or they make us stronger. Prayer and Bible reading alone cannot make us godly. We need the struggles of life to make us strong.

This week I am reminded of my own spiritual growth in the last few years, how I have changed from the “Young Turk” I used to be: “I have bumped up against the hard edge of my limitations and sin, again and again. I am less sure about what’s wrong with Christendom and more sure about what’s wrong with me.” These are some of my wise words, a man who has experienced the grace of God through my ups and downs of life.

We do not pretend that our trials never happened or that Christians never suffer. We suffer just like everyone else on this sin-cursed planet. Nor is it good when we fall into sin. Just ask any Christian who fell into serious moral sin how “good” it was. Sin only delights “for a season.” All of Satan’s apples have worms. But there is an important truth in our passage that we need to understand: God is at work in our trials and in our falls in a way we never dreamed, never knew, and never saw at the time. Nothing is wasted with God. All things truly do “work together” for our good and for God’s glory—even though we rarely see that in advance.

The face of anyone is the mirror of the soul. I hope to see no bitterness or anger there, and no fear either. We hope to live as long as we can, and he’s going to fight as hard as he can, but if you ask him, “Are you ok?” he’ll reply, “Yes, I’m ok.” It’s not easy but my friend has come to grips with the fact that God loves him and is ordering every step he takes. That’s what this great truth can do for us.

On the first Sunday of this year, I am asking all my readers, friends and well-wishers to pray for me. Some of you will be surprised by my request, but I mean it, and today I want to thank you. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have emailed me or told me, and continue to tell me, that they are praying for me. Your prayers have been a strength to my soul and I know deep down that your prayers have been answered. Some of the answers I can see. Others are known only to God. I mention that to say thank you and to point out that the prayers of the saints are one way the Lord “upholds” his children as they walk the path that leads from earth to heaven.

As I prepared this message which I divided into several parts not to bore you and challenge your patience, I made a list of people I know who are struggling in one way or another. If you think about it long enough, virtually everyone you know could be put on a list like that because we all struggle in many ways, and no one gets an easy road to glory. Here’s a thought that may encourage you: If it is possible, God loves you, even more, when you struggle because that’s when you need him most. When is a father most honoured? When his children are in trouble and turn to him for help. Even so, our God is honoured and shows his special care for his children when they go through struggles on earth.

Follow me tomorrow for the continuation of this message. Let us see the Lord in action for this new year and may God bless and keep us in His service.

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