Wednesday, January 26, 2011

God's Seal on Our Hearts

I am supposed to be writing a blog entry right now for our Journey Through the Psalms series but during my time in God’s word this morning my socks were blessed right off my feet and I want to tell you why.

Before I get into the meat of what I discovered this morning I want to ask you a question. How secure do you feel about how much Jesus Christ loves YOU? Don’t answer too quickly. Think about it. A lot of people I know struggle with believing God loves so-and-so but not believing He loves them as much. I used to deal with this on a daily basis. I saw the blessings of God on the lives of others and came to the conclusion that He loved them but He only tolerated me. My jealousy over their accomplishments helped to fuel this wrong thinking. I knew I was jealous and I could suppress it for a little while but it always came back…and usually with a vengeance. The acknowledgement of my jealousy did nothing to fix the problem. There was only one thing that set me free from the captivity of that wrong thinking and that was learning/knowing/experiencing the truth about God’s love.

God used many scriptures to wash my heart and mind with His truth and many of those scriptures pointed to one thing consistently: His love FOR me has nothing to do WITH me. It was initiated BY Him and FOR Him. In my warped mind I had determined that the reason God loved so-and-so more than me was because they performed better for Him. I’m not talking about performance on a stage. I’m talking about performance in life…they knew His word better, they prayed more, they served more, they had better functioning families…you get the picture? When I got my theology and doctrine straight God blew those things out of the water and my relationship with Him became intimate and personal. And now, when God reveals nuggets of scripture to me to back up the work He did in my heart several years ago, I can’t help but praise Him from an overflowing heart of thankfulness and gratitude. Ok…now, on to what He showed me.

2 Timothy 2:19 says, “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” A very brief background on this scripture. Paul was writing to Timothy for a few reasons, one of which was to be aware of false teaching that was spreading at the time...hence the use of “nevertheless”. But what I want to focus on are the seals.

Seal #1 – “The Lord knows those who are His” – the word “know” in this verse doesn’t refer to factual knowledge but as a husband knows his wife…an intimate relationship. When I think of His love for me in those terms the only reference point I have is my relationship with Scott. There is no other person on this earth, and never will be, that knows me like him. He knows my dreams. He knows my hurts. He knows what brings me joy in life. He knows my insecurities. He knows my failures. Not only does he know these things, he loves me so much that he cares about them. He has concern for me. And his love for me is personal. He doesn’t love a single person on earth the way He loves ME. How much more is God’s love for me! Think about it!

Seal #2 - “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” – John MacArthur says, “this statement is likely adapted from Numbers 16:26, and reflects a second mark of God’s ownership of believers, which is their pursuit of holiness.” If I ever have moments of not feeling good enough for God this second seal drives those moments away. Oh, it would be different if our holiness depended on us…but again, it doesn’t. When the blood of Jesus was shed for the atonement of our sin God began to see us through that crimson flow that justified us before Him. We don’t have to be overachievers and high performers in life to be holy…because of Jesus Christ we are holy.

As I was reading about these seals and thinking about how God places them on us, a song came to mind. If you are from Greenbriar, you know this song well. If you aren’t it will be posted at the end of this blog. What is important about the song is that it’s straight from scripture. Song of Solomon 8:5-7 says, “Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love it would be utterly despised.” In this verse Solomon is speaking to the Shulamite woman but it is a good picture of Christ wooing us. Inviting us. Wanting to place His seal over our hearts. One more quick note from MacArthur and I’m done. He says about love in this verse: “This represents the 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 of the Old Testament. Four qualities of love appear…

• Love is unyielding in marriage as death is to life
• Love is intense like the brightest flame, perhaps as bright as the glory of the Lord
• Love is invincible or unquenchable, even when flooded by difficulty
• Love is so priceless that it cannot be bought, only given away”

…and if you bear the name of Jesus Christ you do so under the banner of His love. And His love for you…it’s intensely personal. Notice that Paul also says that God's foundation is FIRM. You are secure in His love! Spend some time with Him in prayer and worship.

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