“Go, Love” ( Hosea 3: 1, Lexham ) by Carley Evans


And Yahweh said to me again,

“Go, love a woman
who has a lover and is committing adultery,
just like the love of Yahweh for the children of Israel.
Out in the world at large are two seemingly opposing views of God: one view is that God is so holy that He hates sin and desires to destroy all those who commit sin; the other view is that God is so loving that He loves sinners and desires to save all who commit sin. These two views of God are correct. The paradox is in the story of Hosea asked by God to marry an adulterous woman to show forth both sides of the same coin – God’s holiness and God’s love.
God calls sin what it is; that is, sin. God clearly tells Hosea the woman is guilty and to marry her despite her guilt.
God also loves sinners. God clearly tells Hosea that He loves the children of Israel despite the fact they are as guilty as the adulterous woman.
If God doesn’t hate sin, why does He punish Jesus, His only Son? If God doesn’t love sinners, why does Jesus leave Heaven to come to earth for that punishment? Why does God bother to die on the Cross unless He loves sinners?
And so, God calls us to two sides of the same coin. He calls us to hate and avoid sin while simultaneously loving and approaching the sinner.
“Go, love.”
Advertisements

“The Race Marked Out for Us” ( Hebrews 12:1, NIV-UK ) by Carley Evans


Since the author of Hebrews compares our walk with Christ as a race with clearly marked lanes and an easily identifiable finish line, I feel perfectly free to use the same analogy. (Paul often uses the same racing analogy, after all. And yes, that’s assuming he did not author the epistle to the Hebrews.) Here is what the author of Hebrews writes:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

The “great cloud of witnesses” are the patriarchs and matriarchs of Israel; they show off what real faith looks like! Since we have so many excellent examples of working faith, the author calls us to “throw off everything that hinders.” Whatever hinders our faith, we should dispense with. Then the author encourages us to throw off “the sin that so easily entangles.” Whatever sin remains in our day-to-day walk with Christ, we are to do our utmost to disentangle ourselves! Then, we are to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Notice the author does not call upon us to cross into the running lanes of other racers. He does not command us to grab ahold of our neighbor and drag him or her along with us in our running lane. Each person runs his or her own race in a lane “marked out” especially for him or her. We aren’t able to give someone else our “perseverance.” We have to trust that God provides for each racer as need arises.

We see this in the history of Israel. Each individual saint stands or falls based upon his or her own perseverance and the power that God provides within each person’s situation. Each saint must disentangle himself or herself; each saint must throw off sins that entangle him or her; each saint must run his or her own race and reach the finish line alone (and yet, together with other members of the body of Christ Himself).

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

“Saved Through Him from Wrath” ( Romans 5: 1-10, HOLMAN ) by Carley Evans


So much of the good news is contained in the first ten verses of the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. He says clearly that we are “declared righteous,” that “we have peace with God,” that “we have obtained access” to “this grace in which we stand.” We may know with certainty that “this hope will not disappoint us.” Why? “Because God’s love has been poured out.” We have been given the Holy Spirit. And all this was given to us “while we were still helpless.” “Christ died for the ungodly.” That’s you and me! This willing death of God’s Son “proves” God’s love for us. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Therefore, “we will be saved through Him from wrath.” After all, says Paul, if Christ died for us while we were His enemies, “how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His Life!”

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that,but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

“Jesus in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time with the Wrong Type” ( John 4: 27, LSM Recovery Version ) by Carley Evans


“And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, What are You seeking? or, Why are You speaking with her?”

Jesus’ disciples are shocked. They are downright flabbergasted to find Jesus speaking with a woman. They are amazed that not only does He speak to a woman; He speaks to a Samaritan woman, a woman of mixed ancestry, a woman outside Judaism as they know and observe it. On top of their shock, they don’t bother to ask Him why He speaks to this woman. They don’t appear to care; they only care that Jesus is doing something unacceptable, out of fashion, and politically incorrect.

The disciples don’t care that Jesus is physically thirsty. They don’t care that as He seeks to quench His own thirst, He recognizes the woman’s spiritual thirst and her need for what Jesus is – the Living Water.

I imagine Jesus is scolded by one or another of the disciples, perhaps by Judas Iscariot, the betrayer or by Peter, His defender on the night He is taken for crucifixion.

The disciples scold Jesus because they only care that He is doing the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong place with the wrong type of person. His disciples judge by appearances rather than by substances.

“Confidence?” ( Psalm 119:60, WYC ) by Carley Evans


above_treeline_CEEDavid, an adulterer and murderer, boldly claims:

I am ready, and I am not troubled; to keep thy commandments. (I am ready, and I have not delayed, to obey thy commandments.)

What gives David his confidence? Is his confidence in himself? Is he honest when he claims he is ready? Does he correctly assess himself when he says, “I am not troubled; to keep thy commandments”?

In what, in whom is David’s confidence?

“The Man is Merry” ( Psalm 112:5, WYC ) by Carley Evans


David, the psalmist, simply says that if you are merciful to others, if you lend yourself to others fairly and with good judgement, then you are merry. Accompanying your kind words and loving deeds is a happy heart.

The man is merry, that doeth mercy, and lendeth; he disposeth his words in doom; (Happy is the person who giveth favour when he lendeth; he disposeth his deeds with justice, or with good judgement😉

“Clean From All Sin” ( I John 1:7 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


wood_hole_CEEJesus’ blood, shed to save the world, cleanses us from all sin – not from some, but from all. As we join with God where He dwells, “we too live and move in Light” and we have “fellowship between us.” Living within Light overshadows the darkness that surrounds us; therefore we are clean despite living in a dirty, fallen world. Our fellowship is with the Holy Spirit and with each other. We live and move in Love.

God dwells in light; if we too live and move in light, there is fellowship between us, and the blood of his Son Jesus Christ washes us clean from all sin.