Steadfast Love

Psalms 118:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever! (ESV)

I really feel like we have missed it.  We have spun around and around in circles looking for something that has been there all along.  We have turned to religion and found condemnation.  We have turned to church and found fear.  We have turned to self and found emptiness.  We have turned to the world and found endless pursuits of nothingness.  Wow, I sound like that guy Solomon…maybe he had something figured out that we have missed.

In the garden we changed, God remained the same.  The same “steadfast love of the Lord” was who Adam walked with in the cool of the day.  This same God, Jesus, was the very creator that Adam communed with.  This same source of love is the one that Adam shared his heart.  The truth of God’s nature wasn’t hidden from Adam.  He knew God and God knew him.  Then Adam ate the wrong fruit at the wrong time.  We as humans were not ready for the knowledge of good and evil.  Something changed in Adam so profound that he lost sight of who God was.  The same God that Adam spent time with was the God that Adam hid from.  If that weren’t enough, the knowledge of good and evil propelled Adam into a spiral of shame and condemnation that would consume him.

That forbidden fruit institutionalized our conditional thinking.  I believe Adam did not have what God had, unconditional love overflowing.  Only a God who is unconditional love can function with the knowledge of good and evil.  Only a God who has unlimited resources can live with lists.  Only a God who is completely absent of selfishness can operate in conditionals.  This fruit broke mankind.  We hid from God and saw Him as something He wasn’t.  We feared punishment from God when He says plainly that He is perfect love that casts out the fear of punishment.  We obviously lost sight of His love.  That is why we needed Jesus.  We had to see love face to face to know love.  We had to see what God looks like as a man so we would trust Him as God.

Psalm 118 is one of the most quoted Psalms in the New Testament.  Check out what the writer says.

Psalms 118:19 Swing wide you gates of righteousness and let me pass through, And I will enter into Your presence to worship only You! 20I have found the gateway to God, The pathway to His presence for all His lovers! 21I will offer all my loving praise to You, And I thank You so much for answering my prayer, And bringing me salvation! (The Passion Translation)

This person had a revelation of the true nature of God.  This Psalm is all about the steadfast love of God.  Still we (fallen humans) can’t see who He is.  Check this out:

Psalms 118: 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. (ESV)

The builders are mankind.  The first mention in the Bible of this word is God “builders” woman with a rib from Adam.  The second mention is Cain had a child named Enoch and they “builders” a city.  God isn’t rejecting Himself.  God isn’t rejecting us.  We are rejecting Him.  We found fault with God in the garden.  That is why Adam hid from God.  He no longer saw the true nature of God.

Acts 4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (ESV)

This speech was to the religious leaders of the time.  They had turned to law as their god.  They had turned to law as their justification.  They rejected the one true God, Jesus.  Here is what Paul says:

Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (ESV)

That should be encouraging.  As a born again believer we are now restored to our original intent.  We have the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God in us.  We are joined to the Spirit of Christ as one spirit.  We can “see” God for who He really is.  We can shed the fear and live in peace.  We no longer need to believe in what “man” tells us but believe in what God shows us.  That is faith.  Faith is not how well you know something.  Faith is how well you know someone, Jesus.  Check out what Peter says:

1 Peter 2:4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:  “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”  7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe.  “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”  8 and  “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey (apeithéō – literally, refuse to be persuaded by) the word, as they were destined to do. (ESV, I added some emphasis and definitions).

Check it out…for those who believe there is no shame!!!  For those who don’t believe and actually refuse to be persuaded, Jesus is a stumbling stone.  The “destined” part is nothing more than our fallen nature taking its natural course.  The serious problem to me is how there are so many in churches that are stumbling over this same Jesus.  They refuse to believe in the goodness of God.  They refuse to accept the unconditional love of Jesus.  They insist on cross after cross.  They kill Jesus over and over again.  How????  Fear, guilt, condemnation, shame!!!!  It has to stop.  No more “buts” and “ands” and additions.  It is just Jesus.  He is God.  If you don’t see Jesus doing it then it isn’t God.  Sorry.  Here is what Paul said:

Eph 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. (ESV)

And in another translation:

Eph 5:4 If you want to be made holy by fulfilling the obligations of the Law, you have cut off more than your flesh— you have cut yourselves off from Christ and have fallen away from the revelation of grace! (The Passion Translation)

Jesus is the revelation of God.  That cornerstone that mankind rejects is “the knowledge of the goodness of God.”  Jesus is His love manifest as a man.  Jesus on the cross is what it looks like when mankind rejects the goodness and loving kindness of God on the Earth.  Jesus resurrected is a Holy and loving God NOT reacting in anger.  Jesus in Heaven is the Holy Spirit in us.  We have a completely right (righteous) relationship with our Father in Heaven who loves us more than we can possibly imagine.  It doesn’t matter how “bad” you are or were or are going to be.  He loves you.  We killed God on a cross.  God responded with making us His home.

You decide.  Are you willing to ask God to show you His steadfast love?  That is who He is.  You will only discover that truth by embracing His cornerstone.  Enter His gates.  Ask for a tour.  Let Him in.  He desperately wants to show you “the steadfast love of the Lord.”  His name is Jesus.

Yay God!

Lance

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