Needy people occupy a needy world. Ours is a world of sin that is cursed. The physical universe, and all that is in it, remains under God’s judgment because of the fall of creation, which was instigated by the fall of man into sin (Gen 3; Rom 8:22). The sin nature within the natural man is a factory for producing sins (Rom 3:23; 5:12; Eph 2:3). Here is the root of man’s problems in the world.
The world system has an inspiring ruler in Satan (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). The devil is a clever deceiver. Wherever there is a promotion of sin in the world, the father of lies is behind it (Jn 8:44), posing as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). The evil one desires the destruction of people because all people are God’s creation, bearing His image, albeit flawed in a myriad of ways because of sin.
When flawed humanity suffers because of sin, it often tries to cope with the pain of suffering with “feel good” remedies. Needy people in pain turn to alcohol, narcotics, pornography, hoarding, over-eating, endless travel, endless work, stealing, sorcery, idolatry, and every other vice imaginable. As sons of disobedience, in the quest to gratify the flesh, addiction often becomes a reality.
The futility of the mind is also evident in those whose every inclination is evil (Gen 6:5; Eph 4:17). The devil blinds the minds of those who cannot see nor understand the Gospel of salvation (2 Cor 4:4). The mind set on the flesh is death (Rom 8:6); and it is hostile toward God (Rom 8:7; and it is not pleasing to God (Rom 8:8). For the deeds of the flesh are evident in each of the vice lists of the Bible (Rom 1:29–31; 1 Cor 5:9–11; 6:9–10; Gal 5:19–21; Eph 4:31; 5:3–5; Col 3:5; 1 Tim 1:9–10; 6:4–5; 2 Tim 3:2–4; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet 4:3; Rev 21:8; 22:15).
The Law of God helps us to know how sinful man really is in his body of death (Rom 7:24). The natural man shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:21). He is a vessel of wrath prepared for destruction (Rom 9:22).
By the mercy and grace of God there is another vessel, another man who is spiritual (1 Cor 2:15). There is only one reason this person is different than the natural man. He has the Spirit of Christ indwelling his heart and mind (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11). The Holy Spirit was sent to him by God the Father and God the Son (Jn 14:26; 15:26; Rom 5:5; 1 Jn 3:24; 4:13). He who has the Spirit of God belongs to Christ and has the life of God in him (Rom 8:9).
This man belongs to the Good Shepherd because God the Father gave him and all of God’s elect people to the Son of God in eternity past (2 Tim 1:9). Their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8; 17:8; 21:27). Now, it is God the Father who irresistibly draws them to Christ (Jn 6:44, 65), who promises not to lose them nor cast them out of His flock (Ps 23; Jn 6:37; 10:1–30).
He that is spiritual, being an adopted child of God (Rom 8:15, 23; Eph 1:5), now experiences a new tension with his new life as a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). His flesh remains at war with the Spirit (Gal 5:17). The new agenda for those born again of God’s Spirit is to crucify the flesh with all its passions and desires (Gal 5:24; 1 Pet 1:3). Walking in newness of life has the new affection of holiness (Rom 6:4; 1 Pet 1:15–16).
The sanctifying work of the Spirit (1 Pet 1:2), who is the token of God’s love and purifying agent (2 Cor 5:5), is the means by which the bride of Christ will ultimately be presented holy and blameless before God the Father (Eph 1:4; 5:27; Col 1:22), at the end when all things are put under subjection to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the believer’s Great High Priest (Heb 4:14). This is a comfort to the Christian who struggles with temptation and sin all the days of his life. As the God-man who was enfleshed, Jesus was subject to all the fleshly desires that entice us, yet He was without sin (Heb 4:15; 2 Cor 5:21). Therefore, He can be sympathetic to our weakness in these bodies of sin and death. Being God, it was impossible for Jesus to sin (Doctrine of Impeccability); but being human, He knew the power of sin, Satan, and the world system at enmity with God.
The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ, is called “another Helper” sent by God to be with us, forever (Jn 14:16). The Spirit is our Ebenezer, a very present help in times of need (1 Sam 7:12). As our Prophet, Priest, and King — with all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18) — Christ is our Mediator with God (1 Tim 2:5), who ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25).
Knowing the truth of the Gospel, from the Spirit of truth teaching us the Word of truth, we have faith in Christ, in whom all the promises of God are fulfilled (2 Cor 1:20). Having been transferred into the kingdom of God’s Beloved Son (Col 1:13), we have peace with God (Rom 5:1), who is willing and doing His good pleasure in our lives according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11; Phil 2:13).
The faith given to the child of God emboldens him to be a witness for Christ in the world (Acts 1:8; 9:27–28; 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; Eph 6:20). Believing the promises of God causes the spirit-filled Christian to speak of the excellencies of Christ (1 Pet 2:9). We boast, “He has done great things!” and “He has helped me in my time of need.”
The Christian goes boldly before the throne of grace, again and again in prayer (Heb 4:16). Mercy and grace is the response from heaven in every situation of need derived from sin. Peter prayed, “Lord, save me!” (Mt 14:30). The crimson stain of sin is ever-polluting our experience. Apart from Christ we can do nothing to remedy all that troubles us in the world (Jn 15:5).
Believing that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:35, 39), because there is no one and nothing that can condemn us (Rom 8:1), we cling to the steadfastness of hope (1 Thess 1:3). Our brief lives of suffering in this world cannot compare to the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18), by Him who is able to do above and beyond all we can think or imagine (Eph 3:20).
Turn to Jesus Christ, alone, on this day of trouble. All things that you need are already known to God the Father long before you realize your need for God’s mercy and grace. Consider what is testing you, today, and present your petitions for help to Him who cares for you (1 Pet 5:7).
God is intimately working the grace of His providential care in us who trust Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Greater is He that is in you, Christian, than he that is in the world and that is how close your help is, today (1 Jn 4:4). God trouble? Ask for help from Him who alone is in the position to help and who is glorified in doing so.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 20, 2023