圣诞节12天特别灵修 | 1月2日

1月2日

【罗8:31】既是这样,还有什么说的呢? 神若帮助我们,谁能敌挡我们呢?

【罗8:32】 神既不爱惜自己的儿子为我们众人舍了,岂不也把万物和他一同白白地赐给我们吗?

“这就是慈爱的神在这个圣诞节给你的吗?这就是神给你的礼物?又一年衰退的健康?你被解雇之后的那个周炉子就坏了?又一个基督徒受迫害的骇人听闻的事件?你自己孩子的葬礼?”魔鬼用它狡猾的谎言与你的灵魂角力:“看看你的生活吧!这就是神能给你的最好的?”我们的罪性想要加入这种不信任的和声——“神在瞒着你!”——这个和声是蛇狡猾的舌头在伊甸园里创作的,我们第一对父母相信了。你在经历悲剧的时候会常常被这谎言困住吗?

使徒保罗对悲剧并不陌生,在罗马的基督徒也是。患难、困苦、逼迫、赤身露体、饥荒和刀剑,这些只是他们经历的一部分。他们会怎么做呢?我们会怎么做呢?如果神爱我们,愿意成就我们最大的益处,那我们如何解释生命中的患难呢?保罗用他自己的几个问题把我们疑问的心领向沉默的悔改,第一个问题:“神若帮助我们,谁能敌挡我们呢?”这问题向我们发出挑战:“在历史中找到一个神计划和旨意失败的例子,找到一个比那位伟大的“我是”更大的仇敌或力量,谁能抵挡我们呢?”保罗没等我们回答,因为答案是相当明显的;我们刚硬的心可能会坚持说——“我们如何确定那位全能的神是站在我们一边的呢?”——为了回答这问题,保罗抛出了第二个问题:“神既不爱惜自己的儿子为我们众人舍了,岂不也把万物和他一同白白地赐给我们吗?”

这就是慈爱的神在这个圣诞节赐给你的礼物:他自己的儿子!这就是神给你的礼物:为所有罪付上完全的代价,从羞耻和罪疚中得释放,对永恒生命的确切盼望。父已经把天上最宝贵的财宝赐给你,难道他会向你隐瞒什么吗?子已经在十字架上为你死去,难道他会忘记你吗?圣灵已经在你受洗时确定在你身上,难道他不会再来接你吗?

神在第一个圣诞节把他的一切赐给了你,愿我们已经拥有的这最伟大的礼物,藉着每一个试炼来教我们信靠那位慷慨的神。愿我们在他里面的信心增长,他甚至能用患难和悲剧来成就我们的益处。

祷告:恩慈的父啊,求你让我们在每一个试炼中举起信心的眼睛,看到你已经赐给我们那最伟大的礼物——你自己的儿子,求你接受我们的生命作为我们对这宝贵礼物所表达的感谢,求你不断的藉着地上的试炼来使我们的信心变得更完全,直到我们到达那最后的礼物——我们的天家。奉耶稣的名,阿们。

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31–32 (NIV84)

“This is what a loving God gave to you this Christmas? Here are the gifts to which God has attached your name? One more year of declining health? A broken furnace the week after you were laid off? Another horrific news story of Christian persecution? Your own child’s funeral?” The devil tugs at our souls with his crafty lies: “Just look at your life! That’s the best God could give you?” Our sinful flesh desires to join in the ancient chorus of mistrust—“God’s holding out on you!”—a chorus composed by the slippery tongue of the serpent in Eden and believed by the hearts of our first parents. How often do you latch onto this lie during tragedy?

The apostle Paul was no stranger to tragedy, and neither were the Christians in Rome. Trouble, hardship, persecution, nakedness, famine, and sword were a few things to which their names were attached. What were they to do? What are we to do? How can we reconcile the troubles in our lives if God loves us and wants what is best for us? Paul leads our questioning hearts to silent repentance with a few questions of his own. The first: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Wrapped in this question is a challenge: “Find one instance in history where his plan and purpose failed. Find one foe or force greater than the great I AM. Who can be against us?” Paul
doesn’t wait for our response, because the answer is painfully obvious. And just in case our stubborn hearts persist—“How can we be sure this omnipotent God is on our side?”—he poses the second question: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

This is what a loving God gave to you this Christmas: his own Son! Here are the gifts to which God has attached your name: complete payment for all sin, freedom from shame and guilt, and certain hope of eternal life. The Father bankrupted heaven of his greatest treasure for you; will he hold out on you now? The Son already gave his last breath of life on the cross for you; will he lose track of your life? The Spirit’s deposit was sealed at your baptism; will he not return to
collect it?

God spared nothing that first Christmas as he gave you his everything. May this greatest gift, which we already possess, teach us to trust our generous God through every trial. May our confidence increase in him, who is able to use even trouble and tragedy for our good. How will he not grant us this and more?

Prayer:Gracious Father, lift our eyes of faith during every trial to the manger, where we see the greatest gift already given, your own Son. Accept our lives as an expression of gratitude for this
precious gift. Continue to perfect our faith through earthly trials until we reach the last gift, our home in heaven. Amen.

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