April 9, 2021

Can We Be Lost?

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1
For most of my life, I had a land-line. Even after I got a cell phone, I maintained a phone number that was tied to my home. Now, I just have a mobile number, and the only time I miss it is when I've misplaced my phone somewhere in the house. With a land-line, I could usually solve this problem by calling my cell number and listening for the ring to reveal where the phone was hiding. But now I'm forced to search for it the old-fashioned way. My cell phone, of course, isn't the only thing I ever lose. I think the worst is when I can't find my keys. Without them, of course, I can't leave the house: How could I get back in? How could I start my car? 

So losing things is part of the human condition. But it's by no means a divine attribute. When we imagine that we are lost or that God has forgotten about us, we are creating a god in our own image. The God of the Bible does not turn aside from the children of God, even if we go running off down the wrong path.  The theologian Charles Hodge put it this way (paraphrase): Our perseverance to the end is due to the Creator's purpose for us, to the work of Christ on the cross, to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and to the primal source of all, the infinite, mysterious, and immutable love of God. Thus, as Michael Horton put it, "Only if the eternal pact between the persons of the Godhead can be broken can one of the elect be lost."

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
 Romans 8:31
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Holy and eternal God, give us such trust in your sure purpose, that we measure our lives not by what we have done or failed to do, but by your faithfulness, proclaimed in your word and sealed on the cross. Hear this prayer for your love’s sake.
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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