The Spring of Hope and Life

Arnet Mathers, pastor Seventh-day Adventist Church

Today, on the first day of Spring, as I am writing, the earth is once again hidden under a fresh blanket of white, thanks to the March 21st nor’easter blowing across Downeast Maine. By this time of year, even the Winter sports enthusiasts are looking forward to warmer days and the greening of the earth. We look forward to new life, after the death-like pall of Winter.

There may be moments in our own lives, when we wonder if we will ever get past the “winter” of our own struggles and difficulties. When will the sun ever break through the clouds that hang overhead, and warm our world again?

The good news is, no matter which way the weather blows, or how the seasons turn, the Father of all, the Giver of “every good and every perfect gift,” never wanders away (James 1:17). He is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Nor is “the Father of Lights” daunted by the darkness He finds, even in the hearts of His own people. The problem isn’t just “the worldlings.” All humanity is, with Adam and Eve, hiding in the trees at the sound of God’s approach (Genesis 3:8). “There is none who seeks after God” (Romans 3:11). But God has a remedy. The “Father of Lights” can call forth the light to shine in the midst of our darkness.

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6, NKJV).

At Calvary, Jesus met death face to face. As unlikely as it may seem, by accepting the death of humanity in the person of His own humanity, He robbed death of its power (Hebrews 2:14-15). In the triumph of a completed sacrifice (John 19:30), Jesus rested in His finished work as our Substitute (Luke 23:50-24:1). On Sunday morning, the glory shone forth as Jesus rose again to new life and went right back to work as Intercessor for you and me, applying the benefits of that act of grace (Matthew 28:1-8; Hebrews 7:25).

How do we benefit from that grace? There are only two prerequisites to God’s saving grace: 

ONE: “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He has loved us” (Ephesians 2:4, PAV). He can’t help but be merciful, because of His love for us.

TWO: “We being dead in trespasses” (Ephesians 2:5, PAV). “Nothing in my hand I bring.”

With those two prerequisites in place, God who raised the Christ “from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:20, NKJV), “made us alive together with the Christ, (by grace you are have-been-saved-ones)” (Ephesians 2:5, PAV).

When the living Word of God is mixed with faith (Hebrews 4:2), there is no limit to what God can and will accomplish in our lives (Ephesians 2:8-10; 1:19-23). It is “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:6) when that grace results in the transformation of His people, His church, demonstrating before “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” “the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10; compare Daniel 7:9-10, 21-22).

Winter is passing. The green of new grass, and Spring foliage on the trees is almost in sight. So also the chilling clouds of struggle and discouragement will certainly give way as we are raised with Christ to walk in the newness of His life (see Romans 6:4ff; compare Galatians 2:20-21).

 

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21, NKJV).