“Yes!” in Christ

Yes

2 Corinthians 1:18-20 “But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and ‘No,’ but in him it has always been ‘Yes.’ For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.”

Paul’s preaching about Jesus had never been (and it would never be), “Yes, this is certain about Jesus,” and then in the next breath, “Well, no, maybe this is not so sure.” Everything Paul preached about him, everything we have recorded about that perfect life of love, is sure. Don’t we have four separate accounts telling us so? There is no doubt Jesus gave his life as an atoning sacrifice on the cross, just as Paul preached. There is no doubt Jesus actually, bodily rose from the dead for our faith and assurance. In his earlier letter to these same Corinthian Christians, Paul had pointed them to over 500 witnesses of the fact. Many were still alive and were available for interview. Everything about Jesus’ saving work was “Yes.” It was true.

Everything Jesus taught was “yes” as well. In the gospels we hear reminder after reminder that Jesus spoke with authority. When Jesus said to a person “Be healed!” that person was healed! When Jesus said, “Son, your sins are all forgiven,” those sins were all forgiven! When Jesus preached his parables and proclaimed, “The Kingdom of heaven is like…” a vineyard, a field, or nets, that is what the Kingdom is really like! How many times Jesus introduces something in the gospels with “Verily, I say unto thee,” “Truly, I tell you.” Everything about Jesus’ message to us is sure.

Even more, because of him, ALL of God’s promises are certain. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” Jesus himself is the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s promises, the greatest demonstration of God’s perfect faithfulness. Because of him I know that every word of God can be trusted. I know the Bible is true not only because it contains some passages that say so. Of course, those passages are also God’s word, and they are not to be doubted.

But I also know that the Bible is true because this is where I met Jesus. It is still where I meet him today. It is in these words Jesus introduced me to his love. And if Jesus loves me as much as these words say (and he does), then I find the faith that can depend upon him and his Father for everything in every way. Jesus makes me sure.

I don’t have space to review all the promises which are “Yes” in Christ here, but a little sampling will give us a feel for just how many promises Jesus makes certain. Isn’t it Jesus himself who says, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom.” “Come to me all you who are weary, and burdened, and I will give you rest.” “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” “So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm until the end will be saved.” “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” “He that believes and is baptized will be saved.” “Take and drink, this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”?

These and so many others are the promises of God which Jesus makes certain. In him we can be sure that every one of them is “Yes!”

Your People Will Be Delivered

Last Judgment

Daniel 12:1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.”

What is this time of distress to which Daniel refers? Here the prophet is speaking about the signs that the end is near, that the last day is upon us and Christ is returning as Judge.

Are we there yet? Don’t expect this time of distress to be so obvious we can predict the exact date. Jesus assures us that day will come like a thief in the night, at an hour we do not expect.

Rather, we know that all of God’s people in every age will be plagued with troubles in this world. Jesus told his disciples Maundy Thursday evening, “In this world you will have trouble.” These troubles and hardships have been growing around us as though we were frogs in a kettle. You are probably familiar with that illustration. Since a frog is a cold blooded animal, when you put it into hot water it immediately detects the danger and jumps out. But if you put it into cool water and slowly bring up the heat, it will sit there and boil to death. It can’t detect the gradual change in temperature.

So it is that we are living in a world whose troubles grow in intensity until the day of our Savior’s return. It is entirely possible that we are living in a time of such unparalleled distress that Jesus’ return could take place at any moment.

That means we can give up our utopian dreams for this present world. We are daily tempted to rest our hearts in this world. We try to carve out a slice of heaven right here on earth. This goes beyond what we commonly term “materialism.” Even when we have resolved to simplify our lives, and we stop trying to purchase our happiness, we suffer from an inbred worldliness that looks to create a paradise out of our present reality. In some cases the resolution to simplify our lives itself comes from the worldliness that makes us materialists. We entertain the false hope that we can create a peaceful and perfectly happy existence here.

Our churches will never be pristine moral havens untainted by sin. Our families will never be unfailing sources of love and nurture. Our country will never be a consistent champion of goodness and justice. That’s not to say we should stop fighting to make these things as good as they can be, but it will always be a fight. This is the place of distress and trouble and hardship. God’s solution is not to transform it into the happy home we all long for.

His solution looks like this: “But at that time your people–everyone whose name is found written in the book–will be delivered.” God will deliver us, and we will escape from this distress we know as earthly life. In the opening words of this verse Daniel gives us a clue as to how he will do this. “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.” Some things we know about him suggest that Michael, which means, “Who is like God?”, may be another name for Jesus himself. We know that on the last day he will visibly return to put a final end to every enemy who is trying to keep us out of heaven. Jesus certainly protects his people and delivers them.

But this Michael may also be the chief of all God’s angels, the archangel who stands above all the rest. Whether we are being protected by Jesus or his angels, believers know that they are not exempt from the distress of these last times. But the Lord will not let it overwhelm us. We will escape from it with our souls. “Everyone whose name is found written in the book,” the book of life, “will be delivered.” Everyone will be clearly and definitely counted. The Lord will not allow a single one of his chosen children to be lost or overlooked.

For now our troubles may lead us right up to the edge of what we can stand. In the end we hold onto the promise: “…your people…will be delivered.”

Evil Transformed

Hugging

Genesis 50:20-21 “’You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

Joseph is not afraid to identify his brothers’ actions as evil. “You intended to harm me.” He was not like our mixed-up relativists today. In his book Conversations with God, Author Neal Walsch claims God told him, “I have never set down a right or a wrong, a do or a don’t.” “I do not love good, more than I love bad.” Thus he can even conclude, “Hitler did nothing wrong. Hitler simply did what he did.” This isn’t God talking. This is Neal Walsch putting words in his mouth. Joseph, on the other hand, was not excusing his brothers’ wicked behavior or minimizing it. He does not deny that they did wrong.

But Joseph could forgive it because God forgave it. And Joseph could see how a gracious and forgiving God takes it one step farther. He not only removes the guilt of our sin so that it won’t condemn us. He transforms the consequences of our sins. He takes the evil we have produced and he makes it serve us. That does not mean there is no pain involved. But pain itself is not evil. If we felt no pain, how would we know that we were sick or injured? God uses the misery our sins produce to help us see our spiritual sickness and seek his help.

Sometimes he even turns our evil intent into a tool to help others. “God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” If Joseph is never sold to Egypt as a slave, he never becomes the Prime Minister who can save his family from starvation. If his family dies from starvation, God’s plan to save the world dies, because this was the family that was going to produce Jesus our Savior. So God used the evil decision of Joseph’s brothers not to save them alone. He used it to save you. His ability and desire to use our evil for his good is part of the comfort he offers to forgiven people.

Thus Joseph paints the beautiful picture of family reconciled, reconciled to each other because they were reconciled to God. “‘So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

Could your broken relationships look so beautiful? Our Lord has already given forgiveness to us. May he use us to pass it on to those who have hurt us, too.

Reconciliation Requires Forgiveness

Joseph

Genesis 50:16-19 “(Joseph’s brothers) sent word to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father left these instructions before he died: This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.’ When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. ‘We are your slaves,’ they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?’”

Take a moment to think through your own relationships. Do you have any in which forgiveness is missing from the picture, either because it hasn’t been communicated clearly, or because you haven’t offered it? How does the picture look? Tense? Hurt? Suspicious? Angry? Cold? Silent? What are the prospects for reconciliation?

Maybe we feel we are justified in holding a grudge, in withholding the olive branch, because we were wounded deeply. It wasn’t just a one-time insult. It wasn’t a single confidence betrayed. It wasn’t an accidental attack on my reputation. Maybe we aren’t convinced they even want our forgiveness. They haven’t come to us to ask for it yet.

But living in unforgiveness is a miserable way to live, isn’t it? It’s like going around with an emotional open wound. The pain is always present. It always runs the risk of getting dirt in it, getting infected, and festering up into something inflamed and ugly.

We can’t force others to desire or receive our forgiveness. But God does expect us to desire to give it. It’s right there in the Lord’s Prayer, “…as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Our relationship with him is the other and greater relationship we need to consider when people we know need to be forgiven. Jesus once said it just this plainly: “…if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15). With him, too, reconciliation requires forgiveness.

Joseph knew that his brothers needed more than his word of forgiveness. “Am I in the place of God?” He put this in the form of a question, but the answer is obvious. It was not right for Joseph to stand in judgment over these men who were sincerely sorry. God himself forgave them. Our world may make too much of the “who are you to judge others?” question. It uses it to excuse or defend things that are selfish and hurtful, as though there were no standards of right and wrong.

But there is a proper time for us to be reminded that God is the ultimate judge. When someone offers sincere regret and apology, where there is genuine repentance, it is not for us to conclude the offense was too great to be forgiven. We can’t claim moral superiority or control someone else’s fate. Like Joseph, we are not in the place of God.

Actually, the opposite is true. We are not in the place of God. But God did stand in the place of us. He stood in our place, not as judge, but as sinner. When Jesus went to the cross, God was in the place of each one of us, being judged for the sins that we have committed. The judgment on our sin has been given and the sentence served. The Lord is intent on us knowing that all has been forgiven just so that we don’t end up living under the kind of fear and insecurity toward God that Joseph’s brothers had toward him. Our Lord has purchased and given the forgiveness that not only reconciled him to us. It gives us faith in place of fear, and reconciles us to him. That’s the comfort of forgiveness given.

The Soldier as Role Model

Veterans 2

2 Timothy 2:1, 3-4 “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.”

From time to time soldiers make the news for doing outrageous things: killing or abusing civilians, mistreating each other, betraying national secrets. Considering the special temptations and stresses that go along with serving in the military, perhaps this should not surprise us.

We should not let these few stories overshadow the faithful service and honorable behavior of millions who have served their country well. For thousands of years the faithful soldier has been a role model for many walks of life—employees, athletes, students, activists in various causes, and yes, even Christians living the Christian life. Paul’s words to Timothy invite us to look at the soldier as a role model for our life of faith.

One of the first positive attributes we notice of the soldier is strength used for good. Those who serve in our military enter their service in the prime of life. Never will their endurance or raw power be greater than in these years of young adulthood. Through hard work and exercise we train them to be stronger still. That strength will be needed for so many of the challenges that face them, whether in peace time or in war.

Likewise, Paul urged Timothy, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” The strength of Christians, soldiers in the army of God, is not a strength they create within themselves. It is not the result of physical exercise. In his letter to the Romans, Paul reminds us, “While we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Our strength comes to us as a gift of God’s grace. He has brought us from death to life by the cross of his Son.

In my office hangs a cross I received as a gift. It is inscribed with a number of Bible passages promising the Christian strength. Across the horizontal beam of that cross in large letters is the word “strength.” Does that seem ironic? The cross was an instrument of torture and death. It robbed our Lord Jesus of the last traces of human strength before he cried out “It is finished.” Then he commended his spirit into the Father’s hands and died.

The soldier of Christ finds his strength at the cross, because there his sins were all forgiven. God gave him his life back again. The Lord sets him free from fear and fills him with confidence and hope. In Christ crucified we have both the power and the wisdom of God. Like good soldiers, we are strong when we immerse ourselves in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Paul describes another virtue modeled by soldiers: “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” The soldier’s life is not an easy life. Boot camp pushes the body to the limits. Luxuries are few. A soldier’s life often lacks the basic comforts of life. Heat, cold, hunger, lack of sleep—a soldier deals with them all. If you are at war, someone is constantly trying to kill you. And this is no video game in which you may start over using the spare lives you have earned. It is a struggle of life and death. Hardship belongs to a soldier’s life.

Still, it is a noble life. Soldiers endure hardship for a greater cause. They defend. They protect. Their sacrifice makes it possible for others to enjoy the very things they have given up in order to do their job.

We soldiers of Christ endure hardship, too. Since God has already given us the greatest gifts—forgiveness and eternal life—we don’t regard life as nothing more than an opportunity for having or getting things. It is about giving. It is about serving. It is about sharing the gifts God has given. That calls for sacrifice. We make do with less to care for others. We give up comforts because we are dedicated to a cause: spreading the gospel. We want to defend and protect souls, so we sacrifice time, money, and effort for them to hear the good news.

Spreading the word invites attack. So good soldiers of Christ endure hardship, because Christ has made us part of his good and noble cause.

Finally, soldiers learn to carry out their mission with a single-minded focus. They are an example of devotion to duty. “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.” It is all about the mission and the leader that they serve.

The same is true for us as soldiers of Christ. Those who belong to Jesus by faith know that this is not our home. We do not share the hopes and dreams of the citizens of this world. We are not here to become famous, rich, popular, or to have the most fun.

Our citizenship is in heaven. This world is a place we are passing through. We trust our Commander to provide us with something to eat, something to wear, and a roof over our heads. We concern ourselves with these things only as much as they are needed for our mission. We know they are not the mission. Getting to heaven, and bringing as many others along with us as we can—that’s the concern of the soldier of Christ who wants to please his commanding officer.

On Veteran’s Day we thank the men and women who served and sacrificed to make our way of life possible. We Christians can also thank them for the picture they provide of the soldiers who fight in God’s army—believing soldiers of Christ. May God’s grace keep us faithful to his cause.

Everything Jesus Commands

Bible Hands

Matthew 28:20 “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

No part of God’s revelation comes to us on a “take-it-or-leave-it” basis. God has not set Christianity up like a cafeteria, where we have the choice to take only what suits our tastes. It is more like a carefully planned, home-cooked meal. It is intended especially for our spiritual nutrition, not for our sensory pleasure. Quite often, the less tasty portions of God’s word are the most important for us. Like regular food, much of God’s word proves to be an acquired taste.

That is why Jesus adds the word “everything” to his commission to go and make disciples. Of course, he expects us to teach the entirety of his gospel promises as well as his law’s commands. Of the two, the gospel is even more urgent for our faith and life. Nothing fortifies us more. But this has already been alluded to with his words about baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Now he reminds us that living as his disciples means walking in his commands. A changed life naturally flows from a disciple’s faith. God’s grace and forgiveness don’t cancel good works out of our lives because we don’t need them to get to heaven. It inspires them! It is the grace of God that brings salvation, Paul writes Titus, that “teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age” (2:11-12).

And in order that all may know what a godly life looks like, Jesus includes “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” as he sends us to win the world to faith in him. We go with his word, and that word changes lives as we go.

Baptizing and Disciple-making

Baptismal Euer

Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

What does Baptism have to do with making disciples? Let’s start by looking closer at the formula for Baptism Jesus gives us. We are to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Sometimes when we say we do something in the name of someone, it means that we are doing it for them–we have been duly authorized. That is certainly the case when Jesus’ disciples use Christian Baptism. They have been sent and authorized.

But there is more to it than that. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul points out that none of them were baptized into his name, as though he were the Savior. In Romans he says that we have been baptized into Christ Jesus and into his death. In other words, baptism creates a connection–a connection between us and the Triune God Jesus mentions here.

He emphasizes the blessing and promise of that connection by including the word “name.” God’s name, as you know, is more than just his titles. It’s the blessings and saving truths those names call to mind. Your good name is more than just the letters of the alphabet you put down in your signature, the sounds people make when they want to get your attention. It is your reputation–the things people associate with you, whether good or bad. Baptism connects us with the names of God and all that they stand for. It soaks us not just with water, but with our Lord’s every grace and blessing.

Baptism, then, connects people to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit by faith. We don’t have three Gods but one. Scripture is clear enough about that. We don’t baptize in the name of three unequals, one God and two other things. You wouldn’t name a law firm Williams, Smith, and Young if Williams were an attorney, Smith his secretary, and Young the maintenance man. You don’t name Father, Son, and Holy Spirit like this, and baptize in their name, if they don’t stand on equal footing. Yet the distinction between each of these three persons in our one God helps us understand even more the invaluable benefits of being connected to him.

Jesus’ disciples enjoy God as their Father. Like all people, they owe their very existence to him. But unlike the rest of our world, they are sure of his faithful, parental love and providence. They live in the security of his protection. My children never worried day to day whether we would feed them. There was no question in their mind that we would do everything in our power to protect them. They were secure in knowing this is so. In baptism Jesus’ disciples have the promise that God is not merely the Father. He is our Father– a God who doesn’t want to scare us, but take care of us and make us secure.

In Baptism Jesus’ disciples are also connected to God the Son, who became one of us and stood by us and died as one of us to save us. Doesn’t that make the truth that Jesus, the Son, is God in human flesh more than a fact that we learn and defend, but a beautiful, winsome thing we want to believe?

God lovingly made the world, and made mankind, only to have his creation rebel against him. In response he didn’t destroy them and start over. He joined them as a man without joining their rebellion. He let them kill him, so that by his death he could pay the due penalty for their rebellion. God made himself so lowly, and suffered so much, so that forgiveness would be more than a nice sentiment. It would be founded on his sacrifice. He came to us so that he could make a way for us back to him. You will not find a god who loves like that described in any other holy book or any other world faith. It is the unique understanding of those who are baptized as Jesus’ disciples.

All of this is brought to us by the quiet work of the Holy Spirit. He comes to us in our baptisms as he came down in Jesus’ baptism. When Jesus comes knocking on our heart’s door, the Holy Spirit is standing next to him with the key.  And he unlocks it and gently pushes it open for Jesus to enter. All of these blessings of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit come pouring over us in the waters of our baptisms. That is why it plays such an important part when we go to make disciples.

All Nations

All Nations

Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”

I know of no place on the planet where people don’t believe in a god, or gods. I have watched and listened to dozens of missionaries home to show their slides and tell their stories. Inevitably, they get to the part about the native religions of the people they are trying to evangelize–the Shinto shrines of Japan, the witch doctors and spirit worship of Central Africa, Voodoo religions of the Carribean, Buddhist temples in Thailand, nature worship among Native American tribes, militant Islam in Indonesia.  In no case have they been sent to a people to whom “religion” or “god” is a new concept.

For this reason, some have questioned the need or propriety of trying to bring our God and our faith to them. Ernst Wendland served many years as a missionary in Zambia. He told my seminary class about a conversation he had on a flight back to Africa after a little time off in the U.S. The man sitting next to him challenged the need for mission work. “Here is the simple native with his simple religion. He has his little altar and leaves gifts of food for the spirits of his ancestors. He is sincere and pious in the way he practices his faith. Why would you want to come and disturb all that?” he asked.

“The reason,” Professor Wendland said, “is that that man lives in mortal fear of those spirits. Every day he wonders what they are going to do to him. He has no peace. He knows no Savior.” Realizing that there is some kind of god or gods is not the same thing as knowing that there is Father in heaven who made you and loves you, a Son who gave his life to save you from sin, and a Spirit who brings this peace to your heart. That is why Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” no exceptions. Our disciple-making mission is to all nations. He wants every kind of people. He is not just our God. He is the only God for everyone.

Not only does “all nations” remove all race discrimination from our disciple-making mission. It removes all age discrimination as well. Within Christianity, some question the necessity of making disciples of the youngest–our children and infants. “They are too young to understand it, too innocent to need it, and we have no Biblical example to support it,” they claim.

But faith is not first about knowledge. It’s about trust. You think an infant doesn’t trust its mother? Try taking it from her arms. If they are completely innocent, then why do even the youngest sometimes die? The wages of sin is death. And though we have no story in the Bible about the baptism of an infant, we have no story in the Bible of the baptism of an American, either. That hasn’t stopped us from making them disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them the word. “All nations,” Jesus says. Our disciple-making mission is also to the very youngest. “From infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus,” Paul wrote Timothy.

So Jesus tells us “Go.” Go to your agnostic neighbor with the Ph.D. whose skepticism seems impregnable. Go to the scowling high school drop outs with their bling and their baggy pants hanging half way down to their knees. Go to the people whose political views make you wonder if they come from another planet. And where you can’t go, send others. Go to the remote tribes who would rather eat the missionaries than listen to them. We go to all nations, because Jesus is the Savior of them all.

How Firm a Foundation

House Rock

Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

Jesus’ picture of the storm beating against the house isn’t hard to understand, is it? Our faith is constantly under attack in this life from a number of different sources. All of them beat against us and try to make our faith fall.

You know the kinds of storms of life that stretch your faith to the limits–health problems, financial worries, families that are falling apart. Sometimes the crisis comes from a more directly spiritual attack. The Apostle Paul once said that God “was pleased to save us through the foolishness of what was preached.” And that is how our human reason is tempted to see so much of what our Lord reveals about his grace–foolishness. No one is immune. Storms of doubt and skepticism rage against our souls.

But the faith that is planted squarely on the words and promises of Christ does not fall, “because it had its foundation on the rock.” We stand on a word that supports us. Sometimes that’s because the word is like a road map, pointing us along the roads we ought to take as we react to the storms that beat on our faith. Some paths of action are more like escape routes for us. Some will only take us deeper into the storm. Jesus’ words help us see the difference.

The bedrock of this foundation for our faith always takes us back to the changeless and faithful love we know best from the simple truth of the gospel. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. No greater love has anyone than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

It is this that led the apostle Paul to conclude: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We stand on a word that supports us, a firm foundation our faith can trust.