September 18

Job 14:14-15 (NIV) 14If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. 15You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made.

Job continued to proclaim his innocence, and his friends continued to insist that he had to have some secret fault. At first, Job said no one can stand before God and if God gave man an audience, man would not be able to speak. Later, however, he asked if there could not be some mediator. There is a Mediator that will stand between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

In the middle of Job's complaint, he spoke the words of the passage for today. Though the people of Job's time did not believe in the afterlife, Job uttered these words in a way that fit with New Testament theology. Job's earlier words show he saw death as an end of being, and so we interpret the change here to mean his healing and restoration. "Will man live after death?" In the light of the New Testament, we answer "Yes!" to his question. Our days upon earth are hard service, but our transformation, our metamorphosis, is coming. God will call with the sound of the Last Trump, and we will answer. He will long for the creatures His hands have made. The Son will come to receive His bride, and the marriage feast will begin.

Since the Holy Spirit crafted the words, we have the wonderful hope hidden within Job's imperfect understanding. In spite of the difficulties we face in life and the tests that God allows to come our way, we have the hope of our transformation and the call of God to those He longs for. Cling to your hope through times of trial.

Encouragement: Set your sights on eternity with Him! You will be renewed!

September 18

Galatians 1:4,9-10 (NIV) ...Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 10Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul had to encourage the churches that he founded to stay true to the Gospel he first preached to them. In this introduction of his letter to the Galatians, he tells them that it was not something he made up. He was throwing Christians in jail before he was confronted by Christ. This Gospel is the real thing, so don't let people or even an angel tell you otherwise. Paul will later explain that the other gospel being preached has to do with trying to please God by keeping the rules of the Law. Paul knew it was all about grace given to us through what Jesus did for us. He gives His own experience as a verification of that fact.

He sums up the Gospel in verse 4. Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins. He took our punishment. He paid it all. Not only does that make us right with God, but it also rescues us from this present evil age. Many seek salvation from judgment but don't see the need to be rescued from their present depravity. They don't see it as depravity. Living a self-centered life apart from God is thumbing your nose at your Creator. It is telling God that your will comes first. It is insisting that you remain god of your life. He gave Himself for our sin, but true deliverance from sin also delivers us from the present evil age.

Finally, Paul insisted that what he is telling the Galatians was an effort to be faithful to God. He could just go along with men who insist on teaching a corrupt gospel, but that would make him a servant of men and not of Christ. He was willing to go against the flow, take the persecution, and stand up and be different because he was Christ's servant. Pleasing men rather than God is compromise.

Remember: When faced with pleasing men or staying true to the Gospel of grace, we should stay true to God no matter what the cost may be.