by Dr. Brad Strait, Lead Pastor at CCPC
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:25-27)
The Things that Cannot Be Shaken
The world is full of earthquakes, both literally and figuratively. Every day, it seems, social-political-moral-emotional-financial seismic shifts push around what has been stable. Almost every hour, we feel the spiritual floor moving and hear the emotional dishes clanking. It reminds me of the poetic passage in Isaiah 24:19-20:
The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is violently shaken.
The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind;
so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion
that it falls—never to rise again.
God is not surprised at anything. He sees the changes and the tectonic plates before they move. For such seasons, he has given us many things that, for Christians, keep us secure. I invite you to reflect for a moment on a few of them. Whatever comes—and whatever falls—God has given us security.
- Our salvation cannot change. Charles Spurgeon writes to people is the dark days of the Depression, “You are standing at the foot of Christ’s cross, trusting alone in the merit of His precious blood, and no rise or fall of the markets can interfere with your salvation in Him; no breaking of banks, no failures and bankruptcies can touch that.” Security comes from something kept for us in a Bank where it cannot rust of fade. In a world where nothing is ever out of order. The earth shakes, but no matter. Heaven awaits us, not because we figure out the right religion or lifestyle, but because Grace has bought us with a price, and we are his. Always.
- Our relationship with God the Father cannot change. You are a child of God, right here and now. The Father God is our Father. No change of circumstances can ever rob you of that. Jesus has the disciples praying a reminder in each prayer, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Every prodigal child can come home, and the Father does not disown us for our failures or rebellions. The blood of God runs in your veins now, through Jesus, and we are always going to be his children. Always.
- The love of Jesus for his people cannot be shaken. He understands us, sees us perfectly in strength and weakness, and yet he has nothing but love for us. In blizzards and ice ages, the fig tree of his love remains green. In page after page of the Bible, God declares his love for his people. “My Beloved is mine, and I am his.” He loves us when? Always. Paul writes to Christians who are under amazing personal and societal pressure a reminder that the love continues with the Son:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …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. (Romans 8:35-39)
In John’s Gospel, chapter 17, Jesus prays for those who follow him. Jesus knows that the world they have known is about to be shaken more than they can even imagine. Ahead is the Cross, the Empty Tomb, Pentecost, the Church, and deep persecution. The Earthquake is coming, shaking into eternal stone the ultimate chapter of God’s Story. At this moment, Jesus opens his mouth as his heart has already been opened—and as they listen—he declares his relationship eternal relationship with them and with us. If you ever feel insecure, you should read John 17. Let me give you a taste:
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost…
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
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