I’ve written about this before, but this type of thing keeps happening again and again! Once gain, I got “conned” by God — “tricked”, as it were, into doing his will! For this is what happened. Earlier in the day, my wife had reminded me that we needed to get some plants to plant in our back yard for our garden. I had intended to pick some up ‘later’, but not right away. But God knew better. Some time later on that day, I suddenly felt like I needed a break. I said to my wife, “Honey, I need a break. I need to spend some time alone, maybe ten or twenty or thirty minutes.” For I had felt somewhat stressed. Someone — I think it was my wife — suggested that I go and buy some cheesecake. “Yummy!” I thought to myself. Now if you’ve read “Lures Unto Obedience” (http://fcet.biblemessages.com/lures-unto-obedience/), you might remember that God used this same desire (for cheesecake) to lure me into talking with another person about the Lord. Now, lo and behold, here is was again: the desire for cheesecake creeping up on me! I couldn’t resist. After all, my wife approved, didn’t she? (I didn’t even have to hide the fact!) But I was falling right into God’s perfect plan. He knew better, and his will would be done!
Zoom, zoom. I was off in the car in a flash! Off to the store, to buy … cheesecake. But nearing the store, something told me, “Buddy, you don’t need cheesecake! There are more important things to spend your money on!” I looked around, and there I spotted it. Right next to the supermarket was (also belonging to the supermarket) a gigantic garden section, set up to cater to all the people who were beginning to plant their new gardens (it is spring, you know, in Canada. Things are just beginning to bloom.) Ah … I knew that this was it. I knew at that moment that I had been, once again, “God-conned” — conned by God, as it were, to do his will. Yikes! How often does the Lord have to appeal to my weak flesh to get my attention … or what! I picked up a beautiful (because God created them) assortment of plants to plant in our garden. “Forget the cheesecake,” I quickly told myself, re-iterating something that had been impressed upon my mind earlier. I put the plants into the car, and went home. “Surprise!” honey. It was mother’s day!
This reminds me of how during the crucifixion of Jesus, the enemies of God thought that they were “doing away” with Jesus for good. Instead, they secured his throne forever. For it says that after he was crucified, and was raised to life, that he sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3). That is a throne, my friend. And that is where Jesus sits right now! He sits there, because, in part, God “tricked” his enemies into fulfilling his will. This is a fulfillment of Psalm 2:1-2, quoted in Acts 4:25-26. In the next two verses the disciples declare: “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:27-28) Notice what it says here. It says that those who put Jesus on the cross did “whatsoever” God “determined before to be done”. To put it another way, the enemies of God were “God-conned” (my expression). Thank God that I was not “God-conned” as his enemy, but as his friend!
For again, we read in the Scriptures that those who belong to Christ have made their peace with God. They are not under condemnation, but under grace. (Romans 8:1) What does this mean? It means that we have come to that place in our lives where we have realized that we can’t possibly make it on our own steam or effort. In fact, all of our deeds are like “filthy rags” compared with God’s righteousness. How could we possibly merit heaven? We have come to that place where we realize that God did it for us — he walked the perfect life that we were supposed to walk, in the form of Jesus Christ who is the Savior of the world. By trusting in him, and allowing him to take the punishment for our sins upon the cross, in return he freely credits to us his righteousness — the righteous life that he lived. It is called the “exchanged life principle”. From the moment that we begin to trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we become, as the Bible says, “New creations in Christ” all because of what Jesus did! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) That is the new life that God gives us. Praise the Lord!
A Personal Challenge
Have you come to trust in Christ yet, for the forgiveness of your sins? What is preventing you? Would you like to live the exchanged life? The exchanged life is imputed to you (it is a gift, not deserved, but simply received by believing and receiving in your heart what God has done for you). It cost Jesus everything. And it will gain you everything if you accept it. The Bible says that those who are in Christ Jesus have eternal life:
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:10-13)
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)