Category Archives: boasting

But I will boast!

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of  that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle, they are the new people of God.

(Gal 6.14-17)

This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in the power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

(Jer 9 23-24)

The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…. there is a subject upon which one could lavish a lifetime of study and reflection and still never reach the end! It is the pivotal point upon which all of history revolves, and by which the eternal destiny of humanity is determined. And for every individual follower, it is the foundation of their new life, the power which re-creates them as children of God with the promise of eternal life and the guarantee of his constant presence.

In the cross, God demonstrated that he was indeed a God who brings justice to the earth, because it was there that the price demanded by holiness for sin was paid – the wages of sin is death. And there too, was demonstrated the unfailing love of God, because it was God himself who paid the price, so that we might be spared! Our God, he it is that delights in justice, in unfailing love, and righteousness – that all should be done well. How great should our delight in this God be! We can most legitimately boast in our God, the only one who can fully deal with the brokenness of our hearts and our world, while at the same time restoring us to the perfect relationship with him for which we were designed.

What human wealth could ever buy a clean conscience or a quiet mind? What power on earth can bring a holy God back into fellowship with rebellious, proud and stubborn creatures? What wisdom could discern the only way to restore the broken image of God in his creatures? When we begin to understand what was achieved on the cross, then we begin to understand our great God, to glimpse the unfathomable love, the amazing grace, which are his essential character. There can be no end to the ways in which we can truthfully glory in, boast about our wonderful God.

This afternoon, I watched my small nation’s rugby team winning – against the odds – the opening game of the 2017 Six Nations tournament. It was thrilling, nerve-wracking, exhilirating – all the things a great sporting occasion can be; and I am proud tonight to be a Scot, to identify with the team in their commitment, passion, skill and doggedness. But as we all know – especially Scots! – sporting greatness is a fleeting thing, and not to be relied on for national pride or peace of mind. As individuals, we dare not invest our security or identity in such things, because they CANNOT be relied upon, they will fail us and leave us adrift and vulnerable. That is the point which Jeremiah is making when he dismisses the claims of wealth, power and wisdom to our loyalty and reliance.

There is nothing upon which it is safe to build our identity, our lives, except the Lord of unfailing love, who delights to bring justice and righteousness to the world. And it is supremely in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord that we see this God revealed to us, when everything  needful was done to restore us. We add nothing, no matter how wise, powerful or rich we are, to the cross. If we cannot accept it without paying or contributing in some way, we have failed to understand what God is doing, and what a state we are in before his holiness. Let us rejoice in this complete work, in the cross, and be at peace!

I will not boast in anything, no gifts no power no wisdom;

But I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection!

Why should I gain from his reward? I cannot give an answer;

But this I know with all my heart, his wounds have paid my ransom.

(Stuart Townend) 

 

He must become greater…

For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.

Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do… It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life!

(Galations 6.14&15, The Message)

“..not what you and I do.. It is what God is doing”, and what He is doing is glorious! Over the past few days, people all around the world who believe in Jesus as the son of God and their saviour from the power of sin, have been taking time to celebrate his death and resurrection. It has been a special time for meditating and rejoicing, praising God for his indescribable mercy and love towards us.

We believe that because of Jesus, the brokenness in our world, which goes like a fault line through every human heart, is being healed and will one day be gloriously wiped away for ever. We, who are powerless to save ourselves, crippled by sin and yet so blinded by pride in our own achievements that we think ourselves worthy of God’s approval; even we, are offered a fresh start. As Paul said in his letter to the Galatian church, we are liberated to live as new creatures, under the mercy and love of God.

What joy to know that it is not my own moral life, good deeds, carefully-controlled thoughts and desires which have to earn my place in eternal life – because I know full well that I am weak and wavering, so that even on my best days, I fall far short of perfection. What a relief, that I do not have to pretend to anyone that I am confident in my own worthiness and abilities – because I have no illusions about my strengths and weaknesses, and know how unreliable I am.

Instead, I have the privilege of boasting in and relying on Jesus, whose mercy and love are precious beyond telling, and beautiful beyond describing. His death, for me, is my sole claim to peace with God now and eternal life hereafter. I take a fierce delight in this, because he deserves so much more praise and boasting than I can ever give, I cannot ever overdo it! I can affirm his greatness and worthiness against all opposition, and know that I am on firm ground. Many may not like what I believe, many will dismiss it as foolishness or be offended by it, but I will boast in Jesus Christ and his all-surpassing power to save.

In him, my weaknesses are a vehicle for his strength to be displayed.

In him, my struggles and trials are a window for the world to see his power to comfort and sustain me.

In him, my life of small duties and responsibilities becomes a thing of great beauty, where every act of mercy and service is worthwhile, and no effort is wasted.

In him, my heart finds joy because of his great love, and each day brings so many love-gifts to make me glad.

In him, I know that true justice rests, and I have no need to pursue revenge.

In him, I know the power of forgiveness in my life, and am strengthened to forgive others.

In him, my heart delights, and I know that he is changing me from one degree of glory to another as he transforms me into his own likeness, so that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control become who I am.

In him, my soul finds rest, because it is all his doing, and his goodness and mercy will be my companions all the days of my life.

Let us rejoice in Jesus, let us boast of our wonderful Lord and Saviour, let us praise him and exalt him, and rest completely in his all-encompassing and complete salvation.

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!

(Revelation 5.12)