Welcome to the May 31st newsletter.
Some of you may already have noticed that CARM has a new look. I've been working on it for months but could never quite get that right feel. Given that I'm better at researching and teaching then I am in web design, it took me a while to come up with something that was satisfactory. If you take a look please let me know what you think. The whole idea is to get CARM to look better, appear more professional, and make a better impact on the Internet.
I have been mentioning the probable move into full-time status now for a few months. The tentative transition date is getting quite close. To my surprise, this future change of employment status is pretty unsettling. Given that my wife has Marfan syndrome and I have just found out that my youngest daughter has problems with their feet (short Achilles tendons) that will require braces and special shoes for the next few years, I am a bit apprehensive about giving up the medical insurance that I have and trying to pay for it myself. My wife and I have been looking into getting medical insurance, but it will be expensive -- anywhere from $700 to $1000 a month. CARM is basically able to support us (without medical insurance) but it is that insurance issue that is the stressor. I know that many of you are aware of how expensive surgeries can be and it looks like my wife will be needing several in the next few years. That reminds me, in late 2003 I had two surgeries in 10 days, one to fix a hiatal hernia and the other to remove my gallbladder. The two surgeries, if I remember correctly, cost $22,000. Ouch! I'm sure glad I had insurance. Anyway, the Lord is very able to provide and I will trust him to meet our needs.
A BIG thanks
A big thank you to all of you who are supporting CARM. It has been very big help especially with my work cutting me back to 20 hours a week and reducing my pay. The salary I receive from this ministry has been able to keep us afloat and press us towards full time! Woo hoo! Again thanks.
Bits and Pieces
Because of the cross of Christ we are free from keeping the law in order to please God. This is a great freedom indeed. If we were bound to keep the perfect law of God then we would never be able to have assurance of our standing with him. The law of God is a reflection of God's holy character. The law is good. But we, being sinners, are not able to keep that law.
Paul had been preaching that we are not obligated to obey commandments in order to have our sins forgiven. Therefore, we are free, free from law, free from obligation to offer sacrifices, free from the requirement of not lighting a fire on the Sabbath, etc. However, Paul warns us not to let our freedom be an opportunity for the flesh. In other words, Paul is warning the Christians (notice he says 'brethren') to not become lax in doing what is good.
God did not save us for the purpose of sinning. He saved us so that we might be sanctified, walking righteously before him, and in so doing, demonstrating love to one another. You see, the nature of love is to give. Remember John 3:16 which says "for God so loved the world that he gave..."? Notice how love is associated with giving. This is why Paul says "through love serve one another." The true manifestation of love is other-centeredness.
If we are loving others then we will see the fulfillment of God's redemptive work in our own hearts and we will become desirous of furthering that inward fellowship with him. If, however, we were to turn our freedom from keeping the law into an opportunity to do that which is ungodly, we will become addicted to the desires and the needs of the flesh. But this is not what we are called to do. That is why we are to consider ourselves dead to sin.
Paul offers us a command. Of course, whether we keep this command or not does not mean that we lose our salvation because our salvation is dependent upon what Christ has done, and not upon what we do -- Oh, blessed security in Christ! Nevertheless, there is an obligation of sorts that we have as Christians. We are to live in love and to fulfill the very nature of love which is to be other centered. If we are other centered, how then can we fulfill the desires of the flesh?