Welcome to the May edition of Good News, the monthly newsletter of the Fairview Park church of Christ! We hope that you find the articles below helpful, edifying, and true to the Bible. If you find the articles helpful in your Bible study, please forward this e-mail to a friend. May God bless you as you study his word!
The Beauty of Boundaries
by Jacob Hudgins
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die’”(Gen 2:15-17).
When God made man, he gave him a place to live, a work to do, and things that were off-limits. Within the context of tremendous freedom (“you may surely eat of every tree”) there is a boundary. Our world bristles at boundaries, duplicating Satan’s charge that they are arbitrary or that God is self-serving (Gen 3:1-5). Yet boundaries are a tremendous blessing rather than a burden.
How do we approach God? Repeatedly we are encouraged to come with boldness. Because we have a sympathetic high priest, “let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace”(Heb 4:16). And again, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith”(Heb 10:19, 22). Paul adds that in Christ “we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him”(Eph 3:12). Christians are confident that God will hear our prayers and receive our worship because of our connection to Jesus.
“The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man”(Gen 39:2).
We love a good success story. A young man in lowly circumstances lifts himself up by his own bootstraps and attains wealth and power. We can find many morals—the power of work ethic and positive thinking, the importance of choices—in such a story. Often we study the great leaders of history to learn their “secrets”—how did they achieve such a rise? The problem is that we wind up ruling out the only one who truly has any say in the whole process: God.
“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations”(Psalm 100:5)
God could have created us as mindless robots, programmed to forever to do His bidding. He could have given us free will but made obeying Him hard and painful. Instead, God has chosen to win our love by kindness and goodness. How should that make us feel?