Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Father’s Heart for his Broken Children

GOD INTENDS that us reading his word should be just as real and personal as if we were talking with him in person. I mean by this that God is concerned that we hear him speaking to us what is precisely what he considers best for a given day in direct relation to how we are doing and what we are going through. 

HOW DO I know this? Because the whole Bible is the collection of one experience after another where the people were going through specific circumstances, facing and feeling specific things, and God spoke precisely what he wanted them to know right then and there matching thought-to-thought and feeling-to-feeling. 

IT HAS BEEN thirty-plus years now that I have approached the word of God with my best expression of honesty about how I am doing in order to receive my best experience of what God my Father is speaking to me about in his word. And in these three decades, I can testify to how real and personal God has been in helping me come to him as I am so I can hear how precisely he addresses my need while drawing me into his will. 

THIS MORNING, he got me up crazy early and turned the diamond of Isaiah 49 in his hands so that the exact same verse that spoke to me yesterday revealed another facet of truth that was both precisely personal in speaking to my need and so graciously revealing of his love for me in showing me where he is working and how I can join him. 


“In a time of favor I have answered you;

in a day of salvation I have helped you…”[1] 

FIRST, God blesses this little child with the delights of rhyming his thoughts. Yes, he customizes this to my delight in words, perhaps as a kind of love-language between us (that probably applies to all his children but he always makes sure it feels extremely special to me), but with a sense of wonder that he has personally chosen something to say 2700 years ago that speaks to me this morning like the ink is still wet on the scroll on which it is written. 

THE RHYMING thoughts are like this: 




In a time

of favor

I have answered you

In a day

of salvation

I have helped you

WE COULD linger all day on the beautiful sound of these parallels and find ourselves falling deeper into these treasures of thought as they seem to expand microscopically into one scripture after another. But we could also close our eyes and listen to the rhyming sound of the song as its music plays into our souls and tells us what is on the heart of our heavenly Father as he sings over us with joy.[2] 

SECONDLY, the WHEN stands out because it says there is one. There is a WHEN with God. It rarely comes as quickly as we impatiently wish, but my own dealings with children remind me that I myself often must tell the little ones that it isn’t time for something they want. God uses such things as this (probably with a smile filled with understanding and compassion beyond my comprehension) to teach me to feel trust in him while I see nothing happening. Trusting him WHILE I see something happening is a small thing. It is good, and he will do such things, but it is not the best we can feel. To genuinely feel trust in the dark, and in the quiet, and in the loneliness, and in the sorrow, brings us to feel a treasure of wisdom and knowledge that makes us thankful for these gifts that did not feel as gifts at the start. 

THIRDLY, the WHAT tells me the character of what God has in mind. In this case (and these would always be in the works even in the time and on the day of discipline), WHAT Father has in mind is turning the page to a chapter of favor and salvation. It strikes me that it is never his intention for his favor and salvation to come intermittently. His word makes clear that his preference would be that his children live constantly under his blessing. Even the first covenant made this abundantly clear when he directed the priests to constantly pronounce this over the people of God: 

“The LORD (Yahweh) bless you and keep you;

the LORD (Yahweh) make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the LORD (Yahweh) lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

So shall they put my name (Yahweh) upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”[3] 

OKAY, so the rhyming thoughts there are CAPTIVATING! But look at God’s desire to bless his children! And whenever he must bless us with loving discipline, the time of favor and the day of salvation will follow shortly. 

AND FOURTHLY, the HOW tells me that the people were finally calling out to God after their season of discipline (a significant way God knows it is time to act favorably instead of disciplinarily), and so his help is prepared in direct answer to their prayers (which is also another testimony of how precisely God matches what he speaks to us about each day to what we are admitting to him and ourselves about how we are doing in whatever we are going through). 


THAT GOD speaks to us about what he is doing before he does it! In fact, he even says that exact thing! “For the Lord GOD (Lord Yahweh) does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”[4] And now we have the word and the Spirit to speak God’s heart to his children every day of our lives! 

GOD WILL work through circumstances to discipline us where we are rebelling, or resisting his Spirit, or doing our own thing. And when he sees repentance has caused us to surrender to him about something because we finally ask for HIS name to be hallowed, and HIS kingdom to come, and HIS will to be done in us as it is done in heaven,[5] he speaks to us through his word about the way he wants to help us with favor and salvation. 

DOES THIS favor and salvation apply to those who are already saved and adopted as the children of God? 

THAT’S THE WAY Paul saw it when he quoted this verse to the Corinthian Christians.[6] He first said, “Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” The church (assembly of believers) in Corinth is being addressed, not some unsaved people outside the church. 

THEN HE quoted this verse from Isaiah and added, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” To Paul, this applied to the people of God in his day and in their particular situation as surely as it applied to God’s children in Isaiah’s day. 

PAUL NEXT listed his credentials in suffering for the gospel of Jesus Christ and proving himself faithful in his ministry to the church (in contrast to the “super-apostles” who were trying to lead the church astray), and concluded with, “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.” 

CAN YOU IMAGINE a pastor talking to a congregation like that! The believers were being deceived by Satan’s age-old deception to get them thinking God couldn’t be trusted in what he said through the gospel because someone smarter had come with a better gospel, one that combined the New Covenant with the Old. 

PAUL IS desperately calling them back to the supremacy of the New Covenant alone, telling them the sufficiency of what Jesus did on the cross to save them in the “It is finished” salvation he purchased by his blood. And in the midst of all the confusion, he tells them that he is pouring his heart out liberally towards them in love and grace and longing while lamenting that they have closed their hearts to him by drinking the poison of the false teachers. 

AND SO IT IS that when God speaks, he is invariably addressing us where we have closed our hearts to him. He knows when his servants have spoken to us and we resisted. He knows when his Spirit was leading a pastor to preach the word and we said nothing was required of us in what we heard. He knows when his Watchmen have come into his presence weeping that people he has loved and cared for have closed their hearts to him because they do not want to hear from Jesus. 

AND GOD says to us all, 

“In a time of favor I have answered you;

in a day of salvation I have helped you…”  

AND THOSE who are listening, say, “Yes, Father, I need this, and I wait for it in expectation.”


© 2023 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)



[1] Isaiah 49:8

[2] YES, that is in the Bible! “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

[3] Numbers 6:22-27

[4] Amos 3:7

[5] From the “Disciples’ Prayer” of Matthew 6:9-13 (in the context of Matthew 6:7-15, and the larger context of the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5-7)

[6] II Corinthians 6:1-13

Monday, May 8, 2023

To Be a Learner of God’s Peace

    All this is today is an effort to glorify God for his exceedingly good grace in speaking to his children through his word.

   As I am sure you know, I do not agree with those on the one pendulum-extreme who claim that God doesn’t speak to his children today, and I don’t agree with those on the opposite pendulum-extreme who claim that God speaks today with thoughts and ideas in people’s’ minds that are like new revelations of scripture.

   However, God speaking to his children is all through his word, and it is through his word that he continues to speak to us today. I picture it like my heavenly Father taking me on his lap with his word open before me and directing my attention to what he has already written so he can show me how that will work in my life today. The more we receive our daily lessons from the word like it is God speaking to us, the more we will know the Holy Spirit doing exactly what Jesus promised:

   “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”[1]

  So, to the point: I have been on an incredible journey through Isaiah 54. It has felt slow in some ways, and hugely and overwhelmingly fast in others. Going one-verse-at-a-time is like covering chapters of God’s thoughts and knowing we would learn more every time we returned.

   At the same time, I have gone to my prayer-spot in a gulley just outside of town and prayed through chapters of Isaiah at a time, pouring out my heart to God about what I am reading, how it ministers to me, how it convicts me, what I need, what I want for me, what I want for others, and I am in awe of God’s gift of grace and love to me.

   This morning, I travelled into this beautiful verse:

   All your children shall be taught by the LORD (Yahweh),

    and great shall be the peace of your children.[2]

   If you are following what the world is doing to the children of this generation for their harm, and the way the world is inventing evil against children just as scripture prophesied,[3] doesn’t your heart thrill with the thought of joining God in such a work as this? Don’t you want this for children in your life (young and old) that would have “great peace” if only they were taught by God?

   It gets even better!!!

   The word “taught” isn’t a verb, as in emphasizing God’s action of doing the teaching. He does that, but it isn’t the emphasis here. The word is actually a noun, which means it is telling us what kind of people these children are; they are “the learned”.

   We know what it is like to try to teach something to someone and they just don’t get it, or they refuse to learn it, or they don’t have the capacity to receive it. But God chose a word here that indicates that the children are learners.

   In other words, the meaning is that the generation of children God is talking about would be active “learners” of Yahweh-God, and because God’s active teaching would enter their hearts, and they would learn it for real, God’s peace will rest upon them, and within them.

   It is as God had already said in Isaiah:

   “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”[4]

   This is what God wants, and his prophecy was that the children following that generation would become learners of Yahweh-God (contrary to their parents who refused and rebelled against everything), and they would come into God’s peace as promised.

   As I meditated further on the word “taught” I found this verse a bit earlier:

   The Lord GOD (Yahweh) has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.[5]

   Again, being “those who are taught” means those who have learned. Look at the picture: Isaiah had a relationship with God in which he woke every morning to hear from his Father in heaven. His ear was awakened to hear while the majority of his nation refused to listen. He knew he was one of “those who are taught”.

   And because of this, he knew that God had “given me the tongue” of a learned one. Can’t you see Jesus’ imagery of the vine and the branches, that if we abide in him as a branch in the vine, we will bear much fruit?[6] Isaiah felt that what he had received from God had so filled him that he was “learned-up”, so to speak, and it was now flowing out of him so his tongue was passing on the learning whether or not that generation would listen. He was one of those “who are taught”, and so he had to speak what he knew as one of the ways Yahweh-God would teach it to others.

   There is so much more, but all of this attached to a verse that stood out to me at my prayer-spot yesterday, something we shared in home church time:

   But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.[7]

   What a gift of grace! Those who are “learned” of Yahweh-God are not the religious elite, or those who can understand the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic of the original Bible manuscripts, or those who can answer the questions on a catechism without fail, or those who can win a Bible-verse quiz (as good as any of those things may be). Rather, the ones God looks to as those who will be his “taught-ones” are humble in their hearts, contrite within their spirits, and tremble with awe and wonder at the words our God speaks to us.

   My encouragement in sharing this is that any of us can be the people God is talking about. Jesus said:

   “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”[8]

   Don’t be sheepish (sorry!). When you hear Jesus’ voice, praise him for that! Thank him for knowing you (because you know you could never have known him if he did not know you first[9]). And follow him in whatever he is saying. Don’t be one who is actively taught but never learns (Jesus warned about that when he was here the first time[10]). Be the wise man, “who hears these words of mine and does them”.[11]

   Because, when we hear and do, we never know how our words and deeds will be the way God turns someone else into one of those children who are taught by the Holy Spirit of Yahweh-God and experience his peace that surpasses understanding.


© 2023 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


[1] John 16:13

[2] Isaiah 56:13

[3] Romans 1:30

[4] Isaiah 26:3

[5] Isaiah 50:4

[6] John 15:5 (context is John 15:1-17)

[7] Isaiah 66:2

[8] John 10:27

[9] I John 4:19

[10] Matthew 13:13

[11] Matthew 7:24 (in context of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-27)

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

For Men Only: Men Unashamed of Their Shame

SHAME IS a healthy emotion. It is there to tell us when we have screwed up. It calls us to apologize and reconcile with people we have wronged. And it always calls us to make things right with God in both repentance and faith.

HOWEVER, shame is a horribly debilitating emotion because we hate feeling that way. We learn early on in life that shame can feel like the worst attachment-pain ever because it is often partnered with rejection and demoralizing criticism.[1]

THIS MORNING, God got me up early, so I asked him what he wanted me to pray about and who he wanted me to pray for. It wasn’t long before I found myself praying for all kinds of men in my life, some close and some distant, that God would deal with our shame so we would be healed and free to fully join his work as beloved sons of the Almighty.

IN A BOOK I recently started reading, I was confronted with this quote: “Boys and men need to know that the foundation of life is to be able to receive what we have not earned without shame."[2] I am one of the many men who have never been given such a foundation, so what do we do?

THAT’S WHERE prayer comes in. I was led to begin praying through this verse again, not only for me, but especially for all the men who were coming to mind: “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.”[3]

YES, I KNOW that the imagery is a simile of God as a husband relating to his sinful people as an abandoned wife, a widow who has shamed herself. But we can just as much make this a real-life picture of God as Father speaking to his boys who have screwed up in life and left a trail of shameful sins and relationships. The promises definitely apply in the New Covenant we have with Jesus Christ our Lord.

SO HOW do we pray this comforting expression from God our Father (and, yes, this easily applies to any women who carry a shame-based reaction to God as Father)?

FIRST, we ask that God would speak his “fear not” into the hearts of every shame-filled heart we are praying for. We pray that God would speak an end to fear into our storms of shame as obviously as he spoke his peace into the storm that had stirred his disciples to hopeless despair.

SECOND, we pray that God would fulfill in all these men we are praying for (and more) his promise that we “will not be ashamed” after all. We are not asking God to make it so we haven’t done shameful things. It is far too late for that! In Isaiah’s time, God was not saying that the people would not do anything shameful. Rather, he was promising that after their horribly shameful sin and rebellion, the end of the matter was that they would not be ashamed. They would be so restored to him that their shame would be gone.

AND THAT is what so many men need, not Good-Boy Christianity that says we can only be free of shame if we act like good Christians and don’t do anything wrong, but Good-God Christianity that says that every instance of shameful sin in our lives will be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ so that, when we repent and return to God, we will not be ashamed any longer because all our sins are forgiven in Jesus Christ.

THIRD, we ask God to proclaim over all these men his, “be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced.” Some men have abused their children and need to be called to Jesus with this promise of cleansing that, even if they must bear the disgrace of what they have done in one way, they will not be disgraced before the throne of grace where they will receive the help they need to walk through reconciliation and healing with those they have wronged.

BUT WE ALSO have men who are simply carrying so many shame-wounds, perhaps because of what was done to them instead of what they have done, and they need to know that if they open their hearts to Jesus about it, and surrender the cesspools of secret-hearted shame to him, they will not be left in a state of confoundedness, and nor will they live a life of disgrace with God and his Spirit-filled boys.

FOURTH, we pray that God would speak into the hearts of all these men his promise, “you will forget the shame of your youth”. In fact, David gives us help in how to pray about this with a ready-made prayer request when he says, “Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!”[4] We join him by praying that God would assure men that their repentance and faith and reconciliation will result in everyone forgetting the sins of our youth, or whatever sins are in focus, because they are forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

FIFTH, while the last phrase speaks of “widowhood” as a simile of what things were like for the disciplined people of God, we can pray it specifically for men something like, “Father, assure all these men that the reproach of their disconnect from you will be remembered no more.” We are asking God to do such a work on attachment-pain, abandonment issues, hidden worlds of self-protection, even the painful self-justifying of narcissism, so that men will face their reproach, the sins they have committed against others, and bring them so honestly before God and whoever they have wronged that the reproach of anything shameful at all would be forgiven and cleansed and washed away into the sea of God’s forgetfulness, as they say.[5]

I KNOW it would be easy to expand this verse into even more in-depth prayer for specific situations, for both men and women, based on the real-life stories of what has happened in our lives. I share this as an example of how God ministered it to me this morning, even getting me up quite early to direct me into this kind of prayer. And when I go out on my prayer walk in a bit, I will pour my heart out all the more for all the men (and women) God brings to mind.

AND YES, for any women who have read this far, men need you praying for them like this as well. And pray for women who have been shamed by men to experience all these things so they can forgive the men who repent of their shameful acts and seek to reconcile with the people of God.

THE BOTTOM LINE is that God has revealed his heart in his word with scriptures like this one from Isaiah, and we can pray his word back to him in confidence that he will guide us into his will as we do so, and then will answer the prayers we pray.

FOR ME, this has been a morning of prayer that almost demanded that I share this to try and get others to join me, or to join with others where you are, so the horrible wounds of shame would be healed, and all the ground we have surrendered to the evil one by hiding our shame from God would be restored to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and life-after-life, and generation-after-generation, would experience the powerful and wonderful work of Jesus setting the prisoners free.


© 2023 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


[1] No, I don’t believe little boys are as resilient as the experts claim.

[2] Jim Wilder, the Stages of a Man’s Life

[3] Isaiah 54:8

[4] Psalm 25:7

Friday, April 14, 2023

The Old Gospel that Protects From the New

 The new trend in handling “the gospel” (the good news of salvation) is to relate to it in self-justification instead of in self-denial. People who do not want to be saved from their sin self-justify why God is okay loving them with their sin intact. 

The original way (the genuine way) was to see the gospel as the good news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.[1] Sinners would hear this good news and feel such poverty of spirit over their sinful condition that they would call out in mourning and meekness, with a hunger and thirst for the righteousness they did not have, and cling to the Lord Jesus Christ as their only hope of being saved from the condemnation of their sin and into the adoption as sons of the living God.[2] 

The new way of relating to the gospel is to treat it like Jesus came into the world to find good people to help be better. Now we have “good” people (by their standard, not God’s) admitting they have a few things they need help with (only the ones they admit to) and claiming Jesus is here to help them do better, to feel better, to get healing for the hurt feelings of life, and to just love everybody the way they are. 

The original way of the gospel called people to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Christ.[3] The denial of self came when people heard the good news and knew they were the sinners Jesus came to find.[4] This gave them hope because admitting they were sinners meant their hearts were open to the Savior. By admitting their sin, they found themselves being found by Jesus.[5] And being found by Jesus meant they were now entering the very life God created them to experience. 

The new way of the gospel calls people to self-justification, rejecting the conviction of the cross, and inviting Jesus to follow them through life helping them and their mates feel good about themselves. You know, participation ribbons for everyone no matter how well or poorly they actually ran the race. 

So why is the original gospel “good news of great joy”[6], while the new gospel (which is nothing new at all) is the scariest thing in the world? Or, put another way, why is the original gospel filled with the message of life while the new gospel is condemned and anyone who preaches it, “let him be accursed”?[7] 

The answer is in Jesus’ words, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”[8] The new gospel is designed by Satan, the thief, who uses it to steal, kill, and destroy people in the condemnation of their sin for their utter destruction. The original gospel is the means by which Jesus gives life of the “abundantly” variety. 

The new gospel is actually a deception called “cheap grace”. Grace is central to the good news of salvation, but it is not cheap. It cost Jesus his death in our place; it costs us dying with Christ and being buried with him in order to be raised into the newness of life in the kingdom of God.[9] 

“Cheap Grace” is the belief that God is so loving and gracious, and he has done all the work of salvation through Jesus Christ, that there is no judgment on God’s children for anything they do wrong. The belief is that God’s grace does everything, and we are not expected to address or deal with the sin in our lives because Jesus “paid it all”, and there is nothing more to do (only partly true). 

This was something the church faced way back in the first generation of believers after Jesus’ death and resurrection. God was teaching his church that, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,”[10] and the leaders had to deal with the challenge, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?”[11] And what was the answer to such an absurd question? “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”[12] 

You see, it was absolutely true that, when Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and when he comes to sinners now through the original gospel, the grace of God in the gospel super-abounds in relation to even the very worst of sinners so that anyone can hear the good news and know there is more than enough grace to cleanse them from any amount or degree of sin. This is why it is noted in God’s word that it was people like the prostitutes and tax-collectors who were repenting of their sins and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord. They understood that God’s grace was super-abounding over the horrible regrets of their sins. And that grace drew them to leave their sin and love the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The point is that this grace gives people hope of cleansing from sin and acceptance with God, not condoning of sin and a nod and a wink from a manmade grandfatherly figure who let’s the kids get away with what the parents have forbidden. 

One way to think of the accountability of the original good news is that the salvation by grace through faith fully saves a person without any contribution of good works at all, but when the dead sinner is made alive in Christ (like spiritual CPR), the newness of life in the abundant life of God’s kingdom calls them to live as obedient children of God rather than disobedient children of the evil one. 

My point in sharing this today is simply that I have been watching the new gospel[13] make inroads into groups who call themselves Christians. It is nothing new. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians and his letter to the Galatians address this false gospel in great detail. The apostles also make repeated warnings about the false gospel all through their writing of God’s breathed-out words. 

I am at the point of pleading with people to please measure your heart and mind against the original gospel, the genuine gospel. Have you experienced Jesus Christ delivering you out of the domain of darkness, leaving behind your sin, and transferring you into his kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, or are you trying to convince yourself that God sees enough good works in you that you don’t actually need the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross? 

If any of your security for salvation rests in anything at all that you have done or are doing, it is a false gospel. But if you have trusted in Jesus Christ alone to save you, and you know that he has done everything required of God for you to have eternal life, then I “urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,”[14] by walking with God’s children in “the obedience of faith”.[15]


© 2023 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


[1] I Timothy 1:15

[2] Romans 8:1-2, 15, 23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5

[3] Luke 9:23

[4] Luke 19:10

[5] The three parables of Luke 15 show the joy of God when Jesus finds sinners and brings them home.

[6] Luke 2:10-11

[7] Paul condemns any new and divergent and progressive gospels as utterly contemptible in Galatians 1:6-10 because they make people think they are saved when they are still in their sins.

[8] John 10:10

[9] Romans 6:3-4

[10] Romans 5:20

[11] Romans 6:1

[12] Romans 6:2

[13] The “new gospel” is actually an oxymoron because “gospel” means “good news” and this new gospel is the worst news ever. The original gospel gives life by grace through faith, which is good news of great joy, and the new gospel, which is no gospel at all (because it is not good news) secures people in the condemnation of their sins and the judgment of God over their sin.

[14] Ephesians 4:1

[15] Romans 1:5; 16:26

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

To Imitate Jesus in Death and Life

I am continuing to process the contexts of I Peter 2 and 4 in relation to us entrusting ourselves to God in our suffering the way Jesus entrusted himself to his Father during his suffering. These are the two Scriptures I am considering: 

I Peter 2:23

I Peter 4:19

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

The theme is, how do I entrust myself to our faithful Creator in the things I suffer as I imitate Jesus who entrusted himself to his Father as the perfect judge? The attachment involved in entrusting has captivated me. 

Today I am here: 

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.[1] 

I am considering the impact of Jesus bearing my sins in his body on the tree, “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” The “dying” and the “living” are extreme contrasts! 

First, that is a horrendously huge demand on me that cannot be ignored. Jesus’ direct purpose in dying for me was that I might die to my sin and live to righteousness. This is not an option, but the whole point of his death. As Paul said, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”[2] We can only become the righteousness of God as we become dead to sin. 

Second, baptism is when this is sealed in us, as Paul said, 

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.[3] 

This means that EVERY baptized believer alive in the church today (the church knows no other kind of believer) has already died to sin and been raised from the dead to live like Jesus in our love. Bitterness belongs to the old life; love belongs to the newness of life. 

Third, this verse really helped me see where God is taking this with me: God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”[4] God loving me WHILE I was a sinner requires me to love others WHILE they are sinning, and especially when they are sinning against me! 

Fourth, this verse sealed it for me, By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”[5] Laying down our lives requires dying. That’s what Jesus did. And even though we cannot do this redemptively, we can do it comparatively. I can be like Jesus in loving others. 

Conclusion: God is not promising me how long this WHILE will be that I must love people WHILE they are sinning against me. However, I know I would rather feel the spiritual satisfaction of agapè-hesed-loving[6] like Jesus than the sarky[7] satisfaction of harboring bitterness against people for their injustices against me. 

Jesus bore my injustices against him to satisfy God’s justice against me, and I confess my willingness to be like him even though I must feel the sorrow of suffering unjustly as I entrust my soul-care to God and continue to do good.


© 2023 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


[1] I Peter 2:24

[2] II Corinthians 5:21

[3] Romans 6:3-4

[4] Romans 5:8

[5] I John 3:16

[6] “agapè” is the Greek word used in the New Testament for God’s love for us and our love for others, including our enemies. It is all-encompassing over all other loves (family love, marriage love, friendship love, brotherly love). “hesed” is the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament referring to God’s covenantal love, often translated “steadfast love”. Together, these words summarize the glory of God’s unfailing love and guides us in how to love as the Triune God has loved us.

[7] The Greek word translated “flesh” in the New Testament sounds like “sark” or “sarx” so I have become accustomed to referring to our fleshly desires and feelings as “sarky”.