GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 9.13.23

Monthly memory verse: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:15-17).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,I have been praying for you this week.  It is my hope that, as you read this letter, you are enjoying an ever-increasing assurance of salvation as you continue to learn about, and live in submission to, our glorious God and Savior.  It is also my hope that, in learning to think and live according to HIs Word, you find yourself wonderfully guarded in every way by His perfect peace – recognizing that He is the God of peace who desires peace for His people, not only internally, but also in our relations with one another.  The Apostle Paul makes this clear as he writes his first letter to the Corinthians.Our God – the only living and true God – is not a God of confusion or disorder.  That is just what the Apostle writes, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in 1 Corinthians 14:33 – “God is not a God of confusion.”  The word for confusion represents things or people in a state of chaos.  It is elsewhere used to refer to tumults and riots (cf. Lk 21:9; 2 Cor 6:5).  You might think of Paul’s companions being dragged by the uproarious Ephesians into the theatre – an upset and disorderly mob, though most of the people involved had no idea what all the fuss was even about (cf. Acts 19).  Or, you might think of what our own country has seen over the past few years, with rioters burning and looting across the land.  Or, you might think of the state of many homes and churches today, with massive confusion about things as basic as gender distinctions and roles.  It is, in southern terms, a “hot mess.”  It is not according to the good design of the Lord.  He didn’t create people in His own image for us to live disordered lives marked by confusion and chaos.  He didn’t design us in such a way so as to make each person responsible for discovering his own gender, each home responsible for determining its own order regarding basic, first principles, or each church or nation to create its own moral foundation, all of which would tend toward countless individuals in a state of constant flux, wrestling with one another to see who gets to wield the power to establish the rules, themselves ever-subject to change, leaving all things uncertain and life itself a nearly unbearable mass of confusion.  This is not God’s good design, but it is exactly what you get when you try to force Him out of the picture.  It is not only devastating to those who are subjected to such a way of life, but is dishonoring and displeasing to the Lord Himself.  It is opposed to His very nature as three Persons eternally existing in perfection unity as one God.  Disorder is not representative of who He is, and it is not what He would have for His children.  Our God is not a God of confusion or disorder.Rather, our God is a God of peace.  So the Apostle affirms as 1 Corinthians 14:33 continues – “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.”  As we’ve just noted, He has eternally existed in a state of perfect peace within Himself – Father, Son, and Spirit perfectly aligned in a loving union without beginning or end.  As a God of peace, He offers internal peace to His people as we come to Him in prayer, making our various request known to Him and entrusting our cares to Him (cf. Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:7).  And He calls us to peace in our various relations with one another.  Moreover, He has given us wisdom to direct us as we see this peace.  The very context of 1 Corinthians 14:33 concerns the peaceable, right ordering of the church, which itself draws upon the right ordering of God’s distinctive design for men and women, which also serves to establish order in the home and indeed in all of society.  So gracious is our God, and so concerned for our knowing and enjoying peace, which itself magnifies His wisdom, that He has given plain instruction about everything from the nature of our creation to the ways this should affect our various roles and responsibilities in this life.  For example, a rightly ordered household will have a clear head in a loving husband and father, with his wife respecting and submitting to him, and with his children also in submission as they honor and obey their parents.  Some scoff at the very notion as something outdated, patriarchal, and oppressive.  It is indeed patriarchal, but biblical.  And, far from outdated or oppressive, it is our heavenly Father’s wise design for the good of His creatures.  And frankly, compared with the madness that has gripped our culture, with everything from massive divorce rates to effeminate men to women trying to act the part of men, it is clearly preferable and far more conducive to a peaceful and orderly environment in the home.  And, not only in the home, but in the church, with roles being clearly defined and built upon the natural foundation of God’s purpose for man and woman in creation.  And, not only in the home and church, but also in the culture at large, as men go forth to take and exercise dominion in the world, women care for the home and raise godly children, and children grow up surrounded by the beauty, order, and peace of an infinitely wise God’s very good design.  It is His kind intention for the people He formed to fill the world with the radiance of His glorious likeness.  To this end, He would have us to live at peace, because He is a God of peace.It is a blessing so far removed from our culture at large for at least the last 150 years or so that many can hardly imagine what it was like, or ever going back to it.  Only in asking the Lord to help us remove our strongly tinted glasses, and studying His Word and seeking to know what it really says about His design for us in all of life, can we begin to recognize how far we’ve strayed from this design.  And, only then can we hope, through genuine repentance and with Lord’s gracious help, to realign with the good order laid out for us in His Word, and to enjoy the peace this order affords.  It is what we must do if we would impact our society and raise our children in such a way as to leave behind for them the hope of living in the peace for which we currently long.It starts in each of our homes and as we gather each Lord’s Day.  It extends as others are called to know Christ, and consequently begin to order their homes and lives aright as well.  Eventually, if the Lord wills to draw enough to Himself, it pervades and transforms the entire land.  It is an enormous task, far too big for us to dream of accomplishing on our own, but far from impossible for our God, who has flatly stated His desire, “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim 2:2).Our God is a God of peace, and He has shown us the way to it.  Let us each take it to heart and strive to order our homes, our local church, and the whole of our lives according to the order given to us in His perfect Word.  And let us, as we have opportunity, call those in authority, from local to nationwide offices, to again establish this blessed order in our land.  May the Lord give us humble and broken hearts for wandering so far from it, and may He, in His overflowing mercies, call us back to it – being glorified for His goodness as He grants us, and the generations after us, to live in peace! In Christ,Pastor Eric P.S.Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.Please mark your calendars!  If you ever need to double-check dates, events are usually kept up to date on the church’s website calendar:  https://covenantofgracews.org/event-calendar/· Daily devotions
o I continue to encourage you to daily read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening as we seek to maintain a spirit of unity.  It is widely available – here is one link:
§ https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/morning-and-evening/today
 

‘Vision Statement’  Covenant of Grace is a loving church family that equips people to know God and His Word through serious, joyful, Christ-centered worship and service, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

Matt 22:37-39
37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Love God.  Love people.

 

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Winston-Salem, NC  27103

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Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church
PO Box 26511
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27114-6511

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