The Beginning and the End

Daily Post:  Loop

loopA loop is different from a ring in my mind, but only just barely.  In engineering a “loop” is a structured series of processes where the end is connected to the beginning.  In computer code a “loop” is a programmed set of instructions which repeats until a desired condition is satisfied, then it stops.  A loop could also invoke the image of a cycle which has a specific beginning and ending point.  To reinforce my statement, a ring has neither beginning nor end, it is a closed, or completed circle at inception.  My favorite metaphor would be playing a round of golf.  A player tees off on hole #1, playing each hole sequentially until finally reaching hole #18, therein finishing “the loop.”

Without realizing it, all Christ followers today have something in common with the ancients.  There is one particular loop, or cycle, which every person of faith has to come to grips with in their own life.  It’s seen most clearly in the Bible as a descriptive pattern which the nation of Israel fell into.  It also clearly points out the need for God’s grace instead of judgment, since we like Israel fall prey to this loop daily.

Israel consistently lived out what many scholars call the “Cycle of Sin” found in the book of judges.  At the top (follow this pattern like the dial on a clock) Israel serves God; then Israel sins and turns to idolatry; God allows them to become enslaved by their sin; Israel cries out of forgiveness and deliverance; God raises up a judge to guide them to repentance, through this repentance; Israel is redeemed and delivered to serve God once again.  We could shorten the cycle to just the four points on a compass:  Sin, Oppression, Repentance, Deliverance.

Israel in those ancient days was God’s chosen nation, they were His people.  He promised He would never abandon them or allow them to be completely destroyed.  God had a personal relationship with Israel, so the loop was about how this relationship was altered as the people made their choices to obey or disobey God’s commands.  Let’s fast forward to today.

For Christ followers, people who have stepped over the line of faith into Jesus, this loop effects us every bit as much as it did the ancient people of Israel.  We all spend some time in the right place – serving God with our whole heart.  Yet soon enough, sin disrupts our relationship with Christ, and as long as we wallow in this sin, oppression becomes our companion in life.  It is only when we agree with the Holy Spirit inside of us, that we have indeed sinned against God, that we are sensitive to the Spirit’s prodding to repent and confess our sin.  When we cry out to God for forgiveness, and He does forgive, He lavishes upon us such underserved grace, and we once again see through spiritual eyes what God offers us in redemption.  Jesus is right where He has been all along, right there with us.  It was me that moved away, not Him.  It was you, not Him.

In this way, my life is like a loop (cycle of sin), but God’s grace is like a ring… without beginning or end… it just is.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Make your choice today to live inside the ring of God’s grace, while stumbling through the loop that is the human life experience.  Jesus said:

Revelation 22:13
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the Beginning and the End.

 

 

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