09/11: My Kinsmen According to the Flesh
What joy there is to be in Christ! What hope, what strength, what power! To know and to live in the reality that though I drank iniquity like water Christ drank the whole cup of God’s wrath for me. To know that he whom I thought had no beauty that I should desire him has become all beauty to me to the point that I desire nothing but Him. Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ that I am His and He is mine forever! It is in this thought, it is in this contemplation that makes the words of Paul that much more startling: “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Never before have I quite understood the words of Paul until now. Before this passage simply spoke to me; now this passage speaks for me. What anguish I have in my soul for the sake of my brothers!
It is in light of this desire that my earnest prayer is that the Lord would somehow, by His matchless grace, use me to bring these glorious truths to those who have not heard it within the Black community; and they are legion. That some how by God’s sufficient grace I might be able to take the seeds of Reformed theology that have been given to me and plant them in the fields of the Black community that they might spring up into Cedars. Oh, there is a famine in the land and may I be disqualified if I do not share the grain the Lord has given me with my brothers who are in need; Reformed theology is that grain and my kinsmen according to the flesh is that race which God, in his infinite wisdom, so chose to place me. Shall I stand back with a bucket of water in my hand and watch passively as my people burn from false teaching and the lack of biblical education; "God forbid!" God help me to be what he has called me to be to a people who need it, my people; from whence I came.
If I could paint a picture of my ministry the canvas would be the Black community, the paint would be reformed theology and the brush, the brush would be an institution designed for this purpose. My hearts desire is to teach Black men, young Black men the same truths that I am blessed to be learning right now. Teach them what Francis Grimke said about preaching, what John Calvin said about salvation, what Herman Ridderbos says about the kingdom of God, and what they will one day say about redemption. To have my kinsmen according to the flesh become my kinsmen according to the spirit by the grace of God, and learning with me what it means to have “a mind for truth and a heart for God.” This is what I pray one day will be my ministry: teaching young Black men to stand for the faith, walk with the Lord and carry their families by the grace of God.
How did I get here? Everything I have, I have received. I am reminded of the words that Isaiah spoke in chapter 30 “your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, this is the way, walk in it.” Oh, how I have heard this word whispered in my ears time and time again by my faithful parents. The moment I start arrogantly complaining about the plight of the Black church, it is at that moment that they remind me of my responsibility to this church for the glory of God. Is there not much wisdom in godly parents? I am who I am because my parents, by the grace of God, have bent me in the way I should go. If I do anything that is pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ within the Black community it is because I am standing on the shoulders of my parents. May God give me the grace to take this legacy and hand it down to the next generation…
To the glory of God; For the sake of my brothers
Stephen J. Love