Living a life of possibilities

By Leonard Lauriault: QCS columnist

When Mary was told she’d give birth, she wondered how it could happen based on circumstances she knew to be true. God’s messenger explained God’s process on this special occasion, finishing with the statement, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1: 26-37).

Like much of the Bible, this fact must be understood in the context of the immediate passage or occasion as well as that of the rest of scripture because the inspired writers elsewhere described things impossible for God to do. So when the angel spoke to Mary, his statement was limited, at least, to this miracle that would benefit humankind (Matthew 1: 18-23; Psalm 145: 9; 84: 11; Genesis 50: 20). What are some things God cannot do?

It’s impossible for God to lie because his promises are based on his eternal and unchangeable nature (Hebrews 6: 17, 18; Titus 1: 2). We can trust God’s word (2 Timothy 3: 16, 17) to always be true. When two passages seem contradictory, we simply need to dig a little deeper to learn how each statement is true in its own context and not contradictory to any other scripture. This will help us realize God’s nature and purpose in man’s redemption haven’t changed since the beginning because he doesn’t lie (Ephesians 1: 3-10; 3: 4; Philippians 3: 15, 16).

Our salvation is impossible for us to achieve on our own, but because it would benefit humankind, it’s not impossible for God (Mark 10: 26, 27). He did face the impossibility, however, of saving both us and his own Son from death — separation from himself (2 Thessalonians 1: 8-10; Matthew 26: 36-42; 27: 45, 46; Romans 8: 32). God had always required the shedding of blood to bring about man’s forgiveness knowing that animal sacrifices weren’t sufficient (Hebrews 9: 22; 10: 1-7). It’s good for us that Jesus volunteered to accept our punishment because only unblemished sacrifices are acceptable (Malachi 1: 8-14; Romans 3: 23; Hebrews 4: 14, 15; 9: 14).

As the perfect, sinless sacrifice, Jesus also was able to come back from the dead (John 10: 11, 17, 18; Acts 2: 22-24). Now, he’ll remove our blemishes as we share in his death, not physically, but in the symbol of baptism when we present ourselves as living sacrifices (Ephesians 5: 25-27; Hebrews 7: 25; Romans 12: 1, 2; 6: 3-5; Acts 22: 16; Revelation 22: 14, 15). Otherwise, it’s impossible for us to share in his resurrection (John 11: 23-27; Acts 19: 1-5; Ephesians 1: 13, 14 — note the connection between belief, baptism, and the purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives).

We also have a role in our salvation because God can only save us if we truly believe in him enough to just do what he says (Mark 9: 23; 16: 15, 16; Isaiah 1: 18; 1 Peter 1: 18-22; Acts 5: 32). After Mary learned God’s plan, she believed God and said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said (Luke 1: 38).” Her husband-to-be obeyed God as well (Matthew 1: 24, 25). This isn’t an impossibility for anyone (1 John 5: 2-5; 2 Peter 1: 10, 11).

Everything happens just as God says because it’s impossible for him to lie. This is good because the current stage of his plan includes withholding our punishment, giving us a chance to repent (Romans 6: 23; Malachi 3: 6, 7; Acts 17: 29-31; 2 Peter 3: 9).

There will come a time, though, that either we’ll receive our reward for loving God and answering his call to live according to his purpose (Romans 8: 28; 1 Corinthians 1: 9; 1 John 1: 5-7; 2 Timothy 1: 8-12) or things won’t go well for us because we haven’t loved God enough to answer his call through the gospel (Revelation 2: 21-23; 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-15). This is no lie.