Follow Through

My Grandfather’s brother taught me to drive. Uncle Dick was a wiry, chipper little Welshman who had driven lorries for the local council most of his life. “When you indicate, always follow through.” Gear control was important, lane discipline was important, checking your mirrors was important, but most important: “when you indicate, always follow through.”

Sometimes, his insistence would lead us down some merry detours. I’d make a mistake and indicate left or right too soon. Rather than just let me shake off the confusion and bumble on, Uncle Dick would say “You’ve told the man behind you and the man in front of you what you’re planning to do. Now you need to do it. An unpredictable driver is a dangerous driver.” Declare your intentions, then follow through. He didn’t use the word integrity, but he was teaching me integrity while we rolled along in his little Morris Minor.

God gave us an indication – He declared His intentions – while the hot shame of mankind’s fall still crackled in the air of Eden. Calmly and meticulously the Creator laid out for His creatures the consequences of sin. Confusion, disruption, stress, and contention would follow for all concerned. And history would suggest that God was both willing and able to follow through on His indication. He does what He says He will do. But it wasn’t only mankind who saw the indicator flash that day. There was a clear signal given to another creature too.

While man would have to break a sweat for his food, and while woman would have to break a sweat to bring forth children, Satan wasn’t allowed to go about cool and dry. He would have to sweat it out while he awaited a humiliating defeat:

The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

Satan had tried to grab the wheel, but he would never be allowed in the driving seat. God’s intention was clear – the trickster was doomed. His arrogant meddling had caused a detour. It wouldn’t be quick, it wouldn’t be straightforward, but it was certain. His head would take a bruising. God would make sure of it, He would follow through.

Well, it’s Lent and our eyes look to Easter; the events of the Cross and the Resurrection. Was this some kind of tragic accident on the highway of history?

Not so. Jesus tell us that Heaven’s Sat-Nav wasn’t acting up. Three times He told the disciples that He would go to Jerusalem and be handed over to the authorities. Three times He assured them that He would die there. Three times He prayed that a different route might be found; and three times He acknowledged that there was no other way. The road forward went through the Cross. Rebellion had to be judged, and proud Satan had to be humbled. Integrity demanded that it should be so. God was simply following through.

On the Cross, rebellion was judged. The blood that Jesus shed there, and the death that He died there had such value that it cleared a road of redemption back to God for mankind:

for all have sinned … and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3:23-25)

If rebellion was judged on the Cross, then in the Resurrection Satan was humbled. The big stick he likes to threaten and demoralise us with – death – was taken from his hand and broken like a dry twig.

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?…
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

The Resurrection was a crushing blow for the Accuser; it was as if someone had stamped on his head. You might say that his death license was revoked. God had indicated, and God had followed through. It might have been a long detour to get us back on the right road, but in the fullness of time, when all the conditions were just right, God did what He said He would do.

As plain as mirror-signal-manoeuvre.

Copyright © 2015 by Dr Terry Boyle. All rights reserved worldwide.

Posted in Easter and tagged , , .

Dr Terry Boyle serves as Pastor for Insight for Living UK. His ministry involves teaching a weekend radio programme, hosting the weekday Insight for Living broadcast, helping with issues that come in from listeners, and providing a personal and local approach to Chuck Swindoll’s ministry.

Terry was born in Windsor, England. He moved to the United States in 1981. Although he began his professional life as a biochemist, Terry holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Ministry and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas.

Terry served as senior pastor of Skillman Bible Church in Dallas until he and his family moved back to the UK in 2007, to take on the role of pastor for Insight for Living United Kingdom.

Terry and his wife Rose Ann have been married for twenty seven years, and they have three grown children: Hannah, Emily, and Terence.