Firmly Held

How many times during your life time have your heard someone say to you, “Honestly” or “Really, I am telling you the truth!” If you read your Bible you find that Jesus has said the same thing to us. For example, one of his disciple records Jesus saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” [John 5:24 NASB] Let’s look more closely at what Jesus is saying.

TRULY, or MOST ASSUREDLY – There is only one thing in this world that is truly trustworthy; Jesus’ words. They are not changeable but are a firm foundation. Jesus is the “amen” to all conversation. “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this …” [Revelation_3:14]Jesus is prefacing His promise with a declaration of His authority and character. Jesus never wore a mask. What the disciples heard and saw was the real deal. And God superintended that they were faithful in relaying on to us. When it comes to matters of salvation, God wants us to understand that attempting to bring our carnal and fall-twisted reasoning into the discussion is a ship wreck waiting to happen. When it comes to salvation, our reasoning can never reach a final conclusion with certainty. Just think about that for a minute. Outside of Jesus, there is no assurance of salvation because everything devised by man in religion is based on limited fatalities about the subject of eternity and our real condition before God. No matter how we craft our arguments in our minds, we can never be sure that we have reached a correct conclusion in all cases. There must be an independent outside source of validation who participated in the creation.

I SAY TO YOU – “I am going to relate to you in a systematic manner.” In other words, the One who is speaking to you now, you have been actively resisting, rejecting and seeking to eliminate from your life. We do not like what He says to us if we are running away or just plain ignoring Him.

HE WHO HEARS – Jesus is saying: ‘Listen to Me, listen to My followers who are around you, listen to what is being reported, and understand.’ Jesus wants us to understand that He is the sum and substance of what He says. Do not make the mistake of just listening with only the external ears that God gave you but also listen internally, with your soul. That is where life begins. It is only when we listen with the soul that we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to distinguish what is truth from Sovereign God and what are lies from the deceiving gods.

MY WORD – listen not only to My words but try to understand My thoughts; My ways “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” [Psalm_103:7] If you only look for the bling and bang of what I as God do, then you will miss my intentions for you. There are two types of hearing: speculative and experiential. We can listen and speculate about the pros and cons of Jesus statement. Or we can choose to take them to heart, trust Jesus that He is telling us the truth and act on them as truth. The question is: how do we hear Jesus’ words? If we are looking to draw closer to God and discover for His ways, then our actions will be to yield in obedience through faith.

AND BELIEVES – The constant question before us is do I credit God with being faithful? Do I entrust my spiritual well-being to Jesus? The Christian life is composed of a life time of learning three things: to trust in, rely on, and adhere to the Lord Jesus.

HIM WHO SENT – Dispatched Me from where I was originally; My point of departure. Interestingly Jesus does not here say to believe Him but the One who sent Him. So when we reject the counsel and instructions of Jesus, we are then rejecting God.

ME, HAS – You will hold, you will have in your possession and you will have the condition of. I will have the right to claim hope by faith in His grace. This is a pledge not from a man but from God Himself.

ETERNAL – Perpetual [past, present and future] everlasting

LIFE – life as God intended it to be, full of His grace and peace that cannot be manufactured.

AND DOES NOT COME – Pass from; fall out of what God has promised us.

INTO JUDGMENT – Something ordained that is either for or against me. Implies justice enacted. Divine law adhered to. Accusation. Condemnation. Damnation. I will pass from condemnation of the original sin and all sins past, present and future. Not one of my sins will be held in accusation against me. It is not by my righteousness or my legal arguments but only by the righteousness of Christ that I have received by faith.

BUT HAS PASSED – to change places; depart from where I am at currently; to go toward; to be removed from [by divine decree].

OUT OF DEATH – moral death; all of the guilt from sins; out from under the penalty of death having missed the mark of perfection that the Law of God requires.

INTO LIFE – spiritual life; a life of covenant grace and justification by faith, made alive to a process of exchanging my sinful way of thinking and acting to a life that seeks to draw closer to God and live a life pleasing to Him. It is a life that has a security to it.

Trust in, rely on, and adhere to Jesus Christ. He is the only answer to your life.

 

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Words

Have you ever reflected on your history with God’s words? What are some words that seemed small when you began but have grown huge in your life? When I first allowed Christ into my life, theological terms like salvation, sanctification, servant and communion were mainly just words. As a new Christian I had almost zero experience of how God was or even could work in my life. For example, salvation seemed to be a one-time word signifying an event. But as the years rolled by and I kept stumbling along on my journey toward the City of God, I began to see and hear God and thereby experience His saving grace. As far as eternity goes, I am safely tucked into the arms of Jesus. But God is interested in my ‘here and now’ state of living. That is where my salvation is worked out day by day. But what is the Apostle’s concern anyway? I am certainly familiar with the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Christians in Philippi: “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” [Phil 2:12 NIV] Today as I was mulling over the implication of the word ‘salvation,’ I considered why he gave that exhortation to them and of course by extension to us?

Because I am one of God’s children, He wants me to be prepared. I see the world around me spinning out of control. I can pick up the newspaper on any day of the week and it is the same front page headlines: wars and rumors of wars. I see my friends and some in my family spinning out of control due to their looking to the culture around them for life’s answers. Few seek to look in the right place for life solutions. Before the Apostle Paul said “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” he made a very serious statement as a preamble to that thought: “Therefore God exalted him [Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  [Phil 2:9-11 NIV]

I have observed personally in myself and with other Christians tendencies to make Jesus too much like us. When Jesus was here on earth He appeared in the form of a humble servant. Now He is raised up to the throne of glory, seated on the right hand of God and to universal just and holy dominion. At some point in the future, when God deems there is an end to the wars and rumors of wars, the whole universe shall confess that Jesus is Lord. For some this will not be a pleasant experience. All those who have departed from this life without Christ as their Redeemer will no longer have a choice as to will be lord of their lives. The Apostle Paul’s warning is clear. Every single living creature, past, present and future, shall all acknowledge him as universal Lord. All will bow to His sovereign will. All will be subject to His control. All will recognize Him as Supreme.

Is it clear now what the Apostle Paul gives us the exhortation today to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling?” We who know the Lord Jesus and are related to Him will gladly fall on our knees and worship Him. We have learned to do that as grateful servants living in God’s grace. Not so the eternally damned; they will be forced by the power of God Himself to yield an unwilling homage to Jesus by submitting to the sentence from his lips that shall consign them to an unimaginable eternal woe.

So I am eternally grateful that God sought me out first. The words describing God’s faithfulness to me are words that bring joy to my heart. They are words that I have found to be true regardless of all appearance to the contrary.

Not My Opinion

This is my name forever…” Exodus 3:15
At some point in the future there will be one final word from a Name that will end all controversy for all time. We live in an apartment building where some apartments face inward to a courtyard with a fountain. For several nights now there have been loud collections of words being spoken till the wee hours in the morning. Loud obnoxious words without meaning. Words trying to drown out other words with their own noise. Words quoting resources. Words of anger. Words of surprise. Words rolling off alcohol saturated tongues. Words from many languages. Piercing words disturbing us in our sleep. Annoyed words thrown from quiet balconies to shut down the irritating words. Words, words and more words tossed into the night from voices in the dark. As I lay there trying to sleep, often I have asked the question: “In the multitude of words where is the wisdom? There is one Word that points us to the One Name that has the Ancient Wisdom. I AM. “This is my name forever…” Exodus 3:15 Many words try to explain or explain away I AM. Look into the past; examine the present; peer into the future … the Word forever accurately represents the Name. The Word did not grasp the Name on his own. “…he became so far better than the angels as he has inherited a name superior to theirs.” Hebrews 1:4 “…God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name…” Philippians 2:9 So the next time that you hear words flowing around you, remember that this Name provides the final “say so” – the final word of I AM. “…keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus…” Hebrews 12:2 One Word. One Name. One Source. Amen!