Thank you, Lord, for the priceless privilege, surpassing greatness and precious sweetness of knowing Jesus.
I must admit that I have rather strange thoughts at weird times, but they always seem to lead me into deeper aspects of Truth – sometimes very familiar Truth. So I listen to the Holy Spirit and follow the pressure of His guidance.
One morning as I was cleaning the sink, I began to think about –
- a Christian who has died and was buried – flesh decayed and only bones remain.
- a Christian who has died and was cremated ashes placed wherever.
- a Christian who was blown to bits on the battle field, his body so destroyed they couldn’t find 6 inches of flesh or bone to bury.
One thing I know for sure. Every one of these bodies and all they represent will be totally restored. How could I believe that? Doesn’t it sound impossible – unbelievable – preposterous? So, I get into my time machine and quickly go back thousands of years. I want to drop in on Job and get his opinion.
He had only one thing to say to me (didn’t even offer me a coffee). Listen to his words. I know that my Redeemer lives (Job 19:25-26) and after skin-worms have destroyed my flesh in my body I will see God! As I headed back to present time, I knew that I believed him and also I believed for something even more wonderful to be added. All these bodies (including mine someday) will be glorified – transformed into amazing bodies which can fly through space – go through locked doors and stone walls – and our mode of travel will be thought. Well Job has been smoldering in the grave for thousands of years and the skin-worms have long ago consumed their delicious repast. I am looking forward to seeing Job in his glorified body to thank him for all I’ve learned from the wonderful Book that bears his name.
But how could Job – how can I – be so sure? This is the crowning gift I’m talking about. It is more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7) and it is called FAITH.
We are told (Hebrews 11:6) that without faith it is impossible to please God. That creates a frightening dilemma for me – unless – unless faith is a gift of God. If this verse (Ephesians 2:8) had stopped after saying – salvation cannot be earned, it is the gift of God – we might be misled into thinking the possibility of universal salvation. That monstrous lie is embraced by many these days and taught in many churches. It insults and makes meaningless the Cross of Christ and tramples underfoot the Son of God. I need to read that verse very carefully and dig deep into the Truth. This is what that verse says to me. If I feel a spiritual need within myself the Holy Spirit (John 16:8) convicts me of sin. If I agree with His verdict that I am a guilty but helpless sinner – then He floods (Ephesians 1:18) the eyes of my heart with light and enlightens me to see/understand what the Cross of Jesus really means – that Jesus paid my full sin-debt so that God could forgive me and still remain holy. I begin to understand that His precious Blood is covenant Blood, a covenant between holy God and sinful man. With this understanding I perceive the goodness of God and hear (Romans 2:4). His call to repentance. Everything I’ve mentioned from this verse is a gift but I need one more gift – a gift to crown it all – the gift of faith. With the conviction – understanding – repentance God gives me the faith to put all my trust in Jesus with the assurance that I will receive eternal Life and eternal security. Why do I insist that faith is God’s gift? Two reasons:
Because (2 Thessalonians 3:2) not everybody has faith. Why not? Because they don’t want it - - they want no part of the holy God in their lives. They prefer a god who will encourage and assist their greed and selfishness, and they have found him in Satan. So they travel the broad road (Matthew 7:13) which leads to destruction.
(1) Where does faith originate? God bequeaths to us the very faith of Jesus Who is (Hebrews 12:2) the Author – Source – Incentive – Finisher of our faith. We are justified (Galatians 2:16) by the faith OF Jesus Christ.
The life I live (Galatians 2:20) by the faith OF the Son of God.
Jesus did not say (John 6:28-29) basically this is your work for God to believe in Jesus. He said – this is the work of God within you enabling you to believe.
Consider with me the faith of the MAN Christ Jesus. Cursed – abandoned – made sin – incurring in His Person the full force and fury of outraged Holiness and Divine justice. Totally alone – spiritual life and light gone – spiritually dead because He incurred on Himself all that occurred in Adam. But this MAN remembered and with astounding faith He trusted that He would be victorious not only for Himself (as MAN) but also for all that the Father (John 6:37, John 6:39) had given Him. On the Cross in anguish and agony far beyond my understanding – Jesus remained strong in faith to trust for you and to trust for me.
When we receive Jesus He comes to indwell us (Colossians 1:27) with all the riches of Hs grace. That means that if Jesus lives in us – we have everything in Him including faith. Do we desire to have more faith? Paul tells us how faith (Romans 10:17) will grow – by hearing – reading – by the Word of God. We need to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures. I don’t mean to see how much we can read and how quickly, but to take time for prayerful meditation in communion with the Holy Spirit. The disciples said – (Luke 11:1) Lord, teach us to pray. I have modified that for myself and I say – Lord teach me while I pray. I want to be permanently registered in God’s school of intercession.
What is faith? Is it squinting my eyes – gritting my teeth – clenching my hands and hoping with everything in me that things will turn out just as I want them? All I can say about that is what a stupid waste of time – not even a poor caricature of faith but some foolishness in a totally unrelated league. And what a degrading attitude about God’s gift of (Jude 20) our most holy faith.
If you had a fully authorized and signed certified cheque, you would be fully confident in the guarantee of what it promised. You would not be anxiously hoping but fully expecting even though you hadn’t yet cashed the cheque.
FAITH is (Hebrews 11:1) the substance – evidence – reality of things fully expected as sure as history – just waiting to be fulfilled at God’s perfect timing. I see faith as a guarantee (Matthew 9:29) according to your faith be it unto you. So don’t stop praying – don’t stop trusting – don’t stop expecting – and don’t stop giving thanks.
In Christ (Colossians 2:9-10) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead and we are in Him. So, the fullness of God is in us – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore (Ephesians 3:20) because of His work within us. He is able to carry out His purpose and to do superabundantly above all we could ask or think.
How can we even begin to (Philippians 3:8) thank the Lord for the priceless privilege surpassing greatness and precious sweetness of knowing Him in continual fellowship and loving communion? Isn’t that truth staggering?