Saturday, January 16, 2010

"For Thy Sake" Part 5

"I have learned by experience that God hath blessed me for thy sake" (Genesis 30:27).

A thorough reading of the New Testament presents to us a salvation of infinite proportion and magnitude. Through His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and ongoing heavenly ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ provides for trusting believers an experience of God that is to be "exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). We are "blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ." Our Heavenly Father has "given to us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (Ephesians 1:3; II Peter 1:3). Our Savior is "the heir of all things," and we are "joint-heirs with Christ" (Hebrews 1:2; Romans 8:17). The good news declared by the New Testament seems almost too good to be true, and the truth is that our capacity for understanding the vast scope of grace is presently so limited that we are seeing mere twinkles of the light of His goodness provided in the Lord Jesus.

Our experience of such grace may also seem limited. The "abundant life" promised by the Lord Jesus to believers often does not seem so abundant (John 10:10). We live in a fallen world inhabited by a fallen devil and fallen flesh. The course of this realm flows not in the direction of faith, but of ignorance and unbelief of God's "exceeding great and precious promises" (II Peter 1:4). We too often flow with it, and every honest believer will confess that he has sometimes lived as a spiritual pauper despite the "the unsearchable riches of Christ" possessed by all of God's children (Ephesians 3:8). It is tragic and inexcusable when such failure happens, and thank God that He is patient, merciful, and forgiving toward our neglect of "so great salvation" (Hebrews 2:3).

God is incessantly working in us to destroy such neglect. His method is simple and powerful.

"Consider Him (the Lord Jesus )... lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:3).

Our Savior is the center and circumference of God's eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:11). He must be the center and circumference of our lives as well. To the degree we know Him as He is, and thus love, trust, obey and exalt Him, will be the degree to which we experience the abundance we possess in Him. The glory begins with the understanding that the Lord Jesus is directly responsible for every good thing we will ever receive from God. "I have learned by experience that God hath blessed me for thy sake." If our Heavenly Father dealt with us for even a moment in accordance with our own sake, eternal cursing would be our lot. His standard is pristine spiritual and moral perfection. "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). He must therefore reject even the slightest deviation from His character, nature, and person. Furthermore, He must destroy and banish such deviation because the sanctity of His creation is at stake. This is the reason for the lake of fire that awaits the devil and his followers, and this is the reason we can never attempt to relate to God by any way other than the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 20:10-15).

The Lord Jesus is our safe haven. We are "hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). He is also the basis of all blessing in our lives, and the key to experiencing a life of abundance is the growing apprehension of who our Lord is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He promises to do forevermore. Such beholding of His glory will change us more and more into His likeness, and will fulfill His promise: "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (II Corinthians 3:18; John 7:38). "As the Scripture hath said." What does the Bible actually say about our Lord? Again, who is He? What has He done? What is He doing? And what does He promise to do forevermore? Setting our hearts to answering these questions in the light of the Bible, the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and a life of learning by experience that God has blessed us for Christ's sake will fill the cups of our heart to abundant overflow.

"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?"

(Romans 8:32)

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