Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"For Thy Sake" Part 8

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

Recognizing that we are blessed "for Christ's sake" calls us consider the scope and magnitude of His "sake." How does God the Father view the person, merit, and work of the Lord Jesus? And how does He view us in relationship to our Lord and His redeeming accomplishments on our behalf?

"God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).

"Highly exalted" is our blessed Lord by His Father, and rightfully so. He did always those things that pleased God during His earthly life, and was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). We do well to consider this first in terms of our Savior's greatness and goodness, and to join His Father and our Father in joyous exaltation of the beloved Son. We must personally ensure in our hearts that we give the Lord Jesus the name that is above every name, and add our voices to the host of heaven as they joyously exult, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (Revelation 5:12).

Upon this basis of worship, we then proceed to recognize our personal stake in the glory of Christ. Born again believers are "joint-heirs with Christ," and so united to our Savior that His riches are ours (Romans 8:17). In our present life, this primarily concerns God's bestowal to us of "all spiritual blessings" whereby we glorify Him, fulfill His will, and communicate Him to others in both life and word (Ephesians 1:3). The Father receives us as enrobed in His Son's pristine righteousness. He seals us forevermore as His purchased possession. He promises to finish the good work He has begun in us. And in this moment and forevermore, He commands and promises that we should have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus (I Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 10:19). Most importantly, and most wondrously, He answers the prayer of the Lord Jesus recorded in John 17, wherein our Savior asked the Father to love us with the same love the Son had eternally known: "I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26).

Let us embrace this truth with all our hearts. God's love for us never flickers for even the briefest moment because by life, by prayer, by forsakenness, by suffering and death, by resurrection, and by ascension to a heavenly and eternally ongoing intercession, the infinite sake of the Lord Jesus is accounted as our own. Our life and works, while vitally consequential in countless ways, nevertheless have nothing to do with our belovedness. We are "accepted in the Beloved," and it is not a grudging acceptance in the heart of our Father (Ephesians 1:6). No, it is the joyful receiving of "brethren beloved of the Lord" because our elder Brother, at the highest cost to Himself, has so enrobed us with Himself that we are loved as He is loved (II Thessalonians 2:13). No truth of Scripture will more effectually break our hearts, and then remake our hearts into the image of Christ. And no truth will more fuel the flame of the love of God "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). "We love Him because first He loved us," and growing understanding of such glory will elicit from us growing acclamation to our blessed Lord, "I have learned by experience that God hath blessed me for Thy sake (I John 4:19).

"Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."
(II Thessalonians 2:16-17)

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