Thursday, July 1, 2010

"How Near?" Part 3

(We continue our consideration of the truth that believers are called not only to confidence in God, but to confidence in the relationship He has provided for us in Christ).

Why did God make possible such a relationship with Him through Christ that He promises, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee?" (Hebrews 13:5). A myriad of Biblical answers are necessary to answer such a question, and eternity itself will not be long enough to discover all of them. One answer, however, is simply that our Lord performed such a miracle of grace because He lovingly desired to do so. Something about our hearts beckons to the heart of God in such appeal that He longed to make us His home. Furthermore, once He enters, His promise is that He will never leave or forsake us. He will be with us forevermore because He desires to be with us always.

I am reminded of the Lord Jesus' Passover meal with His disciples just before the cross. "With desire, I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15). The Lord doubly affirms His yearning to commune and share a final meal with His beloved - "With desire, I have desired...". In the same devotion of love, our Heavenly Father desires upon desire to be with us. Even more, He so loves our hearts the He desires upon desire to eternally reside within them. "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).

The price that made our Lord's indwelling possible confirms this blessed truth. "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21). We must often remember that to the degree the Lord Jesus experienced God's wrath and rejection on the cross of Calvary, we will forevermore be "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). The cherished heart of the Son of God became the forsaken heart of He who was "made to be sin for us" in order that believers might be the eternal dwellingplace of the Holy Spirit. We are loved beyond any concept or imagining that ever graced the deepest mind or most devoted heart, and eternity will not be long enough to exhaust the depth's of God's devotion and affection for us. The cross of Calvary shines through the ages as a beacon to every heart who will see and respond - "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).

While we may misunderstand or misapply this truth of relationship with our Lord, it is impossible to be overconfident in how near to God we are in Christ. In truth, lack of such confidence is often the source of unnecessary waywardness and sin. We must know and believe that every barrier to God was obliterated by the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus. Through His person and work, our Heavenly Father desires upon desire that we experience the wonder of His eternal presence both with and within us. Our hearts are His beloved home, and to the degree we grow in awareness and affirmation thereof, we will grow in consistently experiencing the fact of God's living and vibrant relationship to us. Thereby will our hearts respond in kind, and with desire we will desire to consciously walk with Him in the love "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us" (Romans 5:5).

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
(Ephesians 2:4-7)

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