Monday, January 10, 2011

"How Near?"

     The New Testament calls us not only to faith in God, but also to confidence in our relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.
    "Ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:11).
    Recall that the the Apostle Paul wrote these words to the most wayward community of believers mentioned in the New Testament epistles, the Corinthians.  Their carnality was so severe that some had been chastened with death by God (I Corinthians 11:30).  Paul nevertheless affirms the Corinthians' relationship with God, even as he strongly chastens them for their failures to rightly know and respond to the fact of the Spirit of Christ dwelling with and within them.
    Believers are so "washed" by God in the sense of our relationship with Him that He will not impute our sins to us" (Romans 4:8).  We are so "sanctified," (set apart to God), that nothing will cause Him to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  And we are so justified through Christ that our Heavenly Father deems the Lord Jesus to literally be our righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30).  God has freely provided for us an inviolable relationship with Himself through Christ, and He calls us to doctrinally and personally know how near and dear He we are to Him, and how near and dear He is to us.
     The more we grow in our understanding and apprehension of such grace, the more we will think, act, speak, and relate accordingly.  It is not enough to merely trust that God is who He is.  Such faith, while elemental and vital, nevertheless leaves God in His Heaven and ourselves upon the earth, never to meet in any sense that has dynamic impact in our lives.  We must also know and strongly affirm who He is in relationship to us.  Accordingly, the pages of the New Testament continually recount the truth of Christ's powerful atoning work on our behalf in providing a bond with God so near that the Apostle declared, "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 6:17).  Growth in our awareness and understanding of such abounding grace inevitably results in greater application thereof. 
    If we have been born again, this moment - this moment - finds us so united to Christ that He is our very life (Colossians 3:4).  Regarding the secure reality of such relationship, it matters not what we have done or not done, nor how faithful or unfaithful we have been.  Our family bond with God is a Christ-assured and energized reality.  Knowing and affirming such grace and truth goes far in the enabling of our spiritual capacity to live accordingly.  Confidence in God demands that we have confidence also in His Word that assures a relationship with Him through Christ far more present and dynamic than we realize.  "Ye are washed... sanctified... and justified" wrote Paul to the Corinthians whom he sought to deliver from their carnality.  He would say the same to us in this moment, wherever we may be along the path of righteousness.
"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus."
(Philemon 1:4-6)

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