Homeward Bound – Christ’s Incredible Journey is Far Away but One Day Closer- Purity 597
Purity 597 12/09/2021 Purity 597 Podcast
Today’s photo of a man’s best friend leading the way up Waite Rd in Easton NY under an overcast December sky comes to us from yours truly as I decided to capture a picture of my canine friend, Harley as “I took him” for a walk on Sunday.
When I look at this photo I think of those old Homeward Bound movies, about a group of animal friends that take an incredible journey to make it back to their family, and can imagine that Harley is setting out on a mission of his own to find his owner, Rachael Pinter, who is far away completing the process of becoming a Marine on Paris Island in South Carolina.
Little does our friend Harley know that his incredible journey isn’t necessary as his owner is one day closer to home as she graduates tomorrow and will begin her own incredible journey to be reunited with him. They are each one day closer to being “home” in each other’s company.
Likewise, I am currently separated from my fiancé who has travelled to the Palmetto State to share in the joy of Rachael’s accomplishment. Although we are graphically separated by 788 miles, the physical distance between us doesn’t diminish the love we have for one another. One of the songs on the “TammyLyn playlist” that I have compiled long before she went away is The Cure’s “Lovesong”: which proclaims:
“Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am free again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am clean again
However far away
I will always love you
However long I stay
I will always love you
Whatever words I say
I will always love you
I will always love you”
This latest road trip that has increased the physical distance between my fiancé and me has verified the truth of these words for our relationship. No matter how far away we are from one another, I will always love you, TammyLyn.
As much as I can love my fiancé and as much as a young women can love her dog, God’s love for us is so much greater and in this season of Advent we shouldn’t forget two things about our relationship with Him:
1. For the Christian, no distance, and no circumstances, can separate us from God’s love.
Yeah those words in Romans 8:38-39 that declare this truth are written to Christians, so although God loves all of His creation, some will refuse to come to faith in Christ and will separate themselves from God. We don’t celebrate the coming of the newborn King because it doesn’t matter who we put our faith in.
The Christian has been sealed by Christ’s atonement and can fully enjoy God’s love right now and for all of eternity. That’s one.
2. Christ is coming back.
Although we don’t know the time of His return and it may be far away, Christ’s “incredible journey on earth” that began with His birth and will culminate in His return to rule and reign can be fulfilled any day, without warning, and is one day closer.
As much as we might be counting down the days to Christmas, we mustn’t forget that Christ isn’t being “born again” in a manger in Bethlehem each December 25th. “Baby Jesus” doesn’t really exist anymore guys. Just like “Baby MT” has moved on from infancy, Jesus did become a man, preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, was persecuted, crucified, died, and rose again with a glorified body.
We shouldn’t think of Christ as a baby anymore. Neither should we think of Him as perpetually nailed to a cross. Christ is risen! Remember? The glorified Christ, whose body was approximately 33 years old at the time of His resurrection, is seated at the right hand of the Father and will come again to judge the living and the dead, right?
When you speak about “Baby Jesus” in anything more than as a historical fact of the Incarnation of the Word made flesh, you reveal your ignorance, or immaturity, and are perhaps displaying more than you should of your “childlike” faith and understanding of the spiritual realities that God has proclaimed.
When we think about the “coming of Jesus” this Christmas season, although we should remember and rejoice over the original incarnation, we really should think of the “present day Christ” who is fully grown/glorified, alive, and waiting for the day of His return.
The Christian’s hope is a living hope with a future fulfillment. We are not looking back at “baby book” for our hope. The NLT version of Hebrews 11:1 puts it clearly:
1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
So keep walking and talking with God, share the good news that Christ came to save that which was lost and that He is coming back for those that were found to bring them home for good.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.
11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Today’s verses encourage us to walk the walk and talk the talk of being an authentic Christian and that if we walk out our faith on the path of Christian Discipleship we need not worry about our “spiritual relationship status” and are assured of our grand entrance.
Now don’t get this twisted, we don’t “walk out our faith” by living according to the Biblical principles of morality to gain the grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter’s letter is to his brothers and sisters in Christ. In Christ. They made it already. When you put your faith in Christ, you are “in”. Nothing can separate you from the love of God, remember?
So Peter is encouraging a victorious experiential life of purpose for his brothers and sisters in Christ.
Yeah, you are in the kingdom. I know it’s hard to believe. It might seem too good to be true. But it is true.
One way we can settle the uncertainty about whether we are in the kingdom, is to answer the Lord’s call to be sanctified, to be more like Jesus, by living like He would.
Why? So we can be saved? NO!
So we can experience the fruit of the Spirit and the full assurance that we are children of God.
We walk out our faith so we can not only be assured that we are not a false convert, because in reality you really can’t fall away – but some men and women who proclaim their “relationship status” as a Christian will one day be discovered as false because their lives and their hearts have not been given to Christ; we walk out our faith to also encourage others to place their faith in Christ to join us in our grand entrance into God’s kingdom.
So work hard to prove who you already are in Christ. Our “work” is to remind ourselves – “Yes, I really am a Christian” and to show others that “That’s a good thing to be!”. When we “work hard” to live out our faith, we reap the benefits of the fruit of the Spirit and may just also play a part in God’s claiming more souls for His harvest.
Our “hard work” to prove we are “among those God has called and chosen”, results in peace, love, and joy as we walk ever closer to being reunited with Jesus. We can have the assurance of our status as God’s called and chosen by living our faith every day.
So walk that walk of a Christian, not only will it give you peace and empower you to meet your purpose in Christ, it just may be used by God to give you company of more saints that God allows you to usher into His kingdom.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
CHRIST—THE CHANNEL OF GRACE
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The idea that the Old Testament is a book of law and the New Testament a book of grace is based on a completely false theory.
There is certainly as much about grace and mercy and love in the Old Testament as there is in the New. There is more about hell, more about judgment and the fury of God burning with fire upon sinful men in the New Testament than in the Old.
If you want excoriating, flagellating language that skins and blisters and burns, do not go back to Jeremiah and the old prophets—hear the words of Jesus Christ!
Oh, how often do we need to say it: the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. The Father in the Old Testament is the Father in the New Testament.
Furthermore, the Christ who was made flesh to dwell among us is the Christ who walked through all of the pages of the Old Testament.
Was it the law that forgave David when he had committed his great sins? No, it was grace displayed in the Old Testament.
Was it grace that said, “Babylon is fallen, the great harlot is fallen, Babylon is fallen” (paraphrase of Revelation 18:2)? No, it was law expressed in the New Testament.
Surely there is not this great difference and contrast between Old and New Testaments that many seem to assume. God never pits the Father against the Son. He never pits the Old Testament against the New.
The only contrast here is between all that Moses could do and all that Jesus Christ can do. The Law was given by Moses—that was all that Moses could do. Moses was not the channel through which God dispensed His grace.
God chose His only begotten Son as the channel for His grace and truth, for John witnesses that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
All that Moses could do was to command righteousness. In contrast, only Jesus Christ produces righteousness.
All that Moses could do was to forbid us to sin. In contrast, Jesus Christ came to save us from sin.
Moses could not save, but Jesus Christ is both Lord and Savior.
Grace came through Jesus Christ before Mary wept in the manger stall in Bethlehem.
It was the grace of God in Christ that saved the human race from extinction when our first parents sinned in the garden.
It was the grace of God in Jesus Christ yet to be born that saved the eight persons when the flood covered the earth.
It was the grace of God in Jesus Christ yet to be born but existing in preincarnation glory that forgave David when he sinned, that forgave Abraham when he lied. It was the grace of God that enabled Abraham to pray God down to ten when He was threatening to destroy Sodom.
God forgave Israel time and time again. It was the grace of God in Christ prior to the incarnation that made God say, “I have risen early in the morning and stretched out my hands unto you!”
The apostle John speaks for all of us also when he writes of the eternal Son and reminds us that we beheld His glory.
Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship