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Even though we have not seen God, we know Him if we know Jesus.

John 1:18 (NKJV) No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Have you ever considered that you will never see a physical form of “God the Father”? He exists only as light, pure glory in the form of light.  But you will see God in physical form someday either 1) welcomed by Him if you are saved, or 2) to bow your knee and be condemned by Him if not.

You will see Jesus who is “God the Son”, God manifested as human, existing in glorified physical form.  Like Him, someday we – those who have placed their faith in Christ – will have our glorified eternal body. Just as Jesus walked and talked and ate and drank as a real person after rising from the dead, God will give us a new and perfect, sin-free body when Jesus returns to the earth to get us. You will be you, I will be me… just in perfection: no sin, no disease, no death, no pain.

As a bonus, God will then dissolve this current heavens and earth, and re-create it… giving us back our home that was lost the day Adam and Eve sinned and caused the first creation to be corrupted.

No one has “seen” God in the sense of seeing God in bodily form. Never will. But if you have repented of your sins, and cried out for God’s mercy offered through His Son Jesus, then you’ll know God the Father through the perfect reflection of Him through His Son.

Jesus had “declared” God – in other words seeing Jesus is seeing God. Jesus is the perfect representation, reflection and manifestation of the God the Father.

Think It Over: We get so attached to THIS world and this life. Why? It’s all so fleeting, fragile and temporary. We could lose everything today including our life. Are you prepared for that? We live every day of this life doing what God would have us to do knowing that it will all be over in a whisper of time and then eternity. The older I get the more I understand the dilemma of the Apostle Paul who was torn between this life (continuing to serve God now) and the next life (being with God and Jesus forever).

We have to trust that evil will end someday – for good – lest we be tempted to give up or join evil.

Psalm 125:3 (NKJV) For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.

Sometimes evil is so relentless, so tiring, so draining that we are tempted to just give up. We live in that type of culture today. While the rest of us wake up and go to work, raise families, help others, worship and live life, there is a segment of our society dedicated to tearing down everything good, everything Godly, everything disciplined, everything wholesome.

It’s their purpose, their goal, their life. They rise each day and every decision, plan and action is geared towards accomplishing their goals of crumbling all things righteous. A sampling of those destructive causes would include but are certainly not limited to: removing all moral constraints, tearing down the traditional family that is the building block of humanity, confusing people about religion, convincing us we are the product of random chance no better than animals and foundational to it all, creating a lawless environment where each person is a law unto themselves.

Judges 17:6  In those days … every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Proverbs 14:12  There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death.

Every day we see this tireless assault on righteousness. Everyday we see the double standard and hypocrisy. Every day we see another brick removed from the wall of healthy, stable, law-abiding, God-fearing, loving respectful kind-hearted society. We see the wall crumbling, sometimes slowly, sometimes at alarming rate… but always crumbling.

God anticipated this. He said “you reap what you sow” but also gave us verses like Psalms 125:3 that reminds us WE WIN. In the end, evil will not prevail, so don’t be tempted to give up, or join the dark side.  The Lord God Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth is with us and has already declared that THE RIGHTEOUS PREVAIL in the end.

Think It Over: One thing the forces of darkness do to their credit: they are RELENTLESS. They live every day with a single purpose. Their “cause” is their life. Everything else revolves around that. Ironically, that’s how Christians should live but we are too often doing Mark 4:19 instead.  Look it up.

We get a lot of guarantees & have little trust they will be kept. But there is one guarantee that will ALWAYS be kept.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NKJV) Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

“Ninety-day money back guarantees”. “Established in 1851”. “Sealed with a kiss”. “Giving you our very best”. The world throws around a lot of marketing lingo and often, we have no reason to think they will honor it. Sadly, it’s often the same with our jobs, friends, family, co-workers and – shamefully – fellow Christians. Of course we understandably have almost zero trust in the guarantees and promises of politicians/government.

But there is one source we can place our full faith, trust, hope and confidence in: God. In our verse, Paul refers to the works of God the Spirit in our lives:

Establishes – sets in place, secures, determines without fail, firmly grounds, sovereignly declares

Anoints – this is not some special anointing but the common anointing for all Believers (1John 2:20, 27) whereby we are each specially and particularly empowered and prepared to fulfill our service for Christ

Seals – in ancient history a “seal” was an authentication of identity and authority. We still see it today in such things like a notary seal.  The seal prevented tampering, forgery and unauthorized use. God seals and protects us for His purpose.

Guarantees – more specifically a down payment. The Spirit indwelling the Believer is the down payment on eternal salvation and security in Christ. It is a pledge, a promise, a voucher by none other than God Himself whereby we are declared saved and righteous by His authority. We are purchased by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on an eternal layaway plan!

Think It Over: In this sin-cursed world, no amount of promises, contracts, lawyers or laws keeps someone from not honoring their word, breaking an agreement, or ignoring a guarantee. We just have to live with that fact for the time being. But, praise God, Believers in Jesus can confidently believe in ALL of God’s promises from salvation to peace to joy to His daily care. Not a single promise, guarantee or seal of God will ever fall short, be neglected, get compromised or fail. Not one.

We don’t hear much today about being serious and alert. 

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The main topic of most Christian teaching today is “what does it do for me”; why? That’s what sells books and fills churches. Biblical teaching on living a serious life, keeping careful watch out for sin and spiritual dangers, and being on guard for Satan is not rah-rah “Jesus will improve your life” stuff.

And yet, the message to the Church all through the New Testament is to be on guard, be alert, be watchful, be careful, be cautious, be spiritually aware, be serious minded, avoid worldly and trivial time-wasting pursuits, run from sin and wickedness. If you only took cues from books and preaching today, you’d think God’s primary concern for us was our feelings, our pleasure, our entertainment, our satisfaction and our very focused self-consideration.

Be sober: to be solemn, serious, sensible and mindful. Of course you could extend this to mean avoiding drunkenness too (or any mind altered state), but it’s much deeper than that. It’s an awareness of the seriousness of sin, and the imminent return of the Master which could come at any moment. If you knew, or truly believed, that Jesus was returning today, would you waste your day on trivial, worldly, fleshly nonsense? No. It would focus you on what is important, and what needs to be done. Soberness.

Be vigilant: to keep careful watch, to be alert, to be on guard. It is a state of readiness to take full advantage of every opportunity for righteousness, and state of alert to avoid all potential evil.  Like a vigilant soldier on guard duty who is ready to fight the enemy and come to the aid of his allies.

Think It Over: Be sober, be vigilant… why? Because the most powerful being God ever created went rogue. He and his pals are prowling the earth looking for those they can devour and destroy. The easy targets are those who are engaged in the silly, foolish and trivial; and those who they can catch off guard. Is that you?

Eternal glory? There’s a price to pay first.

1 Peter 5:10 (NKJV) But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

“After you have suffered for a while…”  You won’t hear that preached in the “what’s in it for me God?” Christianity that has infected much of western culture.  We just want to hear about “our best day”, blessings, prosperity, favor, abundance, etc.  Biblical teaching on suffering does not build huge affluent churches.

Regardless, the Bible has much to say on the topic and guarantees suffering for the faithful even to the point of clearly telling us: if the Master suffered why is it surprising that His followers will?

  • 2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…
  • 2 Corinthians 4:17: For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
  • James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
  • John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
  • 1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
  • Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

That’s just a small sampling of Scripture on the topic. It says something about our modern Biblical mindset when Scripture has so much to say about suffering, and we say so little about it.

We suffer because the world hates Jesus. We suffer because we proclaim a single path to salvation. We suffer because declaring something sinful convicts those who indulge. We suffer because we still live in sin-cursed bodies and a sin-cursed world.

We suffer a “little while” then comes perfection, security, strength, peace and reward. It is a small price to pay for our eternal salvation which we did not deserve, could not earn, and cost Jesus His all.

Think It Over: I have often encouraged people to consider this… if you are not, or have never, suffered in any way because of your faith, you should question the validity or depth of it. True faith in Jesus, obedience to God and devotion to Christ will always cost us – ridicule, loss of opportunity or freedom, rejection, scorn and sadly at times, physical persecution even to death. The Cross cost Jesus everything. Taking up your cross and following Him has a cost as well.

What is the one thing everyone longs for?

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

It’s been said that what we all have in common our need for love, longing for friendship, looking for acceptance, hoping for recognition, finding peace etc; a constant restlessness to make up for what is lacking in this sin cursed world.

I believe you could sum up what everyone longs for with one word: “rest“.

Rest from investing in friendships only to have them fall apart. Rest from wishing you were loved unconditionally or without having to earn it. Rest from struggling with sin. Rest from the inevitable betrayals and disappointments of life. Rest from physical ailments. Rest from working hard for income only to see it taken away thousand different ways. Rest from all the ways that life falls short of what it is was originally meant to be when God created us.

Even the Apostle Paul himself – who was granted a visit to Heaven – struggled with the desire to find rest in the Lord‘s presence but knowing there was still more to do in this life. That is the great hope and gift that Jesus gives us by His sacrifice: the gift of eternal rest. Sadly most people will not accept His gift because they don’t like the terms and conditions.

Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who feel burdened with life and I will give you rest.” Has there ever been a person who at times is not heavy laden? It seems the older you get the weight of life accumulates and you understand the heavy burden that is allotted to us all compliments of the sin curse…  and long ever more earnestly for eternal rest.

Rest. Sure sounds good to me.

Think It Over: I empathize with those who don’t know of the rest Jesus offers both now, and in eternity. How inevitable it is that life will very often become “heavy laden”, sometimes a crushing. Understanding this is 1) temporary and 2) eternal rest is the Lord’s gift to us, certainly makes the burden more bearable now.