Faith longs to be with the Lord


God the Holy Spirit energises faith within Christians which longs to be with the Lord, and expresses itself in two ways. First, faith desires to see the Lord’s character present in your daily living. Faith is authenticated and affirmed within you when evidence of Jesus character is experienced in your beliefs, attitudes, behaviour, and responses. Second, faith grows your desire to be with Jesus in person, in His native environment – Heaven.

Faith longs to be with the Lord

Christ centred faith begins by acknowledging that your acceptability to God has nothing to do with you, but is entirely based on what Jesus Christ did on your behalf on the cross of Calvary.  Faith says; “through him (Jesus) we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). Therefore, the certainty of your relationship with God is Christ, and in Christ you stand spiritually secure for eternity. This is because Jesus alone has given you access into an undeserved and loving relationship with God the Father (Eph 3:11-12).

Hope for glory

Notice also, that in Christ, believers “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2b). Hope expresses itself through your spiritual desire; your longing for the Lord Jesus Christ to be glorified in your present daily living. However, hope does not stop there; it grows anticipation to not only be in heaven with the Saviour, but for your Saviour to return to take you to be with Him. Only when you are with the Lord will total and absolute glorification be accomplished.

Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus was comforting His confused disciples with the certainty of not only heaven but His return to take them to heaven. Jesus, the creator of heaven and earth, told them; “I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3). The certainty of Christ returning to rapture His Church lifts the believer’s focus from the dark uncertainties of this world and life’s failures.

With that said, we all understand that believers go through difficult times. Sooner or later the pains of living in a sin governed world impacts the child of God. Consequently, dependant belief in Christ will “groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Corinthians 5:2). Faith transitions spiritual pain; it matures pain into both an expression (groan) and a desire (longing) to be liberated from this earthly struggle to the glorious heavenly presence of Christ.

Join the dots

Make no mistake; this spiritual maturing does not happen accidentally or without reason. This is the result of Spirit filled living by lives filled with the Word of God (Gal 5:22-25; Eph 3:18; Col 3:15-16). The Holy Spirit’s fruit in your life will be undeniable and humanly unexplainable. Human weaknesses, fleshly failings, disappointments, and everyday inconsistencies will fade and diminish when your growing focus is on the Lord Jesus Christ (2Co 3:18).

I encourage “you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1). “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Strive to make the connection in you thinking; your heavenly calling” in Christ is to impact your relationships with peace resulting from holiness. These qualities give testimony to, and affirmation of the certainty of seeing the Lord as you grow faith that longs to be with the Lord.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong      www.baybiblefellowship.co.nz

 Faith longs to be with the Lord   Faith longs to be with the Lord

Think clearly about Jesus Christ

I wish to encourage you to think clearly about Jesus Christ.

Most of us know the frustration of having someone wrongly comment on what they think you are like. We sometimes respond, “Well, you obviously don’t know me as well as you think.” Mankind is quick to spout off their opinions of God with fallible certainty, while God is probably saying, “Well, you obviously don’t know me.” So, how do we get to know God with the clarity and certainty that God would agree with?

The created universe screams at us of God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they (mankind) are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Complimenting creation’s voice, God, who still knows what He thinks, is able to communicate His truth with perfect clarity through His written Word, the Bible.

Although it makes sense to ask God directly, mankind typically looks to religion, philosophy, astrology, science, mythology, spiritualism, mysticism, and any number of other unrelated sources, for insights into who God is. God wrote the Bible for the specific purpose of allowing you to get to know Him directly. The prophet Ezekiel recorded the Lord saying to Israel approximately 70 times, “you shall know that I am the LORD”. God wants to be known! He has not hidden Himself.

God explains that “he has spoken to us by his Son (Jesus Christ), He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:2-3). So, if you genuinely want to know God, you seek the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). The apostle John affirmed that Jesus Christ “has made him (God) known” (John 1:18).

Here’s the thing, by allowing voices other than God’s written Word to influence your view of Jesus Christ, you easily form a distorted view of God which results in a false sense of identity, both yours and Gods. You unavoidably conclude that Jesus Christ is less than holy God, and that man is more than sinfully independent of his creator. The Bible presents Jesus Christ in absolutes, in challenging words of truth that brings clarity, opening your heart and mind to His terms of restoration, spiritual regeneration, and the Christ centred relationship that He intends for you.

To be a Christian we must agree with God about who Jesus Christ is, agreeing that Jesus is “our great God and Saviour” (Titus 2:13). We must believe in (trust in, depend upon) Jesus who “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). Justification means we are acquitted from guilt, presented as right before God purely because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, which He did in our place. Jesus “bore our sins in his body” when He died on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). God the Father vented His full justice on His Son, punishing Jesus with our death penalty for our sin. To be a Christian we must love Jesus Christ as Lord (Master), which identifies the pretend from the genuine Christians. Jesus declared His Lordship over anyone who genuinely wants to believe in Him by saying; ”If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

I encourage you to ask yourself, “do I think clearly about Jesus Christ?” If you would like to read a more detailed explanation, you can download What is a Christian by clicking on this link.

Together for Christ:   Lincoln Forlong                                  www.bbf.net.nz

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