Secured in His Love

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 KJV)

As people some of us think right highly of ourselves while others think themselves to be very poorly. I suppose in our minds we all fall in between these two extremes. In truth, no matter how you may feel about your worth, great or small, we each carry a higher value than we recognize properly. On a day in Jerusalem many years ago the tells of the prophets that were foretold came into reality and the people of God missed it. In fact it was the people of God who carried out the eternal purpose of God for man’s salvation. On the dusty street leading out of the city a humiliated naked man bearing a Roman cross was paraded out to a hill called Golgotha. There with large spikes His beaten and mutilated body was nailed to that cross and He hung there in agony while the people jeered Him, the religious leaders of the day looked upon Him with condensation, the Roman guards bartered for His cloak, and His mother looked upon her son and wept the bitter tears of sorrow. That man was known as Immanuel, God with us, the Son of God, who was named Jesus. I have pondered that day much in my mind trying to understand why, as the Roman Centurion testified, “Truly this was the Son of God!”, (Matthew 27:54) would God the Creator allow His creation to slay His Son?

Man banters the word love so freely in our society today that I wonder if anyone truly knows the full capacity of its meaning. While this mockery of justice was playing out the Man of Sorrows was resting his broken body on three nails suffering a horrifying death that the Romans had perfected and looking out upon the people for whom He had nothing but the greatest compassion for. The People He had come to serve, to seek and save from the path of destruction they were traveling, and to offer them the gift of eternal life. Yet, for the very ones to whom He gave His full measure were the ones who placed Him upon the tree of shame. As the hours of His suffering drew to a close and with His last muster of strength He pushed against the nails in His feet and rose up and cried, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

I love you, I love my car, I love Reese Cups, and I love my wife. Do we know what we are saying? Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to join this man and woman in the bonds of holy matrimony … do you take this woman to love and cherish… etc. How many have lied on the altar “before God and these witnesses” because they did not fully comprehend the commitment of the word love. The Apostle Paul gives this definition of Love. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Is this what we mean when we use the word love? God does.

Take a moment, take a day, take a life time to ponder the sacrifice God paid because He loves you and I and all of mankind. I wish I had the presence of mind to sit at Jesus’s feet as Mary of Bethany and pour expensive perfume upon His feet and wipe it with my hair which tears of joy and gratitude flowing down my cheeks. Sadly I and too many of us take that love of God for granted. I don’t know what I will do when I am actually in the presence of Jesus. I know I will be face down before Him in complete humility hoping He does not send me to the far reaches of eternity. I know in my heart of hearts that He will not. Even as I do not feel worthy of His presence because of His love He feels that I am, He feels that you are as well, because He died so that you may live. Because of His work on the cross I have nothing but praise to His name. Along with Paul I cry, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)

Wretched sinner that I am I am welcome at the throne of God’s grace. I have access to the sole deity of the universe. I am in awe when I stand before the judge in traffic court and I have the privilege to kneel before the Creator of the Universe. I can do this because God does not see me as I am but as what I will be through my faith in Jesus Christ. God sees me not in my unrighteousness but in the righteousness of His Son Jesus. I am worthy because He and only He is worthy to stand before God. I am but a poor sinner but in the eyes of God I am a prince of the Kingdom. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Who or what in this world can we give to have such privilege in this world and in the world to come? What can we do to earn the riches of God’s glory? “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) I have had some privileges while moving through this world but all of them put together are pittance in comparison to the eternal privileges that I have through Jesus Christ. I, through Jesus, am a child of God and have an infinite inheritance from the infinite treasure of my heavenly Father. But He can have it all because the honor is that He, God, knows my name. “And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17)

Most men in this world are satisfied with this world and that is the reward they will receive, dying with this world. They have rejected the love of Jesus Christ, they have rejected the free gift of His salvation, and they have chosen a path that seems right to them but will lead to their destruction. “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12) Though many have rejected Him the Christian has accepted the Christ on faith and He has become to them a friend that is closer than a brother. He is not off in some far distant realm but resides within the heart of the Christian. He prepares the way and guides their every step and the Christian need not search for their Lord as He is approachable at every instant.

I worship in a building but it is not the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ is in the body of believers. The Christian is a stone in the building of the House of God and every stone is necessary for the completeness of the body of Christ. It is a privilege to be a small but significant stone in the Cathedral of Christ. “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

The world is filled with hurting souls. People of massive spiritual hunger and know not where to find the proper nourishment. They turn to everything beneath the heavens and turn away in pangs of fear. They search in wealth, power, recognition, sexual immorality, and manmade images but find no solace. They have not the Rock to stand upon and therefore fall for the latest rage. They need prayer but do not know who to pray to, they need truth but no not where to find it, they need peace of spirit but can’t find the Spirit of Truth because they cannot see Him. But there are over a billion of Christ’s Priest in the world who offer these needs to the bewildered. It is of the greatest privilege to answer the High Calling of priesthood in the name of Jesus. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

The Christian seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33) but we are men and women. Therefore we stumble along the way, we confess our mistake and repent from our missteps and carry on the journey in faith. There is no need to be anxious and no need to fear for our Lord is ever present with us. When we have run the race and are allowed to reach our heavenly home where we have fallen short is made up for by the greatest privilege of all. We will be fully sanctified into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

This is the commitment and measure of the love of Christ that he has for us. In my mind that must have been also what kept Him on the cross, His love for you and His love for me. This is the love that we are to have for Him and our neighbor. “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

This is what I think when I think of love. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, September 27, 2015

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