Whoever will .....

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

God is faithful, He watches over His word to perform it. “... for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” (Jeremiah 1:12) To whoever will turn his/her back to worldliness and obey Him and take up his/her cross to follow him, He promises to establish a fellowship with; “Never will I leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Your situation has changed into a recreated being – not like our great, great ancestors whom He drove out of the Garden of Eden where He Himself had placed them because of their disobedience, unfaithfulness and unsatisfactory behaviour. “So the Lord banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.” (Genesis 3:23)

To whoever will, to those who are committed to a change in lifestyle, to those who will depart from evil and do good, He promised that nothing can separate them from His love. You may wonder why. The reason is this. When you come to Him, when you decide to abandon your old ways and come to Him as a repentant sinner, you automatically become a child of God, accepted into the kingdom and the family of God as son or daughter. The stamp of His identity and image rests upon you. You become His own, and nothing can by any means harm you. You become special in His eyes and He says to you: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:35) “No, for in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

It is clear from this quote that we have absolutely nothing to fear. Nothing means ‘nothing.’ In fact, we are not entitled to such favour; it has been freely given as a gift – undeserved, unmerited and unearned. Just as an unborn child has a direct link to its mother through the umbilical cord, God takes on the responsibility to secure those who revere Him, from all danger or harm. We are changed through and through because we have seen the great light. He resets us to our pre-Eden status where we were meant to stay in God’s presence all the days of our lives.

Such a separation is warranted, as an essential part of the process to distinguish between good and evil -- just as water does not blend with oil. We are called to live by faith in the finished work of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate price for sin in order to liberate the human race from the shackles that had kept it bound. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)   Jesus is that Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world, the whole world – not just a part. Let us choose to live by faith, following the precepts of the infallible Word of God as our guide and our standard for righteous living.

To take it a step further, our Lord Jesus gave two illustrations of what such a separation meant in the parable of the sheep and the goats. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.” (Matthew 25:31-33)

The criterion that qualifies the sheep to be on His right hand would be because of the compassion and concern shown to their fellow human beings by way of offering food, shelter, clothing or by caring for the sick and the needy. He concluded thus: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) Those to the left naturally were those who were not caring to either neighbours or strangers, but were selfish. These merit judgement and eternal punishment.

The second parable likens the kingdom of God to a farmer who sowed wheat seeds but then a wicked person sowed weeds along with it. This became evident in the course of their development. The obvious step to take would have been to uproot the weeds which could result in destroying the wheat in the process. When this was brought to the owner’s notice, he decided to let the wheat grow alongside the weeds until the harvest. “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring them into my barn.” (Matthew 13:30)

Jesus explained this parable to His disciples thusly: “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man (Jesus) will send out His angels and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” (Matthew 13:40-41)

The wicked will have no place with the righteous to whom the crown of life has been promised. “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)