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Long-View Living in a Short-View World

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© 2018 Matt Hobbs. All Rights Reserved. Public Domain Archive.
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The sacrificial system seen throughout the Old Testament and continuing into the New Testament Gospels is a graphic reminder of the reality that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and that it is precisely because of sin that death entered humanity's existence (Romans 5:12).

The concept of sacrifice is carried forward for the present-day Christ-follower, but the sacrifice is no longer an animal sacrifice. We are cleansed once-and-for-all by that perfect sacrifice of Christ. Now, as his followers, we are called to make "spiritual sacrifices."

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2:5, ESV

Peter does not define what he means by "spiritual sacrifices," and left to our own devices, we can conjure up any number of ideas regarding what that might mean. I believe, however, that we can let the Bible define the concept for us, because the Bible is the best commentary on itself.

I find six ways the Bible sheds light on the the meaning of "spiritual sacrifice."

1 - Our Bodies

As Christ-followers, we are called to present our very bodies as living sacrifices.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. - Romans 12:1, ESV

I no longer live for myself. I no longer belong to myself. I am a subject in a kingdom, a servant of a king. My very body belongs to that king, and it will go where he wants it to go and do what he wants it to do.

The apostle Paul describes that offering as spiritual worship. Expanding on the concept of my body as a living sacrifice, Paul says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2, ESV)

Not only does my body belong to the king, it is also the temple, or dwelling place, of the Holy Spirit of God.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NASB

As God's child, I use my body for purposes and activities that glorify him rather than profane him. I present my body to God as an "instrument of righteousness." (Romans 6:13)

2 - Our Praise

Never before, in my lifetime, have I witnessed such an avalanche of whining and complaining as I have seen in the United States of America over the last decade. Our society is rife with self-made victims, plagued by myriad syndromes and injustices, while being equally devoid of responsibility. Sadly, this mentality has infected the body of Christ, and it ought not be so! Rather we offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving from our lips.

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. - Hebrews 13:15, NASB

More than at any time in my almost 40 years of walking with Jesus, I find myself reminding other Christ-followers to "do all things without grumbling and complaining." (Philippians 2:14)

3 - Our Good Works

Beyond the praise of our lips, in the very next verse, the writer of Hebrews calls us to sacrifice through doing good works and sharing.

And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. - Hebrews 13:16, NASB

Earlier in Hebrews 13, the author called for hospitality (v. 2) and ministring to the imprisoned (v. 3).

Doing good and sharing as a spiritual sacrifice involves a mentality that does not need to ask, "How can I help you," because we see with spiritual eyes. The needs are obvious to us. And when asked, we are quick to say "Yes," because we are living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1) We are not our own. We were bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23)

In reminding us that we are saved by grace through faith, the apostle Paul also points out that we were created with a purpose, and that purpose is to perform good works.

 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10, ESV

4 - Our Material Goods

As the apostle Paul did his mission work, the church in Philippi supported him financially, and Paul viewed this support as a spiritual sacrifice.

I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:18b-19, ESV

What is interesting about this passage, is that while Paul calls it a "sacrifice," he also characterizes it as an arrangement of both giving and receiving. The Philippians gave materially to Paul to support his mission work, and in exchange, they received spiritually from the Lord.

While I do not endorse the "prosperity preaching" that is prevalent in our day, as I find it a repugnant theology, I have to agree with Warren Wiersbe, "That church is poor that fails to share materially with others."

5 - Our Spiritual Offspring

There is a reproductive aspect to being a Christ-follower, wherein disciples make disciples who then make more disciples. Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples and then to teach them to obey all that Jesus had commanded - which includes going and making disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20) It is a self-perpetuating command, one resulting in what has been called a "multiplying ministry."

When we teach others the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they respond to that gospel, themselves becoming Christ-followers, the Bible refers to them as a sort of offspring, our "children" in the faith. What is lesser-known is that our children in the faith are also called an "offering" to God.

He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.Romans - Romans 15:16, NIV

6 - Our Prayers

While not actually called a sacrifice, there is a scene in Heaven where the prayers of believers are being treated very much like sacrifices. Angels are offering up incense to God, incense mingled with "the prayers of the saints."

And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. - Revelation 8:4, NASB

Earlier in Revelation, the incense is declared to actually be the prayers of the saints.

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. - Revelation 8:4, NASB

Returning to our target verse from Peter, we are told that we “offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” If we do not offer our sacrifices through Jesus, they are self-serving and pointless.

We do not make these sacrifices for our pleasure, or our glory. Only when we make our offerings through Jesus, do they make sense, and find their acceptance with God. In his goodness and truth, God can be trusted with our sacrifices, because through his perfect sacrifice, our sacrifices become meaningful.

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
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Twitter - @DamonJGray


Comments

02/14/2018
Julie  Julie

All of this resonates deeply with me and most of your scriptures and St. Paul's teachings parallel what I have been reading/reflecting upon in the week leading up to Lent. I was discouraged to hear that many in our church were questioning their priests about whether or not they could "take a pass" on fasting and abstinence for Ash Wednesday, because it was Valentine's Day and they had plans to celebrate. It is difficult for me to see why they feel that even such a slight sacrifice of a meal or "taking a pass" on that slice of cake is too much to bear today. It saddens my heart.

02/15/2018
Damon J. Gray  Damon J. Gray

I understand, Julie. So many of the things we whine about seem quite petty when compared to statements like Paul)'s comment to the elders in Ephesus, "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24) Jesus himself "made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant." (Philippians 2:7)

Yet I can stomp my feet, furrow my brow and say, "I have my rights!" Really? Is that how I want to structure my walk with Christ?

I can demand my rights, or I can accept my role as a servant, but I find it quite difficult to do both simultaneously.

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© 2018 Becca Tappert. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash.
Used by permission.

Earlier this week, I had a brief, and disappointing interaction with a young-in-the-faith Christ-follower regarding the public persona they were displaying on social media, and how it is damaging for us to express hatred, and to call into question the authenticity of another's faith, as though Jesus had not called on us to love our enemies, to bless those who persecute us, and as though our walk with Jesus is so pure and free of stains that similar questions of authenticity could not be asked of us with equal validity. With that in mind, I will do well to examine my own social media presence!

In responding to me, this young believer said flatly, "I have the right to express my opinion." In a given context, that may be so, but simply because a thing may be done, does not mean that a thing should be done - or said. The apostle Paul emphasizes this truth, shutting down the "I have a right..." argument with one brief statement to the church in Corinth.

"Everything is permissible for me," but not everything is beneficial. - 1 Corinthians 6:12a, BSB

For the Christ-follower, navigating social media is like walking through a minefield. We must walk with great care, examining ourselves every step of the way. Here are five choices, or decisions, each of us must make prior to engaging on a social media platform.

1 - Bricklayer versus Wrecking Ball

When we engage with others on social media, it is helpful to ask ourselves, "Am I here to build up, or to tear down?" There is a quality to social media that leaves us feeling disembarrassed to say things to others online that we would never risk saying to their faces, or even over the phone. I have witnessed barrages of humiliation unleashed upon hapless targets by men and women who wear the name of Christ! I have seen F-bombs in one posting followed by a "Praise Jesus" meme shortly thereafter - from the same person! The incongruity is striking, and it drags Jesus' name through the mud.

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. - James 3:10, ESV

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14, ESV

Choose to be a bricklayer rather than a wrecking ball.

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:11, NASB

2 - Compelling Light versus Burning Laser

You are light. You have no choice in that matter. I am light, and my light, like yours, is affecting those around me. The only question is with regard to how it affects them. What kind of light am I? Does my light radiate beauty, or is it scorching everyone who encounters it? Does your light shine with the love, hope, and redemption you have in Christ Jesus, or does it cause people to become defensive?

Be careful about criticizing people for being defensive. "You're so defensive! Lighten up." Remember, the compulsion people feel to defend comes about because they perceive me to be attacking. If I am not attacking, then there is no need to defend. If others seem defensive around you, examine the way in which you approach them. What kind of light are you shining?

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16, ESV

3 - Praise versus Protest

Social media often serves as a platform for unleashing the darkest side of our emotional being. For some, that involves unending tirades of anger directed at whatever has upset their apple cart at that particular moment. When others respond from a differing perspective, the result is an increase in the voltage of the original anger. Language intensifies, and before long, the target of one's anger becomes the other person rather than the original topic of discussion.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen ... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. - Ephesians 4:29, 31-32, NIV

Another common use for the social media platform is as a forum for airing woes. Please, do not misunderstand. When there is genuine tragedy, or emotional agony, by all means, ask for prayer and comfort from the community. What I am addressing here is the high-maintenance, nonstop posting of the discomforts of life as though I am the only person in the world who suffers to this degree, and I am desperate for you to say, "Oh, you poor dear."

In stark contrast to that, I have a friend on social media who suffers from chronic pain to degrees that I find difficult to fathom - nonstop pain that comes in waves at thresholds I have never experienced, and can scarcely imagine. Yet I find her posts deeply encouraging and positive, because in the midst of her agony, she chooses to magnify and glorify God, rather than wallow in her morass.

Similarly, another friend on social media is on the doorstep of glory as he is dying of cancer. Even in his distress, his focus is on accomplishing as much good for the kingdom as he can, during moments of clarity, before he is taken to be with Jesus.

Men and women like this inspire me! How could I ever complain about anything in my life when compared with the challenges faced daily, and courageously, by these giants in the faith?

Do everything without complaining or arguing - Philippians 2:14, BSB

4 - Productive versus Barren

Social media can be a horribly rapacious with our time. The allure of silly videos and memes featuring a dog balancing a pancake on his head will suck us in, and drain hours from our days that are better invested in more productive ways. The world is lost, and spinning wildly out of control. It does not seem so, for many, because those in the world have persuaded themselves and even some of us that this jarring ride is normal. We should be using our time and resources to shake the world loose from the illusion so they can embrace reality and truth.

Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days.. - Ephesians 5:16, GWT

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. - 1 Peter 2:12, NLT

5 - Transformed versus Conformed

There was a time when I believed the music we produced was the most accurate barometer of our society. Today, I will place that well behind what we can find on social media. Social media gives us a fairly accurate picture of what the world is today, and as Christ followers we must actively choose whether we will embrace that and conform to the world's standard, or choose to be transformed by the Holy Spirit of God with a renewed mind. A passive posture is not an option, because the vortex of the world will suck us in. Thus, I say we must "actively choose."

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2, ESV

Social media is a tool, nothing more and nothing less. We can use it for evil, or we can use it for good. The challenge for us, as Christ-followers, is that social media is used for both purposes by millions, and all at the same time. We dare not be passive and aimless in our social media use and engagements. Use it, but use it actively, consciously, purposefully, for good.

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
Medium.com
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Twitter - @DamonJGray


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© 2018 David Castillo Dominici. All Rights Reserved. freedigitalphotos.net.
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If you had children in the 1980s (and maybe even if you didn't) you will remember:

We all live in a capital I
In the middle of the desert
In the center of the sky.
All day long we polish up the I
To make it clean and shiny
So it brightens up the sky.

For those not familiar with the poem above, it is the opening line to a Sesame Street animation called "Capital I." It had an infectious melody, and featured video about a group of men who lived inside an enormous capital letter I. They spent their days polishing and scrubbing the I to make it beautiful and shiny. To this day, it ranks as one of the most popular and memorable Sesame Street animated clips.

For the Christ follower, however, "I" is rather problematic. Obsession with self is the antithesis of what Christ modeled, and the opposite of that to which he calls us.

For years I have heard 1 Timothy 6:10 grossly misquoted to claim that money is the root of all evil. No. It is not. While the LOVE of money is A root of all KINDS of evil, the true root of all evil is self, I, selfishness.

I have come to the conclusion that all sin can be traced back to an obsession with self. I believe you can think of a sin, any sin, and if we trace it back as far as we possibly can, to its base, its origin, we will find that root cause of that sin was self.

1 - Self is a Heart Issue

Obsession with self, self-interest, self-aggrandizement begins in our hearts.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth ... For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. - James 3:14, 16, ESV

The heart is where my loves and passions reside. It is in my heart that I decide what is important, cherished, treasured. When I begin to treasure others above myself, I am on the path to which Jesus calls me.

It was the heart, rather than the stomach, that drove Israel to put God to the test.

They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. - Psalm 78:18, ESV

The Psalmist called out to God for a transformed heart that loved God's statutes rather than self.

Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. - Psalm 119:36

2 - Self is Expensive

Pursuit of self is poisonous and destructive. Jesus laid down serious truth when he said:

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? - Mark 8:36-37, NASB

How do we put a price on our soul? Yet we do this through our self-seeking passions and behaviors

3 - Self is a Blessing & Prayer Blocker

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. - James 4:3, NASB

God is unwilling to pour out the treasures of heaven onto one who is self-obsessed and hoarding. But when we prove to be trustworthy, godly stewards of what we are granted, more will be entrusted.

4 - Self is a Relationship Buster

Selfishness is at the heart of most problems between people, because so often self-seeking requires that we tear down others in order to elevate ourselves. Instead, we ought to "pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding," (Romans 14:19).

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. - Ephesians 4:19, NIV

5 - Self Clouds Sound Judgment

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. - Proverbs 18:1, ESV

I love the old King James on this verse - "against all counsel doth he rush on." So blinded by self-interest are we that we close our ears to the wise counsel of all but our own lust. This, again, can be a relationship buster.

6 - Self Has a Solution

The most prominent and powerful antidote for self is love. The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth, "[Love] does not insist on its own way," (1 Corinthians 13:5) which puts love 180 degrees out from self.

Not only does love not seek its own, love regards others as more significant than self (Philippians 2:3). What is telling about that reality is the fact that self-seeking is paired with arrogance in Philippians 2:3 - an overly high opinion of oneself. Vanity and narcissism are not a particularly attractive qualities in a Christ-follower.

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. - Philippians 1:4, NASB

Selfishness loses its death-grip on my life when I begin to see beyond my own naval. I cannot esteem myself above my neighbor if I am esteeming my neighbor above myself. Esteeming my neighbor mandates that I drop my self-obsession.

Selfishness and Servanthood are as different as darkness and light. They cannot coexist. Jesus modeled selfless-servanthood to us and then reminded us that he is the Master and we are his disciples.

Jesus the Servant...

Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. - Matthew 20:28, ESV

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13, ESV

Servant the Master...

For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. - Luke 22:27, ESV

Selfishness dies the moment we take up our cross and follow Jesus.

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. - Luke 9:23b, NASB

The cross, despite what we have done with it in modern society, was an instrument of brutal, agonizing death. For Jesus to call us to "take up our cross" is no small matter. It calls for a death to self, a crucifixion of narcissistic desire. It is that which enables us to "have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus," an attitude in which Jesus "emptied Himself," took on the posture of "a bond-servant," denied his deity in order to "humble himself," and ultimately became "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Selfishness is supplanted by humility. Where selfishness destroys relationships, humility nurtures them.

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. - Romans 12:3, NIV

Ultimately, we need to know where our treasure is. The Christ-follower does not keep a white-knuckled grip on the transitory things of this life, but rather lays up treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, (Matthew 6:19-21).

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
Medium.com
Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @DamonJGray


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© 2018 Matthew Henry. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash.
Used by permission.

I have lived the last six weeks alone, or so it seems. My best friend, my wife, makes regular, annual trips each year to visit family living 2,000 miles away. I knew these trips would be necessary before we were married, but knowing it before-hand does not make it any easier for us to be apart for extended periods of time.

Though I feel alone, other than Mister Bear, our kitty, I am not truly alone. I am never alone. You are never alone. We need to tune our senses to recognize that reality.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139:7-10, ESV

This has always been the case with God. Hiding from him is like trying to get away from the air that touches my skin. It simply cannot be done.

Going all the way back to Genesis, God promised Jacob that he would never leave him.

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28:15, ESV

God has always protected his people, but not necessarily for the reasons we might suspect. Our God is a God of honor and integrity. He will not dishonor his own name.

For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake. 1 Samuel 12:22a

Note that Samuel does not say God will not forsake us because he loves us. It is true, he does love us. But he does not forsake us, because doing so would dishonor his own name. Personal integrity is uncompromised with God, and so it should be with us. Feel the force of that reality in this text from Isaiah:

For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
Isaiah 48:9-11

As God's people were about to cross the Jordan River to enter into frightening combat, God assured Joshua of his continuous, protective presence.

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous. Joshua 1:5-6a

David told Solomon,

Yahweh, even my God is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you," 1 Chronicles 28:20

Hebrews 13:5b strongly emphasizes this idea with no less than five emphatic negatives leaving us with a difficult task of translating. In the end it looks something like, "No! I will not leave you. No! Neither will I utterly forsake you." But even that does not truly do justice to the original text.

Such assurances from God of his enduring presence are found throughout scripture. They blot out our loneliness, and purge our anxieties.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

'For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.'

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39, ESV

And though it is not long, and eloquent like the quote from the apostle Paul, above, I do find one of the most comforting such statements to be that from Jesus to his disciples following his resurrection:

And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20b, NASB

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
Medium.com
Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @DamonJGray


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© 2018 Daniel Garcia. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash.
Used by permission.

I marvel, at times, regarding the various trends that seem to captivate the attention of huge numbers of people. More often than not, I have no idea how or where the trend started, or what it is that keeps it going. Consider the recent national obsession with bacon. Seriously, what is up with that? Yes, I like bacon too, a lot, but I don't want to wear a bacon-print suit.

Another contemporary national obsession seems to be with zombies - the reanimated dead. In my little home town of Lynden, WA, I see, on occasion, a Zombie Outbreak Response Vehicle. It's pretty hilarious, but I would not drive it.

What men and women outside of Christ do not realize is that they are something of a zombie. Outside of Christ, we also were walking dead. Oh sure, went to work, we ate dinner, we watched television, but outside of Christ, we were "in" death.

Consider this statement from Jesus:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life." - John 5:24, NASB

Jesus begins his statement with the oft-seen "Truly, truly" or "Verily, verily." It is "Amein, Amein," which is a way of saying, "Truth is coming. Pay attention to this!" Jesus will say this more than 20 times in John's gospel.

In one fascinating statement, we see Jesus talk about past, present, and future, telling us what was, what is, and what will be.

Past - What Was - We Were Dead

Jesus says we have passed from death into life because we heard his word and believed the one who sent him. Similarly, Paul says God made us alive in Christ, and that life is granted "to those who believe." (Ephesians 2:5, 2:8)

In order to pass from death into life, we had to be in death to start with. In his commentary on Ephesians, John Calvin said,"[Paul] does not mean simply that they were in danger of death; but he declares that it was a real and present death under which they laboured. As spiritual death is nothing else than the alienation of the soul from God." In his book Grace Unknown, R.C. Sproul said, "To be dead in sin is to be in a state of moral and spiritual bondage. By nature we are slaves to sin."

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins," - Ephesians 2:1a, NASB

When we are outside of Christ, we are detached from the life-giving vine. We die. It is not theoretical. It is a spiritual reality!

Present - What Is - We Are Eternally Alive

We have eternal life. We have passed from death to life. It has already happened. As before, this is not theoretical. It is a present reality. Jesus has been infused with authority from the Father, and that authority extends to Jesus granting life to whomever he wishes to grant it. Hence the statement from John regarding Jesus:

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." - John 3:36, NASB

Both Jesus and John agree that eternal life is a "now" possession. We see much the same thing in 1 John 3:14, where John says, "We know that we have passed from death into life..." It is a done deal. We are there!

Future - What Will Be - No Judgement

Because we hear and believe, and because we pass from death into life, we do not come under judgement. Not now, and not in the future.

"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." - John 3:18, NASB
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1, NASB

No, we face no condemnation. Instead we long to hear "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34b, ESV)

Those walking dead who hear God’s Word and believing on God’s Son are translated from death to life and face no condemnation. Not now, and not ever. "Everlasting life" means forever, for all time.

If you're not there, then I implore you to get there.

For He says: "In the time of favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is the time of favor; now is the day of salvation!" - 2 Corinthians 6:2, BSB

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

- damon

DamonJGray.org
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Acts 17:28 - ἐν αὐτῷ γὰρ ζῶμεν καὶ κινούμεθα καὶ ἐσμέν