Christ Our Resurrection

A while back I wrote about a chorus from the Messiah called “Behold the Lamb of God.” This time I would like to write about another Messiah Chorus, “Since by Man came Death.” This particular chorus, taken from I Corinthians 15, talks about how sin entered into the world and how we are delivered from sin. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead” (I Corinthians 15:21). Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, in Paradise. They had a peaceful, serene environment in which they had full communion and fellowship with God. They were perfect. Eve, however, listened to the lie of the devil that she and the entire human race could “…be as gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5b) if she and Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This they did, and consequently they fell into sin. In spite of this great fall into wickedness, God let Satan know in no uncertain terms that he would not win. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel”(Genesis 3:15). The devil’s lie to Eve is the same one he tells today to everyone the world over. He even tried to tempt Jesus to follow him in the wilderness and abandon God’s plan for Him to redeem His people. Christ, however did not fall into temptation despite Satan’s best effort. His will was focused on doing what His Heavenly Father required of Him. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day”(John 6:39). This Christ has done and He continues to intercede for us at God’s right hand. Where Adam fell into sin and caused the entire human race to fall with him, Christ redeemed His people from that fallen race. We still face afflictions in this life, including death itself. Even death, however,  is for our profit because we have been delivered from spiritual death. Therefore, when we die our afflictions will be over. We will have a peace that is even better than what Adam had in the Garden of Eden because it will last forever and be undamaged by sin. May God grant us the assurance of this victory in Christ!

Kevin Rau

The eternal joy of heaven

What a hope our Lord has given us! What joy we shall experience! Our eternal joy when we are brought to heaven will be the culmination of our hope in this life. What will be our joy in heaven? Our joy will be that of the saints described in Revelation 7:9, 10: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” We will be in the company of the elect from all ages for eternity, praising God for delivering from so great a death, from such a hopeless situation, for providing the Mediator to pay for our sins. Also Revelation 21:3, 4: “ And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” All of our earthly life and worries and sorrows will pass away and will be replaced with eternal joy!

Not only is our hope in our being delivered from the troubles of this life, but also that when God takes us home and in the end resurrects our bodies, we are going to see him face to face in our flesh! “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). We will be in such a state of perfect righteousness and holiness, that the holy God will allow us to see him in his full glory. When Moses beseeched God to “shew me thy glory” (Exodus 33:18), God replied, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (v20). And then in verse 23, “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” We on this earth cannot see God and live. He is too holy for our eyes to behold and not be struck dead in an instant. In Isaiah’s vision of the throne of God in Isaiah 6 the seraphims were covering their faces and their feet with their wings. A few verses later in the chapter, Isaiah says, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (v5). Isaiah thought he was a dead man, for he had seen God. This same holy God we will see face to face because we will have been clothed in white robes of his perfect righteousness and holiness. Meditate on this!

RK

Contentment “at home in the body”

We are on this earth. That is a fact. We will be here until the Lord calls us home. We long for our heavenly home, but for right now we are “at home in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:6). We must be content with this. The Holy Spirit through the witness of Paul gives excellent insight into this. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:21-24).   Paul is in a dilemma here, “in a strait betwixt two”. He longs for his eternal home, but he realizes that the Lord has put him in a place that is “needful” for the saints. If he had the choice between the two, he wouldn’t be able to choose one over the other. Reading through Paul’s epistles you will notice that his eyes are fixed on heaven, but he realizes the need to remain and has much of value to say addressing the practical life of the church.

Notice the preceding context of the passage describing Paul’s dilemma: “…Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death” (v. 20). This is also brought out in 2 Corinthians 5:8,9: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” Christ must be glorified in all that we do here on this ball of dirt. We may and must long for our eternal home, but we must remember that we have a calling here in the flesh, whatever it may be. In this calling we must be content.

Contentment while we are “at home in the body” does not mean immersing ourselves in the pleasures this world has to offer. Christ instructs us in Luke 21:34: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [overindulgence of food], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that we can balance a carnal life and a holy life. There is no such thing as a “carnal Christian,” as many today wish to think. “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Cor. 10:21). In Philippians 3:18–19 Paul describes those with whom we must neither be walking, nor emulating: “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” When you read this passage, think of the sinful entertainment the world so eagerly offers us. It is a stinking cesspool of wickedness boiling and frothing with the lust of the flesh, the pride of man, desecration of the Sabbath day and the defamation of God’s holy name. When we watch men and women act in contempt of every single command of God, we are glorying with them in their shame and are no better than they.

We must not content ourselves with “minding” the pleasures of this world. We must content ourselves in our hope for heaven and therefore bring glory to God’s name as we strive to put off the old man and put on the new man and be renewed in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4:22-24). God has placed us in our bodies here on this earth to serve him in whatever situation we are in and we are to be content with this.

RK