Dedicated to my Wife’s younger Brother, Kevin Torres who answered the call of eternity December 4th, 2019.
“He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” – Isaiah 25:8-9.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:51-57.
December 2019; The Christmas Season is approaching, and while so many people are thinking of buying and giving of presents, many Christians, true followers of Christ Jesus, are thinking of life and the new life guaranteed to us by the coming of the Messiah, the Son of Man, the Son of God.
Some of us however, and especially those who have tried to follow Christ Jesus for a while, will inevitably be thinking not just of the Gift of the Messiah Child, but of what that Gift will have too led to in the Messiah, the Sacrificial Lamb. To know the story of the Messiah, is to know the reason for His coming in the first place. He was a promise, made clear way back in history and recorded in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
For mankind’s disobedience and his sin before his Heavenly Father, God Almighty, a price had to be paid, a price that mankind would come to realize he could never pay on his own. Thus, out of loving Grace and Mercy, our Heavenly Father sent us His Gift; His plan all along for mankind to be able to choose, individually and freely for themselves, whether to have a relationship with their Heavenly Father, Creator of All, or to continue to go their own way, under their own wisdom, thinking in their own futile way that they could reach God on their own, just like the serpent of old deceived with whispers, Eve in the Garden from whence her and Adam were exiled!
Some of us think not just on that precious Gift of Life given to us through the prophecy of God, our Father, but we also contemplate and meditate on His death and death in general as well. For to be TRUE followers of Christ Jesus, we MUST remember the significance of His death and what it means to us as individual members of the Body of Christ! We must identify our own deaths in His and in truth realize that if we ARE followers of His, our eternity truly IS in Him!
The Apostle Paul wrote this profound statement regarding Christ’s death AND life:
Romans 8:10-11, “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Notice how the Apostle phrases this; “But IF, IF the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus dwells in you, then you shall also have life through that same Spirit!” A true follower of Christ Jesus indwelt with the Holy Spirit is GUARANTEED that death will NOT reign over their mortal bodies! What an AWESOME promise; one that is exemplified in the birth of the Messiah Child!
Jesus was sent to earth to fulfill a prophecy AND a promise. He grew up to become the Sacrificial Lamb Whose mission was to willingly and voluntarily place Himself as the propitiation, or payment, necessary to give us the choice to be able to return to the intimate relationship with God, the Father, or to wander through this temporary life with our own wisdom and devices.
God, through His Son, Jesus Christ paid the price for us that we could NEVER, in our own way, pay or satisfy. His body was broken for us so that we might be able to identify with Him and in Him be dead to the bondage and law of sin and His blood was shed for us as a covering to our transgressions, causing us, to be, in the Father’s eyes, sinless, without spot or blemish! When we ACCEPT that precious Gift given freely and voluntarily, we then identify with The Lamb and all our Heavenly Father sees is holiness without spot, blemish or wrinkle!
Jesus, the Son of Man died, but He didn’t stay dead! Christ Jesus, the Son of God arose as an example to ALL who would identify and walk in HIM according to His will and as the Apostle Paul so eloquently put, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are no longer under the sting of death and sin and the law no longer has bondage over us, but or VICTORY is through Christ Jesus our Lord!
This Christmas Season, when you are thinking of the buying and the giving of gifts, if you truly are a follower of Christ Jesus, then the CHRISTmas Season SHOULD have a profound perspective to you and nothing that you can give will ever be able to outmatch the Love of that first Christmas Gift! The ONLY thing that might even be a bit comparable, would be, walking in and following Christ Jesus and SHARING His love with family, friends and neighbors.
Remember, He didn’t just come to Redeem and Save us; He came that we might have Life and that we might have it more abundantly! (John 10:10). The best way to demonstrate that abundant life is to share that Love that our Heavenly Father has renewed in us through Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit with all our loved ones and those around us!
Death to a true follower of Christ Jesus should NEVER be a fearful thing. It is a stepping stone, one of those steps promised in the Psalms that is ordered of the Lord, and an appointment set by a Loving Heavenly Father (Psalm 37:23, Hebrews 9:27). Death to a true Christian is like opening a door that has been closed and stepping through to the other side and we have this promise I have mentioned before: “But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9, (Isaiah 64:4).
Notice the key in the above Scripture is that God has PREPARED for His followers ahead of time! We can only attempt to imagine the wonder, the glory, the awesomeness of what is awaiting. We can mourn and grieve our loved ones who have beckoned to the call of Eternity, but what we see is temporary, (2 Corinthians 4:18), the Eternal is where reality truly is. Let’s start to focus on what is real this Christmas Season!
I want to offer this special poem that our Sister in Christ, **Deborah Ann Belka wrote back in 2015 and which I thought is so comforting and perfect for this time:
~ Even If ~
I will never forsake you,
or forget who you are
I’ll always be close to you
even if, you wander far.
I will never leave you,
or ever let you go
I’ll always be there for you
even if, you don’t think so.
I will never turn My back,
or look the other way
I’ll always keep My eye on you
even if, you were to stray.
I will never let you down,
or fail you in your need
I’ll always be your Shepherd
even if, you take the lead.
I will never disown you,
or toss you to the side
I’ll always be your Savior
with you, I’ll always abide!
* Matthew 28:20
” . . . Lo, I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world.”
God Bless each and every one richly AND abundantly in Christ Jesus this Season!