Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Scratching the Surface of Who Really Loves Jesus
Scratching the Surface
Who Really Loves Jesus
(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Ultimate Destinations)
While continuing to reign with Father and Holy Spirit as one God known to us as Trinity, Jesus was the most loving man in history; praying, laboring, and selflessly sacrificing His body/life for our best in and beyond time.
I like how Eugene Peterson put it/Him: “The arrival of Jesus signaled the beginning of a new era. God entered history in a personal way, and made it unmistakably clear that He is on our side, doing everything possible to save us…The sooner we get the message, the better off we’ll be, for the message is good, incredibly good: God is here, and He’s on our side…God is passionate to save us.”
Ultimately, Jesus is our Judge: “When He finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all His angels with Him, the Son of Man will take His place on His glorious throne…He will sort the people out…’Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you…[or]…Get out! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell…And why?…As you do/did it to/for others, you do/did it to/for Me.’”
While we cannot work our way into heaven (works righteousness), righteous works are indicative of being headed to heaven; or putting it another way, behavior expresses belief and belief determines ultimate destination.
As He said in many different ways, it’s/He’s a choice: “You are either for Me or against Me.”
Parenthetically, I believe in predestination because the Bible says we are predestined in every way from here to eternity. I believe in volition because the Bible says we choose and celebrate/suffer the consequences of our choices from here to eternity. That’s just another example of God being beyond our comprehension – the inability of the created to comprehend completely the Creator. Annnnnnnd because my created mind cannot come close to grasping the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of Almighty God, I concentrate on my role (volition) rather than His (predestination).
Getting back to Jesus as Judge, His ultimate judgment is our ultimate destination – heaven or hell – the indescribably positive place of eternal life (heaven) or the indescribably pejorative place of eternal life (hell).
While only God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has the authority to declare/determine ultimate destinations, He has revealed existential indications of where we’re headed eternally; again, acknowledging hellish or heavenly behaviors may be indicative to us of destinations but only God declares/determines ultimate destinations.
I like how my friend Martha Young understood indications to us juxtaposed to His conclusions: “You love ‘em and let God judge ‘em; and love ‘em enough to tell ‘em that God’s coming back to judge ‘em.”
Simply, witness to human indications corresponding to His conclusions.
Deeds confirm/contradict creeds.
He said, “No pretending…If you love Me, you will do what I say…Grow up!…Live out your God-created identity!”
Or as He observed in posers whose unfaithful deeds/behavior contradict faithful creeds/belief, “You do not have the love of God within you.”
Paul noted people who are close to God show/demonstrate faith-filled proof/evidence/fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, humility, and self-control.
James wrote extensively about good works proving faith in God.
Calvin concluded people who are going to heaven show the “signs of salvation” or faithful assertions enfleshed/confirmed by faithful actions.
Luther wrote, “Good works do not make a person good but a good person does good works.”
With no apologies to the grammar police, people who really love Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are more better than more worse as they pray passionately to practice Christianity as exemplified in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture.
We’re not talking about perfection.
How do we know God does not expect us to be perfect?
If we could be perfect, there would be no need for Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We’re talking about praying and laboring, again, to become more better than more worse; and as we increase our intimacy with Him through worship, Bible study, and other Biblical spiritual disciplines, we become more better than more worse and supernaturally transformed into the confirmation/concretizing of discipleship at His best: “It is no longer I who live but Jesus who lives in and through me.”
I’m reminded of the fellow who asked a missionary, “How can I be saved?” The missionary responded, “Too late! He’s already done that for you!”
Saved by grace through faith – living confidently in the assurance of living forever by the unmerited favor of God experienced by trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior, we pray and labor to honor Him through our confession (what we say), conduct (what we do), and countenance (how we appear).
Who really loves Jesus shows.
Blessings and Love!