Sunday, 25 October 2015

It is who you know that matters

Sometimes a situation in life depends on who your connections are. If I was in debt, I would value a rich relative; if my car breaks down, I am grateful if I have a mechanic for a friend. In olden days, if a person was summoned to appear before the king, that individual would be glad to have ‘friends at court’ who would speak on his behalf. We can imagine many circumstances in which we would need help from others.

The same is true in the spiritual life as well. We all have a form of spirituality, even if we think that we do not. Everyone has an opinion about God, and that opinion, even if it denies his existence, is an expression of spirituality. As we are well aware, there is a wide range of spiritualities around today, each of them claiming to offer spiritual help in one way or another.

The Christian life is a unique form of spirituality, not only because it is true, but also because everything connected to it depends on knowing Jesus Christ. Unlike the scenarios I depicted earlier in which each situation required a different person to provide help, Jesus personally supplies the help in every situation. Here are some such situations.

With regard to obtaining salvation from the effects of our sins, we receive it through faith in Jesus and in what he did. We believe that he did two things for us in order for us to be forgiven. We had two needs: we had to live a perfect life and we had to pay the penalty of our disobedience to God’s law – and we can do neither of them. Yet Jesus did both on our behalf: he lived a perfect life as our representative and he paid the penalty of our sins when on the cross. When we trust in Jesus, we do so knowing that he performed those two requirements.

With regard to living the Christian life, every spiritual blessing is given to those who are in Christ (united to him by faith). They receive the help of the Holy Spirit because he is given to them by Jesus. Their prayers are heard by the heavenly Father because they are offered to him in the name of Jesus. They have a role model to imitate day by day, and that role model is Jesus. He instructs them how to live and enables them to become like him increasingly. Yet they also know they still commit sins, and when they confess them to God they do so knowing that Jesus is their Advocate in heaven. They have many benefits in this life through knowing Jesus.

On the Day of Judgement, Jesus will be their friend and will ensure that they will be publicly acknowledged as his people. Throughout the endless ages that will follow that awesome event, Jesus will share his limitless inheritance with each of them. He will continue to function as their Shepherd, leading them into all the aspects of the glory of the new heavens and new earth. Although they will then be perfect in holiness, they will still depend entirely on Jesus and value him in a manner far beyond what they can do in this world. It will all depend on the fact that they know him.

Obviously, it is in our own interests to acquaint ourselves with Jesus. If we trust in him, we will discover that he is faithful and reliable, the One who will always be there for us, and whose help we will receive from him personally whenever we need it.