Believers’ Blessed Future

Revelation 20:6   (KJV)   Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

There’s such blessedness and uniqueness enjoyed by believers that’s beyond explanation and imagination.

Revelation 20.6 - Believers' Blessed FutureBeing blessed, being holy, being a part of a glorious resurrection that leads to rewards instead of the ultimate judgment, condemnation and suffering, becoming priests of our God and our Jesus, reigning with Him for a thousand years—these are more than enough reasons for us to totally appreciate and value our status as believers and followers of our precious Lord.

I’m joyfully overwhelmed by those wonderful gifts from our absolutely gracious heavenly Father. Not everyone shares the excitement. Others treat them with contempt because of over-familiarity. We hear of them often; they’ve become a redundant truth, sad to say, even to some believers. But not to us; all the joys and excitement we sense aren’t nearly enough to equal the great wonders of all those blessings God has in store for us.

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When God Finally Comes

Ezekiel 37:28   (KJV)   28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

A day is coming when God’s sanctuary—His temple—will be among us; God Himself will be living here on earth—in Jerusalem. On that day, His people will really be His people, Ezekiel 37.28 - When God Finally Comesand God will really be our God.

We won’t ever lose our free will. But God will have a way of making Israel and all His people holy. He has a way of changing our hearts from that of hard, stony, and stubborn hearts to that of tender, sensitive, and submissive hearts. He has a way of giving us a new spirit through the presence of His Holy Spirit so that we will be obedient and faithful. We will be holy, not just positionally, but practically.

Oh what a day that will be—when God Himself is our ultimate King and Shepherd, and God’s people are really walking in holiness and righteousness; when God’s enemies are humbled, defeated, and silenced; when peace, love, and righteousness rule in the earth. This is not just a dream; it will have its fulfillment. Maranatha—come, oh Lord; the Lord is coming!!!

Watch and Keep Clothed

Revelation 16:15   (KJV)   15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Revelation 16.15 - Watchful and ClothedJesus’ return is unannounced; it’s imminent; no one knows the day or the hour. This truth is so emphatic in the Scriptures. Not even the angels in heaven or the Son know when. We won’t discuss the “three Persons in one God” at this time.

The appropriate response to the imminence of our precious Lord Jesus’ return isn’t negligence or lack of attention. When He said it’s not for us to know the times and the seasons which our heavenly Father chose to keep for Himself, He wasn’t telling us not to be uninterested towards the truth of the 2nd coming. The converse is true; He wants us to be watchful, to be always ready for His return.

This is one of the reasons we don’t walk uncovered. We continue to live day by day clothed with Jesus and His righteousness. We don’t ever want to find ourselves in the shameful state of having our sins and guilt laid bare—totally exposed before the presence of our Holy God. Is it even possible for a child of God to be found “naked” and shamed? As unpopular as the answer may be, the passage seems to tell us so.

This same passage doesn’t tell us to debate about all the differing interpretations regarding His return. It clearly tells us the blessedness of those who watch and who keep their garments. That’s our part; that’s our focus; that’s what we restfully and joyfully strive for. And undeniably, as much as we know that we have loved ones and friends who may be left behind, we really get excited and thrilled about our Lord’s return.

When God is Revealed

Revelation 15:4   (KJV)   4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Revelation 15.4 - When God is RevealedWhen everything is revealed, everyone will clearly see how just and perfect God’s ways are. We don’t question God. We have the ability to but not the position to. He is so much bigger than us; His thoughts and ways are way much higher—infinitely—much higher than our ways and thoughts.

Others have a tendency to question Him especially when bad things happen to them. Many times, people can become so arrogant in the way they treat a very loving and powerful Creator. I’m happy the Lord doesn’t always put us in our place quickly. He gives us more than enough time to snap out of our rebellious ignorance and to come to our senses. Some persist in their defiance.

But in God’s perfect timing, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him as Lord. He will be revealed for Who He truly is—in His greatness, in His glory, in His splendor, in His majesty, in His holiness.  What a scene that will be. Believers and unbelievers alike will “stand” in awe—one in perfect joy, one in utter regret. All accusations hurled against God will vanish at the sight of eternal reality.

Self Realization

Isaiah 6:5   (KJV)   5 Then said I, 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.

The prophet Isaiah realized the sobering truth of His wretchedness and gave at least two reasons for His clear realization and humble admission. The first reason he gave was the uncleanness of his lips. The interpretations of which vary, but we can generalize it as Isaiah 6.5 - Realization of Real Selfuncleanness. This uncleanness wasn’t only in his personal sphere but even communal—the people around him were also unclean. The second reason he gave was him seeing the Lord. Seeing the Lord in His majesty and utter holiness has that kind of effect.

The holiest of us, left to ourselves, are unclean. The unholy in the presence of the Most Holy isn’t a good scenario unless it’s a process of cleansing and forgiveness. No matter how highly people esteem themselves to be, no matter how self-righteous, how much better they see themselves to be in comparison to others, their exaggerated view of themselves will embarrassingly shrink when presented with the picture of their true state and presented before the presence of the one and only true holy God.

It’s a good first step though to humbly admit our spiritual bankruptcy. It’s those who realize the poverty in their spirit who receive the kingdom of heaven. It’s good to see Who the answer to our need is. He Who is Holy lovingly, willingly, graciously, and abundantly imparts His holiness to those who reach out to Him in full dependence and surrender. We’re hopeful even when we see what’s devastatingly wrong with us, knowing that Someone can make it wonderfully right.

Zeal for Good Works

Titus 2:14   (KJV)   14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Is this Scripture in the New Testament? Is it in the age of grace? The answer to both questions is obviously “yes.” Under the New Covenant in the age of grace, good works Titus 2.14 - Zealous for Good Worksstill matter to God. Being zealous of good works is an attitude that characterizes those who are truly His.

The passage is explicit: the reasons or at least two of the reasons why our precious Lord Jesus gave Himself  for us is  to redeem us—pay for—our freed from all iniquity, lawlessness, or wickedness, and to purify us being His peculiar, unique or special people.

Why is this very important—to me at least? Why do I want to address these supposedly obvious issues? It’s because preaching, teaching, or exhortations on obedience, holiness, purity, and good works are criticized in some circles, as if right understanding of grace necessitates discarding of these necessary pursuits.

God’s love, God’s grace, and believers’ good works and uprightness aren’t enemies: “11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:1-13).

Set in Stone

2 Timothy 2:19   (KJV)   19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

There are argumentable teachings in the Bible—teachings that aren’t so clear; Christians interpret them differently and take positions that are often diametrically in contradiction to each other. Don’t be alarmed; none of these teachings have to do with 2 Timothy 2.19 - Set in Stonesalvation or God in His nature or being. But there are teachings set in stone. Here are two of them: God knows those who belong to Him; those who belong to Him must depart from iniquity.

We believe in the omniscience of God; He doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to who are His and who aren’t, who are saved and who are lost. His part is covered perfectly well. He’s not negligent; He’s not forgetful; He won’t have any “oops” moment. Our part is our part. Although we’ve heard it often stated: “Christianity is not about rules; it’s not about dos and don’ts; we’re not under the Law,” this doesn’t mean we’re unruly and lawless.

We have a loving relationship with our Father; we also have a very respectful relationship with our God. Our Father is our God; our God is our Father; we love Him; we fear Him. We want to do the things He wants us to do because we love Him. But I’ll be honest. In our imperfection; we don’t always do things He wants us to do; that’s when we ought to do them even when we don’t feel like doing them. It’s settled; one of the things we want to do, we ought to do, and we must do, is to depart from—turn away from iniquity, unholiness, unrighteousness, evil, or ungodliness. Yes, whether we want to or not, we must.