Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blog # 175 New Life in Jesus

Blog # 175 New Life In Jesus Someone asked me recently what I liked most in the experience of visiting the Holy Land back in 1958. I find it difficult to answer a question like that. It is something like the question which of my ten toes I appreciate the most. Recently I asked myself a question similar to these but found it less difficult to come up with an answer. I asked myself what did I consider as the most important among all the gifts God has given me. My answer was the gift of FAITH. By faith I know that God is real, and in that fundamental truth I know the rich treasure of truth that stems from that foundation. By faith I know the truth of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of God Who is God, Emmanuel, God-Among-Us, given the name Jesus. By faith Jesus reveals Himself to us not only as a bearer of truth such as other teachers and prophets had been in history before Him, but TRUTH ITSElF yet living among us as we are living among one another, like us in every way but sin. An implication of this truth that startled me two days ago when I considered it in relation to this blog was the fact that Jesus, as one of us, had to have the gift of faith to know that God was real on earth, that God loved Him and God was with Him night and day as His Creator. That is how real the truth of the Incarnation is! We must never forget or overlook however the flip side of the truth about the humanity of Jesus, namely His divinity. Applying this truth in our three previous blogs we first see Jesus as alone. That was His normal human experience, as it is ours. Then in John's Gospel He speaks of Himself as not alone. "The Father is ever with me." He knew this by faith. We do the same. From all four Gospels we know that from time to time it was the Father's will for Jesus that He rise above the limitations of His humanity and AS the Word of God on earth perform miracles that only God had the power to perform, such as raising Lazarus and the widow's son from death to life, healing lepers and casting out demons. Then John,on the occasion of the celebration of the Passover the night before Jesus died and before leaving the upper room on His way to Gethsemani, has Jesus pray these words: "Father...I pray for those who will believe in me that all may be one as you, Father, in me and I in you...I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one- I LIVING IN THEM, YOU LIVING IN ME...So shall the world know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me...To them I have revealed your name, and I will continue to reveal it so that your love for me may live in them and I may live in them. The Biblical pattern in the sequence we follow to come to a proper understanding and appreciation of the gift we have come to call Sanctifying Grace is as follows. First Jesus is given as being alone in places and circumstances that would be the same for any of us who would go up a mountain or to a deserted place to pray. To see us, anyone would have said we were alone. Then Jesus says of Himself he is not alone. He clarifies that statement by saying the Father stands beside Him and never leaves Him alone. As one of us Jesus would have had to know that by faith. Then,speaking as the Word Among Us Jesus carries us another step further in His claim for a still closer presence of the Father to Him when He says to Philip if you see me you see the Father, and in speaking to the crowds one day in the Temple "I and the Father are one". The union of the Father and the Word in the Holy Trinity is to be the union of the Father with the Son in His humanity ! The final step comes in the prayer we have given above in which Jesus prays that the Father would be as close to those who believe in Him as the Father was to Jesus with "you living in me and I living in them. THAT is the gift of Sanctifying Grace ! The reality of Sanctifying Grace is the reality of the Resurrected Jesus living in us, so the world would know the Father loved us as He loved Jesus. That awesome answer to the prayer of Jesus is found in our understanding of it, believing in it, keeping ourselves aware of it and living it by melding it with our obedience to the Father's will. In blog # 176 I will give a few further thoughts and Scriptural references relating to the gift of Sanctifying Grace to go along with what we have been considering in our recent blogs. May the Lord be glorified in our efforts to know Him better and to love Him more!

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