Yes, In Christ
I pray that you are looking at and to Christ this Lenten season. Today we will continue our look to the promises of God. God loves you, please do not doubt this fact. God loves you all. No matter what is happening in the world, no matter what you are doing, God loves you.
We will begin today with a promise that God made to Solomon. Now, though God made this promise to Solomon, it is a general promise, meaning it applies to all people and not just Solomon. This is God’s second appearance to Solomon, it occurred at night, this is 2 Chronicles 12-14,
“The Lord appeared to him at night and said: ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’”
God is promising that he will forgive our sin, not once, not twice, but always. But this promise is a conditional one, meaning that there is something that we have to do. God wants us to humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and turn from our wicked ways. These combined activities describe the act of confession. An act that I have said is a discipline that today’s modern believers ignore at their own peril.
As we come upon Easter and our thoughts focus on the cross of Christ, does it not send conviction through our spirit that we do not seek confession daily? Are we not guilty of taking for granted Jesus’ work on the cross?
This is one of God’s great promises to us. I encourage you thus, do not take this promise for granted. God promises to forgive us. Sadly, I believe that many of us are too proud to humble themselves before God. We shall see.
Let’s continue on to another promise, this one from 2 Corinthians chapter 1. We’ll begin with 2 Corinthians 1:17,
“When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no.’”
This worldly manner of communicating is something that we see on a regular basis today. It is how we say one thing, giving lip service to a belief, then harbor a different meaning in our heart. This is how many communicate on social media, which is why I do not communicate on social media. The cancel culture, virtue signaling, and insincere way that most modern men and women communicate is discouraging. It makes for poor communication, it promotes poor leadership, and it leads to disharmony and war. It also leads to hell. Hell will be full of people who cannot tell the truth. From their own mouths their testimony is “Yes, yes”, but their hearts say “No, no.”
Let’s hear what a truthful “Yes, yes” is all about. 2 Corinthians 1:18-22,
“But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, but in him it has always been ‘Yes’. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God that makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
All of God’s promises are true. God’s Word speaks nothing but truth. All of these promises are ‘Yes’ in Christ. Paul is telling this to the Corinthians because they are struggling with false idols and all kinds of other false beliefs within their congregation. Paul is encouraging them, promising them that in God’s Word, there is nothing but truth.
In the double-minded man, however, yes can mean no and no can mean yes. Worldly politicians come to mind as I am saying this. Our witness, our testimony to others, demands that our no means no, and our yes means yes. Do not allow your lips to say yes but your heart to say no to Jesus. Much of the world is in this predicament. This requires a sincere humble confession. Just like we described in the previous passage.
Our final promise is also from Paul, this one is in Philippians 1:4-6,
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
What I hear in this passage is Paul’s belief that what God starts in our hearts will be brought to fruition. God does not just forgive us, he transforms us too. We are sanctified, we are made more and more like Christ, every day that we stay true to God and his Word. All the way up to the day of Christ.
Before we get to the day of Christ, let’s talk about what was the night of Christ. None of us enjoy speaking of this night of Christ, or what I call the Night of Christ. This is the night of Christ’s betrayal, when he is in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Imagine being a lamb led to slaughter, only, by being this lamb you were meant to carry the sins of all of mankind from the beginning of time to the end of time. Just think of all that emotional pain concentrated upon Christ. Then, as he seeks relief through prayer with his Father in the garden, his friends do not pray with him, they instead fall asleep. On top of that, in the gloam before morning, a friend betrays you into captivity and death. This is indeed the Night of Christ. Matthew 26:42-46,
“He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.’ When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!’”
Can you imagine a more dreadful night? Thankfully, the day of Christ Jesus will be much better. Revelation 1:5b-7,
“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (where we began today), and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father (completion of the good work in us)--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.”
Our day of Christ will either be in the clouds, or as we pass into eternity with Christ meeting us and taking us to a place that he has been preparing for us. In the first instance, we will not taste death at all. Can you imagine that? In the second instance, we will join the cloud of witnesses. Either way sounds good to me.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC