[forthright] Bringing Christ Closer

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2011 08:03:29 -0200
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: LIVING THE FAITH

Bringing Christ Closer
  by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Some of the people I love the most live far away from
me and I miss them terribly. I wish I could be with
them, or they with me. However, we are human and
burdened with the inherent limitations of time and
space. We cannot be in more than one place at a time.

While this is true of humanity, these rules do not
apply to God. He operates outside of time and can be
wherever he wishes. He can be there for each one of us
simultaneously. While we cannot adequately explain how
that can be true, we can know it by faith (Hebrews
11:1).

We want to consider how we can bring God closer by
looking at what it meant for Israel and what the New
Testament offers to us as his children.

God made a covenant with Abraham that led to the
creation of the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:1-2).
From there, God provided for and blessed his people,
despite their frequent spiritual infidelities.

God created a society for his children, where they
would have complete security and organization through
the Law of Moses. He says, "I bore you on eagles'
wings and brought you to Myself" (Exodus 19:4, NKJV).

God calls them "a special treasure" and a "holy
nation" set apart from all others (Exodus 19:5). God
would do anything for Israel, as long as they remained
faithful (Exodus 34:10-11).

God tells Israel that he wants to be a God that is
"near at hand" (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Yet Israel had the
responsibility to fulfill their side of the covenant.

Christ came to usher in a new covenant to bring God
closer to humanity (Ephesians 2:14-16; Jeremiah
31:30-34). He was the fulfillment of prophecy to fill
this role. "Behold a virgin shall be with child, and
bear a Son, and they shall call His name, Immanuel,'
which is translated 'God with us'" (Matthew 1:23; cf.
John 1:1-5,14,18).

We are baptized into his body, the church (Matthew
16:18; Acts 2:38, 41, 47; Ephesians 1:22-23), and we
reside in his household (Ephesians 2:19). We are his
children and he remains with us as long as we live
(Hebrews 13:5).

No greater honor is available to sinful man than to be
in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). In Christ, all spiritual
blessings exist and are available to the faithful
(Ephesians 1:3).

We exist today under a new covenant (Hebrews 8:6-13).
We have the same commands to be faithful to Christ as
Israel had in the previous covenant (John 14:15;
Revelation 2:10).

Christ will be everything we need, if we will walk
with him all of our lives (Matthew 6:25-34; Ephesians
3:30-4:1). He is consummate love, goodness, and mercy.
Yet, he demands faithfulness (Hebrews 11:6).

If we want Christ near, he is already there, if we are
in his body and walking in his paths. He will always
be beside us in prayer and his Word carries us,
renews, and strengthens us like nothing else in
existence (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Why would we not avail ourselves of such an
indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15)? There is
nowhere else to go but to Satan (1 Peter 5:8; Matthew
25:31-33,46). Jesus is the only one offering eternal
joy in heaven (John 6:68). Satan offers nothing but
nightmares (John 8:44).

I must coat myself in the spiritual armor of Christ
(Ephesians 6:10-20) and enter into the joy of Christ
on this earth, so I can bask in it for all eternity
(Revelation 21:3). There is no other viable option.
	 
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