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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 12

Bringing Many Sons to Glory

For God to bring many sons unto glory it was first necessary for His Son to live as a man in this world and to suffer. By this means was Christ Himself brought to full development and prepared for His role in the Father’s plan. Heb. 2:10, 5:8-9.

Heb. 5:9 says of Him, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” He was the “corn of wheat” that died in order to bring forth much fruit. John 12:24. Consider the obstacles that Christ had to overcome in order to bring about a salvation that was eternal.

First is the immutability of God’s law: God’s law is an expression of His holy and righteous nature. He does not alter it to suit us. He does not lower the standard so that it is within our reach. Its demands are absolute, its penalty certain. There is no way around it. Somehow those unyielding demands must be met and satisfied. God’s eternal kingdom will have nothing in it but perfect righteousness and holiness.

Second is the utter sinfulness of our nature. As it has been so often said, we are not sinners because we sin: we sin because we are, by nature, sinners. We are born sinners, rebels against God and His righteousness. Like Adam and Eve, we may try to hide our sinfulness under a cloak of religion as they hid their nakedness with fig leaves, yet it is all in vain. We are what we are.

Third is the weakness of man’s flesh. Paul deals with this in Rom. 7. Even if a man becomes convinced of the rightness of God’s law and is somehow motivated to conform his life to it, his efforts are doomed to failure because of the weakness of flesh. Sin is too strong for us. We are its slaves. It is the master. Left to our own strength we find ourselves in a hopeless situation. God’s law serves one purpose: to show us our utter sinfulness before a holy God, and thus to strip us of any shred of hope in ourselves.

No Answer in Religion

All of the religions of the world put together have no answer for these obstacles. The most religious man in the world will stand spiritually naked before God one day if he does not have Christ. Nor will the Christ of tradition, or the Christ of dogma, or the Christ of sentiment or imagination do. Nothing short of the living, reigning Son of God is sufficient to save us.

If you truly have Him, you have life. If you do not have Him you are under God’s wrath (John 5:24). If you go to the judgment without Him you are doomed. There is no eternal salvation apart from the Author.

He did not sidestep God’s law. After he had personally met its demands, he took upon Himself all of our sin and guilt and was condemned in our place. Yet, even though his flesh suffered pain and death on our behalf, the grave could never hold him because of the divine life within. The power of that life was so great that not only did he burst the bonds of death, but even his flesh was transformed into a “glorious body” (Phil. 3:21), fully fitted for the new creation. He became the firstfruits of that new creation, the living hope and promise of what lies ahead for every child of God.

Truly coming to Christ involves laying down our arms of rebellion, fully embracing the penalty of God’s law met for us by Christ, and bowing to Him as Lord and Savior. No more illusions of self-righteousness. No more striving to make ourselves acceptable to God. It is the end of all self-effort in the revealed light of His perfect and all-sufficient provision for us.

The obstacles to God’s kingdom, so utterly insurmountable to us and to religion, are met and overcome in Christ. The law is met and satisfied; we are made partakers of the divine nature; by His Spirit we are given strength to serve God.

Serving God in this world is not a matter of laws and commandments to be righteous: it is learning to cooperate with and give expression to a new nature within, a new heart that loves God and desires to please Him. When Christ comes in, we enter God’s kingdom then and there as we simultaneously leave Satan’s kingdom. Col. 1:13, speaking of the Father says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”

When Christ comes in everything changes. Our feet are set irrevocably on the pathway to heaven. We are not our own for we are bought with a price (I Cor. 6:19-20). God’s grace has arrested undeserving sinners for the express purpose of bringing us to glory.

Sealed by God

When Christ comes in by His Spirit and takes up residence we are forever set apart from this world — including multitudes of professed followers of Christ. Paul, in Eph. 4:30, speaks of our being sealed by the Holy Spirit of God unto the day of redemption (see also Eph. 1:13-14). This sealing is something God does. It signifies ownership. When He seals someone it reflects His sovereign purpose and plan not only to begin, but also to finish the job! We may indeed grieve His Spirit at times but His seal cannot be broken.

Many are they who seemingly run well for awhile. They profess to believe in Christ. Their lives exhibit many changes. Yet the time comes when they depart. Such people have never experienced what we have been talking about. They stop short (Heb. 4:1). They have an evil heart of unbelief deep down on the inside that sooner or later manifests itself (Heb. 3:12). See also I John 2:19.

Heb. 10:39 describes two different kinds of people: “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

What is the difference? One has faith and the other doesn’t. Faith is not something natural human beings are capable of, at least not saving faith. As Eph. 2:8 points out, “It is the gift of God.”

From time to time we have heard someone refer to the exhortation in Jude 3 that we should “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” Usually this is said in reference to religious tradition, that we ought, rather than clinging to tradition, to seek to recapture those bedrock truths understood by the New Testament Church.

This is certainly true. However, the faith once delivered to the saints is more than a set of doctrines. One could embrace all of the right doctrines and still be a stranger to that faith. It is far more a personal spiritual reality than a mere head full of ideas.

The Faith of Christ

The faith of Christ is supernatural: it is the actual faith of Jesus Christ that becomes resident in the hearts of God’s elect. That faith is rooted in a revealed expression of the wisdom and knowledge of God concerning His sovereign will and purpose for us. The faith once delivered to the saints is the faith of Jesus Christ imparted to His brethren here below.

At its heart it is the conviction in our innermost being that we are the children of God. Rom. 8:15-16 says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

I remember an experience I went through in my college days that, I believe, illustrates this witness. At the time, I was around people who emphasized “experiences” and it seemed to me that those around me were living in a realm of joy and blessing and I was being left out. Of course the devil had plenty to say about it! In fact, I’m sure he was responsible for the way I was looking at things and how I perceived them!

He told me things like, “God is blessing them and not you; there must be something terribly wrong with you. Maybe you’re not even saved.” He painted a very negative discouraging picture all the while it seemed that my prayers didn’t get past the ceiling.

One particular weekend this reached a climax and I basically quit. I threw up my hands, discouraged, and more than a little bit mad at God for blessing others and not me, for hearing their prayers and not mine (or so it seemed!). I stopped praying. I had no positive feelings toward God. For several days I was in a state of depression, just going through the motions. As far as my Christianity was concerned, emotionally, I had quit trying and let go.

The Witness of the Spirit

During those days no one came to me and told me, “You shouldn’t be like this.” No angel came, no voice from heaven, no great experience. But in spite of how I felt and how I was behaving there was a quiet persistent witness, not from outside, but from deep on the inside.

It didn’t condemn or demand but very patiently intruded into my discouragement. Deep down I knew that there was no other way to go, nothing to do but trust God and go on.

What was it? Notice that Paul said the Spirit bears witness with our spirit. It is a joint thing. When I let go I found out that God didn’t! And I also found that deep in my innermost being my spirit agreed with Him. No matter how I felt and what I experienced, turning back was simply not an option.

I can’t take any credit for that. It is simply God’s grace. He had supernaturally placed a hope within me that truly had become an anchor for my soul. (Heb. 6:19).

Many people struggle with this witness of the Spirit, imagining it as some kind of a feeling or experience. If their emotions are “up,” they are OK, but if their emotions are “down” they struggle to put their finger on that “witness” and wonder where God is and why He doesn’t reassure them by making them feel something — whatever “something” is.

When I finally surrendered and repented for being mad at God there was no great surge of emotion, no bells rang, no lights flashed, no electricity ran up and down my spine. There was just a measure of peace and rest and the lifting of a weight deep inside. Once again I was in harmony with my Father, cooperating with His plan, not struggling to follow one of my own.

I was brought to the place where I had to say, “Lord, even if I never have a feeling, I’m going to serve you and believe Your Word.” Nothing great and dramatic.

I had made the mistake of letting myself be blown off course by those who placed great stock in feelings and experiences. There is even the distinct possibility that some I so jealously regarded were actually moving in a religious spirit and not in God at all! And even if some of the experiences were of God there were at least two other mistakes. One was the misplaced emphasis upon feelings and experiences. At best, they come and go, but if we have Christ on the inside, He stays!

The other mistake was comparing myself with others. I am an individual work of God’s grace. It might have been in order in someone else’s journey to experience the joy of the Lord in a manifest way. Perhaps they had just come through a great trial. I was in a different place. The Lord saw me getting off track and was faithful to bring me up short and point me back to simple faith and the Word.

It is evident in our day that many religious people regard their religion almost as a spiritual narcotic. Getting and staying “high” is the objective. They are addicted to their need for “seeing” and “feeling” and “getting excited.” Services are geared to getting the people in a high emotional state. Whenever the feelings begin to wear off, the people anxiously seek something that will restore them. People can be just as addicted to religious demons as an alcoholic is to his bottle.

This is not a picture of the faith once delivered to the saints, the faith of Christ. Was Christ’s earthly life characterized by the constant pursuit of an emotional high? Did He have to “feel something” to know that He was His Father’s Son? What was it He quoted to the devil during the wilderness temptation? “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

People have that turned around today. They try to live by every feeling that (they believe) comes from the hand of God. They have no anchor.

Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” His faith is what enabled Him to suffer and endure all that it took to fulfill His Father’s will and plan. Because He did, we have hope!

Did the Apostle Paul live on a spiritual mountaintop all the time? You don’t have to read very far in his epistles to know that he didn’t. In fact, much of the time he was anywhere but on the mountaintop. Read his words in II Cor. 11:23-30 for just one example.

Paul certainly had great experiences, yet the Lord taught him to glory, not in those experiences, but in the very things that brought him down and made him weak! Why? As long as we feel strong the Lord can’t use us much. Human strength can’t help anybody spiritually.

For a time, Paul struggled with one particularly distressing thing he was experiencing — the Word doesn’t tell us what it was. He prayed about it. He wanted that thing gone! He regarded it as a hindrance to his ministry.

What the Lord taught him is summarized in II Cor. 12:9-10. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

The Joy of the Lord

Does this mean that Christian faith is a life of unrelenting misery? Of course not! But the joy of the Lord is not pleasing and pampering the flesh, eliminating all its obstacles and problems and keeping it “high” all the time. Christ didn’t come to fulfill the desires of our flesh but to deliver us from them. He has something much better for us.

Listen to the words of David in Psalm 16:11. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Our joy in this life comes not from pleasing the flesh but from His peace in our hearts, the fellowship of His presence with us in every circumstance, being able to see His faithful hand at work to fulfill His Word, the eternal hope of His Word that He has put in our hearts, fellowship with believers, the joy of worship, and so on. Believers have something incredibly wonderful the world knows nothing about!

In I Peter 1:2 Peter addresses his readers in these words: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

Then in verses 3-9 he says this: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

See how many of the themes we have been discussing are present in this passage. We see God’s sovereignty in salvation: “elect according to the foreknowledge of God,” and “according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us,” and “kept by the power of God.” We see the great hope of the believer for eternity to come and its direct relationship to the resurrection of Christ.

We see great joy in the midst of trials. We see that the express purpose of these trials is to purify and prepare us for the coming of Christ and what lies beyond. It is the understanding of these things that enables us to rejoice “with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

Verse 9 is very significant: “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” This describes salvation as a lifelong process directly related to the trial of our faith referred to above. It is as we exercise God-given faith in the midst of whatever trials He sends our way that we actually enter into ever-increasing measures of salvation. “Salvation” describes the whole process God carries out to bring us all the way from being lost sinners with no hope to being full-grown sons of God, ready for the new creation! That is something to rejoice about!

What a wonderful privilege it is to truly be a child of God! It is an infinitely higher calling than anything of this earth. It is far greater to be a child of God than to be a mere king! Kings rise and fall, live and die. Children of God live forever!

Listen to Paul’s words in Rom. 8:17: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Here we see the incomparable destiny we have of standing beside our Lord and Savior as heirs of God Himself! We also see that the pathway to glory lies through the sufferings of this world.

Yet, how can you compare the two? Verses 18-19 continue, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

The word “creature” is “creation” and Paul refers to creation as though it were a person waiting for something. At present it suffers the effects of the curse (verses 20-22 — “the bondage of corruption”) yet the creation God has planned will be free from the curse — no more pain and suffering, no more death, only glorious freedom!

All of this is waiting for something, however. It is waiting till God finishes what He is doing in His sons. That is the present order of business. The foundation has been laid for it all in Christ, his Firstborn. The next step is to fully prepare the rest of His sons for their place in the eternal kingdom. When that is complete, the curse will be forever lifted from creation itself. All will be beautiful and glorious. There will be perfect harmony and endless opportunity for pure enjoyment. Eph. 2:7, Rev. 21:1-5, II Peter 3:13, Psa. 16:11.

What is creation specifically waiting for? Rom. 8:19 tells us: “the manifestation of the sons of God.” What does this mean? The key word is “manifestation.” To manifest something is to openly display it for all to see.

A simple example is the work of art that remains hidden while it is being produced. No one but the artist is allowed to see it. There comes a time when the work of art is complete and yet still hidden from view. At exactly the right time the covering is removed and everyone is allowed to see it. They are able to enjoy it and appreciate the labor and talent that produced it.

Paul referred in Rom. 8:18 to “the glory that shall be revealed in us.” The greatest shock this world will ever receive will be when Christ comes and the believing remnant are changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (I Cor. 15:52). One moment, we will look like ordinary human beings, the next, we will radiate the glory of God. We will have brand new bodies, eternally young, glorious bodies like that of our Savior (Phil. 3:21, Rom. 8:23). Everyone will see it.

The citizens of this world will be full of shock and unimaginable terror. There will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. The sons of God will be filled with joy and the glory of God.

That is what God’s kingdom in this world is about; preparing for that day! The moment Christ comes again, all will be brought to a swift conclusion. All of man’s proud plans will be suddenly interrupted. God’s plan will prevail — as it always has!

All Things!

Rom. 8:28 is rightly one of the most beloved verses in the Bible: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

In the first place this covers “all things,” literally everything that happens to God’s elect. Though many things seem bad at the time, yet in the wise and loving hand of God they fit perfectly into His great plan for us.

Paul expresses the same thought in II Cor. 4:17 in these words: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Notice he calls it “our light affliction.” I imagine that most of us would consider many of Paul’s afflictions to be anything but light! After all, he was beaten with rods three times, imprisoned, shipwrecked, stoned and left for dead, and a long list of similar difficulties, yet he referred to it all as “light affliction!”

How is that possible? Paul saw all these things in a very different light than most people. He saw them in the light of God’s overall wisdom and purpose. For one thing he knew that his affliction, compared with eternity was indeed “but for a moment.”

Also, he didn’t see these things as enemies, as something that was working against him. He said, “... our light affliction ... worketh for us ....” Not against us, but for us! It is a necessary part of God’s plan to bring about “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Verse 18 is an important part of the picture: “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

How differently we’re often inclined to react to trials and afflictions. Instead of seeing God’s loving hand in everything and looking at eternal things we’re inclined to focus all of our attention on the trial. We complain and question.

The devil tells us that we’re being singled out and that our trials are different and much worse than those of others. We become full of self-pity.

We forget Peter’s admonition concerning the devil: “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” I Peter 5:9.

We forget God’s great promise in I Cor. 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

We forget Heb. 12:1-3 where we are told to “... run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Christ, the Finisher

We see Jesus as the author of our faith, but let us never forget that He is also the finisher as well. He has all of the resources of heaven at His disposal to finish what He has started!

Is it any wonder that Paul said, in Phil. 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

See how Paul encouraged Timothy in II Tim. 1:7-12: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

Let’s go back to Romans 8:28. The “all things” Paul spoke of “work together for good,” that is, the end result is “good.” This “good” is defined for us in verse 29: “to be conformed to the image of his son.” The child of this world has no power to appreciate this. He lives for self and pleasing the flesh. Christ came to deliver us from self and the sin that reigns in our flesh.

God’s Purpose

But Romans 8:28 was not written to everyone. It was directed “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to God’s purpose.” This describes a people in whose lives God has sovereignly intervened to separate them from the rest of humanity, to turn their feet onto a different path, one that leads to eternal life.

Verse 29 expresses God’s purpose: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

This says he knew about us ahead of time. How much “ahead of time” is that? From the foundation of the world! II Tim. 1:9, Eph. 1:4. God planned for us in the very beginning, before the first star was created! His plan was to make us like His Son.

This was to be done “that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” See how perfectly this fits in with the reference in Heb. 2:10 to “bringing many sons unto glory.” In Romans, Christ is referred to as “the firstborn among many brethren,” while in Hebrews He is referred to as “the captain of their salvation.” In both cases He occupies the place of pre-eminence among God’s sons. Col. 1:18.

Now, notice verse 30: “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Does that sound like the issue is in doubt? Is there any hint of “maybe” or “hope it all works out”? No! In fact, the issue is so certain that the whole process is spoken of in the past tense, as something that has already happened! In the mind of God it has! Who can say otherwise?

That is the foundation for Paul’s wonderfully encouraging words in verses 31- 39, such a favorite passage for believers. There are many things we encounter in our earthly journey that seem to loom up before us as great obstacles to God’s purpose. We sometimes entertain thoughts of doubt and discouragement. Satan is quick to inject thoughts of condemnation every time we come short. We are made to feel our own weakness and inadequacy in the face of seemingly overwhelming circumstances.

But can any of the things enumerated in this passage thwart God’s plan? Can Satan step in and say, “No, God, you can’t do that”? The answer is an unequivocal “No!”

The Greatest Obstacle

Our human nature is infected with a spirit of self and self-preservation. We struggle to be strong, self-reliant, to feel in control. The way of the cross to which we have been called is very different.

Verse 36 of Romans 8 says, “As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

God’s “accounting” system is in sharp contrast to ours. Human nature accounts “self” as something to be preserved at all costs. To man, “self” is a great asset; to God, it is a great liability. “Self” is the greatest obstacle we face in serving God.

Left to ourselves, we would choose the pathway of ease, of convenience. How many of our prayers revolve around trying to get God to remove every difficulty from our lives? We imagine that serving a great loving all-powerful God should be like a pleasant walk along a garden pathway. When it isn’t, we think something is wrong!

And there are plenty of religious people around to tell us that something is indeed wrong, that if we only had enough faith every difficulty would simply melt away and life would be one unbroken triumphal march to heaven! It is teaching like that that keeps people chasing in vain for the “magic experience” or the “secret formula” to make it all happen.

If it was necessary for the very Son of God to go through sufferings to become what He is are we exempt? The reality is that the Christian life is an “obstacle course” designed by an all-wise Heavenly Father to bring about the exercise of our God-given faith that we might become what He has purposed. Within His will some obstacles can indeed be made to go away while others are meant to be endured. Christ made the storm cease but endured the cross — unto death. Both were forms of overcoming.

Consider the heroes of faith in Heb. 11. Read verses 32-40 for a summary of the many examples of overcoming faith. Those who suffered persecution and even death are honored equally with those who won great battles or walked around in a fiery furnace. The real obstacle is not the circumstance but self and what self wants. There is a lifelong conflict between what self wants and what God wants. Every time we find the grace to say, “Not my will, but thine be done,” self dies a little and the inward man grows stronger. That is what Paul meant when he spoke in II Cor. 4:16 of the “outward man” perishing and the “inward man” being renewed. Note also that Paul says, “day by day.”

Christ, Our Example

Christ is our great example. Do not imagine that He breezed His way through His earthly life on the strength of personal divine power. Although He had been with the Father before the foundation of the world and all things had been created by Him (John 1:3, Heb. 1:2, Col. 1:16), yet He lived in this world as a man.

When He needed wisdom and knowledge, He prayed, sometimes all night! Luke 6:12-13. Was He just putting on a show, pretending to need the Father’s help? No! He needed to pray just as we do! The ultimate example is the three hours of agonizing prayer that preceded the cross. That agony was real. He lived as a man! He needed God’s help!

The wonderful things He did, the miracles, were not a demonstration of His divinity but of His Father’s indwelling presence. He is indeed the divine Son of God but on earth He was a Spirit-filled man, as completely dependent on the Father as we are on Him! Think about it! That is why He is in such a unique position to understand and to help us. Heb. 2:16-18.

In John 5:30, He said, “I can of myself do nothing....” John 14:10 says, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

The Sovereign plan of Almighty God that we see at work in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son continues today in the lives of His elect in the earth. This evil world is but an instrument in God’s hands to prepare His sons for eternal glory. His kingdom is not about changing the world, it is about changing us!

And we have what we need: the blood of Christ that has eternally blotted out our sins; the Word of God as both our light and our chief weapon against the devil; the indwelling Spirit of God; the faith of Christ; the prayers of our enthroned Lord on our behalf; the shouts of encouragement from the very ramparts of glory from the lips of our brethren who have gone before us; the ministry of angels ....

We are but sojourners here: heaven is our home. We are to set our affections on things above and not on things on the earth. Col. 3:2. As we read in Luke 12:34-37a, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching.”

The darkness around us is forcing men to choose once and for all which side they are on, Christ’s or Satan’s. They face the same choice they had in Noah’s day — with eternal consequences. For God’s people the day of final deliverance is at hand!

Do not fear this present darkness; it cannot withstand God. “Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4. Though there is indeed ongoing conflict, not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, yet eternal victory was won at the cross. The devil and all his hosts will not be around one minute longer than is necessary to fulfill God’s will.

In the words of Martin Luther, “The Prince of Darkness grim — We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.” That great hymn — “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” — ends with this simple declaration: “His kingdom is forever.”

His kingdom begins here in the midst of great darkness but it is destined to burst forth with divine glory on a day appointed of our Father. I don’t believe it will be long!

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