♣ To Whom Else Shall We Go?
“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’” – John 6:66-69.
PETER’S WORDS IN the last verse are as striking and revelatory as when he declared who Jesus is – “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Despite his flaws (which, if we are honest, find such traits in our own hearts), Peter’s life was founded upon the Rock and such mighty confessions, inspired by the Father, gave evidence of that, but above all – and herein lies the eternal security of the believer – Christ’s unfailing intercessory prayer kept Peter’s faith alive amidst his failures, not to live carelessly, but in a way that breathed the holiness of God.
Every way of thinking, ideology and pursuit that leaves God out of the equation will soon wither and fade to nothing. It may spring to life for a time (just like with the parable of the sower where one particular seed seemed to show evidence of life but soon died), but it will not sustain; it may capture the attention of many but it will not hold our interest for very long – “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again” (John 4:13 When the Son of God said, “I am the…Life” (John 14:6), that is the very dynamism He imparts to our soul when we are united to Him – “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63); “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). We have no need whatsoever to turn to anything or anyone else when we have seen and tasted the goodness of the Lord. Nothing else and no one else will satisfy and fill the aching abyss of the heart. It is true that we hunger for more of God; we thirst for more of Him, but we know He is the One Who can only meet our deepest yearnings. We can never get bored of Him, never exhaust our pursuit of knowing Him, never fathom Him (His ways are past finding out) or ever give Him counsel. Is it any wonder that our worship of God shall never cease throughout eternity?
There is no other way and there is no other person (outside of the Trinity) that gives rest to the spirit of man and in a world of a plethora of religions, I affirmatively state what the Scripture authoritatively declares – the Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is absolutely no other, none whatsoever – nor shall there ever be. In a day and age where multiculturalism is rife and where political correctness has gone beyond a joke, such boldness will reap the scorn of many liberal-minded people. Before God’s peace can be encountered, the sword of Christ’s Word must pierce the heart, breaking down all notions of humanity’s false idea of peace – and such will greatly offend the human heart that is bolstered up with a sense of its own goodness, only to be shown how vile and wretched it is in the sight of God. God’s peace comes to the contrite-hearted and to the ones who are keenly aware of the own spiritual impoverishment – that none of us have it within ourselves to achieve God’s standards. Christ’s merits imputed to us is the only hope for mankind and it is through His redemption that man and woman is miraculously readjusted to walk upright in the presence of God.
There is no other literature and wisdom in the world that is so revealing of man’s condition and cure as the Bible. It is has been argued against, warred against through the centuries of time but it continues to prove true as time unfolds and as empires rise and fall. This is nothing but humanity in all its pomp, ignorant and foolish, that cannot even begin to understand the meaning of life without a saving knowledge of God. The world’s financial leaders, behind the visible government, that ‘monopolise’ world affairs, triggering horrendous events for selfish gain – what a terrible day it will be to know, that having ‘gained’ the entire world, they forfeited their souls to an agonising destruction where there is no turning back, no way out and with no end. What they will do when they stand at the judgement seat of Christ and realise that their puny attempts to rule the world was only subservient to God’s will, plan and purposes, is beyond imagination. The mystery of God’s ways that are far beyond understanding and His spoken Word that shall not return unto Him empty but shall fulfil every decree – oh, every tongue shall confess the wonder of Christ’s name and every knee shall bow in full persuasion of Who He is: the Kings of kings and the Lord of lords.
Our current world projects anything other than Christ being the Lord of lords; in a complex world of truth being stranger than fiction-horror, how would any of us be so absurd to believe that God is still in control notwithstanding the atrocities that have become a daily headline? Why doesn’t He crush the pervading and ‘prevailing’ wickedness that now threatens our very ‘doorsteps’? Why are thousands of devout Christians being slaughtered just because they believe and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord? How is it that out of all the faiths in the world, Christianity is the one least defended by our justice systems – worse still, why is certain religious barbarism winked at by our governments, let alone being supported?! It all looks so negative and hopeless, but do we not perceive that all this is but the reaction of the world’s spirit against the Spirit of God; are we not witnessing the spirit of the antichrist? Are not the times in which we live proving that God’s Word is true and eternal? Are we not witnessing the judgements of God upon humanity as millions are given over to a debased mind, where righteousness is scorned and perversion is enthroned?
The central theme of the book of Revelation is a reminder to believers that God is in absolute control through all the ages of time, no matter how dark and unstable our world manifests itself, Christ is reigning through it all; all the escalating wickedness is all part of the process of Christ making His enemies His footstool. Always have that in mind when studying this book; avoid, at all costs, getting bogged down and lost amidst the details so as to miss and lose the main picture – “Lift up your heads [to where Christ is seated] for your redemption draws near” and we will never find such courage instilled into us by this world; only by looking up to heavenly wisdom are our hearts kept from fainting. Our redemption is drawing so very close. Christ’s kingdom and sovereign rule shall be made a greater reality than all we have been accustomed to seeing with our own eyes, hearing with our ears and feeling with our hearts. We see through a glass dimly, no matter how much we attempt to bring clarity to all the blurs and questionings that race through our minds. We shall see everything falling overwhelmingly into place when Christ gloriously appears, but the amazing aspect is all things are (now) falling perfectly into place amidst all the chaos we are witnessing. “All that is now mysterious shall be bright at last” wrote Katharina von Schlegel in her hymn, ‘Be Still My Soul’.
It goes without saying, that given the choice we would all prefer a path void of suffering to follow Christ, but God in His perfect wisdom has chosen such a way to bring many sons (and daughters) to glory. It is such that God employs so effectually to refine us, thus causing Christ’s image to breathe through every fibre of our soul. We are adorned with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, but the fruit of His righteousness is what the Spirit is producing in our lives and through the heat of conflict we are more pliable in God’s hands to be fashioned to His calling on our lives. It is God’s forming of our life after His ways that is the true calling; God’s will is our sanctification, vocation falls secondary.
There is no other way and there is no one else who holds the words of eternal life. Christ does not merely hold the power of eternal life; He is the very essence of it. Living in such a way as to lose our life for His sake, not just in the physical sense, but sacrificing our wills and desires for His sake, we encounter the power of His resurrection life. Every time we lay down and abandon our rights for His ways the more we realise the reality and impact of Christ’s words, “I have come that may have life and have it abundantly” and that is only known in the very midst of not just being willing to lose all for the honour of Christ, but in the very throes of it. The early Church knew joy unspeakable in the fires of suffering. We can argue all we like with our theological persuasions and pet creeds, but we are novices until we get down on our knees in light of Biblical truths in the face of all that would oppose them; there they are bought and when we have gone through the fires it is then we declare, “Now I understand, not just with my head, what God is saying.”
We put so much emphasis upon gathering biblical ‘data’ and suffice ourselves to stagnate with such knowledge. The Bible is not a catalogue of facts ready to be pulled out in a trivia debate; they are to be proved and God will see to it that we grow up into Christ through tasting these truths – and it is through conflict, ways that we naturally dread. Do we know why God has us go through the valley of the shadow of death? To drive out fear from our hearts, saving the One thing only – Himself! Paul could only ever say, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life…” because he learned it through the school of suffering; it wasn’t just a revelation dropped into His heart. I’m sure there were more times when he pleaded with God for deliverance on other occasions (besides what is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12), but by God’s grace he realised, in the very thick of adversity, how much of a conqueror he was in and through Christ. There is no overexcitement or mistake in Paul writing the eighth chapter of Romans with such boldness; it is not philosophy or ideology – it is reality incomprehensibly bigger than anyone of us. Is it any wonder why Paul wrote with such authority? He wasn’t just saying these are incredible truths; he is saying they work, they prove to be absolutely and gloriously true.
For some reading this, a great despondency may have set in; it is anything other than seeing yourself as more than a conqueror. Weariness may have seeped into your ‘bones’ as it were and you may wonder how on earth you are going to muster the strength to carry on. Your obedience to God is there and yet the circumstances do not let up, shift or change. There may be no person near who is spiritually sensitive and wise to come along side, carry the burden and pray it through with you until relief and hope is breathed again. God knows. God knows every detail; the longing sighs that no one else sees or hears… He knows and feels all that is weighing you down and calls you to go to Him. He will give you that rest, restoring your tangled soul. We are so complex, we cannot even fathom our own selves out at times, but God Who formed our inward parts – there is nothing He is not perfectly acquainted with; He knows it all too well. He is the One to run to; He is the One to pour out your heart to; He is the One Who can place your feet upon the solid Rock; He is the One to lift your head when you haven’t even the strength to lift it yourself. There is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ Who, when He speaks and soothes our sore and wounded spirit, imparts His sustaining life that is eternal.
How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.
Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!
By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.
Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.
Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.
Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!
(hymn by John Newton)
Posted on July 22, 2014, in ♣ Devotional and tagged antichrist, Be Still My Soul, boldness, Christ the only way, Christ's sovereign rule, Christ’s image, Chrsit's kingdom, conflict, contrite-hearted, debased mind, despondency, devotional, early Church, eternal life, eternity, faith, false peace, forfeiting one's soul, How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds, hunger for God, intercessory prayer, John 14:6, John 4:13, John 6:35, John 6:63, John 6:66-69, John Newton, joy unspeakable, judgement seat of Christ, judgements of God, Katharina von Schlegel, knowing God, Mark Anthony Williams, Matthew 16:16, more than conqueror, multiculturalism, mystery of God's ways, perversion, political correctness, power of Christ's resurrection, redemption, refine, revelatory, righteousness, sacrificing, sacrificing our desires, sacrificing our wills, sanctification, school of suffering, spiritual impoverishment, suffering, thirsting for God, To Whom Else Shall We Go?, weariness, wisdom, worship, yearnings. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.