"A lot of you are going to assume that you'll sit down to God's salvation banquet just because you've been hanging around the neighbourhood all your lives. Well, one day you're going to be banging on the door, wanting to get in, but you'll find the door locked and the Master saying, 'Sorry, you’re not on my guest list.'" Luke 13:25 (The Message).
What a solemn warning! Jesus left us in no doubt about what happens to curiosity-seekers and freeloaders. His invitation is into an intimate marriage relationship with Him in order to impregnate our spirits with His word. His passion is to re-establish the oneness that Adam's rebellion disrupted at the Fall.
God's word is the energy that created the universe - "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth" Psalm 33:6 NIV) - and keeps it in perfect running order - "...sustaining all things by His powerful word..." Hebrews 1:3b (NIV) - and the seed which is sown into human hearts, germinates and grows to produce the full harvest of God's character in us - "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." 1 Peter 1:23 (NIV).
Sometimes the gospel is presented as though Jesus were either offering a cop-out for those who are finding life tough, recruiting others for a cause or calling us into a quick-buck business association with Him in order to line our pockets with His 'blessings'! (What happened to His 'deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me'?) This is our modern-day humanistic corruption of His intention.
Like a many-faceted diamond, God calls us into a many-faceted relationship with Himself. Jesus consistently presented and portrayed God as our 'Abba', the tender Father who passionately loves us, carried out a daring plan to rescue us and lavishly pours out His grace and favour on His children.
Jesus Himself is our Rabbi, calling us to follow, learn, imitate and obey Him; our Bridegroom who has gone to prepare the bridal chamber for the day He returns to pick us up (rapture us) and carry us over the threshold into the realm where we shall be perfected in oneness with Him forever; and our King, to be honoured as our Lord and Master in a union which reproduces His likeness in us.
The Holy Spirit, the third person in this Trinity of unique 'God-ness', is the gentle 'mother' who nurtures and fashions these embryonic Father/child and Bridegroom/bride relationships into full bloom through a lifetime of teaching, guiding, correcting and encouraging.
It's no wonder, then, that Jesus warned about assuming that, because we have lived in the 'neighbourhood' of His activities all our lives, we are automatically included on His 'guest list'. Knowing about Him and knowing Him are poles apart. This 'knowing' of which He speaks is the 'knowing' of intimacy between a husband and wife which reproduces a child out of that union. A lifetime of 'knowing' Him begins with a personal surrender of heart to Him as a bride pledging her life to her bridegroom, and continues with a lifetime of growing intimacy that transforms her from an independent individual into a blended oneness with Him.
It takes more than going to church, reading the Bible or doing 'good works' to forge a relationship with the living God. It's about fellowship with Him, starting with cleaning the slate by receiving the full benefits of His forgiveness, cleaning our cupboards of the all our skeletons and starting a new life in a new realm with a new heart and a new energy to do life His way.
And it's our choice...
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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19
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