Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pastoral Ponderings ~ The Inseparable Family of God

          This may sound strange from someone who has witnessed so many families, friends, and churches rejecting each other, but I have a wonderful hope in the inseparable nature of the true family of God. That’s right, no matter how many separations happen on earth, and how painful those separations may be, there is this one, great, over-riding hope, as certain as God himself, that NOTHING “will be able to separate US from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[1]

          I ended up on this beautiful affirmation as I was meditating on the throne that “stood in heaven”, and the particular focus of, “with one seated on the throne”.[2] Obviously, the kind of person who sits on a throne determines how we feel about his reign. Since it is God who sits on the heavenly throne, all that we know about God is a huge comfort and security for his children, and an insurmountable terror to his enemies.

          With all of this roiling through my mind, I came to Paul’s wonderful declaration to the children of God: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”[3] The point is simple; when we understand that God is the one on the throne, and that there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist,”[4]then there is never going to be one enemy of the church that succeeds against God’s people. There will never be enough enemies of God gathered together to stop God from carrying out his plans and purposes for his children. Revelation shows us beasts, and antichrists, and false prophets, and the red dragon himself, all opposing God, and all failing.

          To help us in our faith, Paul gives us this description of our Savior: Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”[5] Let’s consider these five things about Jesus that give us grace to persevere.

1.       Christ Jesus

          “Christ Jesus” is the one with whom we have to do. This is what sets this apart. It is Jesus, the Son of God who became the Son of Man, who entered time-bound humanity in order to lay down his life to secure an eternal salvation for all who believe in him. We are safe because no one else can compare to him. He is the image of the invisible God,[6] the radiance of God’s glory.[7] There is no one, and no collection of ones, who can successfully stand against him, ever.

2.       the one who died”.

          Look at the One who died, and look at the fact that he DIED. This ONE, DIED. He died my death. He died for me. He died for my sins. God said that if we ate from that tree we would die, and so death was waiting to have its way with me. But Jesus died, and so my death has been taken care of. There is no further punishment on me if Jesus paid the punishment himself. And no enemies of God can erase what Jesus accomplished for me through his death.        

          3. more than that, who was raised”.

          Jesus not only bore our sins on his body on the tree. He not only felt every nuance of sin, death, hell and the grave. He not only felt the magnified ugliness of sin, the curse of sin multiplied by every human being that was chosen by God to be holy and blameless in his sight. But he was victorious over it all in his resurrection. All his enemies will die the second death. Jesus will live forever, and give forever-life to all his brothers.

          4. “who is at the right hand of God”

          The one with whom we have to do, the one who has brought us to himself, the one we are “in”, is Jesus Christ, the glorified Son of God, who is seated at the Father’s right hand. He is in the place of power and authority. He has been given the name that is above every other name:[8] “King of kings and Lord of lords!”[9] He is above everyone else from any place else. He is above any collection of people, any thread of figures weaving themselves into the wicked plans and purposes of the red dragon. Every possible arrangement of people, or collection of powers, is less than the one who is on the throne, and the one who sits at his right hand.

          But there is more!

          5. “who indeed is interceding for us”

          The issue here is simple: what is Jesus doing at the right hand of the Father? Is he still judging and condemning us as sinners? Is he expressing the image-frown of the invisible God’s disappointment in us? Is he saving up condemnation against us, storing up wrath for the day he comes in judgment?

          No, for all who are his, he is indeed interceding for us. He is praying for us. He talks to the Father about us. He pleads the blood he shed as the security of our eternal happiness in his presence. As John wrote: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”[10] Of course, God is working to free us from sinning. Of course, he gave us the manifold wonder of Scripture so that we could have constant encouragement to stay away from sin.

          However, he also provides for us so that we know what to think when we do sin. If we fall into sin, we look up to Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, and we see our advocate, our mediator, our defense attorney, who speaks to the Father on our behalf. And what he keeps before the Father is his “It is Finished!” Judgment against Monte Vigh is finished. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

          I would apply this to myself in this way: There is therefore now no condemnation for Monte Vigh because Monte Vigh is in Christ Jesus. There was condemnation for Monte’s sin, but that has all been propitiated[11] through the blood of Jesus Christ so that the wrath of God against my sin is removed forever! The Spirit of life has exercised the very law of God that I live, and has set me free from the law that sought my eternal damnation, the law of sin and death.

          Believers in Jesus Christ are always going to face powerful forces that are against us. Governments will destroy church buildings, burn Bibles, and throw Christians into prisons. They will massacre Christians in the hope of scaring other Christians into silence. They will express a constant threat of terrorism that will not be covered by the world’s news media so as to avoid the possibility of stirring up whatever hidden expressions of the image of God is still able to be touched by sympathy and compassion.

          The message of Revelation is the message of Romans, that if God is for us, who can be against us. Look at that beast, and that false prophet, and that antichrist, and that red dragon, and that collection of armies from all nations, all those beings who are against us. Now look upwards through that doorway that stands open in heaven,[12] and see the throne that is standing there, and see the one who is seated on that throne, and see the one who is seated at his right hand, and the complete sevenness of the Holy Spirit always moving between God and his people. It does not matter who is against us if the Triune is for us.

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] Romans 8:39
[2] “At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.” (Revelation 4:2)
[3] Romans 8:31
[4] I Corinthians 8:6
[5] Romans 8:34
[6] Colossians 3:15
[7] Hebrews 1:3
[8] Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2)
[9] Revelation 19:16
[10] I John 2:1
[11] Propitiation is “the removal of wrath by the offering of a gift” (NBD). It describes how Jesus so satisfied the wrath of God against our sin that there is none left. The wrath of God against our sin has been fully expended, and there is no more to give. The wrath of God is now removed from those who believe in Jesus Christ so they will never experience God’s wrath. There is still wrath stored up for those who reject Christ’s gift, but the true child of God will never see it expressed towards anyone in the household of God.
[12] Revelation 4:1

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