Saturday, July 6, 2013
What are you doing today?
Heb. 3:12 Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
Heb. 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Heb. 3:14 For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.
Followers of Jesus Christ must not fall into the trap of the Israelites whose lives were built on the foundation of God and the law of Moses but then turned away. These new believers in Christ were to be an encouragement to one another. Daily they were to be reminded of their personal relationship with Christ and not allow sin to have a foothold. All of this was possible through the personal relationship each could enjoy with Jesus Christ for they were not only partners, but they were partakers of Christ. Christ was in them and they were in Christ and when this relationship remained then one could persevere in their faith.
This scripture is a solemn reminder that it is possible for those who have made a commitment to Christ to fall away. Unfortunately the pattern had already been laid by the children of Israel. Over and over again they failed in their relationship to God. Now, Christ, the Messiah had come and it was imperative to remain in a relationship with him on a daily basis. That instruction is true for us today. We must do all that we can to remain in a right relationship with him today! The word "today" as it is used here is very instructive. When Christ returns we will move into a new understanding of time, of eternal time, and we only have "today" until that time comes. We only have "today" as long as we are alive and living here on this earth. Therefore, we must take advantage of the "today" which God has given us. Our opportunity to respond and to live for God is during our "today" and we do not know when our "today" will come to an end. Therefore all of this examination, exhortation and participation must occur during our "today."
Today -- you must check your heart. Is your relationship with God right today? Is there any doubt which may be creeping in? Bring it to him immediately in prayer and allow God to hold you firm in your relationship with him today.
Today -- you must exhort one another. There is a responsibility within the family of faith to encourage one another to continue following Christ. The "family" of faith is just that -- a family -- and just as a nuclear family has responsibilities in nurturing one another -- so the faith family has a responsibility to be an encouragement to one another. Are we accountable to one another spiritually? John Wesley's original class meetings were a gathering of individuals for accountability. They asked each other very serious questions about their daily walk with Jesus Christ. How is it that we have slipped to Sunday School or small groups where we only study but no longer ask each other the hard questions. What would happen if we went back to asking each other these tough questions? It might make us uncomfortable, but it might also make us stronger spiritually. That was the intent of this scripture -- followers of Christ were to exhort one another to protect them as a whole from sin.
Today -- we are to be not only partners with, but partakers of Christ. The Greek here actually invites us in to be partakers of Christ but we struggle with that word in English so it becomes translated "partners" or "share in" Christ. But in reality, we are to be in such an intimate relationship with Christ that we are to be partakers of Christ. Christ is to be in us and we are to be in him. As we grow in our walk with him there ought to be those moments when people don't know whether they are seeing us imitating Christ or are genuinely seeing Christ in us! Our goal is to be like Christ, to be united with Christ and therefore if I am a partaker of Christ "today" then I am purposely moving toward the "telos" or goal of my life, which is to be united with him. But this is only possible if he remains the underlying foundation for everything in our lives. If he does not, we will be like the Israelites who could not stand on the foundation laid by Moses.
Today is the day in which we must remain firm in our relationship with Christ.
Lord, please help me in every one of my today's to remain in you. Amen.