Truth And Consequence – August 9, 2022 (225-227/365)

Christ is our Word of Life, that speaks words to the greatest events, down to the tiniest moments of our lives.

Christ is our Living Word that adds life to the words we speak.

I’ve been bringing this up in the past weeks, in messages both spoken and written – and I suppose I find I am slow to respond, for just recently we also established that Christ is our Living Word that adds life – not ONLY to the words we speak, but the words we read and write as well. Tying this together this my favorite Francis Bacon line (honestly, the only one I know), and we can say that Christ is our Living Word who is essential to our readiness (speaking), our knowledge (reading), and our clarity and precision (writing).

Anyway, I’ll be a little more honest today – I know that Christ adds life to our words, but I’m jumping into today’s reflections head-on, fully aware that what I share is probably taken too out of context. Or, well, who knows – maybe we’ll all get something from this. Or I suppose I should be sure and confident that we shall – for we don’t add value to our words, more than Christ adds literal life to all I write, all you read, and all we’ll all say after all is literally said and done.

If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;

if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Proverbs 9:12

The way I see these verses, the first thing that comes into mind is this – we are the first to receive the consequences of our actions. Or, maybe not even the first, but we’re sure to be the greatest recipients of what happens after we do what we do.

If we impart wisdom upon others, the others don’t benefit – at least not more than you stand to gain. Jim Kwik says that when you teach someone something, you’re learning that something twice. I definitely agree with that but I would add an observation – that, apparently, we’re more sure of the words that come out of our mouths more than how these same words are received by whoever listens to you, or even just whoever hears you. And, obviously, if you seek wisdom, sure, you’re set to get more wisdom to help others, but nobody isn’t helped more than you are in the venture.

Obviously if you sow seeds of strife and accusation, expect your own credibility to be put in question. The other people you spread your negative words to may not necessarily understand anything and everything that’s going on. You may have your awareness, and may have some ideas for yourself about how you may suffer… but it’s really not for you to say, and the truth is, just as you stand to gain the most when seeking or imparting wisdom, so you also stand to lose the most when you live according to the scoffing you both give and receive.

And as we also have established in previous writings, these consequences may accumulate and then hit us hard so suddenly, or we may see the fruit of our labor, little by little, one day at a time, and then suddenly realize how far we’ve gone given a, say, high-enough perspective.

Am I trying to point out that we should be mindful of our actions? Probably. But one thing’s for sure: I’m not trying to stir up any sort of anxiety. As always I don’t share things like this in order for us to put the focus back on ourselves or on our performance… more than we should be reminded of Christ and His finished work.

See here, another perspective of the salvation we have, bought for us by no less than the Son of God – Christ is the One who knows all of the possible outcomes for all the possible scenarios for each and every person that’s ever lived – from the immediate effects to the impact that’s to come over centuries, and all down to the smallest of details. I believe He is also the One who sees what outcomes there may be for all of us as a species, from the highest possible perspectives – and I believe that idea played a part in Paul’s mind when he wrote so clearly, and so generally, that ‘the wages of sin is death.’

Paul also wrote, later in the book of Romans, that by one man’s disobedience we were all made sinners, made to pay with death. I believe Christ grieved when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, knowing that anyone and everyone separated from God all shared a common outcome – and, I like how Chuck Palahniuk wrote it: ‘On a long-enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.’

Talk about consequences of our actions. But again, the point here is not for us to rationalize any trace of neuroticism in our own actions, but for us to find peace in the fact that what Christ did for us had greater – INFINITELY greater impact that anything we have ever done, and/or everything we have ever achieved. I only pointed out the first sections of the verses I’ve been quoting: Sure, the wages of sin is death, but Paul finishes Romans 6:23 by saying BUT – ‘but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’

Sure, I mentioned, that by Adam’s transgression many were made sinners – but, actually, EARLIER in the book of Romans, Paul says, ‘so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.’

What a great salvation we have in Christ. We realize that we have essentially been set free from the greatest consequence of our actions: Entropy, or absolute death – not only our bodies but our entire beings just… ending. Christ said it Himself – ‘He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.’; We may fade into absolute insignificance in this finite world – and this is most probably a result of our own actions, and/or the actions of others, but we ought to let it be known that Christ IS the Resurrection and the Life, for all who trust Him that their entire beings would live, as He lives forever. 

Is this to say that we no longer need to worry about taking accountability for our actions? Absolutely not. As Paul said, how could we sin any longer, now that we have been made new creations? I’ll say it plainly – because Christ went out of His way to pay such a great price, all in the name of taking responsibility for OUR actions, so we overflow, not only with life, but with MEANING – to be accountable for what we do.

Once, we were sinners, capable only of death. Now, because of Christ, we celebrate how we have been not only separated from sin, but absolutely FILLED with righteousness, much to the point that we ourselves have been made righteous, as Christ is righteous – and this is righteousness unto eternal life!

Now, we are righteous, and we come full circle – Christ is the Life in our words, and surely, He is the Word behind our actions! I mean, isn’t that such a beautiful thing; what a great grace given to us, in the form of Christ, and- let me take a couple of steps because I need space for this: 

He took the consequences we were supposed to feel first-hand and in full force,

so we would receive the blessings He deserved, in INFINITE measure, today and forever!

I needed space to say what I said in bold, but now… lend me an ear, because I want to further clarify what I have in my mind :

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.

Proverbs 9:10-11

Friends, find rest, and find peace, in no less than the Son of God, who has done so much for all of us. Give some consideration to the eternal, infinite, everlasting love of God, as seen by Jesus Christ, who left the glory of His heavenly throne, to be born as one of us, confined within Creation – within the boundaries of time, and the borders of space.

As Christ was born as one of us, He felt all we felt, ate what we ate; He walked with us, talked with us, laughed with us, and cried with us, but this wasn’t exactly what He had in mind when He intended to dwell among us. No, in an act which satisfied the entirety of the Old Covenant, Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice – His flesh offered up not only for the sins of a people for a season, but for the sin of the world; No, the Word says, not being content to take our sins, by His body He BECAME sin. In what we’ve established as the religious act of Holy Communion, we not only eat bread to remember His body, but we also drink wine (or grape juice) to remember His blood: By the blood we not only receive the forgiveness of our sins (as the blood of bulls and goats guaranteed for Israel for a limited period of time) – more than forgiveness, we have been given righteousness; and not only have we been GIVEN righteousness, but, friends, if you’re still with me, get this: Christ BECAME sin in order for us to become HIS righteousness!

He who knew no sin became sin in order for us to become His righteousness… and how can we say He took all the sin that could possibly be measured? Well, count His resurrection as a receipt – for when Christ walked out of the empty grave, He not only pointed out that He was alive, but that the Life He lives and gives to anyone and everyone who believes in Him is a Life BEYOND death!

And it doesn’t stop there: As an exclamation point, and as further demonstration of the infinite implications of His victory, He ascended into heaven after 40 days. Doing what He just did, did He ascend to leave us? I don’t think so.

My Mom had me prepare a set of verses, printed on a sheet of paper with copies to be made, in order for her to share to her friends so she could tell them about the rapture. One of the verses that she pointed out was John 14:2-4, pointing out that Christ ascended to heaven to ‘prepare a place’ for us. I do believe this, but I’m not so sure that Christ – the Son of God – is STILL preparing a place for me, as if to say that it’s something for us to enjoy in the future -when we die, or when He returns, whichever comes first.

I believe that the reason why Christ ascended is for ALL of us to enjoy His companionship, and for ALL of us to enjoy His presence with us, as close as He could ever be with us, even closer than He was with the disciples, even closer than John, who lay his head upon Christ’s chest. How can I believe this? After Christ ascended, the Holy Spirit descended upon His followers in the upper room – a fulfillment of His promise that He will be WITH us, and He will NEVER leave us. The Holy Spirit is Christ’s presence with us, and our presence with Him, as close as we could ever be with each other, and this is no privilege to be gained by religiosity – No, if you’ve noticed, it was CHRIST who did it all!

So, again, I say:

He took the consequences we were supposed to feel first-hand and in full force,

so we would receive the blessings He deserved, in INFINITE measure, today and forever!

There was a set of verses in the Old Testament – Numbers 6:23-27 – called the ‘Aaronic blessing’ in many Christian circles. It was passed on from parent to child, and we do still state this blessing at church… but I’ve been thinking twice about declaring it. Let me just share it really quick:

The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you

The Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Here’s the thing: By the finished work of Christ, we know that He has given us peace and confidence – for we have been freed from fear of absolute death, and we are in awe of how God is faithful to make all things work for our good, knowing that we have reciprocated His love, and now know we have been called according to His purpose and will.

By the finished work of Christ do we know that the Lord is not only great, but He is good – so good that He sees sin separated from us, and His Son’s righteousness literally part of us, just as His own Son is righteous; by this we know that it is not what we do, but what Christ has done that has our God, whom we call our Father, shining His face upon us, and lifting His countenance upon us.

And praise God! For because of what Christ has done, we can come boldly to the throne of grace, coming as we are to the thrice holy God, calling Him ‘Lord’, but more importantly, ‘Abba, FATHER’! We came as the prodigal son, ready to submit ourselves as servants, relinquishing our true identities, but the Father would not have it, blessing us by way of clothing us, keeping us by way of giving us His ring, and being gracious to us by way of having the fattened calf butchered – friends, He ran to us, so we could run to Him!

Why am I saying all this? Friends, we may be blessed with unexpected favor, or huge amounts of provision. Some of us may even experience the absolute miracle of healing, with not only days but literal years being added to our lives here in this reality… but what I’m trying to say when I say that we would – and actually, we HAVE – receive blessings is that Christ HIMSELF is the greatest blessing that ever happened to us! Jesus Christ is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and He certainly IS Blessing of all Blessings!

I mean, can we now see how we couldn’t just say ‘Believe in Jesus so you won’t go to hell’ – Man, that’s selling Him so short! I mean it’s true, but I hope you see now, how we can just go on and on and on in appreciating Christ and His finished work. With enough time we can appreciate all that there is about any sort of blessing that we could receive in this life – eventually, we’d have some contempt for all of it – but this certainly isn’t the case when we, as finite beings with finite minds, take the time – not to fully contain the infinite wisdom and eternal power of our Savior (impossible!) but to just bask in this Truth, to have it minister to us, that we would always be in awe of a great and mighty God, that we would always be in wonder, overwhelmed by the fact that He was and is just so mindful of us, down to the smallest of code in the smallest of cells that comprise our bodies.

There’s so much to this Truth! There’s so much to just taking it in, because we know that we’d never fall short – we’d always, and ALWAYS be overwhelmed!

Friends, I’ve said so much, and maybe too much. I’m thankful that you’re with me up until now. Quite frankly, I don’t think this is just about me hitting the thousand word mark every day – But I’ve come to embrace these times on the laptop, if only to appreciate this investment without wasting my time watching reruns of The Office, or playing Fallout 4 hours on end. Sure, those things have their consequences, but these moments when I’m brought to just take verses and to write remind me of that which really matters, and that which just simply overruns and overwhelms any and all consequences I will face and endure.

Christ is the Peace that holds me together when things happen, and He is the Power behind all things that I make happen. He is the Life behind my words, and the Love with me in all my actions. He IS the Beginning. He IS the End. He IS the First and He IS the Last. He IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life – and I don’t know what else to focus on, knowing that He is focused on me that much. Oh, we do not have a religion which is easily broken down into doctrine and works… We have a full, living Salvation that was broken for us to be whole – not only in our mind, but in our entire being – and in all that we do, we flow, flow, flow His goodness and His grace.

Okay, I’m clearly rambling now. I apologize for keeping you this long, and because this is a Tuesday, I do apologize in advance, for I do have another article following this one which documents the words I would receive from our good old Pastor Joedy. For now, I’ll just go ahead and repeat what I mentioned earlier:

He took the consequences we were supposed to feel first-hand and in full force,

so we would receive the blessings He deserved, in INFINITE measure, today and forever.

Or maybe I’ll change that a little.

He took the consequences we were supposed to feel first-hand and in full force,

so we would enjoy Him, today and forever.

Until the next article, I pray and I declare that anyone and everyone who stumbles upon these words that I share would just consider the goodness and greatness of God, as seen by Jesus Christ, who demonstrated His love by way of His birth, death, resurrection and ascension.

Be blessed, my good brothers and sisters. I thank God for all of you.

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