THIS PRAYER WAS ANSWERED!

I receive a very interesting mailing every fifteen days from a man named David Wilkerson. For those of you who do not recognize the name, I will just say he is a godly evangelist that began a ministry years ago among the gangs of New York City (see, The Cross and the Swithchblade) which is now global in its impact.

The message in this mailing made reference to the prayer of Christ for his disciples just before he was taken to be condemned and crucified. What caught my attention was the observation of the status of his disciples at that moment in the Gospel narrative: they were in fact already possessors of what we call ‘saving faith’. As Jesus prays, he tells his Father that he has given these men the words (testimony) that his Father had sent him into the world with and that they had  received that word, believing that he was in fact the Messiah, the sent One of God. Peter, for example, had made his profession days before upon which Christ made then his declaration that he would build his Church on the rock of Peter’s (and the other Disciples) confession of faith.

While he was with the disciples, he himself had been like a shepherd, keeping them safely within the sheepfold of salvation. Now Jesus knew that his hour had come to die for the sins of the world as The Lamb of God. This prayer is first and foremost about Jesus asking the Father which sent him into the world, on the basis of his perfect obedience in fulfilling his mission, to keep forever these that believed on him. Whatever it would take in the days to come, including their denial and abandoning him in the face of death, he was then and there making full provision for their eternal destiny as children of God. He was in essence, asking God to never abandon His People.

Two thousand years of subsequent experience of countless disciples of Jesus Christ in every part of humanity has demonstrated that this prayer was heard; begining with the first generation of disciples who received the gift of Christ’s own Spirit and were strengthened to testify of Christ and his original message against all odds, and then those that received the message from these first disciples and believed on the Christ for their own salvation.

The take away for us who have initially put our faith and trust in Him is a powerful assurance that this prayer was for us as well and secures from God the keeping of our soul in this present evil age. Every provision for our salvation from initial faith to final glory is the direct result of this prayer.

“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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”        -Romans 8:34,35

see original post: Glorify Thy Son

Michael Card sings about one of the first ‘BELIEVERS‘ in the Gospel narrative. (video)

Have we really listened to what he said about the Age to Come?

The Apostle Peter left no doubt about what he was hoping for when  he wrote a final message of encouragement near the end of his life: ” …We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter3).

But the Apostle who wrote the great “resurrection” chapter of the Bible is not quite so clear about the “new earth”. He gives us his vision in pieces in his various letters such as when he says of creation: “The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8).

For Saint Paul, the new earth is the whole accomplishment of the redemptive work of God in Christ. He actually says very little about “heaven” as it is commonly understood by many Christians today.

“The passages where Paul’s thought climbs to its most stupendous heights and reaches a climax are those in which he speaks of Jesus as the origin and the goal of all creation. Believers have always found, in the words of Professor Strachan, that ‘it is impossible for a Christian who thinks at all to have Christ in his heart and to keep Him out of the universe’.

“The one whose own life has suddenly leapt into meaning beneath the touch of Jesus, who has seen his own experience transformed from a chaos into a cosmos by some never-to-be-forgotten Damascus encounter, has a right to claim that he has found the clue to the riddle of life and destiny.”

“The fact of Christ is the key to the meaning of the universe; and Christian experience will never consent to be robbed of the conviction that the Redeemer who has shown Himself of absolute and final worth in the experience of the individual soul must be ablsolute and final all along the line of God’s creation.” ( A Man in Christ:the Vital Elements of St.Paul’s Religion, 1935, by James S.Stewart)

kosmos

These thoughts come in the middle of some of those passages scattered through Paul’s letters and it would be too cumbersome to include them all here. The point is Paul was not silent about the future state of life on earth in God’s plan of redemption and if we make the biblical narrative our guide book rather that tradition, folk religion, or anything else, we get a glimpse of what awaits us. For instance, the First Epistle to the Corinthian Church is full of such things, here is just one sample:

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him”

The Spirit of Paul and this post is captured on YouTube, “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name“.