How far away are you?
Regret and separation are two of the most painful issues we will ever handle and ones we are not designed for. The initial separation between God and man took place immediately after the Fall (Gen 3: 1-24). God enjoyed spending time with Adam in the cool of each day (the 1st recorded chill out!) and even knowing what had happened, called to Adam with pain-filled words ‘where are you?’ In reply, Adam blamed his wife Eve, she blamed the serpent (the devil) and Adam & Eve then had to live with the results of their actions. The Fall is a pivotal point in human history, particularly as Adam & Eve lived under ‘conditional immortality’ i.e. they were ‘immortal’ as long as they did not disobey the one command God had given: The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die“(Gen 2:15-17).
Knowing that being given complete freedom (free will) we would ultimately choose our own way, the great thing about God is that he is not phased by this- he actually made a contingency plan before anything existed:
EPH 1:3-8 ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption (a restored relationship) through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.’
To do this God had to provide a Saviour, a rescuer. The name Jesus Christ means ‘chosen rescuer’. Again we see this plan also being put into effect before the world began:
1 PET 1:18-21 ‘For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed (given a restored relationship with God) from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.’
How amazing that before anything existed, you were in the heart and mind of God. King David (a shepherd) reflects on this in Psalm 139:
PS 139 ‘O LORD, you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!’
HOW FAR AWAY FROM GOD ARE YOU? Did you know you are a lot nearer than you think? Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us: ‘God has set eternity in the hearts of men & women’. Also the Bible tells us that the very words of salvation that will bring us eternal life are actually in our heart, in our mouths and on our lips:
DT 30:11-16 ‘Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land’.
This OT promise is repeated in the NT so we can be completely confident of God’s promise to restore us into a permanent relationship with him, for ever & ever!:
ROM 10:8-13 “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess (believe and accept) with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Its like a pair of scales or an invisible ‘law’ written into the fabric of the universe: if you call on the name of the Lord like this, you will be saved.
Grace (God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense) is God giving us what we don’t deserve. Mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve.
The amazing difference between Adam & Eve and you & me is that they began with something good that they were always likely to lose (conditional immortality) and we start with something bad (the curse of sin, death, hell & the judgement of God) yet can gain and forever keep something far better that we don’t deserve (eternal life in heaven!).
RO 8:37-39 ‘No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
You are so near to God, you’re only a prayer away. If you would like to get right with God today, please pray this prayer in your heart:
Dear God, I thank you that you have set eternity in my heart and words of eternal life in my mouth. I believe Jesus Christ, your Son is the Saviour of the world and on the cross 2000 years ago my sins were paid for by him - a transaction took place. I now ask you to forgive me all my sins and exchange them for your gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. I ask you Jesus Christ to now come into my heart and life, to be with me forever. I give my whole life to you and ask you to direct and control my life from this day forward. Please fill me right now with the gift of your Holy Spirit to enable me to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can help you continue with this amazing journey of belonging to God.
We recommend that you find a good lively church near you, where you can become involved and where you will be accepted and grow as a new Christian. Look to see if the church runs a regular Alpha Course: http://uk.alpha.org/findacourse
If you live near Perton, we would love to greet you, please click our ‘where to find us’ link on the LH sidebar.
God bless you,
Pastor Rob Pearson