Saturday, March 05, 2011

March 5, 2011 … The Nearness of God

Passage of the Day: James 4: 8b –[note underlined/bold portion in context] – 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

My Journal for Today: What a promise we reviewed yesterday from James 4: 8a … that God will draw near to the humble, faithful child of God who seeks nearness to The Lord in his/her life – a life of living sacrifice to a God Who willingly sacrificed all so that we, who believe and receive His grace, might have everlasting life. And the result of such closeness, such intimacy of fellowship, for the one who worships God in Spirit and in truth (see John 4: 23), is the indwelling, empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit, … the ministry that allows the believer to overcome the flesh and follow our Savior’s command (in Luke 9: 23) to deny self, take up his/her cross daily, and follow after our Lord.

MacArthur, in Strength for Today, helps me remember David’s instructions to his son, Solomon, in 1st Chronicles 28: 9, that if Solomon (or any believer) were to seek God, “… God would find [that one].” However, David went on in that passage to expound on the opposite, which is also true, “ … but if you forsake Him (God), He will reject you forever.” Now, this doesn’t mean that a saved person will or can lose his/her salvation. It refers to the truth that God cannot pour His grace into the life of one who is unwilling to humbly receive His free gift of saving grace.

And I return to the principle of God desiring to draw near to the obedient, humble son of God, which is probably best illustrated in the parable of the prodigal father whose lost his prodigal son, who had turned away from the Father and left his dad to squander his inheritance on fleshly living (read it in Luke 15: 11 – 32 [linked]). We read of the son coming to his senses, repenting, and deciding to go and confess to his Father. And when the repentant son comes back, we read of the wonderful image of this prodigal Father, Who is not only waiting for His son, but … He runs to see him and hug him and lavish all the love He can bestow on the boy who has returned to be with the Father. And of course, Jesus, in relating this story to His followers, was picturing His own, loving Father, Who will take in any confessing child of His who is willing to return to the Father and receive that love.

But as with the prodigal, though the love offering is completely unconditional, the giving of that love is conditional; and today’s verse begins to outline those conditions [see today’s verse of emphasis]. The child of God who seeks to receive God’s unfailing and ever faithful grace must be willing to first wash his hands of fleshly living. This is the repentance that is absolutely necessary for the return to the Father and the receipt of His saving grace. The prodigal son of the prodigal Father was finally willing to recognize his sinful ways, to wash his hands of that sinful living (i.e., confess, as in 1st John 1: 9), and to return to the incredible, but loving, arms of his Father.

Yes, that is our loving, faithful, and ever forgiving Heavenly Father; and He waits for us with open arms, … willing to lavish His best on us when we repent and come to Him. But we have to be willing to wash our hands of selfishness and sin, allowing the cleansing blood of God, the Son, to wash us and bring us to a place where we can, in true repentance, present ourselves to the Father, cleansed and ready to receive His grace.

Oh, how I desire to be with my loving Father and to receive His grace. How about you?

My Prayer Today: I come running, dear Father, for your grace! And I feel You, running to me. Amen

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