God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1: 9

 

We don’t always stay true to our commitments or promises, but God does. People are too easily influenced by the attractive enticements of our world; yet, our Lord remains good to His word to redeem us and save us for all of eternity. There exists a stark difference in the way that we humans function and the way that God does; still, Christ works unceasingly to bring us closer to His righteous image as He removes our sinfulness and replaces it with His glory. This is one of the most powerfully significant aspects of what it means to be a follower of Christ. We are redeemed from sin’s death, set free from its slavery, and we are made new, day by day, by the renewing presence of the Spirit and in the counsel and instruction of God’s Living Word.

 

In His own crazy and often unexplainable manner, God wants to be with us people. He can associate with anyone and anything that He chooses, but He so chooses us. This does not really make much sense, but God does not need to explain Himself to me. His desire for relationship with me and with you is so great and runs so deep that He gave all in order to accomplish it. Now, He also pursues us unceasingly in order to hold onto our wandering hearts. Despite the insult of our own weakness and often too prevalent sinfulness, Christ is faithful to redeem us from the disaster that we often make of life, and He is firmly committed to present us before the Father as His own redeemed daughters and sons when we face the final judgement.

 

The sort of connection that God wants to have with us is much deeper and far richer than any relationship that we can imagine on earth. The Lord gives to us a love that is perfect and boundless, grace that overcomes all of our sin, comfort that is more powerful than all of our loss and pain, and peace that penetrates to the depths of the soul. These are some of the gifts from eternity that Christ provides to us as we journey through life in relationship with Him. Jesus does ask that we respond to Him, that we say yes to His call to repentance and to enter into this fellowship of faith that is His love gift to us. Yet, even in offering such an unimaginably great gift as is Christ’s one of redemption and eternal life, the Lord places no conditions upon us, no preconditions on our acceptance by Him, and requires nothing of us except that we surrender to His will. Then we are in deep and lasting fellowship with God, the Lord of the Universe.

Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I can not see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 23: 23, 24

 

To stick with the motif at hand, let me pose a question. Does God ever seem to be asking you to consider something that on the surface might appear obvious? At least it is a question that has a church world, Christian faith life right answer. Although Jeremiah is addressing a rather specific audience at this point, he is really expressing God’s challenge to all of His people. These questions are ones that each of us should ponder and answer with true candor. In other words, we should look at our lives and respond based upon how we actually live and do so with a heart of confession and repentance.

 

If we believe with all of our being that God is at hand, that He is right here in this room and inside of my heart and mind, would we think, say, and do the things that we do? If we didn’t somehow believe that there were times when we were invisible to God, how is it that we can ever consider that any of our sinfulness is actually hidden? From my own perspective, there are times when I lose sight of both of these facts; yet, God’s nearness is one of His characteristics that I value the most. Perhaps I want Him close at hand when I am in need of comfort, counsel or rescue, but I want to be far from His sight when I am seeking to live as I please. It would seem that these questions do matter to me.

 

As I answer them in honest reflection on the way that I live, how far I wander away from God’s will, His calling, and righteousness becomes far too apparent. Yet God is not repulsed. He does not leave me. Rather, my Lord calls to me, and He comes to me even in the far corners of my wandering. I am confronted with the reality that there is no place that I can go, either in terms of literal physical location or in the sojourning of my heart and mind, where the presence of the Lord does not fill the room. Christ did not come into this world just to live in it for a time, He enveloped the world for all time, and He infuses it with the presence of His Spirit. This means that I am never actually separated from God, and it also means that His love, grace, and restorative mercy are always at work in me. As I recognize my sin and desire to turn away from it, Christ is faithful to renew and to restore me.