Consider Our Heritage

Consider Our Heritage

“They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,
were tempted, were slain with the sword:
they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:)
Hebrews 11:37-38

How we need to contemplate our heritage and the bravery and purity of those who have gone on before us. By faith they forsook the ways of this present world because they were in pursuit of a City whose “builder and maker is God”. It is the nature of faith to produce within the lives of His Own a pilgrim walk; a life of separation and detachment from the toxic offerings of a world opposed to all that is godly and righteous.

We need only study the lives of those who through faith obtained a “good report” from God to consider our ways and find grace to walk in the “paths of righteousness”. These precious saints paid a price for their faith. Their lives were such a light and revelation of their faithfulness to God that it caused those around them to take note of the dynamic faith, which was living, vital and real in their lives.

“…who through faith overcame kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the mouths of the sword, acquired power from weakness, became strong in war; made armies of foreigners to yield. Women received their dead by resurrection; but others were beaten to death, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
Hebrews 11:33-35

They had their eyes upon a “better resurrection”. By faith they were convinced that the life lived here on earth was a determining factor in the eternal realities of God. It is a false gospel which declares that regardless of how we live our lives here, our resurrection is unaffected. It is a degrading concept of a Holy and Righteous God!

Surely it is a day for us to consider our ways; to contemplate the beauty and quality of the lives of those who have gone before us. May we see and feel their testimony passed on to us that by the same power of a living faith we would walk worthy of Him who has “called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

“Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”
Hebrews 12:1-2

Ω

“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God,
in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses…”
2 Corinthians 6:4

Brian Troxel

Eternal Life and the Resurrection – Part One

Eternal Life & The Resurrection

Eternal Life

Introduction

“And this is the promise that he hath promised us,
even eternal life”
1 John 2:25

Jesus did not come to give us eternal existence. All of humanity has an ongoing existence after this life. Christ came to bring His creation into life!

“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
John 10:10

Life is so much more than the continuum of time; life is to be filled with an abundance of knowing, loving and worshiping Him who is the LIFE. Many believers consider eternal life in reference to something they receive after they die, rather than in terms of their relationship with God in the now. This is where we lose the impact and the wonder of all that Christ is. Jesus Himself defined eternal life and His definition was clear and concise; eternal life is defined by our relationship with Him and His Father.

“And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
John 17:3

The depth of our knowing of Him and the Father is THE determining factor in the power and wonder of our own resurrection.

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection
Hebrews 11:33-35

Eternal life is not something we earn; it is simply the gift of God. Through grace we are given this gift in the person of Jesus Christ without merit or works of our own. He IS eternal life; it is not a commodity given apart from Him. It is my relationship with Him which determines the power and the marvelous working of His life in mine. Relationship is never earned; it is fostered and nurtured by the entwining of one life with another. Love always denotes action, sacrifice and pursuit.

“And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.”
1 John 5:11

Eternal Life is IN the Son and my partaking of Him determines the depth, the power and the influence of Him within my being. The branch must abide in the vine to partake of the power and life of the vine. As I yield to His Life and His government eternal life is at work. Jesus did not come to bring a new teaching; He came to bring unto us His Life in the “age” of our time* (see note below). Eternal life is not a futuristic notion. It is in the here and now that we are afforded the opportunity to deepen and grow in our life IN Him. In this present tense of life, we are made partakers of His promises and His goodness. The word of the Lord is ever “Today if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts”. It is the present tense of our relationship with Him that gives value and depth to eternal life. Paul says in Galatians:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I NOW live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20

Eternal life is the “now” life. It is Life held within the frailty of the earthen vessel. It is what we DO with His life which determines the power of His resurrection within us. The parables of the Talents, the Pounds and the Sower all clearly reveal our part in this mystery. The story of the talents was not about how many talents were received; the truth conveyed in the parable is all about what they did with what they received. Same with the story of the Pounds. The fruitfulness of the various lives represented in the parable of the sower were NOT predicated on the life of the seed; fruitfulness was determined by the soil into which the precious seed fell. So too with us. It is the soil of our lives which determines the fruitfulness of Christ. No one can hinder or cause us to be unfruitful or to be fruitful. It is our own relationship with Him which allows and determines the growth of the seed.

The story of the talents was not about how many talents were received; the truth conveyed in the parable is all about what they did with what they received

Relationship is the great Mystery of God; a mystery which cannot be taught or learned intellectually. It can only be surrendered to, explored and developed. Faith is the portal and love the motive for our relationship with Him who is the Life.

“The Life which I now live…”
Galatians 2:20

This is true for all of us. The life we are now living is the expression of who He is in us. We must embrace the witness of the scriptures concerning our present and true spiritual condition. Religion seeks to insulate us from the truth of the words of Christ but there is a stark reality we must step into if we would walk with Him. In the shining forth of Him there is a beholding of ourselves. It is in this crucible of “present truth” that we are faced with our present need. How good is the living word of God! Let it cut and reveal the verity of what we are that we may run to Him for Grace. It is in Him “where we (can) live, and move” and fully become a new creation. How can we settle for a sip here and there when the living waters of His life are available? How can we continue to hide from ourselves and those around us our true condition when the power of His Life is available to us freely and without measure? It is in our ability to face ourselves that we discover the abundant resources of the living Christ. Truth, to be truth, must expose all that is untrue within us. Truly it is the goodness of God that ever leads us to repentance. Of all the gifts that have been given the gift of repentance excels them all!

Continued in Part Two

* Note: The Greek word translated “eternal”
[166 (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age (165 /aiṓn) it relates to. Thus believers live in “eternal (166 /aiṓnios) life” right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession. (Note the Gk present tense of having eternal life in Jn 3:36, 5:24, 6:47; cf. Ro 6:23.)]

Brian Troxel