All For The Glory Of Christ
By Rich Carmicheal
The Lord warns us that one day a terrible shaking is going to take place: “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven” (Heb. 12:26). We are even now getting a taste of what it means for everything to be shaken. How quickly and dramatically life has changed with the coronavirus pandemic. We are reminded of how fragile life is, how fragile nations and economies are, and how uncertain times can be.
Thankfully, our God sits enthroned over the flood and is enthroned as King forever! (Psa. 29:10). He is completely in control and is continuing to work out His eternal plans and purposes. And even in this crisis time we can be confident that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
Time for Repentance
We have in this moment the opportunity for a deep work of grace in our lives. The Lord’s call to us in the midst of this calamity is for us to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chr. 7:13-14). This is a time for a deep repentance of any sin and worldliness in our lives, a time to refocus our lives on that which alone (or, better said, on the One who alone) truly matters now and for eternity. There is no doubt that too many of us are not as fervent in our love for the Lord as we should be, but are lukewarm, distracted, and increasingly tolerant of sin in our own lives and in the church. In too many cases, we are lacking spiritual abundance and power, and do not have the passionate concern for others that should mark our lives as believers.
The season that we are in should be a loud wake-up call to us. As the Apostle Paul stresses, “…It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand” (Rom. 13:11-12). Likewise, the Apostle Peter exhorts, “…The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Pet. 4:7).
There is great need for repentance. Christ started His ministry with a call to repentance (Matt. 4:17), and through His last letters to the seven churches He continues to issue that call to us: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:19; cf. 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3).
It is time for the church to make herself ready for Christ (Rev. 19:7). As we look “for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us,” we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and “live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-14). We must “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:14). As the writer of Hebrews exhorts, “…Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2). It is time to turn away from lesser things and to set our hearts fully on Christ.
Christ Is All
After all, everything is ultimately about Him and our relationship with Him! We have been created by Him and for Him (Col. 1:16) – our very existence is for His glory. We belong to Him as those redeemed by His blood – “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:19). We are members of His body, the church; He loves us and gave Himself for us (Eph. 5:25), and one day soon He is coming for us that we may be with Him forever! (John 14:3; 1 Thes. 4:17).
In all things He is to have the preeminence (Col. 1:18). He is God’s only begotten Son, and God has appointed Him as Heir of all things (Heb. 1:2). He is “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End,” the One “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). He is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col. 1:15). “He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Col. 1:17). He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His Person; He upholds all things by the word of His power and He is seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:3).
He was in the beginning with God (John 1:3), and in the end all things will culminate in Him, for God’s purpose is “that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth” (Eph. 1:10). Even now God has “highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).
To Live Is Christ
This is the time to turn our full attention toward Christ. It is time to “count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” and to count all things as rubbish that we may “gain Christ and be found in Him” (Phil. 3:8-9). We owe Christ everything and we are to live for His glory now and for all of eternity. As Paul states so simply and powerfully, “…To live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).
As we renew our devotion to Christ, may He fill us to overflowing with His life, His love, His peace, His joy, His righteousness, His faithfulness, His purity, His sincerity, His strength, His patience, His steadfastness, His perseverance, His humility, His gentleness, His courage, His zeal, His faith, His grace, His compassion, His affection and His victory. May we be filled with His glory and reflect His glory in such a way that others will be drawn to Him! May His Word dwell in us richly, and may we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaim Him to all around us, both through our words and lives, as we look forward to His Return and eternity beyond!