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Come unto Me, says Jesus

January 14, 2011

I am going to dwell on what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and abide in him.

How do we come into a relationship with Jesus?
Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will – to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. He did this when he revealed to us the secret of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ – the things in heaven and the things on earth. In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ,would be to the praise of his glory. And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ– you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.

What role does “Election” or “Predestination” play in our coming to Jesus?

Many people want to know their election before they look to Christ. But they cannot learn it thus; it is only to be discovered by ‘looking unto Jesus.’ Look to Jesus, believe on Him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for as surely as you believe, you are elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust Him, then you are one of God’s chosen ones. Go to Jesus just as you are. Go straight to Christ, hide in His wounds, and you shall know your election.

Christ was at the everlasting council. He can tell you whether you were chosen or not, but you cannot find out in any other way. Go and put your trust in Him. There will be no doubt about His having chosen you, when you have chosen Him. – Charles Spurgeon

“Elect” is always used of those who have already become believers, never of those who have not yet received the call. – J. Huther, Ed., (Reference: Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Epistles of St. Paul to Timothy and Titus, Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.)

Do you want to know if you are the Elect one? Answer this question and you will know: Am I willing to keep aside my bondage to my culture, my gods, my sins, my relationships and my pride and leave everything and come to Jesus Christ – surrender my control of my own life – and let him dictate the terms of my life and accept that only through Jesus Christ can I enjoy the right relationship with God – and accept him as the Lord of my life?

If your answer is “No”, you are not the chosen one. If you have answered yes, he will prove to you, through rest of your life, by purpose (Rom. 9:11), grace (Rom. 11:5), love (1 Thess. 1:4), and foreknowledge (1 Pet. 1:2), that you are the “chosen” one. Our election will be clear in retrospection as we look to the past when walking with the Lord. Don’t sit there and wonder if I am the elected one. Believe in Jesus, and you will receive ample proof until the day you die.

But Why has God adopted me as his child?

God created us to identify us with him. But we sinned and refused to be identified with him. So then, God gave the Law to reveal his nature and his standard. He expected his creation to be able to abide by it – but the Law in turn proved to reveal the sin in man’s life and not help him gain the right understanding of God. The Law exposed the sin – since man tried to abide by it only through the flesh and not via the spirit because the spirit of man was incapable of any righteous acts (even obeying God is a righteous act) – instead of making man righteous.

We see this in Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

In order to re-establish my identity with God, he adopted me as his child by cleansing me with the blood of Christ. He thoroughly washed me clean – and gave me the Spirit of his Son, so that I now am able to obey God and abide in Him. It is not without his Spirit that I can do so, because I am still in my flesh and my own spirit does not like the Spirit of Jesus in me.

As part of re-establishing my identity, God is working on conforming me to the image of His son Jesus.

We see this in Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Sonwould be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

He has adopted us as his children so that he can make us One with Christ. And that is why understanding what the “personal” relationship with Christ means, is important.

What is the Personal Relationship with Christ?

Like any other relationship – it is a process. It was demonstrated by God in creation, defined by the law, was established in Christ on the cross, providing us a way to enter that relationship – be born into it via faith in Christ – and it is nurtured by God, by our cooperation, until we die. He wants our help in developing this relationship. But before we start cooperating with God, we need to understand what this relationship will bring to us. Making this relationship possible was very expensive – crucifixion of Jesus – so it must bring something of great value to us.

For that, lets turn to Matthew 5:1 – Whenhe saw the crowds, he went up the mountain.After he sat down his disciples came to him. Thenhe began to teachthem by saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hungerand thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

“Blessed are you when peopleinsult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falselyon account of me.

Some think these are the qualities we must posses if we wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Some believe that these are the commandments given by Jesus that we must practice – be poor in spirit, mourn, be meek etc.

I believe it is not so. Read carefully – this is what Jesus promises you to be transformed into once you are willing to follow Him. This is what you will get when you enter into a relationship with Christ. Let me give you an example. Imagine you are walking in a town, going past various restaurants. You see their menus on the glass doors. You glance through the menu, and if you like it, you walk in. If you do not like the menu, you do not enter in. But once you like the menu and you enter in, then you order from the menu and you get what you ordered.

In you spiritual journey, if you are truly seeking God, you come across this menu that we see in Matthew 5. The menu offers you the picture of what you will become if you follow Jesus – You will be made poor in spirit, You will mourn, You will be made meek, You will hunger and thirst for righteousness, You will be able to show mercy, You will be made pure in heart, You will become peace makers, You will be persecuted and insulted.

The question is, do you like the menu?

If you do, enter in! And remember, the restaurant offers all of this for free – because it is all paid for by the owner of the restaurant (or rightly put, the Owner of the Kingdom, Jesus Christ!). All you do is walk in and enjoy.

But there is one caveat in all of this. In order to help you become what Jesus will make you, you need to give him full control. That is an important aspect of this agreement with Jesus.

So those of you who are not experiencing any of these qualities in their lives, that the Lord wants to impart to you, be 100% sure that you are not yet giving full control of your life to Him.

It is true about me.

I am still not able to be wanting the spirit badly – a sign of being “poor”, meaning in “want”, in spirit. Time and again, I rely on my flesh and my inactive spirit and not on that of Jesus. At times I desire worldly things – job satisfaction, fruitful and comforting relationships, my investments and such.

I am not able to mourn for the right reasons and with the right attitude always – sometimes I mourn out of self-pity. I mourn to gain sympathy or maybe to show others how contrite in heart I am.

I am not able to humble myself, a sign of meekness. At times, I show pride at work, I even argue with Uma in pride. I do not like taking help, even though I know it will benefit me.

I do not hunger or thirst for righteousness, but for recognition from others. I am seeking worldly praise. Even from believers, I am seeking approval of my work and my service to others. I am looking for praise or a pat on my back or recognition in some way – instead of seeking what God wants me to go after.

I am not able to show mercy – root of it is my desire not to forgive. I cannot forgive some of the loved ones. At times, I cannot forgive Uma, even though it is not her mistake. This stems from my pride and arrogance that make me unforgiving. I doubt the intentions of those who are trying to help me. I even have prayed or demonstrated my faith in words, when the desire underneath was no where close to what Jesus had for lost souls. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and I am sure he wept bitterly.

I struggle against purity of heart. I desire “purity” the most – but often find myself thinking impure thoughts. Some of the thoughts are in the area of my possessions, some are in the area of treating my parents, some dealing with lust.

I am often the one causing a big argument, and not the one making peace. Because of self-pity, I cause more harm and create an environment of hostility. In fact, I have made some people’s live miserable by my arguing attitude at times.

I am not being persecuted or insulted. In fact, I am respected within my friend and work circles. It is because I am not yet bold in sharing Christ. There are a few who hate me for my faith, but that is no where near persecution or insult.

After hearing all this, you must be wondering how is this person qualified to even teach or write or preach? In fact, you may want to stone me too.

But I have one hope – the promise of Jesus that he will not give up on me. Ask any Doctor – knowing the problem is a good news, because then it can be treated. If it is not known, it cannot be treated.

So what do I do? I take all this to Jesus, daily – each moment. And I remind myself that I will have this struggle in me, because I am still in flesh. Giving control will be hard, but I have to persist in doing so.

If you are a believer reading this, but still continue to struggle with giving control over to Christ, this is the day for you to repent of your sin. Remember, we sin even after we come to the Lord. In fact, it may become worse because we may boast in the grace of God. We may fool ourselves by “speaking” the language of the word of God and “talking the walk, but not walking the talk”, but not having any closeness with our Lord. We may always be concerned about the salvation of others, be fervent in service, but not understand the true value of our relationship with Him. All this is possible, because we are still being challenged in every area of our faith by the powers of this world.

If you are an unbeliever, see if you like the menu that Jesus is offering. Let me tell you, it will not be easy. It is a painful process because Jesus will expose every area of your sin. He will literally be doing a surgery of your heart – and exposing every ugly thought that comes from it. And then he will ask you a question after holding the sin in front of you – do you want me to treat this or leave it as it is? If you say yes, he will start the healing. In fact, he will give you a new heart!

If you are someone who is sitting on the fence – may or may not believe in God – then note that this is one of the many chances God will give you. He desires you to come to Him, not in pride, but humility. And he will wait until you are ready to bend your knees and come to him. He will not mind if you put him “on-hold” for years – he will keep the line open. Then he will embrace you in His arms and rejoice for you have come to Him. And then, he will begin his work.

“Come unto me” says Jesus. His call is to come to a person not a religion.

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