I’m rooting for the Astros in the current World Series and when I went to be last night it was 4-0 Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. I gave up hope and went to sleep assuming I’d wake up this morning with the Dodgers ahead 3-2 in the series heading to their home ballpark. I was wrong. Somehow, the Astros never gave up and came back to win the game in the 10th inning. This is fun, but not a big deal. What we think about eternity is a big deal. At the beginning of the chapter Wilbourne summarizes what he has covered so far in this section of the book.
With this new identify, we gain a new destiny, a new horizon—the image of God being restored in us, and a new path toward that horizon: pursuing holiness. – Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne
If this is all true, then what is our motivation? Why should I leave behind my selfish nature and partner with God in the pursuit of holiness?
One of the driving convictions of this book is that nothing is more needed to lift us out of ourselves than to know we are connected to the heavenly Christ. If Jesus is in heaven, what is he doing there? – Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne. – Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne
Yesterday’s communion meditation bothered me. It was well intentioned, but went completely against what I’ve been reading. The meditation emphasized the concept of reunion. Communion was portrayed as a weekly reunion with Jesus. I don’t think that’s right. A weekly reunion with Jesus doesn’t help me on Tuesday morning when it hurts to get out of bed and the day ahead is full of difficult things to do. I need to be continually connected to Jesus. I need to have the hope that comes from knowing that someone has survived the worst and achieved victory.
That Jesus is seated means you don’t have to be afraid anymore. “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). You are safe. So when you feel anxious about your life, the road ahead of you on this journey, “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (v. 1). And you will have peace. It’s not over, but it is finished. – Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne
This is such a hard concept to make real in my life. God has designed work for me to do and I should desire to do it. At the same time, the work of making me right with God has been done, it is finished. I don’t need to live life wondering if I will make it into heaven so that I can see Jesus. In a very real sense, I’m already there.
But what union with Christ holds together—and why it gives un unrivaled hope on the journey is that it tells us that God is for you and with you. He is with you and he is for you. You may not have thought much about Jesus ascending into heaven. But Jesus promises us, “It is for your advantage that I go away” (John 16:7). – Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne
Wilbourne points out that some Christian traditions place great emphasis on God being for us, while others put great emphasis on God being with us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 NIV)
We went to a soccer game on Saturday. What struck me was the number of people who know my grandson’s name. He is the youngest player on the team. I have to admit that we weren’t always cheering, as we were sometimes trying to direct. His team was winning by a wide margin, so the coach shifted the players around at halftime. He put some of the younger and less experienced players in the position where they would at least have the opportunity to score a goal. We cheered like crazy and somehow toward the end of the game my grandson persisted and made his way through several opposing players to score his first goal of the year.
How much more must God want to see us experience victory. He is cheering for us, as are all who have gone before. He has also provided himself in the Holy Spirit to empower us and give us strength when we are ready to give up. Most of all he has given us the hope of a new body and a new home with him forever. This really helps when the body hurts and it is hard to get out of bed in the morning.