// Near or Far? \\

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Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Who would ever have conceived such an incredible notion that doing away with the Old Way meant that now everyone could have equal access into the holiest by the shed blood and the broken body of Jesus. The writer is so bold in breaking down the holy exclusivity of the access to God being limited to just the Levites, and then only the family line of Aaron, and then only once yearly. Yet now God Himself has determined that not only those of Israel, but the entire world can enter into fellowship with the Father. A passage in Hebrews enlightens us as to how we draw near to the Father now that the way is made clear;

Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

‘Let’ – the beautiful New Testament word describing the posture of gentle action, neither slothful nor pushing with force of self, but that happy flow of restful work, of gracious effort, working with empowerment ‘without sweat (human effort)’. ‘Drawing near’ leans on the word ‘let’, too. To draw near is to find access with ease, not forced entry. The term we sometimes hear – ‘storming the gates of heaven’, implies we are attempting to break through the unwelcoming portals of God’s home. It says we are resisted from above, and if we exercise enough force we can break in. This idea really is not supported from Scripture. We simply draw near on the power of Christ’s blood and crucified flesh, the supreme sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
The criteria for nearness to the Lord, a true heart, is being real with ourselves and God. We must be authentic, honest and without hypocrisy before the Lord. The conscience can be good or evil, working with God or the devil, working for us or against us. We must develop the mental strength to accept forgiveness and reject the accusations of a conscience that demands punishments and consequences, when all that God’s justice required has been satisfied through the blood of Jesus.
Our bodies have been baptised in water, cleansing us from the world. It is our bodies that place us in contact with all that defiles, through eyes, ears, hands, feet etc. Being separated to God enables us to enter the consecrated pathway into the Holiest drawing near to God Himself fulfilling the ultimate intention of God, fellowship with His people.

See you in church friends

// In Him \\

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Col 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

In Christ we have no need of any other religious observance to make us complete before God. Christ is enough. He is more than enough. In Him dwelt all of God. He was filled with all God is, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are now in Him and are thus also indwelt by all of God.

The only problem with a statement like this, (‘we are complete in Him’), is that it can seem very distant from our actual reality. We read this but then find ourselves wrestling with negative thoughts, angry emotions, troubled relationships, financial anxieties and wonder how on earth Paul can say we are complete. We react wrongly to situations resulting in feeling broken, disjointed and hopeful for better days. We pick up our coffee, sigh, read about another disaster in the world and relegate Scriptures like this to the world of notion, poetry, hyperbole or something that’s just not real. However, that’s exactly why Scripture like this blazes from the pages of the New Covenant. It’s there because we are flawed. Jesus wants us to focus on a finished reality from His point of view. God begins from the finish every time.

Isa 46:10
      Declaring the end from the beginning,
      And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
      Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
      And I will do all My pleasure,’

This is the way to conduct life. See the end, believing it will be and this will shape your strategy and pathway to that end. If you are trying to reach certain people for Christ, see them in your church, then you will see what your message must be, the culture you will create. If you see your financial vision already come to pass, then you will see how you got there, rather than trying to do what you can today hoping you will inch closer to your dream.
God sees you complete in His Son. We need to do the same. Rather than complaining that we are not enough, see and declare that you are enough in Christ.
There is nothing we can do that will add anything to what Jesus has done and who He is in our lives. We are filled full of all we need.
We are in vital living union with the Ruler of all rulers here on Earth and beyond. All authorities are subject to Jesus Christ and we are in Him, thus our capacity to rule in this life is also complete.
When Jesus said ‘It is finished’, (‘completely complete’), He was referring to the completion of our perfect salvation. So we start our race from the finish line.
Joshua was told that God had already given him the land. As he believed this he entered a position where he could hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit to appropriate what belonged to Israel.
As you and I believe that we are already complete in Christ, that we are not trying to become pleasing to God but that we already are through Christ, then we will find ourselves walking a pathway leading us into greater and greater possessions of our realities in Jesus.

Let’s talk about what being complete in Christ means. Much of the Christianity being offered today is a kind of sterile, soulless, existence promising heaven as kind of eternal church service. The church has interpreted anything outside of their very strict paradigm as unholy, worldly and off limits to a ‘good Christian’. This has left us with withered souls, stunted thinking and emotionless ‘nice’ people, hiding our dead inner life with heartless smiles. Our soul must be fed for us to be complete people. Our soul is accessed by art, music, dance, song, poetry and the wide variety of artistic communications that originated from the hand of God Himself. Food and friendship around a table can be one of the most healing, life building experiences for our soul. Great music takes us places nothing else can, just like art and poetry, songs and dancing.

In the name of holiness we have retreated from so much of the world Jesus expected us to engage in. We should easily and simply be able to be in this world even though we are not party to the same spirit.

We must accept that we are complete human beings in Christ, in body, soul and spirit. Our minds, soul, emotions, spirit and body are all equally important to the Father. The body, which we have successfully lowered to the least of those areas of our life that could be important to God, is actually what He resurrected from the grave. The resurrection was about a bodily resurrection. Our physical life is equally as important to God, not something to be dismissed. Through our body we interact with the world God has created. Our eyes look upon a roaring ocean and something rises within. We can look at a blazing sunset and be moved to tears. We hear birds chirping, awakening a dawn and we smile. Our physical world matters to God.

When Paul said you are complete in Him, he was telling us we have been brought into a whole new life of joyful integration of all we have been created to be.

See you in church friends.

Find more material by Ps. Phil here, to help you live your best life.