'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
There is a great reward waiting for you! If you had been notified that you had won the lottery, would you be excited, overcome with joy and anticipation, and anxious to receive it? Of course. Anyone would be. If you belong to Jesus Christ, there is something laid up for you, and waiting for you that pales into complete insignificance anything you can imagine.
It is God's good pleasure to give it to you. This reward will be given to you not on the basis of your good deeds (although there are also rewards or "wages" you can receive also...), but will be given to you on the basis of one thing: the grace of God in Jesus Christ. It is the reward of being with Jesus, seeing His glory, and being glorified with Him for all eternityi! Not only this, but you will be given the right to rule all things with Him forever. Your reward is called an "incorruptible crown of righteousness", of glory with all the other saints in rulership in a kingdom over all things. In this glorious position you will shine as the stars of the heavens with everlasting light.
There will be positions of exciting service and pleasurable activity, not just now and then, but continuously. You will never get tired again. You will never be blue again. You will never hurt or experience pain again. You will never cry with tears of grief and sorrow over loss or shame. You will live in an eternal home, the likes of which you cannot begin to imagine, in a city with ivory palaces, and streets of gold. It will be a rest. A rest from everything tiring, painful, discouraging, fearful, or threatening. A rest with a joy indescribable and everlasting. It will be an ecstasy, exuberance, peace, excitement - "pleasures forevermore". There will be no more painful memories and burdensome regrets. The past with its failures and shames will not even come into mind. All things will be filled with love, and joy of heart. as you serve God endlessly. There will be no more attacks of conscience, worries about life, sickness, and death. The very idea of death will be forgotten and consumed with life and living that cannot now be fully imagined. This reward is so great, how could you not be careful lest you loose it? Such a great reward. And yet - you could loose it.
The greatest overall threat to loosing this reward is summed up by Christ in one word. Endurance "And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, But he who endures to the end will be saved." - Matthew 24:13 Here Jesus implies that the cause of the lack of endurance is growing cold spiritually. In another place He describes the course that one takes to become cold. In writing to the seven churches of Revelation, John the Apostle quotes Jesus regarding the path to becoming so cold that endurance is not possible: "I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see".- (Revelation 3:15-18 AMP) These assumed that they were enduring.
But they have become anesthetized by the ways of the world. They found a comfort level that they perceived as endurance. Jesus says that He wished they were either hot or cold. Being lukewarm is not spiritually tasteful. To Him, or to others. Therefore, endurance is not, according to Jesus, just coasting. These feel certain that they can coast into the Kingdom of God. Actually, this is a very popular assumption today. It is also very subtle. It is also natural. Its easier to coast than to peddle uphill. Those in this condition do have an option in order to recover from their lukewarmness. They can allow Jesus to turn them around, in whatever manner He may choose. But most of the world who have heard the gospel will not respond (Matthew 24:10-12). By just "getting by" spiritually will eventually lead to getting cold. And becoming cold freezes endurance to death. You must endure - whatever that my entail - until the end.
The end can be one or two things. The first, you must endure until you die. Or, second, until Jesus returns while you are living (Matthew 24:13; Luke 12:42-43). All can be lost by failing in this one thing. Failure that is a factor in growing, and repenting, and then continuing is not the kind of failure in endurance that is meant here. We all fail sometime, many times, in many things. But - when we keep on going regardless of the temptations, struggles, discouragements, or pressures by others, or simply life in general - all this IS endurance! But In order to receive such a wonderful and great reward, you must be growing spiritually. Growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). In doing so, you progressively become more formed in His image. Your spirit is being formed in His image, after His likeness more and more. In doing this you will never become lukewarm. You will never then become cold. You will endure! You will receive your great reward! "Accordingly then, let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard) and let us be sober (calm, collected, and circumspect).
"For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who are drunk, get drunk at night. But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who died for us so that whether we are still alive or are dead [at Christ's appearing], we might live together with Him and share His life." - 1 Thessalonians 5:6-10 (AMP)
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