Before Jesus ascended, He assured His disciples that He was going away “to prepare a place” for them, and for us. “In my Father’s house there are many rooms.” The Scriptures give us glimpses of what that heavenly abode will be like: streets of gold like transparent glass, the river of life where everything lives, the light of God’s own countenance filling every corner of creation with fullness of joy. But the best part of heaven is that Jesus Himself will be with us. “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” So, not only is He doing all the work of preparing heaven for us, He is also the one who will take us there. He will remove all our sins, wipe away all our tears, and make us fit to dwell with Him in otherwise unapproachable light. Heaven would destroy us if not for His loving transformation of our hearts and souls that is to come. May we lose our appetite for earthly mansions and dwell on Him!
As fallen humans, we are no strangers to disease; even when we are healthy, we know that sickness and death could come at any minute. But what we often don’t see is the sickness of our souls. We don’t realize that we are “wretched, pitiable, poor, and blind;” we are oblivious of the way sin pervades and perverts our whole being. “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds.” There is no cure that can ever be devised for such a sickness; the only viable treatment plan for this most chronic of diseases is death. And Christ, knowing this as He knows all things, “took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” He died, and in His death we find our cure; our sin killed Him so that He could kill our sin. He not only gives us the diagnosis, but dies and lives again to procure the cure for us! “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Law, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear, and rules of the Lord are “sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” But what of Him who made sweetness itself, who created the sensation and provided ways for us to taste it? There is something about the taste of something sweet that has both power and joy in it; when Jonathan ate the honey, his eyes became bright and his body and soul were revived. Earthly sweetness, for all its benefits, is corrupt and carries many unfortunate consequences when overindulged in: “It is not good to eat much honey.” But the sweetness that Jesus offers comes with no such warnings. “Come, you who have no money, come buy and eat, and delight yourself in rich food!” The sweetness of Christ is sweeter than the richest fare that His creation can offer. Let us press on to taste the true riches of the heavenly banquet—and save room for dessert!
Not a single mistake, or slip of the tongue, or wayward thought unchecked. Not a single sin. Not a single neglected promise, or forgotten assurance. No, Jesus has never failed, either in general or towards His people. “He has never failed me yet.” All these years I have been put to the test, and I have come up far short! But Jesus—He has never once failed me. Not once has there been a time when He was at fault in anything. What confidence can we then place in Him! There is no risk in trusting God, because it is impossible for Him to fail. Contrariwise, I have no hope of succeeding when trusting in myself, or my surroundings, or in others; sooner or later, the fountains of the earth will fail, and I will be thirsty still. Praise God that He will never fail, and that in Him the fountains of grace flow forever and ever!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Unless our hearts are liberated by Christ, we will not be able to stand firm, or to resist submitting our hearts to a yoke of slavery. By nature and experience, we will naturally bow our heads to any and every idol that promises pleasure or security, even at the cost of our devotion. But Jesus died to set us free, and to give us the Spirit so that we can stand firm. As much as we desire slavery to our sins and lusts, Jesus can help us to resist them and find true freedom. Lord, help me detect and resist every form of slavery before I bow my head and submit my soul to another!
Even snow can be soiled. At first its purity covers the earth like a garment, but in time the pristine snow becomes earthy and dirty and defiled, just like the rest of the earth. How fleeting and impotent is the purity of snow! Not so with Jesus. When He finally cleanses a soul from sin, that cleansing is perfect and eternal. If He washes us, we will be clean indeed, and there will be nothing that can make us dirty or defiled again. Earthly sanctification should be like ever-falling snow that continually cleanses and keeps the worst at bay, but that work will cease when Jesus melts the elements and makes us as white as snow. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and wash my sins forever away!
No one else on earth can make this claim. My wife, who loves me, cannot possibly be with me all the time or in all the ways I might like her to be. My friends are all busy with families of their own, and are often unavailable when I might want to be with them. And especially at night, when I feel most alone, the sin of self-reliance too often creeps in to fill the void. But Jesus is with me always! He NEVER leaves me, but is always present and attentive to my cries. I am no orphan, but a beloved son whose Father and elder brother are never far away. Lord, give me grace to believe this truth!