Bringing Christ Closer

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
faraway22.jpgSome of the people I love the most live far away from me and I miss them terribly. I wish I could be with them, or they with me. However, we are human and burdened with the inherent limitations of time and space. We cannot be in more than one place at a time.
While this is true of humanity, these rules do not apply to God. He operates outside of time and can be wherever he wishes. He can be there for each one of us simultaneously. While we cannot adequately explain how that can be true, we can know it by faith (Hebrews 11:1).
We want to consider how we can bring God closer by looking at what it meant for Israel and what the New Testament offers to us as his children.
God made a covenant with Abraham that led to the creation of the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:1-2). From there, God provided for and blessed his people, despite their frequent spiritual infidelities.
God created a society for his children, where they would have complete security and organization through the Law of Moses. He says, “I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself” (Exodus 19:4, NKJV).
God calls them “a special treasure” and a “holy nation” set apart from all others (Exodus 19:5). God would do anything for Israel, as long as they remained faithful (Exodus 34:10-11).
God tells Israel that he wants to be a God that is “near at hand” (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Yet Israel had the responsibility to fulfill their side of the covenant.
Christ came to usher in a new covenant to bring God closer to humanity (Ephesians 2:14-16; Jeremiah 31:30-34). He was the fulfillment of prophecy to fill this role. “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name, Immanuel,’ which is translated ‘God with us'” (Matthew 1:23; cf. John 1:1-5,14,18).
We are baptized into his body, the church (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:38, 41, 47; Ephesians 1:22-23), and we reside in his household (Ephesians 2:19). We are his children and he remains with us as long as we live (Hebrews 13:5).
No greater honor is available to sinful man than to be in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). In Christ, all spiritual blessings exist and are available to the faithful (Ephesians 1:3).
We exist today under a new covenant (Hebrews 8:6-13). We have the same commands to be faithful to Christ as Israel had in the previous covenant (John 14:15; Revelation 2:10).
Christ will be everything we need, if we will walk with him all of our lives (Matthew 6:25-34; Ephesians 3:30-4:1). He is consummate love, goodness, and mercy. Yet, he demands faithfulness (Hebrews 11:6).
If we want Christ near, he is already there, if we are in his body and walking in his paths. He will always be beside us in prayer and his Word carries us, renews, and strengthens us like nothing else in existence (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Why would we not avail ourselves of such an indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15)? There is nowhere else to go but to Satan (1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 25:31-33,46). Jesus is the only one offering eternal joy in heaven (John 6:68). Satan offers nothing but nightmares (John 8:44).
I must coat myself in the spiritual armor of Christ (Ephesians 6:10-20) and enter into the joy of Christ on this earth, so I can bask in it for all eternity (Revelation 21:3). There is no other viable option.

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