Today, Tomorrow, and Forever

by M. A. Jollay

Chapter Three

You are right where God wants you...that is if you have made
a real commitment to Christ.

When our Lord defined the identity and purpose of the church, He called it the "Ekklesia," a "called-out" people. The real overtones of that is separation. The ability to be in the world but not of it. This is a spiritual determination enshrouded with as much marvel as the pure lily drawing its perfect beauty from the murky quagmire from which it springs . . . yet totally untainted by its filth. The secret of its mystery is its life quality.

So of the Christian. We are begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Therefore, we have power to walk in the strength of spiritual motivation. In so doing, we are not bound to the otherwise dominating fascinations of the natural life. In this liberation a bond-slave has greater contentment than he who gains the whole world . . . but loses his own soul.

But we are still very much in the world. Jesus intended it so! That's the "in it -- but not of it" contradiction. For as truly as our Lord wants us to stay completely free from the world's defilements, He also wants us to penetrate its needs. Jesus could have taken His people out of the world by one prayerful request of the Father. But He prayed otherwise:

Listen:"I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world but to keep them from the evil." (John 17:14, 15 NASV)

Later in this prayer, Jesus gives one of the reasons for His request . . . that the world, by observing the life of His followers sanctified by (given over to, or subscribing to) the truth, would themselves be led into a living faith (v. 21).

The Christian is made acceptable for heaven's accommodations the moment he believes. It is fully and totally the work of Christ.

"For one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified."

Why then do we await the returning of the Lord?
The answer remains:Penetration!

Jesus instructed His followers to go unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. That is total penetration! Starry-eyed Christians, like the three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, are sometimes inclined to build walls between themselves and the world. Jesus didn't do it. Nor did He encourage it. Apart from an occasional few hours of solitude, He was out where the sinners are. That is where the need is! The closely knit communal type of living attempted by the early church received no divine sanction. Consequently it was short-lived. God had other plans. He did not want them to "can" the gospel. He wanted them to preach it . . . to spread it everywhere. So He sent persecution and scattered them. Then they fell in line, for the scripture records they went everywhere and as they went they preached the word. But many went for other reasons. Business opportunities or job necessities, new ventures in new lands, to contact old friends and relatives, etc. For when Peter addressed his first epistle to the believers "scattered abroad" he wrote before the dispersion occasioned by the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. So he merely addressed himself to those living outside Judah, their native land.

But the divine intention, in whatever seemed to be occasioned naturally, is detected in Peter's use of the Greek word Diaspora, usually translated dispersed. This word derives from dia meaning through, and speirs, to sow, to scatter seed, for speiro derives, in turn, from sperma, the Greek word for seed.

Many may have already been so located in other lands when they received their new faith in Christ. The account at Pentecost would indicate that to be the case (Acts 2:7-11). But in any event, their locale was patently in God's will and purpose. The expanded translation of the Greek text makes this remarkably clear:

"Peter an ambassador of Jesus Christ, to those who have settled down alongside of a native pagan population, sown as seed throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen ones, this choice having been determined by the fore ordination of God . . . " (1 Peter 1:1, 2 ET)

read Chapter Four

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