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FAITH IN MOTION

 

All Scripture citations are to the NIV-UK print edition of 1984.

 

THE SCRIPTURES SAY of Abraham that he left his own country and ʻby faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country . . . for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is Godʼ (Heb. 11: 9, 10).

 

Here we see the essence of faith in motion. Put another way, a self-denying faith requires a migration from one point of view (ours), to another (Christ's). In short, it is necessary that the woman or man of faith transport a natural, primary notion of ʻhomeʼ to the higher, exalted meaning of the term, one over which Christ is Lord.

 

Jesus gives us the clue when He says that the ʻSon of Man has nowhere to lay his headʼ (Matt. 8: 20). He did not mean that He could not find a lay-by in which to sleep, but rather that He would not be satisfied until His mission was accomplished which was nothing less than the redemption of humanity from sin and death, to be achieved through His own death. We can be eternally grateful that Christ put others before Himself. Where would we be without His self-denial?

 

And as it was to Abraham, the father of the faithful, this world is to the Christian little more than a pied-a-terre a place to plant our feet until the permanent home comes along. This does not mean that we neglect our family, nor love them any less. To the contrary, in loving Christ more than our closest family and friends we gain a hundred-fold increase in our appreciation of them, if we allow a Christ-like love to permeate all we say and do.

 

Although we spurn the tawdry and squalid things of earth, we should continue to appreciate what is good and noble about it and the people around us. After all, every person is a prospective daughter or son of Christ, because He died for everyone (1 Tim. 2: 5, 6 ʻransom for allʼ; 1 John 2: 1, 2; ʻHe is the atoning sacrifice for . . . sins of the whole worldʼ).

 

The Kingdom the Key

But salvation for the world can come only during the Kingdom of Christ on earth a real, concrete kingdom, under which truth and righteousness will prevail. This will see the beginning of a permanent, everlasting home for the human family, who have suffered much under the Permission of Evil. They have learned much, too, and will eventually come to understand and to value the bitter experiences of the present life, and will enter enthusiastically into the benefits of mental and physical health then on offer, accepting Christ as their Redeemer. Then the promise to Abraham will begin to come into action: ʻall nations of the earth will be blessedʼ (Gen. 22: 18).

 

The Kingdom of Christ is a time of resurrection of the non-elect dead and of thorough restoration, returning the human family to a paradise, like man's original home. Humanity will be knit into a global family in an eternal Eden. In one sense, this uncountable, surging mass will be returning to a home they have never known and yet have unconsciously anticipated. The unfamiliar will be oddly familiar. For God, having planned their salvation through Christ from before the establishment of earth, has built into the human constitution a yearning for deliverance from the trials and tribulations of life under the curse of sin and death (Rom. 8: 20, 21):

 

20 The creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one [God] who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

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