The purpose of the Monthly View is to affect the way we see ourselves in light of God's promises. Our faith is built on the reality of the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary's cross, His precious blood and righteousness. Moreover, because of His resurrection, we "...know in ourselves that we have in heaven a better and an enduring substance [reality].1
The Reality of God's Promises
The third Sunday of this month is Easter, when the Body of Christ celebrates the resurrection of our Savior and Lord, which is spoken about in the March 2005 View. But daily, we are to remind ourselves that we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 2 We are to consider ourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus. 3
The reality of God's promises is more than we can imagine. You may not have read the January 2006 View on this subject [since a mix-up occurred on getting it to the website]. The difference between imagination and reality is very important. Christian Pastor and writer A.W. Tozer wrote, "Imagination is not faith, but projects unreal images of the mind and seeks to attach reality to them. Faith creates nothing; it simply reckons upon that which is already there."
The solution to the rehabilitation of prisoners is found in the reality of God's promises. Jesus said you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. 4 The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to set the captives free. 5 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 6 The prison system needs liberation from tactics that just don't work. In my recent article on Prison Reform, you will find suggestions to restore this broken system.
The Reality of Heaven
Do you really "...know in yourself that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance [reality] " as the Scripture says? The most important substance for every man, woman and child is the reality of heaven. No matter if you are a prisoner, prison guard, warden, legislator or governor, the question is: Have you come to the place in your spiritual life, where you can say for certain, that if you were to die tonight, you would go to heaven?
The Holy Bible is God's revelation of the reality of heaven on Earth through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our identity must be in line with the reality of the Apostle John's vision of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband. He heard a loud shout from the throne saying:
"Look, the home of God is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and their will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. for the old world and its evils are gone forever." 7
Let me ask you one more question: Say you were to die tonight and stand before God, and He were to say to you, "Why should I let you into heaven?", what would you say? The one sitting on the throne says to all who are thirsty, I will give the springs of the water of life without charge! All who are victorious will inherit all the promised blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Have you received the promised blessing?
The Reality of Salvation
Just recently, a man named Dwayne came to Christ by responding to those two questions. At first, he had no idea how to respond, because he did not know the reality of salvation available to him. He was ignorant of the fact that entry into heaven is a free gift and neither earned nor deserved. God saved us by His special favor when we believed, and we can't take any credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9
In the next ten minutes, Dwayne realized that he was a sinner since birth and could not save himself. God saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out His Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ, our Savior, did. He declared us "not guilty" because of His great kindness. Now we know that we will inherit eternal life. 10
By this time, Dwayne realized that God is merciful and does not want to punish him. At the same time, he was assured that God is just and will surely punish the unrepentant sinner. A big smile came upon Dwayne's face as he realized that God loved him so much that he put all of his punishment for sin upon Jesus. For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God. 11 It was like a light went on in Dwayne's heart. All of a sudden, he realized the answer to that most important question. It was by trusting in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation that God would let him into heaven.
The Lord was drawing Dwayne to Himself that day. He just used me to be the messenger of the Good News. It was such a privilege to watch the goodness of God work in his heart as he turned to God. He prayed with me, realizing that God had forgiven him of all his sins past, present and future 2000 years ago at the cross. He confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead to give him salvation. 12 This man came alive with the Holy Spirit right before my eyes. It was evident that he was born again that very moment. He became a new creation in Christ. 13 It was a time of rejoicing and celebration for us both.
The Reality of Christ
It is commonly known that Hebrews, Chapter 11, in the New Testament Bible is the "faith chapter." This chapter begins with the statement: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." 14 The Nelson's Bible Commentary says this verse is not a definition of faith, but a description of what faith does. Substance means "essence" or "reality." Faith treats "things hoped for" as reality. Evidence means "proof" or "conviction." Faith itself proves that what is unseen is real, such as the believer's reward at the return of Christ. 15
The faith chapter is about men who walked with the reality of the hope of heaven. They had a strong conviction and the confident expectation of what they could only see by faith: heaven, the city of God. Abraham lived in the land waiting for the future yet unseen New Jerusalem. 16 All his children died without receiving what God had promised them, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed the promises of God. They were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He had prepared a heavenly city for them. 17
The book of Hebrews is about Jesus Christ connecting us to the Kingdom of heaven that He created in the beginning. 18 As believers, we belong to God and are bound for heaven. 19 We have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. So let us cling to Him and never stop trusting Him. 20 We are enlightened and presently experiencing the good things of heaven. 21 Our souls are anchored in heaven to God's inner sanctuary through Jesus Christ. 22 Our High Priest sat down in the place of highest honor in heaven, at God's right hand. 23
The Reality of the Blood
Shortly after receiving Christ in 1975, the Lord taught me the importance of the blood of Jesus. How Christ entered that great and perfect sanctuary in heaven, not made by human hands like the sanctuary of old. Once, for all time, He took blood into the Most Holy Place in heaven, not the blood of goats and calves. He took his own blood, and with it He secured our salvation forever. For Christ has entered into heaven itself to appear now before God as our Advocate. 24
Now, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain, by means of His sacrificial death. Since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting Him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkle with Christ's blood to make us clean. Let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have without wavering, for God can be trusted to keep His promises. 25
We have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to thousands of angels in joyful assembly. You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God Himself, who is the judge of all people. And you have come to the spirits of the redeemed in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which graciously forgives instead of crying out for vengeance as the blood of Abel did. See to it that you obey God, the one who is speaking to you. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, how terrible our danger if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26
For a list of The Blood of Jesus Christ Scriptures, click here. (Gallery B - Study Chart 6)
A Prayer For You...
May the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to Him. Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting covenant, signed with His blood. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen. 27