Engage with what God says. The Almighty is not into small talk. Jesus Christ has not left us His opinions on His favourite meals, or what He liked to do on a sunny days afternoon. God’s Spirit has a huge vision for mankind and how to accomplish that mission. Father, Son and Holy Ghost have left us their thoughts and most especially their promises that enable us to connect with Him and align ourselves with Him. “He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature …” (2 Peter 1:4). We are hearing God when we read what He has promised. We engage with Him when we believe what He has promised. Our faith is our connection. God sees things that to us are not tangible. He responds to faith. The universe responds to those that have faith. Faith in God is natural, good and healthy. Faith in His promises lets you into His own perspective on things. When He informs us that He is by nature a Healer, with a heartfelt desire to keep us in health, we see that He disapproves of sickness, but desires our faith to lay hold of God’s power and bring healing. When He promises us that He is by nature our provider and sustainer, it lets us into the reality that God Himself does not approve of poverty. He has made hundreds of promises as recorded in scripture that assert good things to our health, our marriages, our children and grandchildren, our finances, our work, our savings – as well, of course, as our life’s destiny and most important of all our eternal destiny. It is up to us to read scripture and find these promises, oaths and vows.
Why does God make promises? Simply because He wants relationship with us, and by believing what He has said, we are engaging with the Almighty in a way that will introduce us to intimacy with Him. It is a two way thing. We see that the premise is to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; a thing that cannot be done without obeying Him in everything He says. Obedience and a clear conscience clears our minds and thought processes to perceive the depths of the promises He makes and the Words He gives us.
The big fisherman that spent over three years interacting with the Saviour in a way that seems to me to have been the most open interaction Christ had with any of the twelve, actually tells us that it is by believing and acting on these divinely given incredible and priceless promises we become “partakers of the divine nature.” Just to assure you that this writer is not drunk, on drugs or trying to be humourous. The statement is, in itself not only a premise of access to God, but a promise of victory in life. “If any man be in Christ he is a new cration, the old has gone, all things are new and the new has indeed come.” That is partaking of the divine nature. It is Christ in us the hope of glory. Engage with the word and the premises for simple faith that the scriptures give us.
Christ was leaving his disciples. He had risen from the dead and showed Himself to over 500 of his believing followers. He was leaving to return to the Father in heaven, from whence He was to pour out the Holy Spirit upon them. After all, John the Baptist promised us by the word of God that Jesus Christ would baptise believers with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is so clearly the Saviour, Healer, Baptiser in the Holy Spirit as well as the coming King.
But the promise He gave around this point of time would, to the superficial onlooker, sound like a bit of an anomaly. He was about to rise from the ground into the sky until a cloud would cover Him and hide Him from their sight. But He did not wish them well and say “Au revoir!” The Master did not tell them to look after themselves and be good and give them a “Bye-bye” wave of the hand. As He was coming to the point of departure He said the most amazing thing: “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Now that is some kind of mega promise!
The risen Christ was about to leave their physical presence, but He told them He was staying. He was physically seen to withdraw but was flagrantly asserting that He was actually going to be with them in a way He had not been before. As long as their life continued, and as long as life continues on earth, Jesus Christ was to be with them.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them in Acts 2, we could say that Christ was with them in the person of the Holy Spirit. That is a truth of scripture. Occasionally in the Acts of the Apostles Christ Himself appeared to some. Western mindsets would normally jump to the conclusion that it was an apparition. The Bible, however, does not qualify the appearances as such. There are those also who insist that because of God’s attribute of omnipresence it was true that Christ was with them and Christ’s statement was therefore a statement of something that is forever true.
Such theories however, ignore the biblical concept of the manifest presence of God in human affairs. There are times in the Old Testament when the manifest presence of God was seen as a cloud, or as a fire. There are times when God draws close to people and whether there is a cloud, or a fire, or nothing visible at all, a person in Christ may know and be conscious that Jesus Himself has drawn near. The point of this promise is to consolidate in a believers heart that seen or unseen, felt or not felt, sensed or not sensed, Jesus Christ is with you where you are. Believe it!