Paul spoke of the “end” when Christ “delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
Until we “put on our heavenly dwelling,” however, we press toward the goal (Philippians 3:14). God helped Israel through the wilderness, and He will help us also. If the journey is hard, that will just make our home all the sweeter when we get there.
On this battlefield we call “life,” people have many needs, and it’s hard to know what kind of help to render first. But God’s glory is by far the most important need that anyone has. More attention needs to be paid to the greatness of that need.
If we resist the idea of “church,” that is probably an indication of how much we need it. Yes, it would be easier not to have to adjust ourselves to other people, submit to them, and work out the inevitable conflicts. But that is precisely the point.
There is no better example of faith than Abraham. “Under utterly hopeless circumstances he hopefully believed . . . being absolutely certain that whatever promise [God] is bound by He is able also to make good” (Romans 4:18-21 Weymouth).
The apostles, when threatened, never backed down: the gospel is true and “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Others may help with lesser troubles, but they knew only Christ can get us to heaven.
There is one thing we can always do: we can determine that we will be faithful. We can keep ourselves in the love of God. That is the decision we can — and must — make. And it is not just a one-time decision. It must be made continually.
It is not just our behavior that needs improving. We ourselves (our deepest thoughts and motives) need fixing. So Christ came to bring us an entirely new kind of life. If we are in Christ, a life that is “eternal” is being created within us.
Having demanded to do as we please, we’ve sold ourselves into slavery. And as painful as it is, there is no better day than when we cry out, with Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
God’s plan is an amazing plan. In Christ, we can make better DECISIONS because our FEELINGS are more appropriate, and we can do that because our THOUGHTS are more truthful. In bringing us back to God, the gospel leaves no stone unturned.