Tuesday, June 30, 2015

CHOOSE MOUNT ZION


There are two mountaintops that people, Christians in particular, have their feet on the summit and cannot make a decision which peak to live on - Mt. Fear or Mt. Hope.

Hebrews 12:18-24
"18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel."

Now with Fear there must be a two-pronged understanding. Many instances in Scripture, concerning fear, refers to respect, specifically honoring God. In the book of Acts you can find the terms - "God-fearing women", "God-fearing Greeks" and "a God-fearing man" - describing people with the highest regard for God. Hebrews 11:7 portrays Noah building the ark - "in holy fear" - a feat and attitude that was rewarded with the salvation of his family and the animals on-board. In the Christian journey 1 Peter 1:17 instructs the believer to "live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear."  In addition, Paul in his letter to the church in Phillipi encouraged the contingent - "continue to work out your salvation with fear [or great respect and awe] and trembling."

However, the kind of Fear that many Christians have a foot-hold on is the terrifying kind. The kind devoid of hope, belief and love. The kind the enemy of our souls operates from in his kingdom of darkness. The devil would have you so scared that you do not share The Good News anymore, but Philippians 1:14 says, "...dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear." The Law, with all it's many rules and regulations for living a perfect/holy life, can be viewed as another name for the mountain of fear - Mount Law (Mt. Sinai). But there is good news, 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment." There is no terror, no horror in love. This is why all are drawn to love. This is why we must respect and honor God, because God is love (1 John 4:8).

Yes, Love in the form of Christ Jesus has showed it's awesome purpose and power - to redeem human kind and create a perfect future with God, which at the moment of Christ's resurrection became our Hope.

Paul says it nicely when he addresses the believers in Rome - "...we boast in the hope of the glory of God." After the salvation of an individual - what becomes the believer's focus? Hope. Hope of a transformed, glorified body like Christ's one day. Hope of Christ's promises being fulfilled personally and corporately. Hope of seeing "our righteousness" in person (Galatians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:1).

Paul tells us in Romans that the whole of Scripture was written for the sake of Hope.
  • "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope." - Romans 15:4
Scripture has proclaimed that believers are the Ambassadors of Hope -  "Christ in us, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). 1 Timothy 6:17 even singles out what we should and should not place our hope. And the book of Hebrews does a beautiful, word-smith job of describing Christ Jesus, His promises, our Hope - "as an anchor for the soul".

There is a proper fear to have toward God. It contains a healthy dose of respect and honor with a splash of the terror to keep it real. Luke 12:5 declares that there is a hell, you don't have to go there, but there is someone with the authority to place you there should it warrant. "But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." This same one with authority to send one to hell can also grant entry into Heaven. He paid the price for this authority and His name is Christ Jesus. This same one who made an impossible Law to follow, also made The Way to escape living under perfect performance. He gave Grace for our salvation, for our living now and for our Hope. I encourage all my brothers and sisters in Christ - if you find that in your living you have one foot on Mount Sinai (The Law) and the other on Mount Zion (Grace)....Choose Mount Zion.