From This Time Forth …

God has a set time for everything.

We read in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that “to everything there is a season and a time for every matter or purpose under Heaven” – e.g., a time for each person to be born and then to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck (v.2).  From the time of birth forth, a person grows and develops until his/her  set time of death. From the time a seed is planted forth it grows and matures till the set time of harvesting.  There is also set time of salvation and of deliverance (II Cor.6:2).  And thank God He had set a time that, when it had fully come, He would send His Son into the world to be born, to live as a Man, and to die as our Substitute and Savior on the Cross (Gal.4:4).

There is a definite preciseness in God's timing to fulfill His purposes. Click To Tweet

In Eternity past, the Trinity had agreed on a set time for all of these things to happen; and all will be exactly as They have planned and purposed.  Furthermore, the Father has a set time for the Son to come for His Bride in the Rapture – a time that even the Lord Jesus knows not!  Thus we see in these examples a definite preciseness in God’s timing to fulfill His purposes.  We, too, can be precise in believing Him for the Grace to go forward in faith, expecting Him to do even as He has said.  But first …

Leave behind what is behind.

In Genesis 19:26, Lot’s wife did the opposite of what she was instructed to do:  she looked back at what she was leaving behind.  This was also the opposite of what the Lord Jesus Christ did in fulfilling His and the Father’s mission on earth:  He set His face like a flint (Isaiah 50:7), always occupied with what the Father’s will was. He never looked back to the Place from whence He had come, longing for the “comfort”, the Glory that He had shared there with the Father.  He had a Heavenly mission to fulfill, and His heart was fixed on accomplishing this work.

In the fourth chapter of John, He was set in His heart, in His mind, to go through Samaria, even though that was taboo for a Jewish person to do in those days.  He knew that the Father had a Divine appointment for Him with someone in that place,  and therefore, He “must needs go” there (verse 4).  We see also in Luke 9:51-53 that He steadfastly set Himself to go to Jerusalem.  His countenance must have been shockingly impressive because the Word of God says that “they did not receive Him [along the way], because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.”  He was not looking back at what He was leaving behind.  He had a  mission and would not be deterred in fulfilling it.  We, too, are asked to “completely surrender” to Him, to His ability to perform what He has called us to do.  But we can only go forth by doing one thing:  “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are ahead ….press[ing] toward the goal for the prize …” (Philippians 3:13, 14).  In other words, we agree with the Word of God that “old things are passed away;  ALL things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

From the Cross forth …

“Meekness is when you are finished with yourself altogether.”  affirmed a well-known theologian, Martin Lloyd-Jones.  ” … the Cross wipes out everything that is not of God … and … the Resurrection represents a new starting point for every moment we live in its power.”, wrote Dr. Carl H.Stevens in his booklet “A Personal Cross for Personal Resurrection” (p. 11).   Furthermore, meekness can come only through the Cross, because only the Lord Jesus Christ is meek. So when we receive Grace to “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him” we are saying, “Lord, from this time forth I am truly not my own.  I know that I have been bought with a price at the Cross and that I am now, from this time forth, totally Yours; from this time forth I am a temple for Your Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19,20;  2 Corinthians 3:23);  and from this time forth, because of Your Cross, I can live in Resurrection power as more than a conqueror!

Where is our gaze?

Now, when we fail, we must never look behind us at the failure and its ramifications but rather turn our eyes upward, unto the One Who has blotted them out like a thick cloud (Isa.44:22).  We are thus capacitated to look and walk forward, “forgetting those things which are behind”, after we have confessed/repented of anything the Spirit convicts us of (I John 1;9);  and even if we fail seven times in a day, we get UP again (Prov.24:16a) – because of what  the Lord did on the Cross and because of the Resurrection Life we have received there, by faith.

Remember in Numbers 21 the Israelites had to look UP at the brazen serpent on the pole;  only then could they be healed and delivered from the snake bites.  Otherwise they would die … and many did. But now, we have “a fresh, new, and living way which He initiated and opened for us through the separating veil of the Holy of Holies … through His own flesh.” (Heb.10:20).  Imagine!  He delivered us from being prisoners of our own flesh by offering up His own perfect flesh which bore all of our sins.  Thus, He made it possible for us to live “the exchanged life”:  ours for His.  From the time of His ascension forth, once He had entered into the Holy of Holies through the veil, all who would put their trust in His Work on the Cross would have unlimited access to the Father, to the Throne of Grace, to the Mercy Seat, to the innumerable riches of our inheritance in Him!

We have HOPE!

Hope is forward-looking;  and the hope that we have is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus…” (Heb.6:19,20).  Therefore, ” … let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable.” (Heb.10:23)  We cannot afford to lose our hope, which is afforded to us solely through the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, we choose by faith to fix our hearts on Him and let them be established in Grace (Heb.13:9).  We look with a fixed gaze on Him when we know not what to do (II Chron.20:12) and we find that we are able to press on in His mission for us on this earth, even in the face of great adversity, oppression, or persecution.

“Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you … .  Let all your ways be established and ordered aright.  Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left.”  (Prov.4:25,27)

“Liberated from … my past … and from the entire history of Adam …”!

In Dr. Stevens’ booklet “The Cross: A Burden or a Blessing?,” he writes:

“I was saved when I believed in the Cross and all it accomplished, but I am delivered by taking up my personal cross. … I accept that my personal problems have been resolved by my personal death with Christ. These problems are out of my life because I believe that I was personally buried with Him.  Not only have I been liberated from all the unresolved effects of my past , but I am also free from the entire history of Adam and what he passed onto me through the fall.  I believe that I died with Christ 2,000 years ago. … I was buried with Him 2,000 years ago. … But most importantly, I believe I have been resurrected with Him.  I am seated Above, and I have received a brand new image in Christ.” (pp.26,27)  OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY;   ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW! I am indeed a new creature from the time of my salvation – from this moment forth!”