December 2, 2014

1 John 2:23 No-one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

This was written at a time when there were fewer Christians than Jews, and that is the context. However, today it is particularly applicable because of such groups as the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses that deny the full deity of Jesus Christ. (I feel there are individuals in those groups who accept Jesus as the only divine Son of God and Savior, but that is not what the theology of those groups says.) The fictional story of the billionaire’s estate auction that ended after the initial sale, for a very low price, of an amateur artist’s portrait of the wealthy man’s son is a pretty good parable. The punch line, of course, is that if you have the Son you have everything, but without the Son you have nothing. This verse is a further rebuttal of those who try to claim that “there are many paths to truth,” and one religion is equivalent to another. That falsehood was ultimately settled by Jesus Himself, when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) That’s pretty plain! The best part of this, however, is that whereas we cannot know everything of God, we can receive everything of Him by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord. Jesus was born as a human baby precisely so that we could have a member of the Godhead on our scale, on our level, so that we could believe personally and practically, and not just as some theoretical philosophy. Everything of the Father is embodied in the Son, (Colossians 2:9) in a package we have some hope of getting our minds around.

This is extremely pertinent to me, ministering in Japan, because of the very widespread thinking that “Christianity is just another religion.” The claims of Christ are unique, and the results of faith in Him are also unique. It is heartbreaking when people reject the Son, because I know they are also rejecting the Father, and eternal life. However, there are those who do receive the whole package, and that is joyful indeed. Today I will conduct the wake service, and tomorrow the funeral, of a man who cemented his choice at the last minute, but it was a sincere and valid commitment. I can assure his daughter and grandson that he is currently rejoicing beyond words before the throne of the Father. For his daughter, that is comfort indeed. For his grandson, who has not yet received the Son, it is a mystery. The activities of today and tomorrow need to point him, and all who attend as mourners, to the Father’s offer that is open to them as well.

Father, on a personal level this is very difficult timing, but You do all things well, so thank You. Thank You that I have no emotional or theological difficulty in conducting the two services. I pray that all the physical arrangements would go smoothly so that nothing will interfere with Your Spirit touching all involved. I pray for physical and emotional strength as well. Thank You for Your assurance that Your grace is sufficient for me. May I be an open channel of that grace to all I touch, especially in these two days, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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