Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Separated

                Have you ever wondered why God feels so distant sometimes?  Have you ever found yourself thinking that God had separated Himself from you?  Perhaps your prayers are not getting answered or you feel like your prayers are hitting the ceiling and bouncing back down to you.  I have often felt this way.  I have found myself crying out to the Lord to hear me, to help me, to come back to me.  Today, as I was reading for our study in John, I came across a verse that reminded me that God does not separate Himself from us, but instead, we separate ourselves from God.

                “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:14-18
                Jesus Christ came and preached peace.  He not only preached peace to the Jews but to the Gentiles as well.  He preached that all men who believe in Him will have everlasting life.  John 3:16 is the epitome of peace.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.”  Whosoever means anyone, no matter who they are, no matter where they are, no matter what they are.  The only thing that can separate me from God is me. Jesus came and died and rose again to make sure that nothing would ever stand in the way of me and my relationship with God the Father ever again.
                Paul writes that Christ has broken down the middle wall of separation, and has abolished in His flesh the enmity that was once between us and God.  We know that God cannot dwell with sin.  The reason why Adam and Eve were cast from the garden is because they had sin in their hearts.  They had become dead spiritually and were no longer allowed to have that close, intimate fellowship with God the Father because sin had separated them.  But Christ came to abolish, to put to death that sin that separated us from Him.  He took all the sin and death that kept us from having a relationship with God our Father and nailed it to the Cross; bearing in His body the sin, the punishment, the judgment and wrath of God that was mine and made sure that nothing could ever come between me and Him again.

                So why then do we feel so separated from God at times?   It is because we allow sin to have the power to make us feel unworthy to come to Christ.  The only power sin has over our lives as Christians is the power we give it.  Sin desires to keep us from God, but God desires to be one with us.  So when I sin, I find myself drawing away from God.  But God does not draw Himself away from me.  He came and died and rose again so that we might have peace.  He is our blessed assurance, He is our security that no matter what happens, no matter what we do- He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)  
                “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecutions, or famine, or nakedness or peril, or sword?”  (Romans 8:35)  That is a good question.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Is there any sin in my life that is so great and so powerful that I cannot go to the cross of Jesus Christ and be forgiven?  Is there anything in my life that is so bad that I cannot go to God the Father with it?  King David was a murderer and an adulterer, but the Lord God looked on Him and said that he was a man after God’s own heart.  (Acts 13:22) The only thing that separates me from God is me.  “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:38-39)
                Jesus Christ has come and broken down the wall of sin and death which once separated us from our Holy God.  He has taken down and demolished the hedge that prevented us from knowing the love of God which He has for us in Christ Jesus.  Christ died and suffered and was raised from the dead so that we might return to the former state of intimate fellowship God the Father desired to have with us back in the garden.  Christ has reconciled us to God.  The only thing that stands between us and God is our own self.  Christ has broken down the walls, the obstacles, and the hindrances, and has taken them out of the way.  He has taken upon Himself everything that you have ever done and will ever do that could possibly separate you from God the Father.   So the only reason why we feel distant, or why we think God is distant is because we have moved away- not because God the Father has moved away.
                Jesus came so that we might be one with Him as He was one with the Father.  John 17:20-21 Jesus prays and asks the Father that we might “be one as You Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us”.  He has taken upon Him every sin that you have ever committed or ever will commit and has nailed it to the cross.  He has broken down the walls that once separated us and made a way for us to have access, unhindered access to God our Father.  He made the way for us to be one, with Him and with God the Father, which is the desire of our Father’s heart.
          
      What separates us from God?  We do; we separate ourselves from God.  The judgment for our sins was placed upon Christ Jesus.  The punishment for our transgressions was taken by Christ Jesus.  The wrath of God for all the sin of your heart was taken upon Jesus Christ our Lord.  “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

                I do not know where you are at today, but this one thing is true.  You are not feeling close to God because you have chosen not to.  You are feeling distant because you have chosen to be distant.  Do not let sin beguile you and make you think that God has separated Himself from you.  God has not and will not ever separate Himself from you because He has done all that is needed to make sure that you have complete and free access to Him anytime, anywhere.  Do not let your guilt, trials, and troubles, keep you from Him.  Run to Him instead, because He has taken away the walls, the hedges, the mountains and the obstacles from the path so that you can come freely and boldly to His throne of grace to find the help you need, (Hebrews 4:16) and to find the love that surpasses all understanding.  I pray today that you would not allow your sins to separate yourself from God, but that you would see that nothing can or ever will separate you from God our Father ever again, unless you choose to allow it. May the Lord Jesus Christ give you peace, and hope through His Word. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.