ALL SAINTS DAY, Tuesday, November 1, 2016
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:16-18(NLT)
People are at all stages of development. Some mature more quickly than others, but the process of growing up is always upon us, always confronting us with the need to grow and change. This includes spiritual maturity as well as physical.
The apostle Paul wanted this for his children in the faith, the believers at Ephesus. He constantly prayed that the bud of faith would blossom fully into the reality flower of a confident hope in Christ Jesus. Most pastors I’ve known have expressed something of this concerning the church they serve; there is a desire to see spiritual growth in the people of Christ, the light of understanding switched-on to a deeper knowledge of God and His ways which turns our attention to focus wholeheartedly on serving the King.
Part of that understanding is a deep appreciation for All Saints Day, a reminder that in eternity’s calendar there is no division of days, nights and years, nor is there any true separation of fellowship; all the saints are united in Christ all the time. It is true that for now, because of our human frailty, stuck as we are in time and space, there is a gulf between the church here on earth and the church triumphant in glory.
But that is merely due to our poor sight; our confident hope is in the promise of God we cannot see, that, as Paul wrote to the believers at Rome:
…I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39(NLT)
The reality of our confident hope is that, since nothing can separate us from Jesus Christ, we are always, at all times, whether gathered or scattered to the four corners of the earth, whether in the flesh on planet earth or absent from this body and present with the Lord…we are, all the saints, always, and everywhere, we are one; we are the body of Christ, unseparated, fully joined.
All of my grandparents, my Mom and Dad, and their siblings have passed from this life. But because of the guarantee of the certain hope of Jesus Christ, we are still together, and one day the saints will all be gathered at our Lord’s command, never again to suffer the loss of being separated; our sight will then be perfect!
As has been often said, this is not a hope-so kind of faith – this is a confident and sure hope; we have a promise from the Lord, grounded in the power of Easter’s resurrection.
In what or whom do you place your trust, your hope?