Posted by: William | April 13, 2008

Sometimes Jesus Withdraws

This life is destitute, and truthfully, impossible if we expect it to hold any actual meaning. We are worthless creatures, on a course with destruction that will leave no lasting memory of us. Of course, in light of this awful affliction, God has come into the likeness of sinful flesh, the man Jesus. For those of us who believe, our course has been changed from destruction to glory. Although we, the church, have been redeemed all by the grace of God and there is nothing that we, or anyone else, could ever do (or not do) to change that, this life is bound for hardship and struggle.

The church has already received the legal declaration that we are clean, we are pardoned, but we have not yet been glorified with Jesus. We still remain here in sinful bodies, peering at Christ as through a dim glass, awaiting eagerly the day when even our bodies will truly be clean and pure. Until then, we remain in the process of Spirit led sanctification. This process we now willingly and gratefully submit to is difficult and painful, but it is for God’s glory and our ultimate satisfaction.

While reading in John Owen’s The Glory of Christ today, he remarks on Jesus’ withdrawing of his presence from us at times. He reminds us that this is necessary to this process of sanctification:

“We all too easily take Christ for granted and become lazy in seeking fellowship with him. Christ is very patient with us even though we treat him so unkindly. It is only because he is so gracious that he only withdraws himself rather than leaves us forever. He knows that those who have beheld his glory in some measure, although they have not valued it as they should, cannot bear it when his presence and the sight of his glory are withdrawn. So by withdrawing himself he aims to awaking his people to search for him, and to mourn over their sin in taking him for granted.”

 

Like newborn babies who take their mother’s milk for granted, we as new creations sometimes take the peace of his presence for granted, we might even fall into licentious thinking and so, as an act of grace, he may withdraw from us and so further our sanctification, and our only true satisfaction.

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