Limited Time Offer
We’ve been considering God’s kingdom in terms of his outreach to the world, calling it the Ministry of Internal Affairs. We’ve considered it from various angles, noting that people’s reaction to it is polar: some embrace it, some ignore it, and others not only reject it but also actively attack it. It’s anything but passive, because God’s kingdom is not a dry historical treatise; it’s God Himself wanting to reestablish a warm, loving, interactive relationship with each of us. He shows no favouritism, but He continually reaches out to individuals in a way that makes those who receive Him feel like they are His favourite person in the universe. But this state of affairs is a limited time offer. Listen:
“As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (II Cor. 6:1,2)
It’s like there is a promo code attached to God’s invitation: grace4u. But it can only be applied to access God’s ministry for a limited time. He talks of grace and favour and salvation in terms of its universal invitation but adds the caveat: act now while the offer stands – there will come a time when it will no longer be accessible to those who have delayed.
It’s a hard truth in some ways, but in other ways it heightens our awareness of the value of the offer, doesn’t it? Procrastination reveals our heart, because we always do what we really want to do.
So the Apostle Paul puts God’s invitation right out in the open for us to consider. He’s telling us that if we persist in our stall tactics, if we delay, defer and postpone responding to God’s offer, we will be the ones who lose out. Do you remember the offer?
He says, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (II Cor. 6:16,18)
Do we sense Him living among us? Does our attention to His presence give us the impression that He is as close as a friend walking alongside us? It does mean making a daily decision. It means consciously transferring allegiance from thoughts and activities that put up a barrier to our relationship with God, to thoughts and activities that reinforce the family bond God wants to have with us. When He says “now is the time” and “now is the day”, He means us to moment-by-moment allow Him access to our internal affairs.
It starts with prayer. It includes reading His Word, especially the gospels, with an ear to the ground for His footsteps leading us in our daily lives. It means humbly applying God’s truths to relationships with people around us – putting their needs ahead of our own, treating them with love and respect, sharing with them the good news of God’s offer.
We must act now; we must make every moment ‘now’ moments where God’s grace and favour and salvation are current and relevant in our lives. And lo and behold, we will begin to find God’s kingdom affecting our lives in ways we never imagined possible. Now.
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