To The End

on 4/06/2014

"I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22:13)

A few years ago I witnessed to a close friend about Jesus Christ.  He liked the ideas of salvation and a relationship with God, but I could tell he didn't like the idea of being a "born again Christian."  He had heard the stereotypes.  He had watched Ned Flanders on The Simpsons, and he couldn't imagine himself being a nerdy, no-fun religious zealot that was mocked openly in the popular culture he had adopted.  It was hard to tell him that it wasn't like that.  "Can I still party?"  "No."  "Can I still get with girls?" "No."  "What can I do."  "You can go to church and read the Bible." 

I didn't know what a Christian was supposed to look like.  I was a Christian, but I was worse than Ned Flanders.  They make him out to be a nice guy.  I was the jerk version.  I couldn't see what God had for me to be.  But who I am supposed to be is right in front of me.  It's right in front of us all as we study the living Word of God, Jesus Christ.  As we study Him, He looks back at us.  His Spirit draws us closer, His Spirit unites us with Him, and His Spirit changes us into His image.  All of this is so we become like Him.  He is the End.  He is the fulfillment of our potential.  He is the Height that we can reach.  He is the pinnacle of humanity, and we can reach Him.

We will reach Him eventually.  We will be completely conformed to His image one day.  But we can't wait.  We must start believing and working for this now.  This is one of God's most important (if not the most important) goals for our life, and we can start now.

I feel that I must digress so that you don't fear this conformity.  We will retain our individuality.  We will all still be unique.  Even when we are completely conformed to the image of Christ, there will never be another person just like you.  God formed you, and God adores every detail that is only yours.  I believe the world has conformed us.  The world represses our Godly individuality.  As we are conformed to the image of Christ, our God-given traits will spring forth.  We will love them, and so will others.  "When He (God) talks of their losing their selves, He means only abandoning the clamor of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever."  (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters)

No, it's not a negative conformity that will destroy us.  It's a positive change that will free us.  As you become like Christ, you will become the person God created you to be.  Christ is your end and your beginning.

The Greek word for "end" in the Revelation verse is "telos."  Here is the definition from the Greek dictionary I use (Strong's from E-Sword): to set out for a definite point or goal, properly the point aimed at as a limit, the conclusion of an act or state, termination, result.  Complete conformity to Christ is our goal.  This is a definite point, something we can strive to.  He is our conclusion, our purpose, the result of His salvation life in us.

God will bring you to Him.

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."  (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

God is going to sanctify (consecrate, make holy) you wholly.  "Wholly" is, at its root, a combination of two words: "holos" and "telos."  "Holos" is whole, complete, all.  God is going to purify you wholly, to the complete purification to the level of Christ (completely to the End).  You will be purified, inside and out.  As Christ is sanctified, so is God going to sanctify you.  God is going to make you holy to the level of Christ's purification.

"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."  (Hebrews 7:25)

"Save" in the Greek is "sozo," meaning save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, and make whole.  This passage in Hebrews deals with sacrifice and cleansing from sin.  Christ, through His sacrifice and eternal intercession for us, saves us to the very core of our being.  Uttermost here is the combination of "pas" and "telos."  "Pas" is all, any, every, whole.  God is going to save every part of you.  God is going to heal every part of you.  God is going to change every part of you.  Just as we saw in Thessalonians, God isn't going to leave any part of you untouched.

God raised Christ from the dead.  God saved Christ from hell.  God is going to do the same for you, and to the same extent.

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6 KJV)

God has begun a good work in you.  What is this good work, conforming you to the image of Christ in every way (which puts you in position so God can do good works through you).

God will develop you in love, joy, peace, compassion, and every other fruit of the Spirit.  God will develop your individual ministry so that you are a blessing to others.  God will develop you internally in every Christian attribute, and the superman God has created in you will come alive to do His work and change your world.  This is what it means to rise and shine.

This will happen as you spend time with God and learn about Him.  As you learn about God, He reveals Himself to you.  The revelation of God is (gulp) the revelation of who you were created to be.  And again, your individual expression of God can never be duplicated.  You are meant to be an expression of God's love, power and personality to the world.  The more you see of God, the more you will love Him, and the more you will want to be like Him.  And He will answer your heart's cry and make you like Him (you will feel this as you see Him clearly).  You will become like Him and yourself, and you will grow in this love bond with Him, and you will love yourself, and you will love others.

"Perform" is "epiteleo" - a combination of "epi" and "teleo," "teleo" coming from the word "telos."  The basic definition of "perform" is to fulfill further or completely, execute, terminate, accomplish.  In other words, "bring to the end."  God has started you on the journey and He will completely perform His work in you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  But we must start working with Him, not against Him.

God will complete His mission in you.  God will accomplish His work.  God will bring you to the End that is Jesus Christ in you and through you.

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2)

Let me leave you with this final thought - you have to let Him do it.  I've shown you clearly here, and in my other post on being conformed to the image of Christ, that God wants to change you.  This is for your good, for your blessing, and for you to be a blessing to the world.  But He won't force you to change.  I wish He would frankly, that would be so much easier.  But that's not how it works.

He presents change.  He shows you change in His word and shows you the benefits.  As you read the Word, faith that makes change possible builds in you.  Then you have a thought, "I can change."  "I can do this."  It's a great, empowering feeling that comes straight from the Spirit of God.  You feel God's power to change your life so that you can live His perfect will.  But you must answer the call.  You must embrace the opportunity.  God will not force you to rise and shine.  You must do it yourself, and all of Heaven is behind you to change and bless this world.

The Spirit of God gives you the revelation that true change is possible in your life.  But you must walk through the door, and it starts with your mind making good choices.  Of course you don't walk alone.  God will be with you every step of the way, to bring you to the End.  This is your destiny.  This is God's plan for your life.  Yes, there are external plans, but this is His internal plan for us all.  Now let's get going. 

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