Close And Personal :: By Dennis Huebshman

James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Psalm 73:28, “But for me, it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my Refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 145:18-20, “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked, He will destroy.” (ESV – all emphasis is mine)

Getting close to and having a relationship with Our Father, Our Savior, and Our Holy Spirit should be the most important goal we could ever have in this life.

Going to 1 John 3:1-3, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.”

Our Lord and Savior shed His precious blood on Calvary’s Cross so that through Him we could have redemption from our sins. Without receiving and accepting the gift our Savior provided for us, there is no pathway to forgiveness, and every sin we will ever commit, we will be held accountable for.

For those who believe they have no sin in their lives and therefore are self-righteous, Romans 3:10 says, “as it is written, none is righteous, no not one.” Romans 10:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And then, of course, there’s Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

Going to 1 John 3:8-9, “Whoever makes a practice of sinning, is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

From all these verses, it would seem that when we have Jesus as our Savior, we are never to sin again, or if we do, we’re not really saved. If God’s word that has been shown so far was absolute and unbendable, this would be the case. However, we look at 1 John 1:8-10; “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

From the moment of the first sin in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, all of mankind has been indwelt with a sin nature. There was only one and will ever be only one human that will have walked this earth with a pure, sinless nature. That was our Savior, the Lord Jesus Himself. From the time the Holy Spirit placed Him in Mary’s womb to His death on the cross, Jesus never sinned even one time. Because of this, His blood sacrifice was the only one the Father could ever accept.

God knows that as humans, we will sin almost daily in some manner, shape, or form. That’s why we have the promise in 1 John 1:8-10 that if we are truthful and confess to Him and ask His forgiveness, He will do so. How many times?

Taking a look at Matthew 18:21-22, “Then Peter came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? As many as 7 times?’ Jesus said to him; ‘I do not say to you 7 times, but 70 times 7.'”

In the day our Lord walked this earth, it was customary to forgive someone up to 3 times. Peter thought he was being generous with 7 times; however, Jesus said 70 times 7. At this point, He did not mean we have to count to 490 and then condemn someone. His intent was that we are not to actually count but forgive continuously as our Father in Heaven forgives us.

Our issue is continuous, habitual sin without any effort on our part to change from the evil to do good. We need to ask the Father in our daily prayers to give us strength and willpower to resist temptation and to help us turn to righteousness. God knows this will only be possible for us when we have our new glorified, eternal bodies and a Christ-like mindset. What He is asking of us now is to do what we can to resist, but when we do slip and fall, don’t hold back on asking Him to forgive us. He already knows what we have done but wants us to admit to it and be forgiven.

When we take a look at the “Heroes” of the Bible, each and every one of them, except Jesus, of course, slipped in some way or another. Some were worse than others. However, the key was their repentance and their requesting forgiveness. Remember once more, Romans 3:10 says, “none is righteous, no not one.

Our main goal should be to become as close to Jesus as possible. He will push no one away who truly seeks a relationship with Him. Once more, Fanny Crosby has a song from 1874, and it’s about being close to the Savior. It’s called “Close to Thee.”

1.) Thou my everlasting portion, more than friend or life to me. All along my pilgrim’s journey, Savior, let me walk with Thee.

Ref) Close to Thee; Close to Thee. Close to Thee; Close to Thee. All along this tedious journey, Savior, let me walk with Thee.

2.) Not for ease or worldly pleasure; not for fame my prayer shall be. Gladly will I toil and suffer; only let me walk with Thee.

3.) Lead me through the veil of shadows; bear me o’er life’s fitful sea. Then the Gate of Life Eternal, may I enter, Lord, with Thee.

It is so amazing that the Creator of all the heavens and the earth wants a relationship with all of us. He loves us so much (John 3:16) that a very special part of Him went through a very horrible death so that we could have forgiveness and a pathway to eternal life with Him. Animal sacrifice was only allowed for so long and for specific reasons. Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all sin, for all who will receive and accept His most precious gift (Hebrews 10:4-18).

Our part is to follow the ABCs of Romans 10:9-13; Admit (confess) we’re sinners; Believe Jesus is the only way to Salvation (John 14:6); Call out to Him to be saved. God does not look at our bank accounts or social status; He looks at our hearts to see if we’ve allowed His Son in it.

For those who have not or will not allow the Savior in, God’s word is very specific. To die without Jesus as your Savior is a one-way ticket to the long line at the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15. Satan, his antichrist, and the false prophet will already be in that lake of fire, and everyone in that line will join them forever.

Believers will go through the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) to be given rewards or have rewards taken away. No one there will be condemned but will still be in Paradise with our Savior forever.

It’s a choice thing. You choose heaven or hell. God will not force anyone either way. The devil and his demons have no pathway to ever be forgiven, and they know their time here is getting very short. No matter how greatly you have sinned, you can still be forgiven and be with Jesus forever.

It’s completely up to your own free will. Please choose wisely; choose Jesus; choose Him today. Tomorrow could just be too late.

Shalom! Come, Lord Jesus!