Three Looks of Redemption
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Greetings again and God bless you and make you a blessing.
In Isaiah 50:10 we find this simple admonition: “He that walketh in darkness and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah and rely on his God.” Oh, that’s a wonderful verse for times like these when there’s so much darkness and the world’s skies are so overcast!
But times of darkness come also to dedicated disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though he may be walking in utter obedience to the will of the Lord and faithful in His service, there are times when he is perplexed and confused in his mind—I don’t think in his heart—times when he doesn’t know what to do or which way to turn. He feels like he is groping in the dark, and which way shall he look, and what shall he do to have the light of heaven break through the darkness and show him the way?
If he looks within, he will find only discouragement with himself and despair. If he looks at others, he finds only doubt and disappointment.
Now there are three great facts in redemption, namely atonement, advocacy, and advent. And there are three looks that correspond to these.
There is the backward look. Not the backward look that some people take in their misery, looking back at their own past with frustrating regret and bitterly wishing and wishing they had done better. But this isn’t the backward look that God’s Word points us to.
Fastening the mind on mistakes of the past brings only discouragement and makes the darkness deepen. The apostle Paul says, “Forgetting the things which are behind, I press on toward the goal of the high calling.” (Philippians 3:13–14)
There is only one backward look that can ever help when the darkness comes, and that is the look back at the cross of Calvary, where the stream of God’s forgiveness and mercy broke into the silver spray of sacrificial love in Christ’s finished work there. Isaiah 45:22 reads, “Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” Look to Jesus.
And if you insist on sitting alone with martyred thoughts and looking back back back, well then, look far enough. Just keep on looking until you look way back to the old rugged cross, where there is forgiveness and cleansing for all your past. Look back that far.
And there is the forward look. I don’t mean looking forward like some do, when in a hard place and with a “Pollyanna” optimism hoping for better days, and they say, “Well, I’ll only think of the better days and not worry about the darkness. If I only believe it and say it over and over, it will break through to light.” That’s small comfort when the darkness is so great that you can’t see one step ahead and you are groping your way all alone.
But there is a forward look that brings joy and peace to the true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, the wonderful expectations spoken of in Titus 2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great and blessed God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”—The blessed onward look.
What a glorious expectation that is, the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ! All the events of today, the things you’re reading about in the paper and you hear on the radio and television, they’re all pointing towards His soon coming. Time is getting so short! It’s just as if the Lord had His finger on the latch of the door, soon to open and reveal Him.
Wonderful expectation! He is coming, dearly beloved, to take out His own. Christ is coming. These wonderful events need strike no fear to your heart and bring no doubts. His program is moving on to utter fulfillment every day. Ezekiel 38 is near fulfillment also.
The Lord Jesus Christ knew the dangers and difficulties and all the things that we would encounter in times like these. He knew that very dark days were coming. He never hid from even His followers the fact they would have tribulation, but He urged us to be of good cheer, that He had already overcome the world and therefore our victory would be assured. (John 16:33)
He pointed us to the upward look, where He is in the place of advocacy. Isn’t that wonderful? Our advocate before the Father. No longer in the place of atonement but in the presence of God interceding for us. The lawyer has to be in court if he is to conduct the suit for his client, and there He is our high priest, our advocate, pleading our cause in the courts of heaven.
This is the upward look: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) George Bernard Shaw said once that he looked backward and found no comfort, he looked forward and found no hope, he looked every way and he said he saw no light.
But he didn’t look one way, and that was upward. Look up dear one, look up! If you are weary and discouraged, there is life, there’s hope. Christ has triumphed over all your foes—the world of flesh and the Devil.
You will never get the victory or overcome the darkness by struggling or by vain resolutions, but by realizing that Jesus Christ has already conquered your enemies and that He gives His victory to you if you will accept it. That’s the victory of Calvary: All things are yours through Christ Jesus.
You can have His grace for every time of darkness in times like these, for we are more than conquerors through Him who gave Himself for us! (Romans 8:37) He is still on the throne and prayer does change things.