“And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Why are you troubled and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see.
For a Spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’”
“But [Stephen], full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said,
‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’”
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life,
which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard
we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us;
and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
1 John 1:1-3
This morning I want to spend some time simply dwelling on the reality of our God. The reality of the Father who loved us so much He sent His Son to take the punishment for our sin, that we would know only grace in Him and freedom from sin’s grasp. The reality of the Son who willingly gave His life for us, who rose again on the third day, just as He said, and who lives now as our eternal Savior. The reality of the Spirit who dwells within us, the unceasing nearness of God, assuring us of His presence and working with power to accomplish God’s will in and through us.
We have a Father in heaven who loves us with a love that is perfect and pure, untainted by selfishness or darkness. A Father who hears our prayers, listening with compassion and understanding. Who seeks us out and draws us to Himself. Who delights to give good gifts to His children. Who is mighty in battle. Who is for us.
We have a Savior, the Son Jesus Christ, who left the throne of heaven to physically come to earth. The image of the invisible God. The radiance of His glory and exact imprint of His nature. The Holy One and the Lamb of God, slain for us. He gave Himself up to deep, close betrayal; false accusations; torture; death; and the weight of sin’s wickedness to its fullest extent. He then rose from the dead in victory and ascended to heaven. And today, right now, He lives to make intercession for those who are His. Our Good Shepherd who protects and saves forever. Standing at the right hand of the Father, our constant help and advocate. Silencing the enemy who would condemn, declaring that He has taken our iniquity away from us.
We have the Spirit of God within us. Poured into our hearts from the Father, His perfect, abiding love and His seal upon our souls that we are His forever. The guarantee of our very real inheritance: to know God fully and to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Spirit that is active in us each moment. Giving us strength. Connecting us to the One who is our joy. Revealing truth through the Word of God. Convicting us of sin so we may surrender to His transforming work to make us like Christ. Renewing us day by day. Leading us in paths of righteousness and light. The power of God enabling us to will and to work for His good pleasure. Interceding for us according to the will of God when, so often, we do not know how to pray as we ought.
All of this is very real. More real than anything else, because our God existed before anything else and He will exist after all other things have passed away.
Ever-existing, ever-constant, and ever-faithful to His own.
Allow His Spirit – His very real, present Spirit – to press this truth into your heart. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). If you have trusted in Christ, this relationship is reality for you. “Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
There is a God who is real. He has given us His Word, laying out His story and commands and revealing His heart underneath it all – His Word that is living and active through the working of His Spirit. He is a very present help in trouble. He makes Himself known as a fortress. He is love. He is steadfast. He is mighty to save, and He worked salvation for us by the giving of Himself, for there was no other way for us.
This is real. This is true. May our love for and faith in Him be a full reality as well, more real than anything else as we take hold of our very real and complete salvation. Let us press on to know Him, this God who has declared, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22).
“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD,
‘and my servants whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the LORD,
and besides me there is no savior.’”
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him
and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:8-9