From: Rich Carlson
Date: February 28, 2020
Subject: It's February 28; Good Morning Union

“We know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”       1 John 3:2

And THAT’S for sure, but not until!! That’s what I wrote in the margin of my Bible. I’ve been talking with some friends lately about their new and renewed understanding of the gospel of righteousness by faith, in God- alone, or “Sola” as Martin Luther wrote in his Bible (at least that what he did in the movie!)

It’s such a freeing gospel when I understand that in fact there is NOTHING I can do or offer as proof of my deserving His righteousness. It comes ONLY by faith, trusting completely in what HE did for me—period!

But I am also human and much of the rest of my “humanness” has been conditioned to believe and practice the idea that some how I have to earn it, or I deserve something in return for my good work or good behavior. Identity and value are too often measured objectively and tangibly- I go to work, I get paid; I study, I pass the test (hopefully!), the list goes on. And then I come to Christianity and I am told that I cannot pay for or earn my salvation. That’s comforting in one way but it’s also the potential cause of stress because it’s too good to be true. And so goes my attempt to make something I do a part of the salvation equation.

John reminds me of two things this morning:

  1. The goal is to be “like Him” but that goal is not attained until He appears
  2. When He appears I will be “like Him” BECAUSE I will have seen Him face to face
  3. The hope that “seeing of Jesus” face to face, which will make me like Him at that point is what “purifies me.” Not my works, not my positive attitude, not anything except seeing Him face to face. THAT is what makes me like Him.


In the meantime the battle continues, but I don’t have to be a part of the battle, I just have to recognize that the battle is still going on. Christ and Satan are both at work; Christ to offer me assurance and Satan to try and discredit God and His system and to take me down however he can. I am a sinful human being until He comes and changes me “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMPET” (1 Corinthians 15:52). THAT is when I will see Jesus “face to face,” and THAT is when I will be changed! In the mean time I must, “be on the alert, because your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

I want to make smart choices in life because I believe life will probably go better for me if I do. I can also choose to decide what I’m going to focus on- my sinfulness (which is NOT my behavior but just what I am as a relative of Adam and Eve!)—or my salvation, which comes only from Jesus. I get to choose! I can think I’m perfect and say I am without sin but that’s sort of like “righteousness by positive attitude” and still a human attempt to earn some of my salvation by responding to my sinfulness by denying its existence. With that I’m afraid I’ll get blindsided by the devil because he’s still out there. I don’t’ have to fixate on him and I’m much healthier if fixate on Jesus and find my focus and my identity in Him, but the reality is that the battle is still raging. I must BALANCE my absolute assurance with my absolute acknowledgement of the battle. I know the end and I know Who wins so I spend no sleepless night fretting. “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that HE IS ABLE to keep (through the battle between Christ and Satan, right to the end) what I have committed to Him.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

Have a great day in your absolute assurance that WHEN YOU SEE JESUS FACE TO FACE you WILL win because you’ve already won in Him,

Pastor Rich


Quote for the Day:      “JOY is the settled assurance that God IS in control of ALL the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ULTIMATELY everything is going to be okay, and the determined CHOICE to praise God in all things.”   Kay Warren


PS        Friday Family Worship-. 7:30pm in WOODS AUDITORIUM. Because of Dr Allen’s alumni status at Fuller Theological Seminary, he was given the opportunity to show the soon-to-be- released film “Burden” on our campus for free! Thank you Dr Allen! Come casual and join us as we view this challenging and inspiring movie on race relations and the power of the gospel.


PPS      Afterglo by CABL right after or maybe even during Family Worship!