But NOW is Christ risen, the firstfruits of those who have died in Him (I Corinthians 15:20). He who once persecuted us NOW preaches to us the faith he once destroyed (Galatians 1:23). The life which I NOW live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). Beloved, NOW are we the sons of God (1 John 3:2). For you were formerly darkness, but NOW you are light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8). Who in times past were not a people, but NOW are the people of God; then you had not received mercy, but NOW you have mercy in abundance (1 Peter 2:10). Behold, NOW is the acceptable time; NOW is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2).
That seemingly insignificant little word now fills the pages of Scripture with colossal hope. It is used not only to link the present to the past, but also to contrast the two by showing how much better, thing are NOW, since certain event have transpired and certain decisions have been made. It’s highly instructive and downright inspirational just to see in these verses what a difference this little word has made in the lives of God’s people. We see this difference first in the resurrection of Christ: Had he died only He would only be a martyr, not a savior. History is full of martyrs, who garner our sympathy, even inspire our courage, but cannot save our souls. If Jesus had died and stayed dead, we would be very unsure of our salvation. Although His death paid the penalty for our sin, His resurrection proved there is a life greater than death: His life, which He gives to us. Yes, once we latch onto His life by faith we can know that right NOW we are the sons of God, and we can know that because He lives, we too shall live! And then, notice how the greatest enemy of the early church, Saul, became its greatest champion, Paul. People who knew him both ways couldn’t help but say, “Wow, would you look at him NOW!” We hear it from his own lips: “This life which I NOW live is so glorious, so filled with light. I know what it’s like for others, for that was me: thinking I was enlightened, I was actually stumbling in the dark.” Then Peter gives his perspective of God’s eternal now when he points out the striking contrast between proud religion and pure relationship: “You who think of yourselves as the chosen people of God are actually outside of His favor, apart from the Savior. Your religion teaches you of God’s judgment, but my gospel tells you of His mercy.” And, according to Paul, this salvation is available to all, NOW! But NOW put off quickly becomes TOO LATE You have no guarantee of a time in the future to decide for God. You only have NOW!
Bits & Pieces from Japan
8 years ago