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Friday, September 2, 2016

CrossTalk: The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings" (Hebrews 13:8-9). When I heard these words read last Sunday, they seemed to be tailor-made for the world we live in.
Our culture is characterized by constant change. Yesterday's new-fangled idea is already outdated and replaced by some other unheard-of madness. It's disorientating. It makes your head spin.
But this is nothing new. It has always been the way of the world to be as unstable as water. When you rely on the wisdom of the world, it will always turn on you. What seems safe today, is deadly tomorrow.
That's why one of the earliest Christian symbols is the anchor. The anchor, of course, is a heavy hook that reaches down through the unstable waters of the sea and connects a ship with the solid ground beneath. It gives stability to the ship in the midst of the inherent instability of the sea.
The neat thing is that, when Christians adopted the symbol of an anchor, they turned it upside down. Instead of drawing an anchor with the hook on the bottom, they drew it with its hook on the top! Why? Because our stability is not simply the floor of the sea, our stability is in the God who made the sea. "Our Father, who art in heaven."
Our Anchor is Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father. And when Christ is our Anchor, we are tethered to God Himself. In Christ, we have a stability which will never change, even though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the depth of the sea.
Christ, your Anchor, will never let you down because He remains the same. In fact, of all the things in this world, God is the only One who will never change. "For I, the LORD, do not change" (Malachi 3:6).
So take heart, you who trust in the Lord. Now is not the time to change with the whims of the world. Now is the time for confidence and steadfastness in the midst of wild and wooly seas. Yours is not a God who will change His mind and leave you adrift. Yours is a God who is so stable, that no matter what it may appear for the moment, in Christ, you are on the right side of history.
When the letter to the Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday," it means that the goodness of God's created order is not subject to revision. It means that the love outlined in the Ten Commands cannot suddenly become hate.
When the same passage says that "Jesus Christ is the same today," it means that God who died to save you has not changed His mind. No matter what the appearances of the moment, even when it seems that God is against you, He is always at work to save you through repentance and forgiveness.
When it says, "Jesus Christ is the same forever," it means that your trust in Christ will never be disappointed. To trust in Christ and His Word is the one -- and the only -- certainty in this world.  When you stand upon His Word, you are standing on the right side of history.
So don't waver. Don't be intimidated. Christ, the Anchor, remains secure. Seek only to abide with Him, and He will abide with you.
“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

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