WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is 2nd Corinthians 5:20-6:2, where the Apostle Paul writes,
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
6:1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
NOW IS THE TIME OF GOD’S FAVOR!
Now is the time of God’s favor? Really? Now?
Sometimes larger circumstances can belie the truth of a specific situation. At times events that are happening all around us are better explained by other bigger events with even more far-reaching consequence. That’s what it was like for some of the people fighting in World War II. The Victory over Japan proclamation (VJ Day) did indeed mean that the second major, worldwide conflict of the 20th century was officially over. But that did not stop the fighting of many Japanese infantrymen against U.S. Marines in the South Pacific. Some fought for many months, even though their defeat was assured, inevitable, and even officially admitted. As the website “Military History Now” notes:
Hundreds of Japanese soldiers continued to fight on across the Pacific long after VJ Day. While some were unaware of the surrender in Tokyo Harbor, others simply refused to lay down their arms. American and Allied troops throughout the Pacific continued to clash with these holdouts for months, and even years after the war. A group of nearly 50 Japanese infantrymen waged a guerrilla war against American occupiers on Saipan until finally surrendering to Marines in December of 1945. More than 30 hid in the jungles of Peleliu until March of 1947 before they too turned themselves over to the Americas. Two Japanese troops stayed at their battle stations on Iwo Jima until January 1949, while nearly 20 remained at large on an island in the Marianas until June of 1951. For the next 20 years, small squads and even lone Japanese soldiers would emerge from the wilderness from time to time across the South Pacific and Southeast Asia.
Those battles, though waged after the VJ declaration of Allied victory, were still real, relentless, and terrifying for those engaged in them. Although victory was already declared, many Allied soldiers missed out on celebrating and enjoying “victory’s visitation.” In 2 Corinthians, St. Paul is talking about a bigger victory and a more far-reaching visitation. He tells us that God has indeed visited this world with an eternal victory for all. Jesus Christ has overcome the rebellion and hellish nature of our sin. He has defeated our last enemy, death. And He has even silenced our greatest accuser, the devil. The question for today is, “Do you know this victory for you?”
I’m saddened by how many people missed the blessing of salvation, even when they literally heard of it from the mouth of the Savior Himself. For example, remember when Jesus wept over Jerusalem as He journeyed to the final battle on the cross? He said:
If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation (Luke 19:42-44).
The most important questions today then are not simply ones like these:
- “What do you think the politics are going to be for the next two years?”
- “When are you planning to retire?”
- “Should you take this job or that job?”
As important as those questions might be, they pale before the question, “Do you recognize the time of God’s visitation in and for your life?” Today is that day. As St. Paul reminds us in this text, now is the time of God’s favor and the day of your salvation because today you are being offered the benefits of Christ’s work for you through His cross and resurrection. Yes, that’s right. TODAY, on this very day, by God’s grace and favor, you can be justified by receiving and trusting in His gift of salvation for you in Christ Jesus. Even though you are by nature an enemy of God, you can be reborn and reconciled to God, your Creator.
Now, I’ll grant you that there are many questions for people to worry about today. There’s a lot of talk about the “times we are living in” and that’s appropriate. But, today, make no mistake about it. The most important question for you is this, “Do you recognize the time of God’s offer of grace to you in Jesus?” Why is that so? Because in Christ, NOW is the time of God’s favor for you. Don’t miss this eternal opportunity because you are distracted or overwhelmed by the lesser issues of the day.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, let this simple, yet profound message that “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” sink in so that we might receive that grace through faith and then prioritize what is eternal in our lives. AMEN.
Leave a comment
Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.