BCC Staff Note: John Henderson first posted this article at the Association of Biblical Counselors site. The BCC is re-posting it with permission of John and the ABC. You can also read the original post here.
Our Final Destination
In 1 Timothy 1:15-17, the apostle Paul writes:
“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Not too long ago I was traveling by train in a foreign country and disembarked several stops too soon. Not my first time. The doors opened, people started getting off, and I followed without giving a second thought. Took me a little while to notice. I wandered down a couple of avenues before realizing I had jumped off prematurely. Brutal! My mind had gone adrift into a wilderness of worries and projects. I had forgotten where I was supposed to be going. Just going with the flow, and lost. You may be able to relate.
Sometime in the seconds after the train or subway doors close behind you, present reality snaps back into focus. The surroundings make it clear you have not found your final destination. Besides the irritation of lost time, you have to face that little twinge of humiliation when you turn around in front of all those onlookers in order to wait for the next transport to arrive and carry you along the same course you just abandoned.
Of course, that’s assuming you notice. What if you don’t even realize you got off too soon? Now it gets really confusing and difficult. Who knows how long you could wander through a maze of roadways and alleyways before realizing something had gone awry!
I think we can do this with the gospel. The gospel tries to guide us somewhere in life with God and one another. There is a particular posture of the soul God has in mind for us—a certain end point to which He uses the gospel to lead. Sometimes we can stop short of this terminus. We might board the gospel train, ride it a while and enjoy a few of its stations, only to stop short of the destination to which His grace zealously drives us. Paul doesn’t want this to happen. Not in his life, not in ours. Nor does he want it to happen in the lives of those we counsel.