The Envelope Please
Posted January 09, 2015
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
To Read: 1 John 4:1-21
Long ago mail traveled in such a different way. You know, way back before they even had envelopes. Scrolls were sealed with wax. Later on folded paper was sealed with wax.
The envelope makes everything so much easier.
Envelopes envelop. I guess that is why they call them "envelopes". They envelop and wrap around the contents inside. An envelope keeps our content secure. It keeps dirt and debris out. An envelope helps a letter arrive at its destination all in one piece.
I think about how God envelops us with His love. He wraps His love all around us. One definition of the word envelop is to "surround completely". Isn't that just how God's love covers and protects us? He wraps us tight in His love.
...for God is love. 1 John 4:8
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
The love of God affords us several things as Christians. Let's look at some parts of an envelope to discover some of them.
The return address shows the sender of the mail.
Sending Jesus shows how God envelops us with His love completely. God sent His Son for us and we can have a special relationship with the Sender.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 1 John 4:14
Up in the right-hand corner of an envelope is where we place our postage stamps. They can't be just a sticker we put there. Here in the States, we have to have an official stamp of the U.S. Post Office. They can either be a an actual stamp or computer generated postage, but mail has to be marked officially in some way.
We bear a mark too. Jesus told us what it should be. Love. They will know us if we "have love one to another." (John 13:35)
Our passage in 1 John 4 talks about this too.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:11-13
Showing God's love is how other people know that we have that stamp on us. It is the official mark of a Christian.
We all know that with a stamp on an envelope comes the price. It costs money to send mail.
A great price had to be paid for us to go to Heaven. The cost was high.
We just read that verse in 1 John 4:9 when talking about our "return address", but let's read it again along with verse 10.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9, 10
Jesus died for our sins so that we could be redeemed. He gave His life. He paid the ultimate price. After we accept Christ, we need to start showing His love and live for Him.
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:20
Letters need to be post marked in order to get where they are going. It is the first stop of a letter's journey. The date and place is marked clearly. That's the round circle with squiggly lines on an envelope sent through the mail. We don't even usually pay attention to that but it has to be there in order for the letter to move on its way to its destination.
A letter is post marked when it is first taken into the hands of the postal service.
We need to be post marked too. We don't have to remember the exact date or even some of the particulars, but we need to know with certainty that there was a time and place where we accepted the Lord.
Our day of salvation is our post mark. It is where we start our journey with Christ. It is the time when we are first placed into the hands of the Lord. Our post mark is something we have to have in order to reach our destination.
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:15
I don't remember the exact date of my salvation. I just know it was in November at a youth meeting when I was 9 years old at Union Baptist Church in Richwood, Ohio.
I can remember how cold it was. I can still see other people sitting around me. Their faces are etched in my mind. Even though I was young, I knew this was a decision I wasn't going to take lightly. I knew for weeks that I needed to do this.
I know for a certainty that I accepted Christ that night. I've got my post mark.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13
When a letter is post marked, the stamp or postage is cancelled. It can't be used again. When we accept Christ, we don't have to do it again. It's eternal. Our sin debt is marked "cancelled" at the time we accept Christ.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10:28
1 John 4:10 says Christ was our "propitiation". He made the atonement. He made the sacrifice. The debt has been cancelled.
Addressee or Recipient
Envelopes are addressed with names, either personal or business names. There has to be a way of letters getting to the right people. It is the personalization part of the envelope.
I have a personal relationship with my Lord. Going back to verse 15 of 1 John 4 it says, "Whoseover shall confess". Those that confess Christ are the people that God will dwell in and they will dwell in God.
...God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:15
It gives me such joy to know that the Lord knows me by name.
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. John 10:14
I have my name written in the Book of Life. How about you? The consequence of not knowing Christ is severe. You won't be on the right route if you don't know Christ. Heaven won't be your destination.
You have to seal an envelope before you drop it into the mail or your letter or whatever you put inside is going to fall out. A seal is an important part of an envelope.
Our seal is an important part of the Christian too. When we accept Christ we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:13
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13,14
Letters have a journey that they have to take to reach their destination. They get bumped around a lot. Letters end up on planes, boats, trucks, and every kind of vehicle. They end up going through sorting machines. They roll around in bins. They are man-handled, thrown, and tossed.
In our Christian life we sometimes feel like we've been bumped around, abused, and neglected. Many of us have seen our share of snow, rain, heat, and gloom on our journey too. We all go through sunny places as well. We've felt the blessing of the Lord. At times we've felt the sunshine on a rainy day.
That's all part of the journey. We can't let the things that bump us around derail us from living for Christ. Living for Christ is the beautiful part of the journey.
I looked up that saying about snow, rain, heat, and gloom. It is inscribed on a post office in New York.
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
I wish I could live that way – going through life and not letting anything hold me back from serving Christ. I have to keep on track as I go about my journey. I have to know that God loves me and is my strength.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4
When letters can't be delivered whether because someone moved without leaving a forwarding address or perhaps the address was incomplete, the letter in question gets returned to sender.
The post office stamps it right across the envelope. Well, nowadays they just put a yellow sticker on there that says to return to sender. The mail in question goes back to the return address on the envelope if there is one.
I just recently got back two Christmas cards that came back to me that way. They traveled all around the country and ended back up in my hands.
I know I'm going to get returned to my Sender someday. There is no chance that I'll end up in the dead letter file because the Lord is going to come and get me whether I'm still alive or have passed on.
I'm excited to say that He'll claim me. I don't have to worry that I won't get collected.
Ever miss a package in the mail and they leave that little card for you to pick it up? You have to have that card in order to claim your package. You have to have the authority.
If you know the Lord, that is something you don't have to worry about. Christ has the authority to claim you as His own. We will reach our final destination.
Sometimes I have to worry about my mail getting to its destination but I don't have to worry that I will make it to mine. I've been post marked and placed in the hands of Jesus.
I'm traveling first class. The price has been paid. I have the supreme "Forever" stamp licked and stuck in the corner of my life. I have a home in Heaven waiting for me.
That passage in John 14 is another one of those passages that shows how God envelops us with His love.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2, 3
So, what's your envelope marked?
Copyright ©2015 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.
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