Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It’s a Wonderful Life

“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:12).

There are many people wandering through this world aimlessly with no idea of how wonderful it is to have life in Christ. Jesus said He came to deliver a different kind of life to those who will avoid Satan’s deceitful schemes (John 10:10). It is a life that can only be known through Him (John 14:6) that tears down dividing walls that seek to destroy the kingdom: “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall” (Ephesians 2:14). Sadly, only a select few will enjoy this life because it requires denial of self and total submission to the will of God (Matthew 7).

Many blessings befall those who choose to submit to God’s will, the most tremendous of which is the promise of freedom from our past. God told the children of Israel He was going to make a “new covenant” with them and in that covenant their sins would no longer be remembered (Jeremiah 31: 31, 34). This covenant was established through Jesus’ death on the cross (Heb 9:15-18). His death was the sacrifice needed to pay the price for the removal of the punishment of death for our ugly past. Now we are forgiven of all the sin in our past, and if we remain faithful to His teachings, even sins that we occasionally stumble over in the future are forgiven (1 John 1:7). The wonderful life in Christ is abundant in forgiveness.

Another blessing found in this wonderful life in Christ is freedom from sin. Satan uses sin to hold our souls in captivity (Romans 6:23). He disguises it so brilliantly and makes it look so tempting that our flesh experiences great difficulty trying to refuse it. Once we are taken in by its deceit and allow it to enter our heart we become separated from God (Isaiah 59:2) and unwillingly become servants of the great deceiver, Satan. His subtle disguising of sin lured us into his trap of doom and destruction. But Satan’s power is just what Jesus conquered: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). God sent His Son to earth to rescue us from sin’s power and to provide forgiveness. His willingness to die on a cross for that purpose reveals a divine love that is matched only by the grace that leads us in the right direction to its reward.

Becoming submissive to God’s plan has transformed many lives. For one to be transformed they must be willing to let God have control of their lives (John 3:16). God’s life is promised to a special kind of people. One can only become this kind of person when he or she decides to die to self, sin and to Satan. This describes those who believe. “Believe” in the Greek language is a verb, or action word, just as the Greek word “agape” or “love” is action. God’s love doesn’t just sit around and do nothing. It is action taken to meet our greatest needs. Believing is also action that takes place in response to God’s love. We must realize how desperate we are without Christ before we will ever come to Christ. Only when we come to Christ knowing our need for His forgiveness can we become full partakers of that glorious revelation of divine love. That active love working in our lives delivers us into the abundant life of loving God as He loves us.

In His Love,
Cub

Friday, May 27, 2011

Changes

“…one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6).

“Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future.” This is a quote from a classic song sung by the Steve Miller Band that illustrates the world’s concept of time. It seems like it was just a few days ago that the calendar changed to 2011, and here we are again, already half-way through another year. But that is how time goes. It is always moving and changing. But Peter shows us that God’s concept of time is different: “…with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Since God is Spirit and not bound by time’s rules, He is not subject to time’s change.

Although the world changes, we cannot accept change when it comes to our belief in the one true and living God (Ex 20:2-3). He will always be the one Father to all (Eph 4:6). The changing of time in this world must never affect our belief in this important doctrine of faith. God is the only One worthy of praise as Creator, Sustainer, Beginning and End of all things (Rev 4:11; Isaiah 43:1). The world and things in it may change with time, but since God is not influenced by time, He will never succumb to time’s power to alter.

Another part of unchanging doctrine is our faith in God’s Son. Many people have tried to change the story of Christ to fit into their realm of faith. But the true story of the risen Savior never changes. To grasp the true story, we must concede that Jesus “is called the Messiah” (Matt 1:16). He is the Christ, the anointed One of God. He is God’s Word in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). Even though the world’s understanding of the Savior has gone through changes with time, the facts about God’s Son, the Christ, will remain unchanged.

The Bible gives us many details of the unchanging facts about Jesus. One unchanging fact is that He came to destroy the works of Satan. “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Sin is a fact of life and a work of Satan and it is the cause of both physical death (Genesis 2:17) and spiritual death (Rom 6:23). It is the cause of separation between man and God (Isaiah 59:2). But because Christ is not subject to the power of time to change, the power of sin has been defused, and now the power of His truth has reconciled us to God (Romans 5:10). Time may change a lot of things, but nothing can change the doctrine of salvation found in Jesus.

Another unchanging fact about Jesus is that He did not come to change the Law, but to fulfill the Law. Many people, mainly ones of authority during the time that Jesus walked this earth, could not conceive His way and physically tried to destroy Him. They thought He came to abolish their Law, but in reality, He came to fulfill the very Law they felt had given them authority (Matt 5:17). But because Jesus is the Christ, He could not be swayed from His mission and conquered the rulers that feared His supremacy (Col 2:15).

People of the world must be able to adapt to the changes that occur through time, but Jesus said that we “are not of the world” (John 15:19). The world accepts changes in its laws of philosophy but as disciples of the Christ, we cannot accept any change when it comes to the God’s truth.

In His Love,
Cub

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Make Them Thirsty

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).

There is an old adage that says, “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” This mindset has been used to soften the church’s ineffectiveness in evangelism efforts. But we must acknowledge the fact that making people drink is not the task we have been sanctified to accomplish. Our call is not to make them drink, but to make them thirsty. Jesus never taught evangelism as making somebody do anything. He never made people obey His desires for the safety of their souls. What He did was offer their parched soul the water of life (John 4:14). How can anyone whose soul is parched not thirst for living water? The answer to this question might be because they do not understand how invigorating this water can be to their souls.

God’s purpose for His church can only be successful when we show the world how much of a positive difference salvation can offer. This is how the fruit of the vine is revealed. We are all branches connected to the true vine of God’s Son (John 15:1). When we are connected to the nourishment of Christ’s love, our lives reveal the power of God to change our lives for the good. His life has given us a new hope, a new perspective and most of all a new song (Revelation 14:3). We have been saved from a life with no purpose because we believe in the purpose of God. Life in His kingdom is different because of the transfer of authority: “in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). People of the world are confused about the good life. Satan has deceived them by keeping the joy of eternal life hidden. He has tricked them by giving them the happiness of the physical pleasures of this world so they will not seek the joy of the eternal life that is found only through faith in Christ.

God’s plan is for our lives to bear fruit and our lives should reveal the greatness of accepting this change. We should be eager to get to go to “the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). We should celebrate the chance to get to worship the One who provides life of joy. Why there is even one empty seat in His assembly is astonishing, especially when they charge such a great price to see sporting events and not one empty seat remains. The opportunity to worship the Lord is free admission, but the price of making that seat available cost Jesus His life. The fruit of receiving the victory that His Son’s blood offers is far more rewarding than any Super Bowl could ever be.

When we approach the chance to study the word of God with the same mindset that the world approaches the chance to read the TV Guide, then we are not making anyone thirsty for the truth that has the ability to save our soul. When people are not seeing the fruit of a changed life within us, they will remain in the life in which they have found comfort. God’s truth is the source that provides life and when this is not made known by our desire to study, we cannot expect anyone else to desire this fountain of life. Our hearts must hunger for the truth that God supplied to equip us for His work (2 Timothy 3:17). Our desires must reveal the fruit of loving God’s word with all our hearts. People of the world will only desire to die to the flesh when they see the people of God’s kingdom desiring to live through His Spirit. Only when our hearts need the nourishment of His love will we have an influence on those whose life has not been touched by His grace.

In His Grace,
Cub

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