Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 9:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 116 (ESV).
Pleas for Mercy (vv. 1-4)
I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”
Jesus Christ, God the Son, had been tempted of Satan in the wilderness, and he had gone to live in Capernaum, in fulfillment of what Isaiah had prophesied about him. Then, the Word says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt. 4:17). Jesus also said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:44). And, he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6).
So, not one of us can come to faith in Jesus Christ, and receive his mercy and forgiveness, unless the Father first draws us to him. God will put within us the desire for him, and for his salvation. And, he will reveal to us that Jesus is the only way to the Father – that there is only one way to God, not many. And, it is through faith in Jesus Christ, via repentance, i.e. via turning from our sin to God, to follow him, that we are saved by God’s grace. So, we should praise and thank God, not only for hearing our cries for mercy, but that God the Father first drew us to Jesus Christ, that he put within us that desire for him, and that he even gave us the faith to believe in him, too.
He Saved Us (vv. 5-9)
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, due to the sin of the first man Adam. We are born in Adam’s likeness (See: Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-49). Adam’s sin against God separated humankind from God, so the Father sent Jesus Christ, the Son, to the earth to die on a cross for our sins, to purchase us back (to redeem us) for God. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, by faith in him, we can be delivered from the curse of sin, and from bondage to sin, and we can be set free to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and to have the hope of eternal life with God.
The way in which we come to faith in Jesus Christ is that, in the working and power of the Spirit of God in regeneration, via the gift of faith from God, we put to death our old lives of living for sin and self, we are made new in the attitude of our minds, and we put on the new self, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24). “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Ro. 6:6-7). So, we are to count ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Ro. 6:11).
The Lord’s Servants (vv. 12-19)
What shall I render to the Lord
for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.
O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!
So, are we under any kind of obligation to God now that he has set us free from slavery to sin, and has granted us, who believe in him, eternal life?
Romans 8:12-14 says this: “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
We ARE under obligation to live according to the Spirit, and to be putting to death, by the Spirit, the deeds of our flesh, and to be led by the Spirit of God in how we now conduct our lives. And, we are also under obligation to NOT live according to our flesh, for if we do, we will die in our sins, even though we profess to know Jesus Christ as Savior of our lives. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the sinful nature, but who conduct our lives according to the Spirit (See: Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15).
Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them. But, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life. He also said that his sheep (his followers) listen to him, he knows them, and they follow (obey) him, and they are the ones who can’t be snatched out of his hands (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 10:27-30).
Jesus also said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). And, he said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me” (Jn. 14:23-24).
You see, Jesus didn’t die just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. When we are saved, we are not given carte blanche (complete freedom to act as one wishes or thinks best) to do what we want without penalty or consequence. His grace to us is not free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace, in fact, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return, for Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (See: Tit. 2:11-14). If we say we have fellowship with God, yet we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6).
So, our vows to God, when we trust him as Lord and Savior of our lives, are to leave our lives of sin behind us, and to walk in his righteousness in the power and working of the Spirit of God now living within us. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we enter into a spiritual marriage relationship with him, where we profess him to now be our only Lord (owner-master) and husband, and that we are his bride. We promise to love, honor, respect, reverence and obey him, to be faithful to him, and to not have any other gods before him. We may not voice all these words, but that is what it means to believe in him, and for him to now be Lord of our lives.
If we are truly thankful that Jesus has set us free, then we should want to fulfill our vows to him, and we shouldn’t want to have other gods before him. We should desire to walk in his ways, and in his truth, and to follow him wherever he leads us. We shouldn’t be looking for a loophole to where we feel we can continue in sin without consequence. That would be like getting married, and then immediately be looking for ways to cheat on our spouse, to see what we can get away with. That is not much of a marriage, is it? Jesus is a jealous God, and he wants us to be faithful to him. And, we should do so, not because we fear hell, but because we love him, and because we are so thankful that he died for us to set us free. Amen!
Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures
Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.
For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.
Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.
We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.
Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.
Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!