Forever, To the End

Saturday, November 5, 2016, 12:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 119:105-112 (ESV).

A Lamp to my feet (vv. 105-106)

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.

I am reminded here of the words John spoke in his gospel, regarding the Word. He said the Word was with God in the beginning, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him, i.e. He is our creator. “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (Jn. 1:4-5). He went on to say that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (v. 14). John later identified the Word as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had come into the world to take away the sins of the world.

So, not only is the Bible (Genesis to Revelation) God’s Word to us, but Jesus Christ is the living Word, who now dwells within those of us who are his followers, via the person of the Holy Spirit. We have the Word living within us, giving us light and truth, and directing our paths. Awesome! Even when we are not engaged in reading the written, yet living Word of God – the Bible – the Word is within us counseling, guiding, encouraging, comforting, and teaching us what Jesus taught his disciples when he walked the face of this earth. The Word is always with us, in other words. It never leaves us. We just have to listen to the Spirit speak God’s Word into our hearts, and then we have to follow our Lord in obedience to his will and to his ways.

Give me life, O Lord (vv. 107-108)

I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.

Before we believed in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, though, we were weighed down with sin. We did not have the light of life living within us, because we had not yet been given this new life in Christ. Yet, somewhere we heard the gospel preached (or shared), our hearts were convicted of sin, we humbled ourselves before God, repented of our sins, and we trusted in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior. Through the Spirit of God, we were, thus, crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we were resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). The old was now gone, and the new had come. We were now delivered out of slavery to sin, and we were given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to his righteousness. Amen!

But I do not stray (vv. 109-110)

I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.

A transformation of the Spirit of God had now just taken place in our hearts. Where we once lived to please our sinful flesh, now our desire was for God, to do his will. We no longer walked (conducted our lives) after the ways of our sinful flesh, but we now walked according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. We didn’t reach instant perfection, but we had changed directions, and now we were on the path of righteousness, with the living Word as our guide. So, we began the journey of the Christian life in following our Lord in obedience, and by the Spirit, we began the process of daily dying to sin and putting to death the deeds of the flesh, so that we might have eternal life with God in heaven (See: Ro. 8:1-14; cf. Lu. 9:23-25).

Remember here what John said. He said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (in sin), we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). Jesus said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25). A saved life is a changed a life; a life transformed of the Spirit of God out of darkness and into God’s wonderful light. Jesus died, not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who walk according to the Spirit. If we are still walking in sin, we don’t know Christ.

Forever, to the end (vv. 111-112)

Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.

Jesus 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). Paul said, “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain” (I Co 15:2). And he said, “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel” (Col. 1:22-23). The writer of Hebrews said, “… And we are his house, IF we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast… We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first” (Heb. 3:6, 14; cf. Romans 11:17-24; II Tim 2:10-13; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; & I John 2:24-25).

A saved life is not only a life transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin and the power of Satan, and to God – and out of darkness, and into his wonderful light – but it is continuous to the end. In John 3:16 we read that God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. That word “believes” is present tense. In other words, our belief must be ongoing. We are not saved on the basis of past belief. If we want to have eternal life with God, we must be believing on him at the time we go to be with him. And, that belief in Jesus is revealed to be genuine by our forsaking of our lifestyles of sin to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in obedience to his will and to his ways – on his path of righteousness.

Some people will try to write this off by calling it “works-based salvation,” but it can’t be, because it is what God’s word teaches us we must do. Yes, we are saved by God’s grace, through faith, which is a gift of God and not of works lest any of us should boast that we somehow earned our own salvation (See: Eph. 2:8-9). Yet, our salvation is not absent of works of the Spirit in our lives (See: Eph. 2:10). “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” James said, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder… faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (Jas. 2:17-19).

The evidence that true faith in Jesus Christ exists in our lives is that we no longer conduct our lives after the flesh, but we live our lives (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, not in sinless perfection, but daily, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and daily putting on Christ and his Word and his righteousness, and to do so to the very end of time.

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!

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