His Grace to Us

Sunday, August 13, 2017, 2:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 2:1-10 (NASB).

Dead in Sins (vv. 1-3)

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

The Bible teaches us that ALL have sinned and have come up short of attaining God’s divine approval (Ro. 3:23). Not one of us is righteous before God in our own merit. We can never be good enough to gain eternal life with God. In fact, we cannot even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to His Son (Jn. 6:44). Without Christ we are spiritually dead, without hope, and without God. Our destiny is eternal damnation in the fires of hell, no matter how many good deeds we might do in this life, or how seemingly kindhearted we may be towards other people.

In our sin natures, we are drawn towards sin, and towards doing even what we know is wrong. We are under the control of Satan, not of God. We are of this sinful world, not of the kingdom of heaven. And, we are under the influence of the world, not conformed to the image of God. We are bound towards disobedience rather than obedience. We live and walk (conduct our lives) according to our sinful flesh, and not according to the Spirit of God. And, we indulge ourselves in the desires of our flesh, rather than resist Satan, flee temptation and sinful desires, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith.

This is what an UNSAVED life looks like. So, if you profess to be a Christian, but this is what your life looks like, then something is terribly wrong.

By God’s Grace (vv. 4-9)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

But, thanks be to God, he did not leave us bound in our sins, without hope. He provided the way for us to be saved from our sins, to be delivered out of slavery to sin, and to become bondservants of his righteousness. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God), came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered like we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering (Is. 53). And, those who hated him saw to it that he was crucified on a cross, thinking that would be the end of him.

Yet, it was God’s will that he should suffer and die for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross in order that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:14; 1 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24). Yet, Jesus did not remain dead. God the Father resurrected him from the dead. And, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf.

So, by God’s grace to us in sending his Son to die on a cross for our sins, and to be resurrected back to life, we can also die to our sins and be given new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we repent of (turn from) our sins, and we turn to God to follow him in his ways. We are forgiven our sins, and we are given eternal life with God in heaven (See: Acts 26:16-18; Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). All this is the working of the Spirit of God in our lives, and nothing we do in our own flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation.

For Good Works (v. 10)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Many people who quote this passage of scripture in Ephesians 2 stop at verse 9, and they assume that good works are not required at all of us. Yet, although it is true that we are not saved by our own fleshly works, and that we cannot earn our way into heaven, our salvation is not absent of good works. We are saved not just FROM something, but we are saved TO something. In other words, we are saved from sin, but we are saved to righteousness.

When we become children of God, it is not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. When Jesus died on that cross for our sins, and he put sin to death, on our behalf, he bought us back for God with his blood, so that when we trust in him to be our Savior and Lord, we are no longer our own, to do with our lives what we want. He is now our Lord (owner-master) and we are his bondservants (his workmanship). And, he has good works which he created us to do, and which he prepared beforehand that we should walk (in lifestyle) in them.

Some of these good works are specific to all of us who believe in Jesus, whereas some of them are specific to each of us as individuals. What I mean by this is Jesus not only has a purpose for all of our lives, which applies to all his followers, but he also has individual callings, giftings, and assignments he has for us to do (See: Ro. 12; 1 Co. 12; Eph. 4). And, we would do well to seek his face concerning what purpose and calling he has for our individual lives, and then to be about doing what he had prepared in advance for us to do, and to live the lives he had marked out for us, all in the power and working of his Spirit now living within us, and to his glory!

Full Release / An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.

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Since You Died

Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 7:35 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Not by Might.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Colossians 3:1-17 (NASB).

Things Above (vv. 1-4)

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

IF we have believed in Jesus Christ, and IF we have been born anew of the Spirit of God, we have died with Christ to sin, and we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life, to be lived to Christ and to his righteousness. This means that the process of sanctification has already begun in our lives, and we have already begun seeking things above, so we need to keep doing this. Yet, we need to be careful that we don’t slip back into seeking after the things of this life and setting our minds on the things of this world, instead of on Christ, who is our life.

So, how do we do this? Well, for one, we don’t do this in our own strength and willpower. Only in the strength of the Lord, and in the power and working of His Spirit now living within us, can we fight off (resist) the devil, flee sinful lusts, escape from temptation to sin, draw near to God, and seek after heavenly things in place of worldly things. If we try to resist the devil and flee sinful lusts in our own human strength and wisdom, we are bound to fail, because our flesh is trying to fight off the flesh, and that is counterproductive. And, thus, it might be easy to make excuses for sin or to find ways around God’s commands, instead of submitting to our Lord.

As well, if we desire to truly seek after things above and not after the things of this earth, we have to be willing to go the distance with God. We can’t bargain with God or hold back from him anything he requires or desires of us. In other words, if we want to be wholly the Lord’s, following him wherever he leads us, and no longer walking according to the ways of our sinful flesh, then we have to cooperate with the Spirit of God in our lives in removing from our lives all which hinders our spiritual walks or which leads us into sin, as well as we must allow our Lord to cleanse our lives of all sin. In other words, we can’t flee sinful lusts if daily we feed those lusts via TV, movies, video games, social media, the internet, secular music and the like.

Dead to Sin (vv. 5-11)

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

From what I have read, and from what I have heard, and from what I have personally experienced, it appears to me that the vast majority of American (professing) Christians do not consider the members of their earthly bodies as dead to sin but alive to God and to his righteousness. And, that is why the false grace gospel has attracted the hearts of so many people, because they want to believe they are forgiven of their sins, and that they have the promise of heaven when they die, but that God requires no repentance, no obedience and no submission of them, and that he is pleased with them no matter what they do. They want to believe that they can keep on sinning willfully against their Lord in specific areas and yet still be saved from their sins. But, does this even make sense? No! It doesn’t!

For, Jesus died on a cross for our sins not just so we can escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. Indeed, He died so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. He died to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. And, he died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14; Ro. 8:1-14).

It is my belief that many professing Christians, who may or may not be real Christians, are still enslaved to some specific signature sins because they truly do not want to be free, although they will say they do, and they will even feel as though they do. But, they are not willing to go the distance with God in eradicating from their lives what leads them into sin, in fleeing the sin, and in putting the sin to death. So, they play with temptation to sin, and they toy with sin in their minds, and they daily take into their minds and hearts what only serves to tempt them even more, and then they seem dumbfounded as to why they can’t seem to gain victory over sin. Well, I can tell you from experience that we have to get dead serious about sin, and we can’t toy with it even a little, if we want to experience true victory in Christ.

Put On Love (vv. 12-17)

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

We can’t put on love if we are not willing to put off sin. When we sin against others, that is the opposite of love. For, love does no harm to its neighbor. And, if your sin is looking at pornography, and you think you are not harming anyone, think again! You are harming yourself, for one, and, if you are married, you are committing adultery against your spouse. And, you are impacting how your own mind views other people and how you treat others, based on how your mind views them as sex objects rather than as people with hearts and minds, who should be treated with respect and value.

So, if we want to love others with god-like love, which is what we are commanded to do, then we need to put off sin – in the power and working of the Spirit within us as we fully cooperate with the Spirit in his work. And, we must believe that Jesus, via his death and resurrection, fully conquered sin so that we no longer should be enslaved to sin, because Jesus set us free! Yes, temptation is powerful! I know!! But, God is more powerful, and he already took care of sin for us. We just have to yield to him, do what he says, and daily put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. We have to, too, adopt God’s view of sin instead of man’s, i.e. we have to truly hate the sin and what it does to us or we will never want to be free from it. We must, in our minds, be dead to sin.

Then, we can truly love others in the way in which this passage describes.

Not by Might / An Original Work / March 29, 2012

Based off Zechariah 4

“Not by might, and not by power,
But by My Spirit,” says our Lord, God.
“Mighty mountain, O what are you?
Before Christ you will become level ground.”
The hands of our Lord, Savior God,
Formed the foundation of His church.
He alone will complete the work
He began in His servants’ hearts and minds.

Who despises small beginnings?
Much can be done in Christ’s strength within.
Be of courage, and trust your Lord.
All sufficient He is for all your needs.
Opposition and apathy:
Holy Spirit will set us free!
We can be overcomers in our faith
In our Lord, and our Savior, King.

Don’t be troubled by God’s timing.
He has ev’rything in His command.
Hasten to obey His commands fully,
Trusting Him to work all for good.
Not by might nor by human strength,
But by God’s power; strength within;
My dependency now on His working
His will in me in righteousness.