Salvation is simple enough for a child to understand, but it’s also so profound that we can’t plumb its depths. One thing we can know for certain is that it’s a work of God, whereby He regenerates a spiritually dead sinner into a new creation filled with the life of Christ.
How does Jesus receive us? I know how he treated me. I was a sinful twenty-something on a downhill path. Though I’d made a commitment to Christ a decade earlier, you wouldn’t have known it by the way I lived.
Finally I came to Jesus, and he welcomed me back. Please note– he did not accept my behavior but he accepted me, his wayward child. He said, “Come back. I’ll clean you up.” He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Not just grace, but also truth. Not just truth, but also grace.
Grace and truth. Grace told the adulterous woman at the well, “I do not condemn you.” Truth told her, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Jesus shared truth but did it graciously. Jesus offered grace but did it truthfully. Grace and truth. Acceptance seeks to offer both.
“May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.” — Galatians 1:3-5
Many think that when God comforts us, our troubles should go away. But if that were always so, people would turn to God only out of a desire to be relieved of pain and not out of love for him. We must understand that being comforted can also mean receiving strength, encouragement, and hope to deal with our troubles. The more we suffer, the more comfort God gives us.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, allow God to comfort you. Remember that every trial you endure will help you comfort other people who are suffering similar troubles.
To achieve the comfort and peace we share with others in their time of trial, we can receive help through prayer to almighty God, our Father in heaven. In a similar post at https://lifereference.wordpress.com, the author describes the necessity of earnest prayer to our Father given in private and not in public. Take a moment to read this post for additional enlightenment.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.—Romans 12:17-18; 21
We must confess unrighteous anger as sin and then begin to deal with it immediately. Anger is often a response to hurt and care must be taken not to excuse or defend it in the name of justice. Even when someone has sinned against you, it’s important to realize that holding onto anger in response is also a sin. Scripture tells us to overcome evil with good, not to repay it.
Some people want to hang on to ill feelings, but nursing a resentful attitude isn’t sustainable; anger must be put aside. If we retain our “right” to hold grudges, we can’t expect to live in the new nature Christ has created for us.
The place where we will find strength is in our new Christlike personality. Our responsibility is to put it on. He invites us to cooperate with Him in the process of transformation. With each step of obedience, the peace of Christ will increase and anger will diminish.
“I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me”—Philippians 4:13
How do you respond when you sense the Lord is calling you to a task that seems beyond your abilities? Do you list all the reasons why you can’t possibly do it? God already knows everything about you and the situation. He’s not asking your permission to proceed; rather, He is calling you to move forward with faith in Him. You can refuse, but you risk missing out on the blessings of a life lived in obedience to Him.
The Lord will equip you for whatever He calls you to do. And because the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer, we have everything we need to fulfill our divine mission. Instead of allowing inadequacy to deter you from obeying, let it drive you to your knees so you can depend on God’s insight and power.
Who do you call upon in your time of need? Do you ask family members for help? Do you reach out to close friends for their help?
Nehemiah, a figure from the Old Testament, spent time praying on his knees. When he needed guidance, strength, provision, or protection, he responded with prayer. Because of this attitude of dependence, God was able to use Nehemiah to achieve His divine purposes.
If you want to follow Nehemiah’s example of dependent prayer, first recognize God as the sovereign Ruler of the universe (Neh. 1:5). Although He’s our loving Father and loyal Friend, we must never forget that He is also our high and exalted Creator, whose holiness is beyond our comprehension. We don’t want to casually think of Him as “the man upstairs” or come into His presence in a frivolous manner.
As one who respected God’s holiness, Nehemiah approached Him with confession, admitting not only his own sin, but his father’s and Israel’s as well (Neh. 1:6-7). We cannot hide, deny, or cherish sin and expect the Lord to hear and answer our prayers. Purity of heart and the power of God are linked. We need the Holy Spirit to help us remain sensitive to sin and be willing to deal with it immediately.
The reason Nehemiah stood so tall had nothing to do with his natural abilities; rather, it was because he had developed a relationship of dependency on the Lord through prayer. The same can be true for you. Rely on the Lord, and let Him be your strength.
2You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.—Matt 10:22
Standing firm is not a way to be saved but it is the evidence that a person is really committed and devoted to Jesus. Endurance is not a means to earn salvation either; it is a by-product of a truly devoted life for Christ. Endurance grows out of commitment to Jesus Christ. In Matthew 10:22, Jesus predicted that his followers would be severely persecuted by those who hated what he stood for. In the midst of terrible persecutions, however, they could have hope, knowing that salvation was theirs. Times of trial serve to weed out true Christians from false or fair-weather Christians.
When you are pressured to give up and turn your back on Christ, don’t do it. Remember, the benefits of standing firm and continuing to live for Christ far outweigh anything the enemy has to offer.
Remember to praise God from whom all blessings flow.
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.— James 2:23
Let’s say that being called a believer in God, or a follower of God, or a servant of God is not enough for you. Let’s say that you want to be called, like Abraham, a “friend of God.” What would it take to acquire that appellation? How could you become a friend of God? According to James, Abraham was known as the friend of God for two basic reasons. He not only believed in God and the promises God made to him, but he also acted in accordance with his faith. He had works that flowed from his faith (James 2:22).
Abraham believed God when God told him that he would have an heir from his own body and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens (Genesis 15:4-6). At that point in time Abraham’s prospects for having a child seemed dim. Nevertheless, he believed God’s promise. “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-21). And as our verse for today makes clear, Abraham’s faith in God made him righteous before God. Abraham was justified by faith.
The reason why Abraham was justified by faith, however, was because his faith was more than mere lip-service to God. It was a living faith. It was the kind of faith that leads to works. This was revealed when God tested his faith later on by asking him to sacrifice his son on an altar (Genesis 22:1-19). Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, but God stayed his hand, and Abraham’s faith in God’s promise of an heir and many descendants was completed. He became known as the friend of God (see II Chronicles 20:7 and Isaiah 41:8).
Jesus said this with respect to friendship with him, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). We can see, then, that friendship with Jesus, as well as with God, comes about when we believe in them and follow their commands. After all, what kind of friend to God and to Jesus would we be if we never did what they said?