What is Salvation? Part 1

salvation-marchAs a Christian do we understand the full depth of the meaning of the word “saved” or “salvation?” What does it mean to “be saved?” What are we “saved” from? To fully understand the gospel we must understand the meaning of this foundational word in Christianity. I think we get so use to “buzz” words in Christianity that we have a tendency to have a narrow or stale perspective of a word without seeing the full, majestic and breathtaking picture. There is so much meaning to the word “saved” or “salvation” that I could not in a few pages of teaching give it full justice. Yet I want to inspire you to think and meditate and treasure the deeper truths of salvation. We must go the Word of God and let it speak as to the meaning of salvation. I am not interested in the philosophies, reasoning or theologies of any person or denomination. Let’s open the Word of God, which God magnified above His name, be the final authority on salvation. I pray that God opens the eyes of your understanding that you would know the riches of His immeasurable grace, revealed in the truth of salvation.

Salvation originates with God only for He is salvation

Salvation never rests in a man or woman. No work, no deed and no accomplishment, no matter how great in the world’s eyes, can bring true salvation to a person. Education does not bring salvation. Government programs do not bring salvation. Political agendas do not bring salvation. Charity outreach does not bring salvation. Money does not bring salvation. Good deeds do not bring salvation. Helping your fellow man, woman or child does not bring salvation. Salvation never originates from the hands of people. Salvation cannot be earned, or bought. No one is good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, rich enough, wise enough or pure enough to earn salvation. The price is too high for salvation for it to be purchased by a mere person. Tithing to a church or giving large amounts to a public charity do not bring salvation. We cannot save ourselves. It is impossible. This logically brings us to the cry of the people in Luke 18:26: Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus then confirmed in verse 27 this important truth that we are studying- Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Salvation is only possible with God, and no other. Why is so hard for us to believe? We must stand still (not plan, not work, not design, not figure out), as Moses commanded the children of Israel, to see and experience the salvation of the Lord (Exodus 14:13). The pundits of the world in their arrogance still cry out “There is no salvation for him or her in God!” (Psalm 3:2). Salvation is mocked on television, in the movies and on the internet. The world culture proclaims we are too enlightened to be saved. They believe we have advanced so much in knowledge that salvation is an antiquated notion of the past. But God is not mocked according to Galatians 6:7 and these deceived fools will soon reap the fruit of their ignorance. Salvation belongs to God according to Psalm 3:8 and God alone can give salvation as a gift to another. Listen to these wonderful words in Isaiah:

Isaiah 12:2: Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

God says “Behold! Pay attention! Look at this and consider!” This is a vital truth to meditate and consider that God is my salvation. Look how personal this is that the Almighty God, who created the heavens and earth, is your own personal salvation! There is no wavering, there is no doubt and there is no hesitation but instead a confident, bold declaration that God is now my salvation. Knowing this beyond a shadow of a doubt allows you to fully trust God and never be afraid of anything. When God is my salvation, he becomes my strength. The immeasurable strength and power of God rest in His salvation. His strength is your strength, his power is your power and His might is your might. Salvation always brings a song of joy, praise and thankfulness to the heart. Psalm 27:1 reiterates these truths- Psalm 27:1 (KJV): The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?-Salvation is the means to crush all fear in our lives. We need never fear any person, any circumstance or any problem once God is our salvation. With God as my salvation which is the strength of my life and my light that shines in the darkness of their world, fear evaporates when we believe this simple truth. Nothing is bigger or more powerful than the salvation of God in my life. This is why God continually cries out to the lost: Isaiah 45:22; Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. God is the only one that can save in all the ends of the earth. There is none other that has the power and ability to save to the uttermost. God wants to save. God wants salvation for every person on earth. But we must choose who is going to be our way of salvation. The Psalmist says: Psalm 68:20: Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign LORD rescues us from death. God wants to save and rescue every soul from the sentence of death. I Timothy 2:3,4 states that “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” God is our personal Savior, yet He has a larger vision that every man, woman, and child be saved and come into a knowledge of the truth concerning their salvation.

To deepen our understanding of the Biblical definition of “salvation,” let us examine the Hebrew word for “salvation.” The root of the Hebrew words for “salvation” means “enlargement, space or removing that which restricts.” This Hebrew word (yasha) means, “to make a wide space” or “to have all that’s needed”. If you lived in the desert, you could cast your eyes over the landscape and see how far it went in every direction. Wide! If you sailed the sea, you could look toward the horizon. Wide! Lots of space for movement. No restrictions. Endless freedom. That’s concrete salvation. Room to move. Not being fenced in. Does it make you think about the endless possibilities that God has opened for you? Are you casting your vision toward the new horizon and discovering that there are no fences? And David says, “God is my wide open place.” Salvation is the doorway to endless possibilities. How wide open is your salvation? Salvation removes every form of bondage that has every held you in its chains, every captivity that has ever bound your soul, and every oppression that has crushed your life. Salvation sets you free to accomplish God’s endless purposes and plans for your life. Salvation is freedom to be what God always intended for you to be, free from the slavery of sin and the lusts of the flesh, free from the selfish and destructive direction of our sin nature. Salvation brings you into the freedom of an intimate, restored relationship with God, freedom from the exercised power of darkness in the world, freedom to walk in the power of the gift of holy spirit and freedom to love and worship God without restriction. This is truly the limitless limits and the boundless frontier of salvation.

The broader definition of the Hebrew word for “salvation” means “to rescue, to deliver, to bring to safety, to help in distress, to set free, redemption and preservation of life.’ Salvation is the ultimate deliverance, the ultimate rescue and the ultimate redemption. Salvation brings life and sets you free. We see this in the Greek word for salvation which describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and peril. It is a restoration to a state of safety, soundness, healing, wholeness and well-being. In the Old Testament one of the root things salvation delivers us from is violence. 2 Samuel 22:3,4 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. Psalm 72:14: He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. The Hebrew word is chamac and it means “to violently injure or oppress, to wrong, to act violently in thought, word or deed against the truth, righteousness and goodness. The word denotes an unscrupulous assault on the rights and life of another.” This violence is rooted in a tremendous antagonism against God and His Word. According to Scripture this violence was first birthed in Lucifer due to his pride in wanting to usurp the throne of God. Ezekiel 28:16: “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.” Lucifer whole being is filled with violence because of his sin against the Almighty. He has a relentless, twisted fury to bring violent oppression, injury and wrong to every human being on earth. He continually assaults the lives of persons, cities and nations with chamac. Every person is born in this world under the terrible weight of sin and death, birthed in their very being, and subject to the lordship of the king of chamac, the devil. He is the first violent one and the first oppressor and everything he does brings chamac. He is the father of chamac as all violence and oppression can be traced to his influence and working. It is interesting in contrast to Lucifer, Jesus Christ has not one ounce of chamac in his being and has never done one act, word or work of chamac. We see this in the wonderful prophesy about Jesus in Isaiah. Isaiah 53:9-“And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence (chamac), neither was any deceit in His mouth.”

At the very center of this chamac is sin as chamac is a manifestation and overflowing of sin and rebellion against God. Proverbs 8:36: “He who sins against me does violence (chamac) to his own life.” The rebellion of sin and its working of chamac is a tremendous sentence of doom on the human race and the whole creation cries out for a Savior, for deliverance from sin and chamac that are wrapped around all of the peoples of the earth like a garment.

The Devil is the god of this world according to II Corinthians 4:4 and the first usage of the word chamac in the Bible shows the effect of his lordship and kingdom over the earth. Genesis 6:11-13: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” In the days of Noah, the entire earth was filled with chamac and it corrupted God’s way upon the earth. The nature of sin and earthly flesh is to corrupt and oppose God’s ways, purposes and plans for a person’s life and to rob them of a vibrant, living, and intimate relationship with God. The entire world is subject to the chaos of chamac and cries out day and night “Who shall deliver us from so great a violence and oppression of our souls!” “Who shall deliver us from the corruption of the wicked and the heavy oppression of the cruel systems of this world?” The world has no solution for chamac that rages like a forest fire through its cities and nations devastating billions of people. Job 19:7a is the cry of the person who does not have God as His salvation: “I cry out of chamac but I am not heard!” The Almighty God is the only solution for chamac and His plan of salvation delivers us from every vestige of chamac. As part of His plan of salvation he promises a future kingdom on earth and a new heavens and earth where chamac will no longer dominate the landscape. Chamac will have no part or place in this kingdom as this great robber and oppressor will be silenced forever. Isaiah 60:18: Violence (chamac) shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. What a day that will be when chamac has vanished off the face of the earth and paradise is restored and the whole creation will be filled with praise and awe at God’s salvation.

So how does a person receive this salvation? What is God’s plan and purposes to make this salvation available to human race? There are many ways of counterfeit salvation that cry out every day to the human heart to follow their paths but they only lead to death, destruction and disappointment. In America alone we have countless false idols of salvation promising life, peace, prosperity and well-being. Where do we turn? Who can deliver us from chamac and bring the salvation we all crave? Is death our ultimate end or is there more to life? Remember that the Bible declares that Yahweh is salvation and there is salvation in no other. Salvation never rests in another God. There is no salvation in Allah. There is no salvation in Buddha. There is no salvation in the popular Hindu gods of Ganesha, Shiva, Krishna, Rama, Vishnu or Durga. There is no salvation in Sikhism. There is no salvation in Taoism. There is no salvation in Confucianism. There is no salvation in Jainism. There is no salvation in Shinto. There is no salvation in Wicca. There is no salvation in witchcraft or Satanism. There is no salvation in atheism. There is no salvation in humanism. There is no salvation in money, riches or wealth. There is no salvation in good works. There is no salvation in bloodline or social status. There is no salvation in physical abilities or strength. God’s plan of Salvation rests in one alone and that is Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, there is no salvation. Salvation only comes through Jesus Christ and none other. John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The word “no one” is oudeis in the Greek and is a powerful negating conjunction meaning “absolutely no one, not one thing or nothing at all” and this word shuts the door leaving no exceptions. Jesus Christ is not a way among many or just another religion or philosophy. He is the only way to salvation. He is the only way to eternal life. He is the only way back to the heart of God. Absolutely no one can come to the Heavenly Father and be reconciled and restored and given the gift of salvation without Jesus Christ. He is the only door and the only gate to salvation. All other ways, doors and gateways lead nowhere but to ultimate destruction and day. As Proverbs says “There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way of death.” In John 10:9a Jesus Christ declares, “I am the door! If anyone enters by me, he will be saved” The Word of God revealed in Acts should be heralded out to every person on earth so that all know this infallible, unchanging truth-Acts 4:10-12: Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” There is salvation in no one else under than Jesus Christ. No other name can save you. The name of Mohammed cannot save. The name of Buddha cannot save. The name of any other religion cannot save. There is not an amnesty program for salvation. Only the finished work of Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection bring the gift of salvation.

Jesus Christ also is not just one way of life among many choices, He is THE LIFE. Without him there is no true, vibrant life now and no eternal life in the future. I John 5:11,12: 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. John 10:10: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly .John 1:4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 6:35a: And Jesus said unto them,” I am the bread of life” John 5:25, 40: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. The word “life” in the Greek means “life in all its manifestations; it is life needful for its designed position or purpose.” Its only source is God who is the “living One” and this life proceeds and originates in God alone. Salvation brings life again as God originally intended before the fall in the Garden of Eden. Salvation restores to us the true purpose and design God has for our lives. This is not just existence, it is life overflowing and abundant in all its manifestations.
When Simeon held the baby Jesus in his arms he proclaimed by revelation about Jesus Christ in Luke 2:30: “For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,” Jesus Christ is God’s salvation that He prepared this plan for salvation thru Jesus for every people on the face of the earth. God’s salvation is not seen in any other person, name, religion or philosophy on earth.

In Hebrews 5:8,9. Jesus is referred to as the author of eternal salvation: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”

The Greek word for ”author” means “the originator, the cause and the source.” It is the point at which something begins its course or existence. It means that in which the cause of anything resides. Salvation begins its course of existence with Jesus Christ. He is the only cause and source of eternal salvation. Without him, salvation does not exist for the human race.

Also in Hebrews 2:10, Jesus Christ is called “the captain of our salvation.” The Greek word for “captain” is archegos (from arche = beginning/rule + ágo = lead) and denotes a leader who opens up a new way, a ruler, or one who begins heroes or those who cut a path forward for their followers. In Greek writings archegos was used of a “hero” who founded a city, gave it a name, and became its guardian. It also denoted one who was “head” of a family or “founder” of a philosophic school. The term also had distinct military connotation referring to a commander of an army who went ahead of his men and blazed the trail for them! Archegos always refers to someone who involves others in his endeavor. For example, It was commonly used of a pioneer who blazed a trail for others to follow. Archegos is variously translated as “Author” (NASB, NIV) “Captain” (KJV), “Pioneer” (NRSV), “Leader” (cf. TEV) or “Champion.”

Jesus Christ is the Captain of our Salvation who blazed a pathway thru the wilderness and chaos of this world, thru the guilt and condemnation of sin and thru the captivity of the devil’s kingdom into the amazing promise of salvation and the future hope at the very gates of heaven itself into the glory of eternity. Eye has not seen or ear even heard the wonders of this new heaven and earth that the Captain of our Salvation has given us as a heavenly inheritance. We will have new glorious bodies, living and displaying the wonders of his grace, love and mercy and His glorious salvation from everlasting to everlasting. Our Captain took on all the forces of hell for us and delivered us from the power of and grip of darkness, utterly crushing Satan’s kingdom by the cross and resurrection. He leads us in triumphant procession of eternal salvation and victory for all the kingdom of darkness to behold. He is the true pioneer who blazed the path of salvation and the only true superhero who forged the path to the heart of God making available full reconciliation with the Heavenly Father. He gave himself up as the ultimate sacrifice, paying the supreme price on the battlefield of atonement to pay the full price of salvation. There is no other Captain of the ship of salvation; there is no other prince of salvation; there is no other champion of salvation, but Jesus Christ. He is the firstborn among many brethren and the first fruits of salvation.

God desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth and He designated only one mediator between God and the human race and that is Jesus Christ.

I Timothy 2:3,4: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. He is the beginning and ending of salvation. One day every eye will see him and every knee will bow to him and so many peoples from every race and religion will wail in sorrow because they will realize they have been deceived into making the most foolish decision in all history, namely rejecting the Captain of Salvation and turning their back on Jesus Christ.

Revelations 1:5-8: And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The name of Jesus reveals these great truths about salvation as in the Hebrew it means “Yahweh saves!” and in Matthew a foundation truth about salvation is revealed.

Matthew 1:21: She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

The first thing salvation accomplishes through Jesus Christ alone is save a person from their sins. Only Jesus can save a person from their sins legally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Islam, Buddhism and all other earthly religions never can save us from our sins and the verdict of guilty that hangs over the human race like a cloud. Every person according to Ephesians 2:1 is born dead in trespasses and sins. The wages of sin is death and we are under the tremendous weight, curse and bondage of sin without hope unless we turn to Jesus, the only one who can save us from our sins. Jesus gives complete deliverance from sin and the consequences of sin. He crushed the power of sin on the cross and in his resurrection where we no longer have to be under its power and condemnation. Romans 6 states that we no longer have to be the slave of sin. Every person that does not come to Jesus Christ is a slave to sin. We do not have the power or ability to end this slavery. No other idol, religion or person has the power to emancipate and deliver us from this servitude. Sin is the vilest most dreadful master imaginable. Sin is a harsh taskmaster that ruthlessly uses its slaves, but fails to offer any true reward. Sin is a cruel tyrant. It is the most devastating and degenerating power to ever afflict the human race. It corrupts the entire person, infecting the soul, polluting the mind, defiling the conscience, contaminating the affections and poisoning the will. It is the life-destroying and soul-condemning cancer that festers and grows in every unredeemed human heart like an incurable gangrene. Unbelievers are not just infected by sin but enslaved by it. John 8:34: “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin.” Every human being until the moment of redemption under the domain of darkness and dominion of sin. The unbeliever is wholly corrupted by the bondage of his fallen condition and utterly unable to free himself from it.

Romans 5:12 (Amplified); Therefore, as sin came into the world through
one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one
being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.

Adam introduced sin into God’s creation, and it corrupted all forms of life. The curse of sin and death passed on to all of Adam’s progeny. No human could stop the infiltration of the sin nature or escape its power. Death, which had not existed in any form before, became the strong ally of sin, as every human born on this earth was subject to death. This was not only physical death, but spiritual death also.

E.W. Kenyon, in The Bible in Light of our Redemption, writes:

Sin has ruled as king in the realm of spiritual
death, where man lives under the cruel Emperor, Satan. Every effort of man has to failed to eradicate
the power of sin. Education has failed. History confesses that every single rise in civilization has
been accompanied by a decline in morals. War has dominated in every period of the life of every
nation, destroying the youth and strength of humanity. It has brought untold suffering to man. Its cruelty is but a manifestation of Satanic Dominion at work in its destruction of man. Man has been unable to strike at the root and the cause of sin, sickness and death. The law of disease has fastened itself upon the human body, blighting and scourging humanity. Death is the supreme problem that all men at all periods have faced. It casts its shadow on upon every happiness born in the sense of man. Man, lying in the embrace of Satan, cries in agony against this vain struggle which only ends in a hopeless death and doom…He is born to die…Spiritual death, the nature of Satan, is the soil out of which has grown sin, sickness, physical death and every sorrow that has darkened the life of God’s man.

Sin and spiritual death brought enormous consequences upon the human race. Every type of suffering, pain, misery, sickness, affliction, torment, and anguish began to grow and flourish upon the earth because of sin and spiritual death. A great separation and barrier now existed between God and men, women, and children. The human race’s relationship with God was thrown into chaos and confusion. It was like a thick, iron door was shut on a person’s access, communion, and fellowship with God. Adam and Eve had become alienated from the life and presence of God, and their understanding became darkened. They were like blindfolded people wandering aimless in a fog of darkness. The light and spiritual life within them was extinguished, and it left a great void of hunger and need for their loving Creator. Adam had sealed the fate of the human race, and now the great cry was for a Redeemer, a Savior, and a Liberator. Oh how the human race needs salvation from this horrible predicament! No matter how smart, how talented, how strong, how powerful, or how rich a person may be, no one could free themselves from the bondage of their birth nature of sin and their condition of spiritual death. Jesus Christ took upon himself the entire weight of sin; he bore every crushing infirmity, every horrible trespass and every hideous sin as II Corinthians states “he was made sin” for us. Isaiah 53:5,6: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. I Peter 2:24: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. John 1:29:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! I Corinthians 15:3: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, Jesus bore every sin and every consequence of sin so that we could free from the power, dominion and slavery of this cruel, oppressive tyrant. He bore the burden and penalty of sin for each one of us. The cross of Jesus Christ that he bore consisted of every sin, every sorrow, every transgression, every sickness, every rebellion, every addiction, every oppression and every form of darkness that has ever plagued the human soul. He made us whole from the pollution of sin and delivered us from its corruption. He gave his life as a sacrifice so the full debt of sin is forever marked paid in full for those who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God has raised him form the dead.

I John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Hebrews 10:12: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;

I Timothy 2:6: He sacrificed himself for all people to free them from their sins. This message is valid for every era.

We have been purchased, bought with a price and redeemed from the slavery and consequences of sin. Salvation brings redemption, a spiritual purchase of the believer in which legally a full price was paid to buy sinners out of their slavery. We were slaves to sin by nature, figuratively sold into bondage of sin at birth and redemption is the only means of rescue from sin’s damning mastery. When we are born again thru Christ, bought with a price and fully ransomed thru Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross, we can rejoice as the full price of sin has been paid and we have remission and forgiveness of sin.

I Peter 1:18,19: knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. Ephesians 1:7: In whom we have redemption (apolutrosis) through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Hebrews 9:12: Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Mark 10:45: even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom (lutron = the ransom price) for many.

Apolutrosis was used was used in secular Greek as a technical term for money paid to buy back and set free prisoners of war or to emancipate (= to liberate a person from subjection or domination, to free from restraint, control, or the power of another) slaves from their masters. Apolutrosis conveys in every case the conception (of) the delivering of a person from a situation from which he was powerless to liberate himself or from a penalty which he himself could never have paid. Redemption means to set a prisoner free, figuratively referring to the release of sinners from power of Sin or our old Adamic nature by the payment of the only ransom price acceptable to God, the precious Blood of His dearly Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The redemption is “in Christ” not only as the source but also as the sphere in which the born again believer lives (we have obtained redemption [through the payment to set the captives free] in Him, in Christ, and we now and forever live in the “atmosphere” of the light, truth and power of that same eternal redemption.. It’s as if the “redemption” Christ has provided is now the “air” in which we as believers live and breathe and have our being, God has purchased you away from the clutches of sin and Satan and made you his most treasured possession. How valuable you must be to God for Him to purchase you with the precious blood of His Son! The worth of an object is determined by its price. God paid the ultimate price for you by the life of His Son. You are His and He is ours. We have been forever set free from every chain of sin! We have been released from all the prisons of sin. Jesus chose to endure the cross, to endure the pain, to endure the beatings, to endure the mocking and to endure the torture because he loved you and me. When Jesus was beaten, mocked and crucified, he had you on his mind. Jesus would have gone through all the agony of the crucifixion for you, even if you would have been the only person who would ever believe and be saved. That is how special and valuable you are to our Lord. Isaiah 43:2-5(a) (The Message Bible): Don’t be afraid, I have redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you are in tough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end-Because I am God, your personal God, the Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you…that’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, Trade the creation just for you. So don’t be afraid; I am with you. How special you are to God! How fathomless is His love for you! God was willing to reach down His mighty hand and rescue you from the curse of Adam’s transgression that has plagued the human race and release you from every captivity known to mankind. Redemption is a release from the chains of the bondage of sin into the blossoming of a new life. Redemption breaks the power of death and the grave and gives the believer the hope of eternal life. Redemption restores our life, our liberty, our joy, and our dignity. Redemption means you belong to God as His precious child, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ and released from the authority and dominion of the devil. This is the height of God’s goodness: nothing could stand in His way of paying the greatest ransom for your redemption, as He gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as your redeemer.

Salvation also brings justification which is a legal term meaning “freedom from the penalty of sin.” Dikaioo describes the act by which a man is brought into a right state of relationship to God. Dikaioo is a legal term having to do with the law and the the courtroom, where it represented the legally binding verdict of the judge. The word is a forensic or legal term with the meaning “acquit”. It is the normal word to use when the accused is declared “Not guilty”. We see its significance in an Old Testament passage: “When men have a dispute, they are to take it to court and the judges will decide the case, acquitting (or, justifying) the innocent and condemning the guilty” (Deut. 25:1). Dikaioo means to declare the rightness of something or someone. Justification is God’s declaration that all the demands of the law are fulfilled on behalf of the believing sinner through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Justification is a wholly forensic, or legal, transaction. It changes the judicial standing of the sinner before God. In justification, God imputes (reckons, places on one’s “account”) the perfect righteousness of Christ to the believer’s account, then declares the redeemed one fully righteous. In salvation dikaioo describes the legal act whereby God declares the believing sinner righteous on the basis of the blood of Christ. Justification is not doled out piecemeal over a period of time through mediatorial agents and ritual observances. Stated another way, justification is not a process but is an act that occurs once and need not be repeated. It is something God does, not man. Justification is not subject to recall so that you have to get it over and over again. Justification is a change of our relation to God. Justification describes a person’s status in the sight of the law, not the condition of his or her character. Being justified is once and for all time and as such defines the believers’ permanent state. Just as you may not be tried for the same crime again after being acquitted, God’s justification means you will never be tried or condemned by Him again for your sins–past, present, or future. This is good news indeed. As someone has well said justification goes beyond acquittal to approval and beyond pardon to promotion. Acquittal means only that a person is set free from a charge. Justification means that positive righteousness is imputed. It is important to realize that justification is a reckoning that takes place in the mind of God. It is not something a believer feels. The believer can be certain it has taken place because the Bible says so.

Justification is that act of God whereby He declares righteous all who believe in Jesus. It is something which takes place in the mind of God, not in the nervous system or emotional nature of the believer. Justification in the Bible sense therefore is the act of God removing from the believing sinner, his guilt and the penalty incurred by that guilt, and bestowing a positive righteousness, Christ Jesus Himself in Whom the believer stands, not only innocent and uncondemned, but actually righteous in point of law for time and for eternity. The words justify, justification, righteous, righteousness, as used of man in his relation to God, have a legal, judicial basis. God is the Judge, man the defendant. God is the standard of all righteousness. The white linen curtains of the court of the Tabernacle, symbolized the righteousness which God is, the righteousness which God demands of any human being who desires to fellowship with Him, and the righteousness which God provides on the basis of the acceptance on the sinner’s part, of the Lord Jesus who perfectly satisfied the just demands of God’s holy law which we broke. A just person therefore is one who has been thus declared righteous (Romans 1:17). Justification is a judicial act of grace where God Almighty in the court of God declares the final verdict of not guilty as to the condemnation of sin as the legal demands for justice have been satisfied in Christ and legally declares us righteous before the entire heavens and earth free from every trace of condemnation, sin and guilt. It is an eternal verdict etched in the book of life with the blood of Jesus Christ. We had nothing to do with our justification. It is an act of God because we believed on His Son, Jesus Christ. Justification is a legal term similar to a verdict from a judge, where by a judicial act, God declares that all the demands of the law have been completely satisfied and fulfilled for the believing sinner by the righteous act of Jesus Christ. Justification changes forever the judicial standing of a person before God from being dead in trespasses in sins to being completely righteous in Christ and completely free from the death penalty of sin. You have been judged and found righteous. You have been acquitted, found not guilty, and restored to a right relationship with your heavenly Father. You have been declared legally innocent and pronounced forever righteous because of the blood of Christ. This is a permanent state for the Christian believer, as this declaration of righteousness can never be repealed, overturned, or declared null and void. There is no double jeopardy, where a person would be tried for the same crimes again in a court of the law. The court of heaven, with God as the righteous judge, has forever pronounced a verdict to His entire creation that you have been made the righteousness of God, completely justified, free from the bondage and penalty of sin, and able to boldly stand in His presence without any sense of sin, condemnation, guilt, or unworthiness. This verdict has been sealed in the blood of Christ, and no satanic power can overthrow it.

The salvation of God thru Christ also brings righteousness. Righteousness is one of the most misunderstood words in the Bible. Righteousness is one of the most fundamental and important sonship rights of the Christian believer, yet it so often neglected in the walk of most Christians. It is only when you understand righteousness and live in it that you can accomplish your calling in this world as a son or daughter of God. What is the biblical definition of righteousness? Righteousness is the God-given ability to stand in the presence of God without any sense of guilt, condemnation, shame, or unworthiness and to stand in the presence of Satan without any sense of inferiority, weakness, fear, or cowardice. Righteousness is to be legally brought into a right relationship and standing with God that will last forever. Righteousness is part of our salvation in Christ and rests upon God’s act of justification, where he legally declared us free from the penalty of sin and judicially delivered us from everything that stands in the way of us being declared righteous. You can also stand in the presence of the devil and his entire kingdom in absolute victory, knowing that you have been completely delivered from the power of darkness. The devil is under your feet and has no authority anymore over you, because Jesus Christ forever crushed and paralyzed the evil one from hurting, harming, or ruining your new life in Christ. Now that is a verdict worth talking about! II Corinthians 5:21 (KJV):For he (God) hath made him(Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus Christ was our complete substitute for sin and the consequences of sin, and we have been made the righteousness of God in him. The word “made” in the Greek means: to bring into existence, to begin to be, to become, and implies origin through a special agency. It signifies the entrance into a new condition. We now have become a new creation and entered into a new condition of righteousness. God alone has brought into existence our new life of righteousness, and He has given to us His actual righteousness, which becomes just as much a part of us as our leg or arm. We are the righteousness of God! What a liberating truth to know that we are now in full and legal possession of the righteousness of God as a living part of us. We can live, move, and breathe in this glorious righteousness every moment of the day. Righteousness restores everything Adam lost in the Fall and allows us to enter into an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. Righteousness reinstates a person into right standing in the literal presence of God with full rights and privileges, as a child of God. In the Old Testament, only the high priest could enter the literal presence of God (in the Holy of Holies) in the Temple on the Day of Atonement. The children of Israel and Judah could not enter the Holy of Holies into the presence of God. When Jesus Christ cried out, It is finished” on the cross and took his last breath, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was completely torn from the top to bottom, signifying that through Jesus Christ all barriers to the presence of God have been removed. Jesus Christ made available a new and living way of righteousness, where a man, woman, or child can have 24 hours a day access to the throne of God and stand in His wonderful presence. Access to God’s throne room is never closed, never blocked, and never limited for the Christian believer.

Ephesians 3:12 (Amplified): In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).

Righteousness gives us an unreserved and unlimited approach to God with boldness and complete confidence. Righteousness restores fellowship with God to a person whereby we can walk and live in deep intimacy and companionship with our Heavenly Father. Adam lost this righteousness and fellowship in the Garden of Eden and immediately ran and hid from the presence of God. Adam was full of fear, uncertainty, and unworthiness in the presence of God. God’s first words to Adam after the Fall were “Where are you? “ as God realized the terrible consequences of Adam’s act of disobedience. Adam lost his connection with God; sin broke the benefits of righteousness and took it away from mankind as a legal and inherent right. People could no longer stand in the presence of God without any sense of fear, guilt, shame, or unworthiness and they became subject to and in bondage to the god of this world, the devil. Sin infiltrated the human race and contaminated its standing before God.
Romans 3:20-24 (NIV): Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, And are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:9 (Amplified): And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.
Romans 10:4 (KJV):For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. Righteousness can never be acquired by money, works, social status, religious ceremony or other efforts of the flesh. Righteousness for any human being can only come thru faith in Christ. He is the only way to be legally and eternally righteous by God Almighty. If we could do it on our own than Christ died in vain.
Galatians 2:16, 21 (Amplified): Yet we know that a man is justified or reckoned righteous and in right standing with God not by works of the Law, but [only] through faith and [absolute] reliance on and adherence to and trust in Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). [Therefore] even we [ourselves] have believed on Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law [for we cannot be justified by any observance of the ritual of the Law given by Moses], because by keeping legal rituals and by works no human being can ever be justified (declared righteous and put in right standing with God). [Therefore, I do not treat God's gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.]
Galatians 2:21 (New English Translation): I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

If righteousness could be achieved by legalistic rituals, good works, or religious rules, then God would have never needed to send His only begotten Son into the world. Christ died for nothing if a person could obtain righteousness through his own effort. Self-righteousness is rooted in the way of Cain and can never put someone in right standing with God. God’s righteousness is a gift that is only available to any man or woman by the grace of God. God’s righteousness gives a person a new capacity and ability in life to live and breathe in the freedom of His presence, free from guilt and condemnation. We have a new source of power and life, for we are in Christ and Christ is in us, and we share in his righteousness. God’s righteousness is a vital part of our new nature in Christ, and it enables us to live life in a whole new realm and in an entirely different manner than the ways of the world. We can live dynamically with authority as children of God, without any fear, in a loving, close union with our Heavenly Father.

Romans 5:17: (RSV): If, because of one man’s (Adam) trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

This new creation is the gift of righteousness. The word “gift” in the Greek means: a free gift and emphasizes the gratuitous nature of the gift which is freely given to another without price or compensation. It is a free present that bestows a special privilege or favor. The righteousness of God inherent in the new creation is a free gift because of the super abundance of God’s grace. You have been made the righteousness of God in Christ. You did not pay for it because Jesus Christ did. Righteousness is free to all those who accept the Lord Jesus Christ by believing faith. God gave you the best present you could ever imagine and that is righteousness which breaks the rule and power of the old sin nature inherited from Adam.

Righteousness gives you the ability and power to reign in life through the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “reign” in the Greek means: to rule as a king and exercise kingly power, to exercise the highest influence and control, to have complete authority, and the right to control in an absolute manner.” A king rules with authority and power for he knows who he is, and that he has an absolute legal right to reign over his entire kingdom. A king does not question his authority, but rules with confidence and boldness. You are not defeated; you are not down-trodden; you are not powerless; you have the righteousness of God when you were born again. God’s proclamation is that you are to reign in life just as a king rules over his kingdom. God never intended for you to live a weak, haphazard, and insignificant life upon this earth. God never intended for you to live a life in bondage to fear, condemnation, and inferiority. Righteousness gives us the ability to triumph in all of life’s circumstances; it gives us confidence and boldness to stand firmly in the midst of the pressures and storms in life. Righteousness allows us to live without fear of any device or tactic of the devil and boldly stand and resist our spiritual adversary, no matter how fierce the spiritual battle.

One of the most amazing and breathtaking truths about salvation is that we are born again, literally birthed as God’s own children. The Bible refers to this as sonship, where God’s incorruptible seed is created within us and we receive thru grace the heavenly birthright as God’s daughters and sons. This is one of the great benefits of salvation and the pinnacles of the grace of God. Spurgeon has said every part of the plan of salvation sets forth the splendor of the Grace of the Most High God and the magnificence of the new birth is earth-shattering in its beauty and majesty.

I Peter 1:23: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

The first time I was born I was born of the corruptible seed of my mother and father. It is corruptible because of our sin nature inherited from Adam as this corruptible seed eventually is subject to death and the grave. The word “seed” implies a birth and a birth cannot be reversed. We all have the seed of our mother and father within us and we are birthed into their family and in this fleshly birth, I am always the son or daughter of my parents because I carry their seed. But the beauty of the word “seed” is that there is a new birth, a birth from above, being born of the Spirit of God and the word “seed” implies that there will be progeny, children, and a newly birthed people out of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Only this seed is incorruptible. It will never die; it will never perish; it cannot be lost; it cannot be changed. It is a birth. Salvation in Jesus Christ is a literal new birth; God’s incorruptible seed is forever planted in you and in that wonderful moment you forever become a son or daughter of God by seed. By faith when you hear and believe the Word of God concerning salvation in the gospel, the miracle of the new birth takes place. You have birthed into the family of God as a treasured child of the king. I am still amazed by well-meaning preachers and teachers who believe that salvation can be lost, that the new birth can be reversed and a Christian can lose his salvation and eternal world. God used the word “seed” and “birth” in the Bible to strongly illustrate that this is an impossibility. You cannot lose seed or a birth. You or God’s sons and daughters because His seed has been created within you in the new birth and it is incorruptible. Nothing that I or anyone does can ever change this. This is the astounding greatness of the grace of God and the salvation God offers only through Jesus Christ.

The new birth is a literal creation of God within you that changes your entire being. This is why 2 Corinthians 5:17 states that we are a “new creation” in Christ. When we are born again, we are a new creation. As David Wilkerson so aptly put it in The Cross and the Switchblade, “The heart of the Gospel is change. It is transformation. It is being born again to a new life.”

John 3:3-7: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water (the first birth-the water surrounding the amniotic sac breaking) and of the Spirit (the second birth), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The first birth is being born of the flesh and the send birth is being born of the Spirit. When you are born of the Spirit, God creates His very nature and seed within you, even in a deeper and more profound sense than your earthly mother and father. You are sealed with the gift of holy spirit that God creates within you, perfectly designed for your body and by the miracle of this new birth you become His literal birthed child. I b sometimes with the usage of the word “adoption”
What absolutely crushed the devil’s purposes and schemes for the human race and completely blindsided him was this new birth, this new creation that a man or woman becomes in Christ. David Needham, in Birthright, Christian, Do You Know Who You Are?, states:

I hope it will be clear that the answer to the problem of sin and the despair of meaninglessness is found in discovering the vast scope of the miracle God performed when he saved you-a miracle that actually changed you…By physical conception my parents gave me “flesh” birth. It involved much more than me “getting something.” I became a real, full-fledged, “flesh” person…Similarly by the new birth, I became a brand-new kind of person…The divine activity re-makes a man. He is born all over again by the very Spirit of God…Perhaps this “new personhood” idea seems far away from the daily activity of your life. That still doesn’t change the basic fact. If you have received the Savior, you simply are not the same person you were before. When you were “in the flesh” (Romans 8:9), life and meaning for you had to be found right there-and there alone. Your brain, your emotions, your senses, your creativity, your glands, your world environment, your relationships-this was life. It could be
found nowhere else. But if you have been born again, this is not so anymore, whether you know it or not. You may weigh the same, look the same, feel the same but you are not the same…God has not only justified you and reconciled you, he has also birthed you…children of God….Could this really be? “Children,” not by adoption, but by birth. Yes, emphatically it is true…Even after it was known the Savior had risen, seven weeks passed before anyone grasped the pivotal importance of his death and resurrection. Finally on the Day of Pentecost, the fire fell; the Spirit came. From deep within “rivers of living water” flowed…The risen Christ was dispensing LIFE.
By the new birth, realized in its fullness on the Day of Pentecost, life was theirs as they never experienced it…Life was now “resurrection life” The persons they use to be, persons who only knew life in the flesh, had been crucified with Christ. They were “risen with Christ, “alive to God,” as they had never been alive…What does all this mean? It means that by the new birth, you and I are now participants in the ultimate new age of God’s eternal purposes. We are living within the fulfillment of the prophets’ aching dreams and God’s promised miracle.We are now actually, the internally transformed citizens in God’s kingdom of righteousness-where Jesus reigns,within the kingdom of our hearts…Christ… is now reproducing himself progressively in the lives of the saints. .Now the last Adam [Christ]…is reproducing his very life-his image-in us!…The image concept is now more glorious than Adam, even in his innocence. This is the new age. The consummation of all the ages has begun. We are now by birth, by the Spirit, “the children of God,” pulsating with the risen life of Jesus.Some day, perhaps soon, it will reach its apex when at last our “physical …bodies” will be transformed
into “spiritual bodies”-at the “redemption of our bodies.”…The new aeon [age] which has dawned
with Christ, brings a new creation, the creation of a new man…the union with Christ which brings
justification also brings new life…The believer enters not just into a private relationship with Jesus,but a new humanity in which he becomes a new kind of man…Jesus Christ is no less than the
inaugurator of a new humanity. New age, new humanity, new creation. We are both corporately
and individually-part of something which is the capstone of everything God has or ever will do.

We are the blessed progeny, the new humanity, the new species, the seed of Christ, and children of the living God. We have the gift of holy spirit born within and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ pulsating and energizing every ounce of our being. We are infused with spiritual power from on high and the very divine nature of God. This is what the human heart has been craving for since the fall of Adam: a new creation, authored by God Almighty, that fundamentally changes who we are, and who we will be in the future. We have passed from death unto life, from sin unto righteousness, from condemnation to justification, from separation to reconciliation, and from enemies to beloved children.

The first Adam’s disobedience produced a race of mortal people destined to die and to be ravaged by sin and its consequences. The Last Adam, Jesus Christ, through his obedience, death, and resurrection is producing a race of people who will live forever and be victorious over the terrible twins of sin and death and all their consequences. The first Adam produced a race of people born dead in sin and enslaved to the rule of Satan as the god of this world. The Last Adam made it available to all those who believe to be born again to life and to break the power of the devil’s kingdom in their lives. The last Adam is in the process of producing an everlasting race of perfect people who will one day live and reign with him forever upon a perfect earth. As sure as the sun rises every morning, the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, is coming back to establish his kingdom upon the earth. Nothing can stop it.

God’s original plan was to have many sons and daughters living in Paradise forever. The first Adam was supposed to be the father of such a perfect race, but he failed and sentenced the human race to sin and death when he disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. God’s dream, God’s intense desire, God’s ultimate plan after the Fall was to restore His original purpose of having birthed children live with Him forever on a perfect, beautiful, and amazing earth. The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ as being the agent, the mediator, the Savior, and the sacrifice that would bring about this restoration. The Last Adam, Jesus Christ, had to face the fierce enemies of sin, death, and the devil and he overwhelmingly conquered them all. He became the Head and Firstborn of all the redeemed born again believers whom he can rightfully call his brothers and sisters. He is not ashamed to do so, because he knows that they are birthed new creations in Him and sons and daughters of His heavenly Father.

We are new creations in Christ, because he set the pattern of who we become when we are born again in both resurrection life and a new glorious body at the Rapture, along with the power and ability to do his works and to walk like him in thought, deed, heart, and action. We have the mind of Christ, the heart of Christ, the ability of Christ, and the power of Christ born within us at the new birth.. This truth is an enormous aspect of the goodness Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection.

II Corinthians 5:17 (NIV):

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone; the new has come.

What a breathtaking truth that in Christ we are a new creation; we have a new divine nature; we are new people created in the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we are His seed. The word “creation” in the Greek means: to bring something into existence that has not existed before; the act of founding, establishing, and building through creation, and refers to God’s creative action. The word “new” in the Greek means: that which is new in kind or quality, and is something unprecedented, novel, uncommon, and unheard of. It relates to something not previously present. This word “new” does not mean that something is simply renovated, but something that it is entirely new in species and character.

By the divine act and will of God, He founded, established, and built a new spiritual nature in all born again believers. This new creation is of perfect quality and character, because it originates from the creative heart of God. It is absolutely unprecedented in the nature of a person because it is a divine seed planted by God. We become partakers of the divine nature, and in Christ we have a dynamically powerful new spiritual nature. This is a spiritual birth and the seed of God within us is permanent, incorruptible, and indestructible. Once you are born of your earthly parents, you are always their child because you have their seed within you. The same holds true for the spiritual new birth in Christ, as this incorruptible seed of God is created within you, and you forever become God’s new spiritual son or daughter of God.

Bullinger, in his article “A New Creation” expounds on this new creation:

What is it to create? Not to change, not to renovate, not to reform, not to improve, not the old nature adorned and beautified, not the flesh with its corruptions and lust trimmed and trained; but it is the new and Divine nature imparted, with all its spiritual blessings and holy privileges. It is not the old Adam made clean or religious, clothed and adorned. No! It is something altogether NEW. Therefore in Christ Jesus, I am a partaker of the Divine nature; I am a partaker of His Resurrection-life, according to the Father’s promise…A new Divine nature is not a mere influence, is not a mere passing religious feeling induced by ravishing music or pathetic story, but a real existence in living union with a crucified, risen, exalted, glorified, coming Lord. What a glorious union!

How glorious is this salvation that brings a new creation and a new identity! How glorious is this salvation that births us as sons and daughters into the family of God forever. There is an incredible intimacy that comes with the new birth, deeper than the love of any human relationship.

Galatians 4:5-7: To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

The word “adoption” is an unfortunate translation as it has lessened the impact of becoming a child of God by birth. The Greek word for “adoption” means “receiving into a relationship of a son; the making of a son and the placing of a son.” This is done by God creating His seed within us at the new birth, giving us the gift of holy spirit and becoming a new creation, a literal son or daughter by spiritual birth. It should more accurately be translated as “sonship.” We are now sons and daughters of God and have a new found intimacy with our Heavenly Father. The relationship is so deep, loving and close that we can cry “Abba Father.” The Aramaic word “abba” is an intimate family expression that denotes the tender address of a child to its father. It could be translated “dear father”, or “father, father” and in today’s modern vocabulary would mean “daddy” or “papa.” “Abba” signifies the deepest bond of love and affection and the intimate, close relationship of a father and child. The Greek word “cry” means: a loud cry expressing deep emotion and confidence. God sent His Son to purchase our freedom and bring us into a deep intimate relationship with the Father as His cherished son or daughter. Any moment you pray, converse, talk or fellowship with your Heavenly Father, you can express the deepest emotions of love and adoration and call Him abba, dearest father, daddy or papa. Only Jesus Christ makes this type of intimacy available with the Father, and God desires above all else that your relationship with Him is this close, this personal, this warm, and this intimate every second of the day.

Romans 8:15-17: For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

In this wonderful salvation we receive the spirit of sonship and as a new born child of God we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. We share fully in everything that God is in Christ and everything that was accomplished in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and resurrection. Imagine the privilege; imagine the honor; imagine the grace to be an heir of God and joint heir of God. Everything that God is: His love, His righteousness, His grace, His peace, His joy, His patience, His wisdom, His kindness, His compassion and His power are all wrapped up in this seed of God that is planted in you at the time of the new birth. We are His children, and His heirs and this new life is to explode forth in our bodies and living as we reflect the image and characteristics of our Heavenly Father. This intimate sonship is also a guarantee that no matter how much we have had to endure in this world there is a day coming that we will be glorified together with Christ and fully enjoy our spiritual inheritance. Salvation is the promise of future glorification with our Savior for all eternity. 1 Peter 1:3,4: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, In Christ alone we have a heavenly reservation that cannot fade away or be revoked. We have an inheritance that is incorruptible as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. How much better is this reservation than any earthly promise of fame, fortune or happiness! What a hope we have in this salvation that we can enjoy our inheritance in the kingdom of God forever because of the grace of God revealed in the plan of salvation thru Jesus Christ. No other religion can deliver this type of reservation as they are simply empty promises and false hopes. This reservation is only available in Jesus Christ.

What incredible love for God to bestow upon the privilege to be His beloved children. Ephesians 1 says that He has made us lovely and acceptable as His beloved. We are His precious children and the apple of His eye. 1 John 3:1,2: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. That is what we are is children of God. The world will ever understand; the world may mock us; the world may ridicule us but who cares because the heavenly verdict and decree is that we are children of God waiting for the coming of our Savior to bring us into the full completion of our salvation and inheritance. God loves us more than we can even comprehend as he lavishes His love upon us in this great salvation by making us His beloved sons and daughters for all eternity. Don’t you want a salvation like this! Don’t you want to be saved and experience this type of fathomless love? We have access to the throne room of God as His children 24 hours a day and come into His presence at any time for any need or any circumstance. Our Heavenly Father is never on vacation, never too busy and never too preoccupied for His children.

Hebrews 4:16: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Romans 5:1,2: By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. Ephesians 3:12: In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

God has opened the door to His heart and we confidently can have access to Him every moment of our life. We can approach God as His child with freedom and boldness because we know our position in Christ and the benefits of our salvation. We have received the reconciliation according to Romans 5 and have been reconciled back to God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. We have the honor of now living in His presence for His glory. Our intimacy with our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ should grow in deep richness ad love each day. Our hearts should cry “Abba Father” daily as we need to enjoy the greatness of our awesome God. If you are reading this and have not been saved, don’t you want this wonderful salvation? Repent of your sins, turn to God, confess Jesus as Lord from the depths of your heart and believe that God raised His form the dead and experience the wonders of His salvation and the new birth in Christ. Now is the time of your salvation and now is the time to come to Christ and be saved. Your eternal destiny hangs in the balance. Don’t be deceived by the glitter of this world or the claims of other false religions. Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth and the only life and He alone is the only way to this wonderful heavenly Father. He is the only mediator between God and the human race and He is the only one that can save us from the violence, destruction and power of sin and set us free to enjoy His salvation. God is calling you to come now and by faith through Christ enter into the gates of His glorious salvation.

By Tim Rowe
Goodness of God Ministries
http://www.thegoodnessofgod.net

Posted in Bible Teachings, Inspirational Messages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living Life for Eternity: Are You Building Treasures in Heaven?

08b010eGod promises rewards at the judgment seat of Christ for our faithful service to Him as Christians. This is a constant theme in Scripture and is a vital part of our future hope in Christ. How awesome will any reward be that comes from the hand of God! These rewards are eternal and will never fade away. They will be on display for all eternity. The promise of future rewards was a major motivation of the Apostle Paul’s relentless service in the gospel.

Phillipians 4:14(NLT):

14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

A W Tozer writes that…

Our motives in the Christian life should be both right and genuine. God is the Faithful One. We are to love Him and serve Him because He is God—not because of the gracious things He does for us or for the rewards He promises us!

However, it should be said that God does not expect us to forget or ignore the gracious future promises He has made to us. It is a glorious truth that if we believe God and honor His Word, if we walk by faith in love and obedience, there will be eternal rewards for each of us in that great coming day. The rewards will differ. Wisdom and knowledge and love reside in Him who is our God. He will make the right judgments for His people.

I for one will not be surprised if some of God’s faithful people serving Him today should rise as high and shine as brightly as the heroes of faith listed in the book of Hebrews.

I say that in all truthfulness because I do not think that all of the heroes of faith are dead and gone!

THIS IS ONE OF THE GREAT RULES OF FAITH THAT GOD IS A REWARDER.

Hebrews 11:6 (NASB): 6And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Ruth 2:12: 12 The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”

Don’t you want to receive a full reward at the judgment seat of Christ?

II John 8 (NIV): 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.

Revelation 22:12,13 (NKJV): 12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

What an awesome verse!!! Jesus Christ is coming back and his reward is with him to give to us according to our work for Him. What motivation this should give us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love and serve others.

Matthew 16:27 (NIV): 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

Matthew 19:29 (NIV): 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

The reward will be so much higher and greater than the work that was done. God is a rewarder and he will abundantly reward us for our faithful service of love.

Matthew 25:14-27 (NIV): 14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

What are you doing with the abilities, talents, gifts and word of God that God has given you while Jesus Christ is in heaven and before he comes back? Are you sitting on them are putting them in use for your Lord?

I Corinthians 4:1-5 Amplified

1SO THEN, let us [apostles] be looked upon as ministering servants of Christ and stewards (trustees) of the mysteries (the secret purposes) of God.

2Moreover, it is [essentially] required of stewards that a man should be found faithful [proving himself worthy of trust].

3But [as for me personally] it matters very little to me that I should be put on trial by you [on this point], and that you or any other human tribunal should investigate and question and cross-question me. I do not even put myself on trial and judge myself.

4I am not conscious of anything against myself, and I feel blameless; but I am not vindicated and acquitted before God on that account. It is the Lord [Himself] Who examines and judges me.

5So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts. Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God.

Hebrews 6:10, 11 (ESV): 10For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end.

Philippians 2:14-16: 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

God works in us so that we can do His good pleasure upon the earth and shine as lights in this crooked world and rejoice in the day of Christ. All labor outside God’s working and calling on your life is in vain and ultimately serves no eternal purpose.

A BEMA SEAT
MINDSET

Beloved let me offer a “Biblical grid” through which you can (should) filter every thought, word and deed in your life for the rest of your life in light of your future personal appointed appearance at the Bema Seat of Christ

Whether, then, you eat or drink
or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.
1Corinthian 10:31

I Corinthians 3:5-9 (NIV)

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Most of the things we worry so much about won’t matter in 3 weeks, let alone 3 months or 3 years. We focus on the trivial and forget to pursue the eternal. But 10,000 times 10,000 years from now, you’ll still be glad you invested your life for Jesus Christ….

John Wesley rightly said that…

The real value of a thing is the price it will bring in eternity.

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV): 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Store up (Store up (thesaurizo) is the same verb used in Mt 6:19 and is in the present imperative which is a command from our Master make the habit of our lives to store up eternal treasure in heaven!

Note carefully that the question is not whether we will store up wealth. Everyone will. That’s a given. The vital question is where we will do our “banking”, on earth or in heaven?

In context, the treasures refer to whatever it is you most value.

Luther said…

What a man loves, that is his God. For he carries it in his heart, he goes about with it night and day, he sleeps and wakes with it; be it what it may

WHERE IS
YOUR TREASURE?

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].
MLB (Berkley): for we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may receive as his due what he practiced while in the body, whether good or bad.
Montgomery: For we must all be made manifest, in our true characters, before the Judgment-seat of Christ; so that each one may receive according to that which he has done in his body, whether good or evil.
NJB: For at the judgment seat of Christ we are all to be seen for what we are, so that each of us may receive what he has deserved in the body, matched to whatever he has done, good or bad.
Phillips: For every one of us will have to stand without pretence before Christ our judge, and we shall be rewarded for what we did when we lived in our bodies, whether it was good or bad.
TLB: For we must all stand before Christ to be judged and have our lives laid bare—before him. Each of us will receive whatever he deserves for the good or bad things he has done in his earthly body
Weymouth: For we must all of us appear before Christ’s judgment-seat in our true characters, in order that each may then receive an award for his actions in this life, in accordance with what he has done, whether it be good or whether it be worthless.
Wuest: for it is necessary in the nature of the case for all of us to be openly shown as to our true character before the judgment seat of Christ, in order that each one may receive the things which were practiced through the agency of our body, whether they were good or bad.
The glorious rewards for Christian service and good works will be given at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Every born again son or daughter of God will give an account of their character, their conduct, their words, their actions and their motives of heart, in the service of Christ. Our lives will be openly revealed and made completely visible as to full and true reality of our character. Jesus Christ will uncover the motives and passions of our heart, as he will not simply look at what we did, but will examine the motivations of our heart as to why we did it. The Judgment Seat of Christ should not be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment of the Book of Revelation, as they are two different judgments. No one before the Judgment Seat of Christ will be cast into the Lake of Fire and receive the sentence of the second death mentioned in Revelation 20. The Judgment Seat of Christ has nothing to do with obtaining salvation, as we are saved by grace because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and not by works. Jesus Christ paid the price for our salvation, and we have eternal life as a gift of God’s grace. The Christian believers will already be in heaven with their glorious new bodies after the Rapture when they stand before Christ’s Judgment Seat. This judgment is to determine our eternal rewards and our position of responsibility in His kingdom. God will examine the fruitfulness of our lives and the total pattern of our conduct while Christians upon the earth. God will bring to the light the plans, purposes, and motives of our heart and give amazing rewards for those works of goodness that pass His test. The Judgment Seat of Christ will issue forth the final verdict as to our eternal rewards and destiny in His kingdom. Will we be decorated with rewards and victor crowns and given great responsibility before God and His Son Jesus Christ in the future kingdom, or will we barely get into the door and that only by the grace of God? What will be our destiny before the Judgment Seat of Christ? Our lives are the testing ground for eternity, as each day we are either making or marring a destiny, winning or losing a reward, and securing or losing a crown. Will our motives, our heart, our plans, our purposes, and our works withstand the test of fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ? We need to set our heart on eternity as Christians and adjust our motives and heart accordingly. It is never too late to begin to accumulate and earn future rewards in the service of our Lord. God has equipped us with everything we need to walk in obedience

to His Word and serve Him. God is ready to help us in anyway He can to secure these wonderful future rewards. God earnestly desires us to be abundantly awarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ and has given us the power, strength, courage, and love to accomplish His plans for our lives. God’s purpose and plan for our lives will not only result in a bumper crop of spiritual fruit, but also a decorated awards ceremony for our faithfulness to Him.

The words “judgment seat” are the translation of the Greek word bema, which means “a raised place or platform reached by steps.” It literally means the step forward made by a foot. In ancient Greek culture, it referred to both a seat of judgment and a platform where athletes were awarded for their performance in the games. It was also used of a platform where the Roman magistrate or Emperor would address a public assembly, conduct official business, make speeches to the people, and administer justice. A judge or jury would also pronounce their verdict from the bema, or raised platform, in both Greek and Roman culture. The city of Corinth had a bema on its main street, where the authorities rewarded citizens and rendered justice.

When the bema was used as a platform to give rewards for athletes in the various Greek games, the judges would observe and evaluate the actions of the athletes in the contests. If any athlete broke a rule, one or more judges would point to him and cry out “disqualified!” This contestant would miss the prize regardless of how he placed in the competition. The victor’s wreath would be lost because he was disqualified for not following the rules of the games. Also, once the particular event in the game was completed, the athletes stood before the bema to hear the judges’ announcement of the results and to receive any prize they won because of their performance in the games. This was an awesome awards ceremony from the bema, giving great honor and recognition to those contestants who distinguished themselves in the competition.

The Judgment Seat of Christ will be an awards ceremony that will take your breath away. Nothing on Earth can ever match it. I remember watching in awe many Olympic games and the amazing opening and closing ceremonies, along with the emotion of the medal ceremonies. Although these events are truly awe-inspiring, nothing will compare to the magnificent honor and privilege of receiving eternal rewards at the bema, personally given to us by Jesus Christ himself. Do you think a life of Christian service, a life of trusting and loving God with your whole heart and walking in obedience is worth the sacrifice and commitment? How about when Jesus Christ smiles at you, hugs you, and announces from the bema the wonderful everlasting rewards you earned because of your commitment to Christ. I can’t express in words just how tremendous, glorious, and awesome this event will be for the faithful in Christ Jesus.

According to I Corinthians 3, every born-again Christian believer is an expert builder, which from the Greek means “architect, skilled craftsman, and master worker.” By our works, we are constructing a building on the foundation of Jesus Christ. This building is the sum total of the quality and character of our deeds, words, and actions throughout our Christian life. We can build good works on this foundation by using the good materials of gold, silver, and precious stones, or we can build selfish works using materials of wood, hay, and straw. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the quality of our workmanship will be tested and we will be rewarded according to how the building passes the inspection. A wise master builder does not throw together the building haphazardly, but contemplates every detail, and works tirelessly to bring about the best, quality product.

God is our co-worker, our fellow-laborer, and our building partner, and He will help us build a beautiful structure of good works that is unmatched in quality if we only let Him. God has magnificent architectural plans and drawings for your beautiful house and is so excited to help you build it. God has all the right contacts, knows all the right people, and knows all the proper building techniques to construct the best home that perfectly suits your life. Whose architectural blueprints are we going to follow? God’s or the world’s? Our new creation in Christ’s plans or our sin nature’s plans? Isn’t God the best suited to help us build a quality Christian life that glorifies Him in word and action? God is the ultimate wise master builder, and without His help our building will not pass the inspection.

Every Christians building will go through a complete and thorough testing process at the bema. The word “test” in I Corinthians 3 in the Greek means “ to put to the test for the purpose of approving.” It is a critical examination of something to determine its genuineness. The word was used in secular Greek literature to describe the action of the examining board putting its stamp of approval on those individuals who passed the examination for the degree of Doctor of Medicine. It was also used of a candidate who passed the test as fit for public office. This Greek word describes a process of approval, not condemnation or punishment. You either passed or failed, as the testing was not done to determine how much good or evil was in the product or person being tested. The testing was done to determine whether the thing tested passed the examination according to specifications. It was also used in classic Greek to describe the testing of precious metals, usually by fire, to determine if they were truly authentic and measured up to their stated worth. The word also implies that the testing was done with the expectation and hope that the person or thing being tested would pass the test with flying colors.

God fervently desires that our building will pass the inspection at the bema and we receive abundant rewards. God has given us the gift of holy spirit, the revelation of His written Word, and a restored relationship with Him. He fully expects us to utilize these tools to construct our house of life. He will guide us, counsel us, comfort us, and strengthen us in this journey of building a quality, good, holy life for the service of our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole quality of our life and character will be tested at the Judgment Seat of Christ to see if God puts His stamp of approval on it and finds it worthy of a reward, or rejects it as unfit for any type of recompense.

Both I and II Corinthians state that if our works pass the test, we will be recompensed, or receive a reward. The word “reward” in the Greek means “wages or pay.” It is pay that is due for labor or service performed. This will not be minimum wage or a paltry pay for our labor. Who will even be able to measure the greatness of this reward that will be mingled with praise and love? Who can value the depth and vastness of these wages? By the grace and love of our wonderful God, these rewards will be a million times greater than the work that was performed, and they will last forever. These magnificent rewards will reflect the essence of God’s goodness. When we make His goodness our lifestyle and practice good day after day, God will reward us at the bema with good rewards that for eternity will radiate the brilliance of His goodness.

The Bible gives us some glimpse into the magnificent nature of these rewards by setting forth five crowns that are the ultimate and highest awards for Christian service. The Greek word for “crown” is stephanos, and Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament explains the meaning of this word:

It was the crown given to the victor in the Greek

athletic games, the runner who first crossed the

goal, the athlete who hurled the discus farthest,

the wrestler who pinned the opponent to the mat.

It was given to the servant of the State whose

work deserved to be honored. It was worn at

marriage feasts. A stephanos was therefore a

symbol of victory, of deserved honor, and of

festive gladness. The crown was woven of oak

leaves, of ivy, of parsley, of myrtle, of olive, of

violets, of roses.

Although the Bible does not tell us the exact nature of these crowns, these rewards must be simply breathtaking in their beauty and represent an eternal symbol of victory, deserved honor, and overflowing gladness. It will be a more magnificent crown than any victor’s wreath that ever graced the head of a Greek athlete. It will be more splendid then a thousand gold medals at the Olympic Games. It will be more superb than all the Nobel Peace Prizes ever given in the history of the world. Imagine what a privilege it would be to be handed a glorious crown by the Lord Jesus Christ! What an inspiring moment that would be! What an awesome recognition for a job well done. How remarkable would it be to wear a crown throughout all eternity that sends forth the brilliant message of our love and commitment to Him? Nothing can match the exceeding greatness and honor of these five crowns.

The first crown is the incorruptible or imperishable crown (I Corinthians 9:25) that is given to the Christian who has given his all in winning the spiritual race that God has marked out for each believer. It is given to the Christian who exercised self-control in everything and with great discipline gave all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength to do their best for the Lord. It is given to the Christian who excelled in their walk with God, keeping their body, mind and heart under control, directing it to the service of God and the good works He has planned for us to accomplish.

The second crown is the crown of rejoicing (I Thessalonians 2:19) that is given to those who have diligently won others to Christ. The crown represents every single person whom they have led to the Lord Jesus Christ and ministered the saving grace of His Word. It is given to those Christians who with great joy witnessed about the Lord Jesus Christ and the good news of salvation, righteousness, justification, and all the wonderful things Jesus Christ accomplished through his death and resurrection. It is given to those who stand against all the hindrance and obstructions of Satan and still hold forth the Word of Life and its wonderful message of deliverance. This crown is the glory of soul-winners.

The third crown is the crown of righteousness (II Timothy 4:8) that is given to those who long for Christ’s return and love His appearing as the exalted head of the Body of Christ and King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is given to those Christians who have fought the good fight of faith with their eyes riveted to the hope of Christ’s coming as the anchor of their soul. It is given to those Christians who have a deep yearning to see the Lord they love face to face and rejoice in his glorious presence.

The fourth crown is the crown of life (James 1:12) that is given to those Christians who endured and persevered through trials and temptations, remaining faithful to the Lord. The Christian who receives this crown has stood faithfully in their love and obedience to God, despite attempts by the devil to storm the depths of their heart and cause agitation, fear, and unbelief. The crown of life is given to those who are steadfast in their stand for the truth, regardless of the afflictions, pressures, pleasures, persecutions, and troubles that are thrown against them.

The fifth crown is the crown of glory that is given to leaders in the church who willing and eagerly shepherd God’s people, as these leaders shine forth as great examples of heart, service, lifestyle, and conduct for the Lord. It is given to those who follow the heart and example of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, as they lovingly serve and take care of God’s precious children. The motive of these spiritual leaders is not money, fame, or pride, but love and passion to do God’s will as they carry forth their responsibilities in the ministry of the gospel.

Surely these five magnificent crowns should provide us great motivation for a lifetime of Christian service. Nothing could compare in this life to the thrill and honor of receiving the ultimate reward of a crown or crowns at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Perfect justice will be decreed from the bema, as each Christian believer will be compensated and rewarded for their works, words, and actions they accomplished for the Lord. The final verdict as to rewards will be absolutely perfect, fair, and good. Not one Christian will be cheated, overlooked, ripped off, or passed by when it comes to the proclamation of their eternal rewards.

The Bible describes a range of emotions that will be present at the Judgment Seat of Christ, as we stand face to face with Jesus Christ to give an account of our Christian lives. There will be confidence for some because of their devotion and faithfulness to the Lord. There will be shame for some, as the quality of their building and works did not measure up to the test. There will be cheerful courage and assurance for some, because of their intimate closeness and fellowship with the Lord as they carried out His work. There will be disappointment for some, who know in their hearts they failed to live up to the great purposes and plans of God for their lives. There will be unspeakable joy for some, whose heart will thrill at seeing their loving Lord face to face. There will be fear for some, because they dedicated their words and deeds to the service of their selfish sin nature and turned their backs on serving the Lord. There will be loss and sorrow for some, as they received little or no rewards because their works did not reflect God’s goodness, love, and grace. There will be guilt for some, as their eyes are opened to see that their character really missed the mark of quality God expects for His children. There will be humility and praise, as every knee shall bow to Jesus Christ and confess him as Lord to the glory of God our Father. There will be amazement and awe at the magnificent nature of this event as we stand in our new bodies in the presence of Jesus Christ. There will be love for the Lord and extreme gratitude for his sacrifice for each one of us.

What a day that will be, and we can make the decision now to live our lives in such a way that we stand at the bema before the Lord in confidence, courage, love, and joy. How we live from this day forward will determine to a great extent what emotions we will have before the Judgment Seat of Christ. In that day, we will see that it was worth the sacrifice and it was worth the effort to give our all to labor for the Lord doing His good work upon the earth.

But after the final verdict for rewards is given at the bema, I Corinthians 4:5 declares that every single Christian will receive praise from God. The word “praise” in the Greek means “praise upon, applause, commendation, and worthy of praise.” Detzler, in New Testament Words in Today’s Language, says, “the basic meaning of this word is ‘applause’. It speaks of expressed approval or public recognition.” God will stand and with great love in His heart give us applause as we enter into His kingdom. Even if the only thing we ever did with our life was to get saved, God will still give us applause and praise at the bema for that one great decision to come to the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. That wonderful moment gave us everlasting life and the finished, glorious work of Jesus Christ is so big, so enormous, and so complete for us that it merits the applause of God. We are the praise of the glory of His grace, according to Ephesians, and He has bestowed upon us the greatest gift to be called and accepted as His beloved. One person who was lost and now is found by the Great Shepherd causes waves of joy to flood the depths of heaven, for this was God’s great purpose for the ages. God will give you recognition at the bema for simply making that momentous decision of accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

But don’t we want more? Don’t we want an even greater level of praise and applause because we faithfully loved God with all our heart and soul in the midst of the darkness of this world? Don’t we want the honor and recognition from our Lord for boldly standing for the truth of the gospel, regardless of the opposition from the kingdom of darkness? As a mighty warrior and superior spiritual athlete, don’t we want the thrill of eternal victory to burst forth from our heart? This makes life a mighty adventure with our Lord, as we give everything we are to bring His goodness into the hearts of men, women, and children. No sacrifice is too great and no work is too hard when it comes to serving the Lord.

Paul used the imagery of an athlete when describing the intensity of commitment and devotion of heart that a Christian should have in doing God’s work.

II Timothy 4:7 (NIV):

I have fought the good fight, I have finished

the race, I have kept the faith.

(Wuest):

The desperate, straining, agonizing contest

marked by its beauty of technique, I like a

wrestler have fought to the finish, and at

present am resting in victory. My race, I like

a runner have finished, and at present am

resting at the goal. The Faith committed to

my care, I like a soldier have kept safely

through eternal vigilance, and have

delivered it again to my Captain.

I Corinthians 9:24-27 (Message):

You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the

athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run

to win.

All good athletes train hard. They do it for a

gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re

after one that’s gold eternally.

I don’t know about you but I’m running hard

to the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve

got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert

and in top condition.

I’m not going to get caught napping, telling

everyone else all about it and then missing out

myself.

New Living Translation:

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs,

but only one person gets the prize? So run to

win!

All athletes are disciplined in their training.

They do it to win a prize that will fade away,

but we do it for an eternal prize.

So I run with purpose in every step, I am not

just shadowboxing.

I discipline my body like an athlete, training

it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that

after preaching to others I myself might be

disqualified.

Philippians 3:13,14 (New Living Translation):

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not

achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:

Forgetting the past and looking forward to

what lies ahead,

I press on to reach the end of the race and

receive the heavenly prize for which God,

through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Ephesians 6:12 (The Message):

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll

walk away from and forget about in a couple

of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight

to the finish against the devil and his angels.

As Christians, we are in an intense battle with our spiritual enemy, the devil and his kingdom, and God wants us to fight the good fight with the discipline, intensity, and effort of an athlete. The word “fight” in the Greek means: to contend in the Greek games for a prize with great physical exertion and intensity in an enormous struggle against an adversary; to labor fervently with persistent effort and to exert oneself as an athlete with every ounce of discipline, conviction, strength, and ability in a strenuous conflict; and to contend with adversaries with strenuous zeal. It means an all out push for victory with every ounce of physical and mental strength striving for the honor and reward of triumph. Nothing is left on the sidelines. The root of this word comes into English as the word “agony.” These Greek athletes were engaged in the intense competition of the games even to the point of physical agony. To understand some of the intensity and motivation of the Greek games, we need to know that the Greek boxer wore fur-lined gloves covered with cowhide that had lead and iron sewed into it, and the loser of a Greek wrestling match had his eyes gouged out. Do you see the intense motivation and physical struggle of these athletes to the point of agony in these games? Everything was on the line, and it demanded their full and complete effort.

Should we have any less intensity, motivation, discipline, and passion to do the good works of God than the Greek athlete had to win a prize? Should we labor any less fervently for Christ than the Greek athlete labored in the games? We should make it our aim as Christians to fight the good fight and finish the race God has called us to run with everything we have. No half-hearted, weak effort is acceptable. Fight the good fight! This is not a fight against our jobs, our spouses, our families, or opposing political views, but this is a fight for good and against evil. This is a fight for Christ and against Satan. This is a fight to stand up for God and proclaim His goodness with every ounce of our being. It is the biggest spiritual Super Bowl on the face of the planet, and it is the forces of good against the forces of evil. We are at war! This is your destiny, and God has given us everything we need to fight the good fight. God is our team captain, and He urges us to get in the spiritual arena and compete and fight for His will and purposes. We should accept nothing less than an all effort in this fight.

For too long Christianity has been too weak, too entangled, too preoccupied, too half-hearted, and too soft to fight for the truth of the gospel with an intensity of an athlete. Are we willing to lay everything we have on the line for the Lord Jesus Christ? Or is our Christianity a convenient Sunday show for an hour that does little to wake up the world to Christ or transform us into His likeness? You are in a fight, the ultimate contest, the supreme event, and you can either get into the ring and fight or stay on the sidelines of life, never adventuring to take the hand of God as your team captain and give it every fiber of your being to finish the race. It takes courage, it takes fortitude, it takes energy, it takes conviction, it takes passion, it takes commitment, and it takes tenacity to stand for Christ in this world. Are we willing to make the sacrifice to do the good works that God has prepared for us to walk in as Christians? Are you prepared to make the sacrifice to accomplish His glorious purpose for your life upon this earth? Are you prepared to push yourself to the point of physical and mental exhaustion for the cause of Christ?

When you really shed all the layers and the subterfuge, what else is there in life worth living for?

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your (the) toil is not in vain in the Lord. (NASB)
Amplified: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].Barclay: So then, beloved brothers, show yourselves steady, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your toil does not go for nothing.
Gordon Clark paraphrase: Therefore we should mortify emotion, be steadfast, unchangeable, not erratic and scatterbrained, easily discouraged, and should multiply our good works in the knowledge that the Lord will make them profitable.
Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Now, my brothers and sisters, in the light of these sublime truths, be steadfast in doing the Lord’s work, knowing that he will reward you at his coming. NET: So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.NIV: Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
NLT: So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Phillips: And so brothers of mine, stand firm! Let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the Lord’s work. Be sure that nothing you do for him is ever lost or ever wasted.

Everything you do now, will echo throughout all eternity. We must not lose these wonderful rewards by looking at earthly things and failing to see things from the perspective of eternity. Make a difference for God with the love of God and compassion of Christ and lay up for yourself treasures in heaven. Lift up your eyes and see the glory of our future hope in Christ and live accordingly.

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“And I Sought for a Man”: The Call to Change a Generation

enligtenment-s
Editor note: “And I sought for a man” is a quote from Ezekiel, but the call of God to change a generation in spiritual decline is not just to men, but to every person who chooses to rise up in faith and believe God to show mercy and do the miraculous, the impossible and the wondrous as He transform lives, cities and nations for His glory.

The Book of Ezekiel speaks of an hour of decline in Israel—a nation
that had claimed to know and walk with God. Sadly, the reality was that
they had fallen far from the standard God had set for them. It has been
the pattern throughout history that when the sin of a people reaches a
certain point, God releases His hand of protection, and the nation begins
to consume itself by virtue of its own behavior. We see this illustrated in
the following passage: “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon
in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in
the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have
devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they
have made her many widows in the midst thereof” (Ezekiel 22:23–25).

Typically when a nation is beginning to stray from righteous
living, the voice of a prophet is raised up to warn the
people of what is to come—the succession of events
that will inevitably unfold if they do not return to God. Yet in this case,
the prophets in Israel had become compromised. They were “taking the
precious things,” or in other words, robbing the people of the treasure of
God that should have been available for that generation. “Making her
many widows” means that families were beginning to break apart; the
strength of the nation was being lost.“Her priests have violated my law,
and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between
the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the
unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths,
and I am profaned among them…And her prophets have daubed them
with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them,
saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken”
(Ezekiel 22:26, 28).

There was no longer a clear distinction between what was of
God and what was not. Lusting for power, the prophets began to tell
people whatever they wanted to hear, so long as they could retain
their prominent positions. They were not concerned about whether
what they spoke was truth or not,freely declaring to the people,
“Thus saith the Lord God,” when the Lord had not spoken.
“The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery,
and have vexed the poor and needy:yea, they have oppressed the stranger
wrongfully” (Ezekiel 22:29).

Here we see the breakdown of a nation—its utter social, spiritual, and moral
decline—which placed it on the brink of judgment. Surely by now we must recognize the
similar state that our own country is in today. We have cast off restraint;
evil is now good, and good is rapidly becoming evil. We, too, have used
oppression and exercised robbery.The very basic unit of the family
is being destroyed right before our eyes. Anybody who has ever studied
anthropology or sociology knows that once the family structure is lost, the
society is bound to unravel.

MERCY STILL TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT

Clearly the Lord is just in judging the people who claim to know
Him yet have allowed this kind of debauchery at every level in
society to govern them. However, look at His response as we continue
in the passage in Ezekiel:

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and
stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it:
but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation
upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own
way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel
22:30–31).“I sought for a man!” God had actually scoured the nation,
looking for even one person to stand in the gap—to stand between the
nation and God’s removing His hand, which would ultimately
allow society to follow the course of its own destruction.

It is amazing that God could not find anyone, especially when you
consider, for example, the temple. The temple would have been filled
with all kinds of people attending religious services and studying the
Scriptures. There were certainly people in those days who, at least
marginally, would have been trying to live upright, moral
lives. Therefore I cannot help but wonder: Is it possible that
God could not find anyone not because the people didn’t study
or know the Scriptures, but because nobody believed any
longer that He would be merciful?

You see, it is possible to get into a mind-set, particularly as the people
of God, where we become so gripped by the sense of judgment that we
forget that mercy triumphs over judgment. We look out in our streets
or watch the news and conclude, “Surely God is going to judge this.” It
becomes easy to agree with judgment when the evidence is mounting before
our eyes. And the danger of it all is that if we do not truly know the
heart of God, we can arrive at a point where we no longer believe that God
desires to show mercy.

A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING

The good news, however, is that throughout history, there have been
moments that I like to call “spiritual awakenings.” This is when somebody,
or perhaps many people, suddenly become aware of God’s willingness to
restore and to heal. They understand His willingness, in the midst of our
poverty, to release His riches once again—His willingness to take
us, not in our strength, but in our weakness. After all, the Scriptures
do not tell us to come to the throne of God when we are strong. Rather,
we are to come when we are weak to find help in our time of need
(see Hebrews 4:16).

It is almost like an auctioneer who, at unexpected moments, suddenly
pulls back the curtain and makes available an incredible treasure. In
our case, we are being offered the extraordinary treasure of God’s mercy
and power. The moment of awakening occurs when people begin to hear the
Lord speaking: “I know your land is desolate. I know your prophets
are not speaking for Me. Instead,they are leading the people into
powerlessness, having created a religious system around them
to help prop up their error. I know the people have used oppression,
exercised robbery, and vexed the poor and the needy. Nevertheless,
I am still willing, one more time, to be merciful.”

Is it possible that in Ezekiel’s day, God simply could not find anybody
who believed that He could use them for this purpose, despite all natural
odds seemingly being against them? Perhaps there were people who actually
did believe God was willing to be merciful, yet as they began to look
at their own resources, they concluded, “Well, I suppose God could be
merciful, but never through me.”

Imagine if that moment of mercy had come to Gideon and he, too,
formed a wrong conclusion. After all, when God appeared to Gideon and
called him a “mighty man of valor,” the nation was being swallowed
by 135,000 Midianites who had come in to take everything that the
Israelites were trying to harvest (see Judges 6:12). Initially, Gideon did
essentially question the messenger of God, “Are you speaking to me?
My father’s tribe is the least of the tribes of Israel. My father is the least
of his tribe, and I am the least in my father’s house. And in case you
didn’t notice, my father has an altar to a heathen god in the backyard. Are
you sure you have the right address?”

Yet God had sent His Word to Gideon, which is all we need in order
to be a mighty man or woman of God.Eventually, as Gideon followed the
Lord in a plan that made no sense to the natural mind, the Bible tells
us that God granted him and his army of a mere three hundred men
a great victory over the Midianites (see Judges 7:20–22).

It doesn’t take a hundred people to change your neighborhood;
it only takes one who believes that God is willing to
show mercy. What would have happened if that moment of mercy had somehow
passed him by? What if God had sought for a man, but He could not
find a Gideon—or a Moses, or an Esther? We don’t know what would
have happened to God’s people who were enslaved in Egypt, or what
would have been lost in the day when Esther had an opportunity
to go in and petition the king for the future of her people.

And so, in our generation, the treasure is being unlocked one
more time! It is as if the auctioneer is standing before the people, saying,
“Here stands an invaluable treasure. It is only revealed from season to
season. Who will give me a hundred dollars? Who will give me fifty?”
Silence. “Who will give me twenty-five? Ten? Five? Who will give
me a dollar for the treasure?”

Likewise, God is calling out to men and women whom He wants to use
for His glory. In fact, when you and I get to the throne of God one
day, we will finally understand the number of times throughout history
that He was speaking and searching for somebody. Remember, it doesn’t
take a multitude of people to change a nation. It doesn’t take a hundred
people to change your neighborhood; it only takes one who believes
that God is willing to show mercy. However, if nobody steps forward,
once again the treasure is forfeited and hidden until some undisclosed
future time. People who could have been spared are lost. It is such a
tragedy when God looks for somebody in a season such as the one in which
we live, yet He cannot find anyone who believes He could be merciful,
or that they might be used for this purpose. Therefore, the hand of God
is lifted, and as the Scripture says, the way of the people is recompensed
upon their own heads.

STEP FORWARD IN FAITH

It is clear that if we desire to be used of God in this hour, we must
be willing to step forward in faith, just as David did when he walked
into the Israelite camp and heard the mockery of God (see 1 Samuel
17:23). Astounded that the name of God could be brought into such
disrepute among His own people, he asked, “Why is nobody fighting
this? Why is everybody just standing still as if we don’t have God on
our side?”

Although the Israelites became offended at him, David said, “Don’t
let any man’s heart faint, I’ll go fight this giant.” One more time, somebody
believed that God was willing to be merciful. David went forward into
that valley with a sling and five stones, believing that God would
take the little he had and multiply it for His glory. That is exactly what
happened—David defeated Goliath and brought the people of God back
to faith again for that season.

Faith means we look away from the mirror. This is the essence of faith, and
this is what God is looking for in our generation! As the book of
Hebrews describes, faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word
of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do
appear” (Hebrews 11:1–3).

In other words, faith believes that the spoken Word to my heart
is all I need. If God created the universe out of nothing,
I don’t have to have something in order for God to use me. I just have
to have a heart that embraces the Word of God! Faith means we look away from the
mirror. We turn away from what we believe about ourselves, despising
every voice that has ever condemned us or said, “You can only go this far
and no farther.” The Bible tells us that David refused to listen when
Saul warned him, “Thou art not able to go against this Philistine
to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war
from his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33).

That is because faith says, “When God speaks, I will go forward!
I believe that He will give me the power to be everything He has
called me to be. I will not stand here in unbelief when the God of
this universe, the God who created me in His own image, is speaking
to my heart. I am going to believe Him for the miraculous to happen
through my life!”

If after all of our learning—after two thousand years of books and
testimonies—we have merely arrived at a place where we do not fully
believe that Jesus is today who He was in the Bible, then we are
to be pitied above all people. We will be left possessing knowledge
without power.

The writer of Hebrews continues:

“Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to
God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that
diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

We will not please God by our church attendance, Bible study
or even prayer. These things are important, but without faith, it
is impossible to please God! At some point, all of these things must
produce faith that is willing to adopt the plan of God, even if it does not
make sense to the natural mind.

WHO WILL BID?

“I sought for a man,” the Lord said. “I sought for somebody who would
believe that I wanted to be merciful.I sought for somebody who believed
that I could still use them, doing the miraculous through their lives.
I sought for somebody!”

That same call of God is resounding once again in this hour. The question
is: Will we see the history of Ezekiel’s day repeat itself? Will we be a nation
that simply goes down into judgment without a season of mercy? Or will
somebody, somewhere be willing to stand up and bid for this treasure of
Christ—His life, His mercy, His power? Perhaps you desire it but wonder,
How can I buy this treasure when I have hardly anything to give for
it? If so, consider God’s incredible invitation, spoken through the
prophet Isaiah: “Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,
and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy
wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).

It is time for us to rise up in faith, leaving the familiar to obtain
the impossible.That is the cry of God. If you think you only have a dollar, then bid your
dollar. If you only have fifty cents, stand up and bid your fifty cents for
the treasure. God is not looking for our resources or our strength. He is
looking for the heart that simply says, “Lord, here am I; take me! Take me
with my five cents; take me with my loaf of bread. I have hardly anything
to give, but if You are unveiling the treasure, if there is an opportunity
for me to know Your power and mercy for the sake of others, then count me in!”

We must not allow the treasure of God to be hidden again; the curtain
cannot close on this generation in a season of incredible mercy. How
tragic it would be if the Lord were to say of New York City: “I searched
for a man and found no one.” No!It is time for us to rise up in faith,
leaving the familiar to obtain the impossible, trusting God for the
ability to accomplish all He has called us to do. As we bring to
the Lord what little we have, let’s believe that He will take
it and change a generation!

Carter Conlon
©2014 Times Square Church

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Ecclesiastes and Christian Living

bible-ecclesiastes-578x246Ecclesiastes is all about quality-of-life issues, helping us set and follow daily guidelines to direct our lives. Throughout the book, primarily by means of comparisons, Solomon helps us to analyze which choices are better. For the Christian, then, life comes down to one important question: How shall I make the best daily use of my calling? Ecclesiastes helps us to answer this vital question by providing practical guidelines intended for day-by-day use in our lives.

We have learned from personal experience that life is not only merely difficult, but it is also very much like a convoluted labyrinth. Making right choices to follow the correct path is not always easily discerned. Each section of Ecclesiastes that we have completed to this point has presented us with overall perspectives and guidelines to give us principles to live by.

For example, the introduction in the first chapter highlights the apparent meaningless of human life “under the sun.” Everybody faces what God clearly exposes in this chapter. Solomon gives two helpful clues: First, the phrase “under the sun” indicates a life, regardless of how full and productive it may appear to casual observation, lived with little thought of God and His purpose for His creation. What is the lesson? Avoid this!

The second clue is to note that the meaninglessness of human life is apparent. Life is in no way meaningless to those called of God. It appears meaningless to casual observation because God has not yet opened the minds of the vast majority to remove the spiritual blindness by which Satan has deluded them.

Thus, to the blinded, life can appear to have no purposeful direction because the same general events keep happening over and over again regardless of when and where one lives. It is as though human life is lived like a hamster on a treadmill. There is endless activity and movement, but one gets nowhere. An important overall conclusion can thus be discerned: Ecclesiastes gives important guidelines to provide direction to the called so that they can live their lives purposefully, moving toward the goal God has revealed. Ecclesiastes is written especially for their benefit.

Chapter 2 begins to focus on elements of life important to the purpose God is revealing to the called. Solomon writes about work, pleasure, and entertainment, and within each subject, he evaluates what is wise and what is of lesser value. Here, he first indicates that contentment with God’s gifts is important to the life of the called. We must not let our minds wander to what we do not have, a habit that is particularly destructive to accomplishment. We must be positively thankful for what we have because what we have is God’s calling and knowledge of His purpose. This is a huge benefit.

The third chapter is vital to the called because it decisively inserts God into the flow of life, showing Him initiating, directing, and judging events in our lives. What He provides are events or exercises that help prepare us for His Kingdom. It is a tremendously encouraging chapter. We are not alone! God is personally and deeply involved in the lives of the called to provide help to fulfill the purpose toward which He is directing us. His purpose involves eternity, and thus life has a definite point toward which He is drawing it. This chapter urges us to get in harmony with it. It reveals Him as deeply involved in the timing, both the beginning and ending, of the events of our lives.

From the inspiring teachings of chapter 3, the next one returns us to the corrupt world we live and move in. Solomon reminds us of the unjust courts and the oppressions of this present evil world. However, he also reminds us that God is judging, implying that we must not be distraught and allow ourselves to become caught up in the world’s problems. We are to stay focused. God is taking care of things.

Solomon also compares work attitudes to allow us to examine our own and choose which one will produce the most toward God’s Kingdom. He briefly examines the workaholic, the lazybones, the balanced man, and the miser. He also touches on the value of companionship and cooperation within partnerships, and he admonishes us briefly about pride, the instability of civic life, and the fickleness of the public. Once again, he also strongly suggests that choosing to be content is a necessary quality.

Along these lines, Solomon begins analyzing many daily life experiences, describing them in such a way as to point out what the better choices are. While leaving the decisions to us, he provides enough detail that, if we are serious about pleasing and glorifying God, we will choose this rather than that.

A Visit to the Temple

After making the observations and comparisons that appear in chapter 4, Solomon pays a visit to the House of God to evaluate what he sees reflected in the attitudes and conduct of those worshipping the Creator God directly within their relationship with Him. His conclusions are important to the well-being of the maintenance of this most-important-of-all relationship:

Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed. It is better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7)

To those whom God has called, nobody is more important than God Himself. This should be self-evident because, to us, God is a reality, a family reality. However, we are not like those whom Solomon describes in chapter 1, those to whom life is essentially meaningless. It is not that the uncalled have no goals in life; that they do not plan what they will do with their time; that they are not buying or selling or repairing their homes, going to games or theaters, or seeking the latest fashions. Most of their lives are quite busy, involved in the normal activities of marrying, having children, divorcing, taking vacations, repairing their automobiles, going to work, and returning home at night to dine and read a book or watch television.

To many of them, involvement in a church is a portion of life, but God is not a reality to them in the way He must be to us because we truly believe Him and live by faith in Him. They may have some awareness and concern about Him. Yet, through the blood of Christ and the covenant we made with Him, we have dedicated our lives to Him. Thus, what God thinks, works on, and is planning are not guiding, overriding concerns to them as they are to us.

Recall that, in chapter 4, Solomon pays a visit to a courtroom and comes away critical of what he saw. He then goes to the marketplace and observes four different workers and the way they ply their trades. He then comments on partnership and the instability of civic life. All the while, he is speaking of the uncalled.

In chapter 5, Solomon visits the House of God. What he observes leaves him with foreboding thoughts about the spiritual state of those he saw. Until the specific context ends, it suggests that he is concerned about whether the worshippers are truly worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Chapter 5 directly addresses those whom God has called.

Perhaps we have seen a television program or movie in which a family grumpily staggers through dressing for Sunday morning church, arguing with each other about what they will or will not wear. They continue on to services in the family car, either totally silent or bickering about things that irritate them. Then, as soon as they leave the car and enter the sanctuary doors, a broad smile creases their faces, and they are polite to all who greet them. When they sing a hymn, their eyes are reverently closed, and on their faces are rapturous expressions, as if they are about to be transported to heaven itself. When services are over, they fly out the door and back to the dog-eat-dog real world. That quickly, their behaviors and attitudes return to normal.

All of this is, of course, a huge exaggeration, but it makes clear that attitudes and conduct can be flicked on or off depending on whom the person wants to impress. This on-and-off attitude toward God is the very kind that is Solomon’s concern.

Why? Because it indicates unresolved hypocrisy. Undoubtedly, Solomon observed people whom he deemed were not consistently and faithfully sincere about God in relation to their lives. The context gives the impression that their worship of God was confined to their appearance at the Temple on the Sabbath. But what about the rest of life?

Be Careful to Include God

Each of Solomon’s analyses in chapter 4 involves an aspect of daily life. Whether the subject is the courts, the manner that a worker addresses his labors, a partnership, or a life of public service, he makes not even a single mention of God. By way of contrast, where does God fit into the lives of those he observes in chapter 5?

It is interesting that, in the New King James Version, verse 1 begins, “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God.” The King James Version reads, “Keep your foot when you go to the house of God.” Prudently indicates “with care.” “Keep your foot” can just as easily be translated as “watch your step,” which is also a warning to be careful. Careful of what? Following the previous chapter where God is not even hinted at, chapter 5, in which Solomon is observing people going to the House of God, implies a warning to be careful not to leave God entirely out of life.

More positively, we can also take it as an admonishment to make sure that we strive to keep Him actively involved in our lives because at baptism we gave Him a solemn promise always to submit to Him in every facet of life. We have been converted to serve Him. Recall Jesus’ admonition in Luke 14:26-27:

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Thus, before committing our lives to Him in baptism, we are strongly counseled that we must count the cost of Him being first in our lives.

Were the attitudes and conduct of those whom Solomon observed such that they were robbing God of the reverence, honor, and respect that He deserves? Were their acts of worship perfunctory, insincere, and hypocritical? Our so-far cursory reading of the context has provided us with a clue: Solomon does not direct the admonishment of chapter 5 toward those who have no relationship with God at all, but he focuses it on those who do have a relationship with Him. They have specifically gone to the House of God, ostensibly to continue the relationship.

However, additional information reveals that, though they have good intentions, their minds wander easily. They find it hard to focus, to give Him their full attention, and to follow through in obedience. This is another gentle reminder to the called of God that in our lives everything matters. Going to the House of God is most definitely not a time to lose focus and let down in our discipline.

To help drive this thought home, notice the next phrase in verse 1. It speaks of those who “draw near to God” but who “give the sacrifice of fools.” “Draw near” clearly describes people who are doing something about their relationship with God, which shows a good intention. The word “sacrifice” indicates something given in the behalf of another, as Christ sacrificed His life in our behalf.

The subject here, though, is a foolish sacrifice. Christ’s sacrifice was not foolish in the least. These sacrifices are not merely foolish, however, because Solomon immediately elevates them to a far more serious level: as evil. English synonyms for the underlying Hebrew word translated as “evil,” are “bad” as a modifier and “wickedness” as a noun. Thus, what these people—who have a relationship with God and who are making a sacrifice in attending Temple services—are doing is far more dangerous than they appear to understand.

Strong’s Concordance adds that the Hebrew word behind “evil” combines both the deed and its consequences, indicating injury both to the perpetrator and to those around him. Solomon is saying that whatever these people are doing will do nobody any good. It is especially grievous in its effects to those who have a relationship with God because their actions either begin or sustain a destructive course.

Solomon’s Counsel

We need to consider the counsel Solomon gives because it provides specific insight into the evils these people were committing. He says in verse 1, “Draw near to hear.” In verse 2, he advises, “Do not be rash with your mouth,” as well as, “let not your heart utter anything hastily before God” and “let your words be few.” In verse 3, he states, “A fool’s voice is known by his many words.” Finally, back in verse 2, he counsels humility, “for God is in heaven, and you on earth.” This comment implies that whatever they were doing was more serious than it appeared on the surface.

His initial counsel involves hearing, so we will look at several scriptures on that subject and its importance to us. Jesus says in Matthew 13:8-9: “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The first command to hear lies in the Parable of the Sower and the second in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. Both have the same urgent sense and end with exclamation points, emphasizing urgent seriousness. The instruction on hearing in the Parable of the Sower is quite clear. Consider these factors in what Jesus said: The seed is the Word of God, so what the sower cast was good. In addition, the human soil the seed fell upon was also good.

However, one factor is still beyond the sower’s power. The soil, that is, the person the seed fell on, has the power to allow or reject the seed’s taking root by choosing to listen or not. That singular choice is of particular importance at this point in the parable. The same conclusion is true in verse 43 concerning the hearer choosing the Lake of Fire or the Kingdom of God. When Jesus uses the term “hear,” He means more than just hearing audible sound; we also “hear” as we read His Word. He is thus emphasizing that people have the power to shut off hearing completely even though the Word of God enters their ears or their eyes and He has opened their minds to grasp it. It is the individual’s responsibility to hear, consider, and then accept or reject it.

Mark 4:23-25 contains the same urgent warning, but he adds an additional truth that is important to us, a second lesson:

“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” And He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

We must selectively choose from among all we hear and thoughtfully accept or reject. In others words, we must discipline ourselves to be selective in order to grow, overcome, and glorify God.

Romans 10:16-17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Hearing may very well be our highest responsibility in our relationship with God because we must live by faith (Hebrews 11:38), and faith begins and is sustained by hearing. A blunt conclusion at this point is that hearing is serious business for the children of God.

Our Words Reveal the Heart

Now notice what God says about speaking:

Proverbs 10:19: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

Proverbs 17:27: “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

James 1:19: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

James 3:2: “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”

Each of these well-known scriptures says essentially the same thing, and many others touch similarly on this subject, though less directly. So many verses give similar counsel about speech that one cannot help but understand the importance that God places on being careful about what we allow to leave our mouths. Matthew 12:35-37 drives this point home:

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Speaking is a major aspect of character, providing a clear window into our hearts. A quotation often mistakenly attributed to Abraham Lincoln is apropos to the passage in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” What sets Solomon’s counsel apart from other verses on speaking is that the others are good advice for relationships in general. Solomon’s verses, however, are focused directly on a person’s relationship with God.

What do we talk about when we are before God? Before going any further, we should clarify the nature of being “before God.” Solomon says that we must not forget that God is in heaven and we are on earth, implying His sovereignty. Yet, he also mentions going to the House of God, implying a specific place and time we go before God. Is Solomon’s main concern here on God’s sovereignty or on the specific place? Since the unwritten but over-arching theme throughout Ecclesiastes is that everything in life matters, his main concern here is a gentle reminder that we are always before God.

The main issue of his counsel is not the number of words we say, though we are cautioned to be neither rash nor hasty, so our words should be few. Rather, the main thrust of his counsel lies in verses 4-7. His concern is whether we thoughtfully follow through and keep our promises regardless of when, where, or to whom they are made, that is, unless following through would cause us to sin. The major sin that he is concerned about, despite not being directly stated, is ultimately the matter of hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is misrepresenting who and what we really are. Solomon’s concern is probably not deliberate hypocrisy but forgetfulness and carelessness in our witness. In other words, we cannot allow ourselves to let slip from our minds who we are and whom we represent. It is a matter of not being as disciplined and focused as we need to be. Focus is that important to the proper use of faith. Do we ever “let our hair down”? Is it possible that we display hypocrisy because we are not as zealous as we need to be?

Notice the string of clues in the terms he uses to reveal that undisciplined carelessness is the root of the problem, which triggers hypocrisy, a sin that a person can fall into without effort. He uses “fools” (three times), “rash,” “hastily,” “do not let,” “do not delay,” “error,” “excuse,” and “words be few.” Overall, he paints a picture of a person of undisciplined mind who prattles about whatever amuses him at the time without considering the effects of what he is saying. He is later caught and exposed by, as Solomon says, the messenger of God.

I Peter 1:13 and James 1:22 provide sound counsel about what must be done to eliminate the accusations of a loose tongue. I Peter 1:13 charges us to, “Gird up the loins of your mind,” and James 1:22 adds, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Remaining focused on achieving the goal set before us to follow through in obedience to God will meet the responsibility of paying all our vows to God.

Sometimes, it slips our minds that we made a covenant with God, and in return for our pledge, gave Him our lives as living sacrifices. That covenant seals our holy promise to Him that, if He will forgive our sins based on our repentance and faith in Christ’s sacrifice, we in turn will devote our lives in service to Him. Thus, we must keep our wits about us because, though God is merciful, everything should matter to us.

The “messenger of God” Solomon mentions is anybody or any circumstance that triggers the revelation in our minds that we have sinned or are continuing in a sin. Thus, Solomon is showing that God is faithful to bring the knowledge of our sins to mind so that we might repent, and that, of course, causes us a measure of disappointment that we have once again fallen short and failed to honor and glorify God.

A Summation at the Halfway Point

In order to fit within the context of the preceding verses, “dreams” in verse 7 does not mean the random mental activity a person has while sleeping and over which he has little or no control. Rather, it indicates the wanderings of a person’s mind while seemingly fully awake—in other words, daydreams. For the most part, daydreams are nothing but sheer vanity, time-wasting drifts of the mind that lead nowhere positive. While daydreaming, we are not focused and disciplined, which is the opposite of what God desires of us.

Something else is of interest here. This verse contains both the major concepts that the book begins with, that is, vanity and the thought or goal the book ends with, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Halfway through the book, Solomon is directly declaring what the urgent aim of every life needs to be. We need to proceed from the meaninglessness of an under-the-sun life to the fulfillment of life’s purpose through fearing God, as shown in living an over-the-sun life.

The way to get and stay right with God is encapsulated in these seven verses. It can be stated in three simple principles:

1. Do not just hear God, listen to Him carefully with focused attention.

2. Speak with a matching level of focused attention.

3. Follow through in obedience to what we vowed when we committed ourselves to the New Covenant.

A tension exists in what Solomon counsels us regarding our relationship with God. Though we may not think of it all the time, we understand that, for our own good, God demands our highest allegiance. We willingly accept that because we believe the gospel, knowing who He is and what He offers us. However, being human, we are sometimes easily distracted. There are times that we would rather do almost anything else short of an outright sin than to listen attentively to what God says.

Constant Distraction

The next section covers Ecclesiastes 5:8-12:

If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them. Moreover the profit of the land is for all; the king himself is served from the field. He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them; so what profit have the owners except to see them with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

Matthew 19:21-24 adds an important truth to help us understand these verses:

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

First, the rich young man was so preoccupied by his material wealth that he really did not hear that Christ was offering him eternal life. Second, anything of this earth that we truly treasure can potentially influence us to so increase our fear of losing it as to cause us to choose not to hear Christ. The treasure does not have to be money. Third, no matter how great the distractive power of what we consider valuable, God stands ready to save us from it. Jesus did not say it was impossible.

No doubt, Solomon wants to help us with this spiritual struggle. He uses money as his main illustration because everybody easily relates to it. However, he does not introduce the subject of money until Ecclesiastes 5:10. Instead, he writes of social injustice within the worldly system we live and function in. Why? Because the system itself is a constant source of distraction through its constant barrage of news reports in which we hear of social injustice. Most often, the poor are its targets.

He cautions us not to be astonished by the vanity of all this injustice, but at the same time, he wants us to be aware of it. He does this in verse 8 by mentioning “a high official watches over a high official, and higher officials are over them.” He seems to be saying that from bottom to top, the entire system is corrupt; every stratum of the culture struggles to make its way by taking advantage of others. Nevertheless, none of this injustice is an excuse for us to involve ourselves in the “everybody’s doing it” routine and sin too.

A key to understanding what Solomon is driving at is the word translated “watches.” In Hebrew, the term can be used either positively or negatively. Positively, a person watches to protect or help, and negatively, he may have circumstances under surveillance to gain personal advantage from them. The present context is definitely negative. Solomon is still describing the self-centered attitudes of those “working” the system. Like their political leaders, ordinary citizens also greedily watch to gain the best and most for themselves. Their approach is not to serve and share. Verse 9 confirms that this self-centered attitude goes all the way to the top—to the king. He, too, is served by the corrupt system.

God has deemed it our responsibility to prepare for His Kingdom by overcoming, growing, and being loyal to Him and His way within such a circumstance as Solomon describes in these last few verses. Our hope is promised in Isaiah 9:6-7:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

The solution to this present evil world is on the horizon, but it will not come until Jesus Christ is here with us on earth. Thus, God has willed that we must deal with the corrupt and unjust system that now is, looking forward in hope to the relief of Christ’s return.

John Ritenbaugh

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Don’t Give Up On Your Prayers: The Power of Persistent Prayer

Pray
Do we give up too easily in our prayer lives? Do we put a timetable in our requests and prayers before God? Does our faith sizzle out after a few days of not seeing any results in our prayer life? Are we persistent and unwavering in our prayers and confident in our faithful God or is our prayer life plagued with doubts, worry and fear? Do we expect God to hear and respond to our prayers or do we think God has turned a deaf ear? Is our prayer a few seconds of weak, unfocused words with little trust or faith. Is our prayers a mere formality, a vain repetition of words with little heart and passion in them?

Eric Ludy-This is not some bb gun that God has given us to try to shoo away raccoons in the night. Prayer is nuclear power, world renovating in its epic strength. When used according to the pattern of Scripture, prayer alters history, alters the natural world, and alters the human soul. The Sword is too heavy for a mere man to carry, but prayer enables us to lift it, swing it, and transform the world around us with it. Prayer is the catalyst behind everything Godly taking place in the earth.

EM Bounds- Our praying needs to be pressed and pursued with an energy that never tires, a persistency which will not be denied and a courage that never fails.

Ludy-This concept of “praying through” can alter your entire spiritual life, but it can make you greatly uncomfortable, because it goes against the way we are naturally built as humans. The great giants of the faith like George Mueller, CT Studd, Hudson Taylor, Rees Howell and Amy Carmichael all knew what it meant to pray through. Prayer is taking from God’s purchase on the cross (His promises in the finished work of Jesus Christ) and like a grappling hook throwing the hook up to heaven to these promises and pulling, pulling and pulling until the promise comes into manifestation on the earth. Prayer is the action of faith on the earth. Prayer is our way of saying: “I’ll prove that God is who He says He is, just watch.” Framework of prayer-thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is on heaven. We have a God job to do in persistent prayer. Take what God has done and bring it to the earth through prayer.

James 5:16: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

17Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

18And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

Availeth-Greek-means “granting great power for extraordinary deeds”

No limits are set to the power of prayer.

Look at the persistence of Elijah’s prayer in Elijah’s prayer in I Kings 18, which is one of the greatest moments in the history of the world. It illustrates the mockery and foolishness of serving or praying to anyone but God. Elijah had the promise verse 1. Prayed and brought it from heaven to the earth. This whole amazing demonstration of the powerof God was a result of time he had spent in intense prayer in his prayer closet. Prayer prepares you to face the challenges of ministry.

Prayer closet-Matthew 6:11ff “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

AW Tozer-The man who would know God must spend time with Him. True prayer demands more of our lives than most are willing to give and therefore few ever taste of its power and delights. You need to be radical in your prayer life.

The Doctrine of Answered Prayer

God has promised and He cannot lie

You can stand on it like a solid rock; we do not waver.

Answered Prayer is guaranteed when prayer is done God’s way and according to His pattern set forth in Scripture. Prayer is not based on a guess as God for certain wants to bring His promises into manifestation on the earth. Don’t stop praying until you see the promise come to pass. Faith when it is real expresses itself through prayer. Prayer is a holy confidence, a godly certainty and an unwavering trust in God’s promise and you don’t back down. You know what God is able to do and you immediately take it to God in prayer knowing He is faithful beyond measure.

Hebrews 6:15-18 (NLT)

13 For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:

14 “I will certainly bless you,
and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”[b]

15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.

16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.

WORD OF GOD NOT STUTTERING ON THESE POINTS

Ask, and it shall be given you . . . – Matthew 7:7

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. – Matthew 21:22

But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. – John 11:22

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. – John 14:13

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. – John 14:14

. . . whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. – John 15:16 . . . Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. – John 16:23

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. – John 16:24

Hebrews 6:35-39 (NIV):35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while,”He who is coming will come and will not delay.38But my righteous one will live by faith.And if he shrinks back,I will not be pleased with him.

A. W. Tozer portrayed a praying Christian as a constant threat to the stability of Satan’s government writing that…

The Christian is a holy rebel loose in the world with access to the throne of God

Since prayer is detrimental to the evil one’s purposes, Satan and his minions do their utmost to interfere when we pray especially opposing us when we try to take time for prayer because. The enemy knows better than most Christian’s the power of persistent prayer!

In any posture, in any attire, at any time, in any place, and under any circumstance prayer is appropriate. Prayer is to be a total way of life, an open and constant communion with God.

Ludys’ Wrestling Prayer-The greatest threat to our prayer life isn’t the devil. It’s not some external force, some harassing demon from without. Surprisingly the greatest threat to the powerful life of prayer is none other than you–its self within.

God’s destiny for you is to be transformed into the image of His son and like Jesus become a spiritual rescuer. This is what prayer is all about. It is about doing the rescue work of Jesus on the earth. Prayer in a nutshell is kingdom business. God desires to build us into his workforce and set us about the Father’s business. You see, in God’s economy, things on this Earth do not change through wishing, through positive thinking, or through good karma. They change through faith expressing itself in loving fervent prayer. God’s people are commissioned to ask, to seek, to knock and to plead the realities of heaven be made reality down here on Earth.

But there is a rebel part of your being that detests prayer, that seeks to avoid it at all costs, that gets extremely tired at simply the notion of it. This is what the Bible refers to as the flesh. And this flesh is the greatest and most formidable enemy of prayer.

The promises of prayer are extraordinary, but for prayer to work it must be purged of self and doubt. Doubt and unbelief are prayer killers. Your faith must be unwavering, stouthearted, persistent and unmovable.

True prayer never violates the nature of God. What He is like is what our prayers should be like. True prayer has the glory of God as its aim-not the comfort of men, nor the fleshly pleasures of humanity or a selfish plea for comfort and blessing as prayer is not using God as our personal servant or an ATM machine. True prayer must be offered out of a life that is true-true to God, true to Scripture, true in heart, true in motive and true in purity.

Wiersbe writes that praying without ceasing…

certainly doesn’t mean that we should constantly be repeating prayers, because Jesus warned against that kind of praying (Mt 6:7). Rather, it means to make prayer as natural to us as our regular breathing. Unless we are sick or smothering, we rarely think about our breathing; we just do it. Likewise with prayer—it should be the natural habit of our lives, the “atmosphere” in which we constantly live.

Luke 22:28You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me…

31″Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you[a] as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

“Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer.” — Psalm 66:20

The Six Things that Hinder Prayers

1. It is a Prayer that is Born of the Flesh Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. – James 4:3 KJV. Flesh always after self outside of God. Flesh always after your ends, your betterment, your wealth, your desires and your security. If come to God praying out of the flesh, there is no guarantee that God is going to answer your prayer. Lust-intense appetite for self gratification. Lust is one of the number one prayer killers. IT IS ALL ABOUT ME-When you approach God on those terms, you are living in the wrong kingdom. In God’s kingdom, you give up self-it is no longer after self’s agenda. Most of us are nominal Christianity who live for self in bondage to the kingdom of darkness.. We are bought with a price; we are His and we should say do God whatever you wants with my life. That is the beginnings of prayer out of a soil of selflessness. Structure your prayer life after the spirit and not after the flesh. Pray God prayers. Ever ask God what to pray about? God has an agenda and He is looking for saints to carry the burden and make intercession in prayer. God knows exactly what needs to be done down here. God what do you want to pray about? We feel His heart, His love, His compassion. God knows the mountains and barriers that need to be crushed. Any doubt God will answer a prayer that He has initiated and started?

2. Prayer that is Errant – not in Alignment with God’s Nature, Will, and Purpose on Earth

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: – 1 John 5:14

Prayer that is missing God’s bulls eye. Sin-one definition is missing the mark. Not in alignment with God’s nature, will and purpose upon the earth. The Bible is the revealed Word and Will of God. Understand the scriptures and you will know His will. God’s Word contains His exceeding great and precious promises. This is our promised land. Go and take it. The Word of God sets the territory and boundary of prayer.

3. We Ask in Prayer Wavering and Unsure

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. – James 1:6-7

We doubt and do not believe that God will keep His promises. Do we have complete confidence in the Word of God? We have an entire generation of Christians that are struggling with uncertainty and that are wavering and unsure. Faith must rise up and look at template of Word.

4. Living in Disobedience and Impurity

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. – 1Jo 3:22 KJV

If I had cherished sin in my heart; the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18 In the Hebrew sin refers specifically to an idol.

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. – Isaiah 1:15

Are we are living the way He asks us to live? If we live according to the world and the flesh then are prayers are greatly hindered. Remember the teaching breaches in your walls? Titus says the grace of God teaches us we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.

5. Lack of Heavenly Honor

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. – 1Pe 3:7 KJV

Honor is a higher behavior, a holy mindset, a regal bearing in the midst of a polluted world. It is an absence of all perversion-a state of being untainted by the filth of this age. Honor is a selfless disposition, a servant’s posture, a sentinel’s gaze, and an intercessor’s readiness. Honor is the mark of heaven on a man, It is spiritual poise, grit and moral command where you have harnessed the old sin nature and you exercise a holy restraint on its emotions, passions and mental wanderings.

6. Lack of Abiding

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. – John 15:7 Caveat-abiding in Him and his word abiding in you.

Another key prayer killer is anxiety, fear and worry which Jesus Christ taught we are not to have an ounce of in our hearts.

Philippians 4:6,7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Two Parables of Persistent Prayer/Praying Through-Luke 18 and Luke 11-Show what Faith is.

Luke 18:1-8 (NIV):

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4″For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ “

6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Luke 11:5-9

5Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

7″Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

9″So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Don’t let go of your God until He has done it.

One thing God requires of His children is to believe Him. You are unmovable and not pushed around on the promise.

E.M. Bounds-Nothing distinguishes the children of God so clearly and strongly as prayer. It is the one infallible mark and test of being a Christian. Christian people are prayerful, the worldly-minded, prayerless. Christians call on God; worldlings ignore God, and call not on his name. But even the Christian had need to cultivate continual prayer. Prayer must be habitual, but much more than a habit. It is duty, yet one which rises far above, and goes beyond the ordinary implications of the term. It is the expression of a relation to God, a yearning for divine communion. it is the outward and upward flow of the inward life toward its original fountain. It is an assertion of the soul’s paternity, a claiming of the sonship, which links man to the eternal.

Importunate prayer is a mighty movement of the soul toward God. It is a stirring of the deepest forces of the soul, toward the throne of heavenly grace. It is the ability to hold on, press on, and wait. Restless desire, restful patience, and strength of grasp are all embraced in it. It is not an incident, or a performance, but a passion of soul. It is not a want, half-needed, but a sheer necessity.

In this study however, we turn our thought to one phase of prayer-that of importunity; the pressing of our desires upon God with urgency and perseverance; the praying with that tenacity and tension which neither relaxes nor ceases until its plea is heard, and its cause is won.

He who has clear views of God, and scriptural conceptions of the divine character; who appreciates his privilege of approach unto God; who understands his inward need of all that God has for him-that man will be solicitous, outspoken, and importunate. In Scripture the duty of prayer, itself, is advocated in terms which are only barely stronger than those in which the necessity for its importunity is set forth. The praying which influences God is declared to be that of the fervent, effectual outpouring of a righteous man. That is to say, it is prayer on fire, having no feeble, flickering flame, no momentary flash, but shining with a vigorous and steady glow.

The repeated intercessions of Abraham for the salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah present an early example of the necessity for, and benefit deriving from importunate praying. Jacob, wrestling all night with the angel, gives significant emphasis to the power of a dogged perseverance in praying, and shows how, in things spiritual, importunity succeeds, just as effectively as it does in matters relating to time and sense.

As we have noted, elsewhere, Moses prayed forty days and forty nights, seeking to stay the wrath of God against Israel, and his example and success are a stimulus to present-day faith in its darkest hour. Elijah repeated and urged his prayer seven times ere the raincloud appeared above the horizon, heralding the success of his prayer and the victory of his faith. On one occasion Daniel though faint and weak, pressed his case three weeks, ere the answer and the blessing came.

Many nights during his earthly life did the blessed Savior spend in prayer. In Gethsemane he presented the same petition, three times, with unabated, urgent, yet submissive importunity, which involved every element of his soul, and issued in tears and bloody sweat. His life crises were distinctly marked, his life victories all won, in hours of importunate prayer. And the servant is not greater than his Lord.

PRAYING THROUGH MEANS YOU PRAY UNTIL YOU SEE IT HAPPEN. It could be days, months or years but you do not give up. It is praying without letting go; praying relentlessly in pursuit of the promise. We often blame God for not answering prayer, but what actually happened is that we stopped praying. We are in spiritual battle. You don’t see everything. Our job is to believe. Our job is to stand firm in faith until God answers. This is why it is important to know and understand God’s nature. Why is it easier to trust men and women on this earth than the God who created us? Your God is coming. You hold fast to that petition. Don’t look at your circumstances. God, you are the only one that has what I need and I won’t let go. That is faith.

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El Shaddai, Or The God Who Is Enough

1111Godisenough

(Editor’s Note: Do you know it is possible to walk before the Lord with a perfect heart? It does not mean a sinless, flawless existence. A perfect heart is wholly true to God and completely undivided in its loyalty to God. It is a heart that utterly trusts and leans on God in every circumstance and does not depend or put its confidence in the strength of another. It is a heart that empties itself of every ounce of self-pride, self-exultance and self-reliance and is totally consumed and dependent upon God. It is a heart that does not rely on its own talent and abilities or on any other person or thing , but totally relies on God giving all of itself to God without reservation. It is to perfectly trust the delivering power of God. It is a perfect confidence that allows God to act. Abraham became the father of all us who believe when he received the revelation of God as El Shaddai, the Lord Almighty, the All -Sufficient One who always is enough for His children and is our all in all in everything. Enjoy this wonderful study by A.B. Simpson, the Canadian preacher and author, who lived in the mid 19th century to the early 20th century.)

By A.B. Simpson

I am the Almighty God. Walk before Me and be thou perfect. Genesis 17:1 There are epochs in every great life, and perhaps this day marks an epoch in many of our lives. The text marks such an epoch in Abraham’s life. Several similar crisis hours had already come in the history of the patriarch. The first was when he left his native land at God’s bidding. The second was when he entered Canaan and found it a famine-stricken land of foes. The third was when he separated from Lot and God appeared to him and gave him the promise of all that he had left and much more besides. The fourth was when God gave him the promise of a son, perhaps fifteen or twenty years before the present epoch. That promise was accompanied with a very wonderful revelation of God and a covenant covering all the future and foreshadowing the blessing of coming ages. But Abraham had not been altogether true to the high calling which God had given him. He had not doubted God’s promise and yet he had staggered under its weight enough to unite with Sarah his wife some fourteen years before the present incident in helping God to fulfill His promise by taking into his family Hagar, their servant, and striving through her to bring about the fulfillment of the promise of a son in the person of Ishmael. In all this God had seen the wavering of a double mind, and now when He appears to Abraham in his hundredth year He very obviously alludes to Abraham’s doubtful attitude by the startling message which is as much a reproof as it is a promise, “I am El-Shaddai. Walk before Me and be thou perfect.” He had not been quite upright in his faith because he had not quite believed in the all-sufficiency of his God, and therefore it was necessary that God should come to him in a new revelation of His power and require from Abraham a new expression of his faith. It may be that this is just where some of us are standing today. We have been trusting God in part and have been trying to do the other part ourselves, and God is speaking to us by His new and almighty name and saying to us “I am El-Shaddai. Walk before Me and be thou perfect.”

I. A NEW REVELATION OF GOD

Every advance step in our spiritual life must spring from a new view of God. It was the vision of God that sent Abraham forth on his new career of faith, and it was a new revelation of God that led him to further advances in the successive steps of his life of faith. It was the revelation of God to Jacob, first at Bethel and next at Peniel, that led to the great crisis of his life. It was a revelation of God that sent Moses forth to deliver Israel. It was a similar revelation that made Joshua the conqueror of Canaan. The vision of God brought healing and new life to Job and called Isaiah to his great prophetic mission; and it is such a vision of God that alone can meet the needs of our hearts and inspire our souls to our heavenly calling. It is God we need to see and it is God in this mighty character as El-Shaddai, the All-sufficient One.

THE GOD OF THE SUPERNATURAL

This name stands for the Almightiness of God. We might translate it to mean the God of the supernatural. Men are trying to get the supernatural out of the Bible and explain it all on rationalistic principles. The devil is engaged on a parallel line to get the supernatural out of Christian life and to bring religion down to a mere matter of ethics, morals and humanitarian improvement. The very essence or Christianity is that it is the revelation, worship and fellowship of a supernatural Being and it is all Divine from the first to the last century. God’s great object is to make Himself known to us and then to work out His almightiness in us. Every situation into which He brings us is just a frame in which to set His promises and a mold in which to cast some new manifestation of His all-sufficiency. The very difficulties that surround our lives today are but opportunities for God to show Himself to us as El·Shaddai.

WHAT THIS MEANS

This does not merely mean that He is almighty in the abstract and that He has the attribute of Omnipotence. All will concede this in a general way, for if God be God at all He must be omnipotent. But many of us hedge Him around with such limitations, laws and modes of operation as to practically tie His hands and make it impracticable for Him to do any real supernatural thing in our lives. To really believe in the all-sufficiency of God means that He is actually at liberty to do for us all that we need a God for, and that we have a right to take Him for everything for which we are unequal and insufficient. It means that He has promised all things necessary for life and godliness, that He has provided all things and that we have a right to come to Him for all things, presenting without question the mighty check on the bank of heaven, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

ABLE TO SAVE

It means, in the first place, that we have a God that is equal to our salvation and the salvation of any sinner, however lost and however long resisting the mercy and grace of God. It means that He is equal to the salvation of your boy, your friend, your soul, whoever you are and whatever you may be. It means that He is equal to your sanctification and the sanctification of any temperament, no matter how impracticable; the counteracting of any habit, no matter how confirmed; the overcoming of any defect, infirmity and sin, no matter how deeply rooted and aggravated; victory over any and every temptation that may come, and a life sanctified through and through and preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It means that He “is able to keep you from stumbling and present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”

ABLE TO HEAL

It means that He is equal to your physical need and has made provision for your sickness as well as your sins, your infirmities of body as well as your infirmities of temper and the supply of all needed strength, health and help until your life work is done. It means that He is equal to your circumstances, that He can sustain you, comfort you and keep you under all possible unfavorable conditions, making you happy when everything around you is uncongenial, using and blessing you when everything seems to conflict and hinder, and then transforming circumstances, turning the curse into a blessing and bringing up the fir tree and the myrtle instead of the thistle and the thorn. It means that He is equal to your work, no matter what the difficulties and obstructions may be, that He can overcome the antagonism of China, the caste of India, the barbarism of Africa, and even the lethargy and selfishness of the church itself, and can carry on and complete His glorious work in spite of the selfishness of man, the hate of Satan and the faithlessness even of His own followers. As old Matthew Henry quaintly expresses it “El-Shaddai just means the God that is enough.” Enough for you, enough for me, Enough for all forever.

II. A NEW EXERCISE OF FAITH

It is not enough to have an almighty God, but we must be able to respond to His promise and appropriate His almightiness. There must be in us a corresponding faculty of faith which first comprehends and then appropriates and proves in action the reality of all His power and promise. In Eden man lost this power and got away from the sphere of God’s supreme attraction, and since then has been like a wandering star out of its orbit, off from its center and plunging into the blackness of darkness forever. Faith is the law of spiritual gravitation which brings man back to God and swings his life into the orbit of trust, fellowship and obedience. In this Abraham is our great forerunner, and our part is to follow in the steps of our father Abraham, and as we follow we shall find that all his steps were steps of faith. But Abraham’s faith was not as yet perfected, and God had now to give him a startling object lesson of what it really means to believe God. And so He does much more than talk to Abraham. He requires Abraham to meet Him and answer back by the actions of responsive faith. And so we see in the following verses the most dramatic picture of the steps of faith to be found in the Bible.

THREE TENSES OF FAITH

First – God gives Abraham the promise of future blessing. “I will make My covenant between thee and Me.” Abraham meets this promise and goes down upon his face before God to claim it. Then follows secondly the next tense of faith, which is the present tense. “As for Me behold My covenant is with thee.” The thing that God would do He now does. The thing that Abraham expected he now accepts and takes as a present fact. The future becomes the present tense and faith becomes action. But there is still a third tense and a third step of faith. “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, for thy name shall be Abraham for a father of many nations have I made thee.” It is now the perfect tense.” The thing that was promised was done and is now finished. Action has become transaction and has passed even beyond the present tense, and therefore Abraham must take the position of one who has passed through all these stages and has actually received his yet unseen blessing. He must change his name and stand before the public and be laughed at and called a fool, an old man in his dotage, a dreamer; as his neighbors ask him the reason of the strange difference in his name, and he tells them that God has made him the father of many nations. Faith must be sealed by testimony and testimony must be steeped in trial, shame and many a waiting hour of trusting in the dark. But at length there comes the day of vindication, when the laugh is turned upon them and little Isaac is called the name of “Laughter” because God has made him to laugh instead of them in the glorious vindication of His believing child.

RECKON ON GOD

This, beloved, is the way in which we must meet El-Shaddai. We must not only take the promise for the future, but we must bring it into the present and claim it as an immediate fact in this moment of our lives. Then we must translate it into the past and take the position that it is an accomplished fact and call it so, nor be ashamed to have men know that we believe our God and venture on even calling the things that are not as though they were. This is the committal of faith. This is the place where so many fail to enter in, but this is the very ladder of blessing described in the thirty-seventh Psalm, where David says, “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him and He worketh. Rest in the Lord, be silent to God and wait patiently for Him and He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgments as the noon day.” Do we want salvation? First, there is the promise “Him that cometh unto Me I will not cast out.” There must come a moment when that promise is brought into the present and faith must say, “He does not cast out, He does receive.” And then faith must take one step further and add “He has accepted. I am saved,” and accept the new name of child and call Him Abba, Father. Then it is that the Spirit witnesses to the soul and the glorious reality pours into our conscious life.

THE WAY TO RECEIVE HIM

Is it sanctification and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost that we seek? We must take the same three steps of faith, He will, He does, He has given the Holy Ghost. I am His and He is mine and Christ is within me the Hope of glory.

A TRANSACTION

Is it healing we seek? We shall pray in vain and in vain expect the promise to be fulfilled until we accept the promise as fulfilled and pronounce the word of accomplished faith and pass into a Divine transaction. And so with every blessing that we may need and every promise that we may claim, each of them must be passed through these stages of promise, the appropriation and the acknowledgment of testimony and praise, and then the great wheels of God’s mighty co-operation will begin to revolve, and the glorious results of faith will pass into living realities in your life.

HE STAGGERED NOT

Abraham successfully passed through this crisis place, and henceforth we see him walking before El-Shaddai upright, perfect, unwavering and triumphant. If we turn to the fourth chapter of the epistle to the Romans, we shall find a magnificent picture of the new Abraham after he met EI-Shaddai. We are told that his faith was so strong that against hope he believed in hope. We are told that he could look at his own body and consider it as good as dead without being discouraged, because he was not looking at himself, but at the Almighty One that could quicken his body and make it equal to the fulfillment of the promise, and in spite of Sara’s age and inability could supernaturally work through her for the accomplishment of His will. We are told that “he staggered not at the promise through unbelief.” He did not walk with a wobbling or unsteady gait, but stood straight up unbending beneath his mighty load of blessing, and instead of growing weak he waxed strong in the faith, growing more robust the more the difficulties became apparent, glorifying God through his very insufficiency and being “fully persuaded,” as the Greek expresses, “that He who had promised was” (not “able,” as our version has it, but, as it literally means) “abundantly able,” munificently able, able with an infinite surplus of resources, infinitely able, “to perform.” He recognized it as an easy thing for God to do all this, and for this God was glorified, pleased, delighted, and He holds him forth as an eternal example of the faith He expects from us in the later days of the Christian dispensation and in the age of a risen and ascended Christ and a present Holy Ghost. The best application that I know how to make of this sublime message of God is the passage quoted above in the third chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.

EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY

1. It tells us that He is able exceeding abundantly. He is the God of boundless resources. The resurrection and ascension of Christ is forever the pattern of what we may expect Him to do for us. 2. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking our ideas are too low, our prayers are too small, our expectations are too limited. The Greek is very strong – “far beyond all that we ask or think.” He is trying to lift us up to a higher conception and lure us on to a mightier expectation and appropriation. Oh, shall we put Him in derision! 3. There is but one measure here given for His blessing, and that is “according to the power that worketh in us.” God will do for us just as much as we will let Him work in us. His temporal provisions will be commensurate with our spiritual experience. As much as we know Him in our hearts we may know Him in our lives and circumstances. As much as He works in us He will work for us. As much as He prays in us He will make real in His glorious answering providences. 4. The sphere of His mighty working is in the church. It is through His work, His word, the building up of His kingdom, that we are to experience the glorious riches of His power. He will not give it to us for selfish or worldly needs, but He will use it for the building up of His church and the bringing in of His kingdom. He is head over all things for His body, the church. All that He is and all that He has over yonder is for the completion of the church, the preparation of the bride and the evangelization of the world. There is no limit to what we may ask and expect of our glorious El-Shaddai. 5. But to Him must be the glory. All this must be in the spirit of self-abnegation, and Christ alone must be exalted. The way to glorify Him is to take much from Him and let Him do much for us. 6. There is one more suggestion in this sublime passage, “throughout all ages, world without end.” Literally, it means through the generation of the age of ages. In the apostle’s mind time and eternity consists of generations and ages unfolding forever. We are living in one of those generations. This is the generation in which He wants to work for us as He never worked before. Oh, that He may give us grace to be men for our generation, to understand the sublime significance of this last age of the Christian dispensation and to make our generation one that shall shine among the rolling ages of the coming eons as the sublimest exhibition of the power of the glory of our King amid all the ages that have been and that through it and through us He may yet make known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places in the ages to come the manifold wisdom of God.

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Restoring the Majesty and Grandeur to Christianity

majestyThere is unlimited power, overwhelming grandeur, breathtaking beauty, and glorious majesty in Christianity that has been all but lost in the modern day church. We have not caught the vision of what it means to be a Christian. We have fallen into a spiritual slumber and need a jostling of our soul as to the heart of our God when He gave His only begotten Son to crush the enemy and bring life in a manner never before seen on the earth. The voice of God in Ephesians still cries out: “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Do you know the grandness of what it means to be a Christian? Do you understand who you are and your position as a son or daughter of God in the kingdom of God? We need to have an awakening of our soul to the magnificence of the gospel and the power, the glory and the strength of God that we can live in on this earth when we are in Christ. The picture has faded into gray and we have not seen the absolute triumph and victory that is supposed to be the norm in Christianity. We have become play-actors who have not experienced the exchanged life where our mighty Lord Jesus Christ lives his life, his very existence, in and through our lives. We need to have the rock of the living God as the cornerstone of our soul. We need a serious tutoring about the life of triumph in Jesus Christ. Are we tired of a Christianity that does not work? Are we tired of the futility of trying to live as a Christian? Why are we letting the Devil use us as his play thing? The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem us and to restore us to our true humanity and function, to restore us to the Life that was lost in Adam, so that we can be in Him and He can be in us.

Ravenhill: We are not saved to stagnate. Conversion is not a goal; it is a gateway. We are to progress from strength to strength, from glory to glory.

Romans 8:29 sets the goal for the life of every Christian: “ For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

The grandeur and majesty of Christianity is Jesus Christ. He is the head of the body of Christ and the Lord of our lives. We need to have an outflow of Jesus Christ in our lives.

God wants us conformed to the image of Jesus Christ in every detail of our life from our thoughts, to our words, to our actions and to our heart. This is what God wants to build. Do you know that your life is no longer your own? Do you know he purchased your body on the Christ? Give Him what is rightfully his.

I Corinthians 6:19,20 (Phillips):
Have you forgotten that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, and that you are not the owner of your own body? You have been bought, and at what a price! Therefore bring glory to God both in your body and your spirit, for they both belong to him.

I Corinthians 3:23 (Phillips):
For you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God!

Do you have a limit to your obedience? If you have a limit to your obedience then something is wrong with your Christianity. Do you draw the line with God and say I will follow you this far and anything beyond that “No Way God!”-that is extreme. Doesn’t God own you? You belong to Christ. You submitted your life to Him and He can do with you what He wishes. Who are you to give your life to Jesus Christ and then define the terms how he will use your life? Is your prayer to God-“Please have me excused?” Are you willing to follow Him? Are you willing to go where he wants you to go? Are you willing to obey Him at all costs and do what He tells you to do? If you say “no”, who in this generation will say “yes?”

Living this grand vision of Christianity starts with realizing the truth that YOU CANNOT LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, but He can. You cannot walk in your own strength, your own ability, your own determination, your own power as you will fail. You cannot mount the white steed of Christian living, but he can.

Ian Thomas in The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me:

The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you -your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything – then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it! … True Godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only explanation for you, is Jesus Christ.

Tozer in The Divine Conquest says,

“The experience with men that walked with God in olden time agree to teach that the Lord cannot bless a man until He has first conquered Him. The degree of blessing enjoyed by any man will correspond exactly with the completeness of God’s victory over him…Only the conquered can know true blessedness…For life we are wholly and continually dependent upon God, the Source and Fountain of life. Only by full dependence upon Him are the hidden potentials of our natures realized. Apart from this we are but half-men, malformed and unbeautiful members of a noble race once made to wear the image of its Creator…It was to save Jacob from deceptive hope that God confronted him that night on the bank of the river. To save him from self-trust it was necessary for God to conquer him, to wrest control away from him, to take his great power and rule with a rod of love…We might pray well for God to invade and conquer us, for until he does, we remain in peril from a thousand foes. We bear within us the seeds of our own disintegration. The strength of our flesh is an ever present danger to our souls. Deliverance can only come to us by the defeat of our old life…Real faith must always mean more than passive acceptance. It dare mean nothing less than surrender of our doomed Adam like nature to a merciful end upon the cross…There begins the divine conquest of our lives.”

O GOD BUILD YOURSELF IN ME!

Major Ian Thomas in The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me states:

God so engineered you and me that His presence is indispensable to our humanity, teaching our minds, controlling our emotions, directing our wills, and governing our behavior. Your new birth put God into action in you…What kind of Christian do you want to be? To choose to be a carnal Christian is spiritual oblivion. But if you decide genuinely that Christ be everything and have everything in your life…then He is ready to lead you into discoveries that can completely revolutionize your whole humanity for time and eternity…Consent, therefore, to die to all that you are which does not derive from all that Christ is and thank Him for His willingness to make it real…The resurrected Christ now lives, to continue His Life in you…You must die to your own natural ability to deal with the flesh, for you cannot crucify yourself. That is God’s business…You realize that it was never God’s purpose to improve the flesh, to educate it or tame it, let alone Christianize it. It has always been God’s purpose that the flesh-condemned, sentenced, an crucified with Jesus Christ-might be left buried in the tomb and replaced by the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The risen Christ must exercise control in your mind, in your emotions and in your will, expressing Himself through your personality.

Eric Ludy-When the gospel it truly received it costs you everything, your life, your old ways, your old mannerisms, your old self. This is a cost that comes in knowing God and the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot hold on to a scrap of the old you. The problem is us. We have a born disposition that is in rebellion against the most High God. I want my life on my terms. I want the benefit of Jesus Christ and have Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father on my terms. I want a little of the peace, a little of the joy, a little of the power and of course then get out of hell free card. But that is about all I want now because I want to be a Christian on MY terms. You can have all that Jesus Christ is but there is a little caveat: He gets all that you are. Oh the glow, the soul satisfaction, the radiance that comes from giving our all, our entire lives, EVERYTHING to Him. Few want to live Christianity like this. Can you look God square in face and say you made me, you fashioned me for a purpose and a destiny, you gave your Son to set me free, and I now give you my life and will do what you require me to do. I don’t want my way. I want your way.

Eric Ludy-Do you know you have a thousand moments in every day that you need to be rescued and delivered? From what? From YOU, from the problem of you. You have a desire; you have an esteem for that very throne in your life. You want to be in control; you want it to be your way. You are a problem; you are a rebel against the kingdom agenda.

Galatians 2:20 (NIV): 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The old you, what the Bible calls “the old man,” died on the cross. It is dead in Christ. We must reckon it dead and not allow it to be raised and control one inch of our life. Every ounce of this fleshly nature must be eradicated from the throne of our heart. Christ must live through our body.

Are you a true disciple of Jesus Christ? “It is enough that a disciple become as his master” Matthew 10:25. The whole purpose of discipleship is to align yourself with someone, with the intent of becoming like him. A disciple is simply a student whose desire is to be ultimately like his master or tutor. The test of our discipleship is how much our life resembles him.

The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. What is a Christian-it is a disciple who has arrived at his goal of being Christlike. “You are Christlike. We can tell you have spent time with Jesus. You act like Him, you walk like him, you talk like him, you love like him; clearly you are a Christian.”
The Communion ceremony is wonderfully symbolic of this. It is a covenant. It is an exchange of lives. We are giving up of our old life in exchange for a new life. There is an exchange of body and life. My body for His body; my blood for His blood. Bread: remembering covenant engaged in with the living God. My body for yours Lord Jesus. He can do with it whatever he sees fit. Blood represents –life. Jesus gave up his life for you. You take my life God so I can have yours. Your life belongs to Jesus.

These truths in Romans must burn in our souls for if we want to live this Christian life by Jesus Christ living through us, we must not let sin reign in our mortal body. Our body is his and it must remain undefiled and pure for our Master’s use. The flesh became unemployed for every Christian at Pentecost. Keep it that way.

Romans 6:1- What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace
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It is important to know that the old man is immutable! He will never change! He is ever and always CORRUPT! The old man will never improve himself (in fact, when you are saved the old man will seem even worse!). The old man will never reform. He is incorrigible! He is utterly depraved and will always be so. When a person is saved the old man is not changed and the old man is not transformed. How then does (did) God deal with the old man? God does not change the old man. God does not transform the old man. What did God do with your old self? What did God do with all that you are and all that you have in Adam? Romans 6:6 answers this: “OUR OLD MAN WAS (past tense) CRUCIFIED WITH HIM.”

Our lives and walks must be free from hypocrisy. We cannot live a duplicitous life where we say one thing and do another. We cannot live a double life.

Romans 12:11: Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Philippians 1:10 (KJV):
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

The word “sincere” has an interesting etymology in the Latin. It comes from two words meaning “without wax.” In Roman and Greek culture the sculptors would hide the flaws in their work with wax to deceive the viewer. When a work had no wax it was honesty in all its perfection. Our lives are to be without wax; our love is to be without wax. The Greek word means “found pure when unfolded and examined by the son’s light; unmarred in its purity.” God wants us pure in our character until the day Christ returns. We continually test things that come into our lives and only allow into our lives things that are excellent, pure and undefiled by the world. Our lives are to be sincere, without wax and pure in love until the day Christ returns. Love and purity together is the inseparable pair. We see this is in Scripture with the words “heart and the reins (kidneys).” Kidneys keep the blood pure and the heart is the center of you and pumps the blood throughout the body. We want all wax to melt away in our heart. No hypocrisy. No wax.

God is not a fan of playacting. God is not a fan of leading a double life. God hates hypocrisy for it is like a cancer to the church of Jesus Christ and destroys the witness of a son or daughter of God for their entire generation. There may not be a greater sin that more damage to the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world than leading a double life. Too many pastors, too many Christians and too many churches are leading double lives. God did not call us into defeat. God did not call us so we could live in mediocrity. God did not call us so we live in confused unbelief. Isn’t it time to start living what we are preaching? Isn’t time to bring the majesty, grandeur and splendor of God back to Christianity? Isn’t it time to stop making excuses for our lack of faith, our lack of trust and our lack of living the gospel? Isn’t it time to take God at His Word and simply believe it? Why are we so weak? Why are we so pathetic in our Christian walks where we talk, live and act no different than the world? Why don’t our lives present a picture of the magnificence of Jesus Christ and reflect the glory of our God. Why are we wrapped up in the trivial and consumed with the temporal things of this age? We have become too busy for God and we do not seek His face diligently or run after His heart with passion. We are tepid; we are lukewarm; we are barely awake and this spiritual apathy is a serious detriment to our walk in Christ. Why are we playing with sin? Why are we so in love with the world?

We have a strange brand of religion (often misunderstood to be Christianity) that gives the called “liberty” to live in a constant state of excess and self-seeking pleasure. Welcome to the world of the flesh where our sin nature reigns supreme and controls our lives.

In much of modern day America and Christianity our god is our belly: our idol is our appetite, our self-seeking pleasure. Our appetites and not the spirit of God is controlling and leading us. We have become gluttons of the flesh. Unmitigated self-appetite can have a forceful and terrorizing grip on both an individual life and the life of society. To be American used to carry with it (whether it was deserving or not) the Puritan ideals of integrity, chastity, prudence, temperance, goodwill, generosity, and mercy. But times have certainly changed. Now, it appears that around the world today, the “American” is often known instead for their bizarre sense of entitlement. The once noble and honorable word “American,” has become a synonym for “Glutton.” Oh, for the Church of Jesus Christ to come out from among this and be separate.

Philippians 3:18-20: For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.Verse 19 (ESV): Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Are we serving our appetite instead of serving our God? Do we go running to serve every time our appetite rings the bell? “Yes appetite! Anything you want belly, you get. I want to make sure you are happy!” Are we pampering our self in detriment to our walk about God? The cry of the belly: “It’s mine! I want! I need! It’s my life! It’s my body! It’s my time! I can do with it what I want. I will give a little to God and the rest of it belongs to me!” It’s like the tithe mentality: I will God 10 percent of my money and the rest belongs to me. It’s like we are doing God a favor. All our money belongs to God. None of your time, none of your body, and none of your life belongs to you. It belongs to God. It was purchased on the cross. In the Kingdom of God you relinquish your rights and life. It is HIS! Every aspect of your body, mind and life belongs to God. Philippians says we do nothing out of selfish ambition and deceit. Our heart is “God I am here at your disposal!” Living sacrifices. Are we even available to God when He needs us? The Bible says no Christian is to seek his own; we are servants to the most High God and each other. Do you know the belly is a symbol of the curse laid on the Serpent in Genesis? Making your appetite your God is what got Eve in trouble and this lifestyle was cursed in the Garden. Satan has crawling on his belly was cursed and the belly is a symbol of an appetite gone wild. We are filled with the gift of holy spirit, Christ in us, and our spiritual womb, our spiritual belly should be given over to God Almighty so that Christ may be birthed and grow in every aspect of our character and in every fiber of who we are. Out of our belly is to flow living waters. Is your belly the center of your life? Or is God the center of your life? Whom do you serve this day?
Freedom in Christ Jesus is freedom from the power of sin and the power of the power of the flesh to rule our life. It is to be free to obey the living God, its freedom to glorify God, its freedom to do what is pleasing in God’s sight. It is not to be free do whatever you want to do. We cannot sin like a trooper and think that it doesn’t matter to God or the advancement of His kingdom. It is like a dog returning to his vomit according to II Peter.

Ray Steadman: All too frequently they feel they have been set free to do as they please, to live as they want to live. But they are set free in order to battle. That is the call which comes to all Christians. We are not set free in order to enjoy ourselves. We are set free to do battle, to engage in the fight, to overcome in our own lives, and to become the channels by which others are set free. Thus there comes this call to us in this closing chapter in the letter to the Ephesians: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, (Ephesians 6:10-11a RSV)

WE MUST LIVE IN CHRIST AND WALK WITH THE SWAGGER OF A SUPER_CONQUEROR, THROWING OFF EVERY REMNANT OF THE FLESH AND WALKING IN COMPLETE VICTORY AND TRIUMPH. THIS IS CHRISTIANITY! .

One of the names of God is THE LORD OF HOSTS-THE LORD OF BATTLES; The Great Warrior God. Do you know that God has never lost a battle? NEVER! Do you know if you are with God you always win? Obey God you win.

David has the Heart of a Warrior-the Swagger of the Freshly Anointed. We need the Growl for Glory: Gritted Teeth: Absolutely take no guff from the enemy. David: The
Lion, The Bear and the Man Beast.

I Samuel 17:34-37 (KJV):
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

This is a picture of Jesus Christ and our Christianity as a father, a husband and a pastor. Nothing touches our flock; nothing touches our family. Don’t mess with God’s children and you don’t mess with truth.

Luke 10:19 (Phillips): It is true that I have given you the power to tread on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the enemy’s power—there is nothing at all that can do you any harm.

CT Studd: If you don’t want the Devil to hit you, hit him first, and hit him with all your might, so that he may be too crippled to hit back. ‘Preach the Word’ is the rod the Devil fears and hates.

I Samuel 17:26b (KJV) for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
Hastened: To Move with Liquid Ferocity Like a Lion Toward Its Prey. He sprints into the jaws of danger for He knows His God does the impossible.

We take no junk from the enemy. We don’t listen to his voice mocking us. He is defeated. He is powerless to stop us. We need to get the spiritual growl for glory; the heavenly audacity; the firebrand in our soul; and a volcanic eruption in my heart for the living God. We must rise up and be a man; rise up and be a woman! We need to develop that fight, that vigor, that holy zeal in our soul. Grit your teeth and tell the Devil “Not on my watch!” O God make this man; make this woman live like that man, David. God honors the patriot. God honors the good soldier and warrior. Do you understand the nuclear power created in you at the new birth? Do you know what resides in you when the Bible says “It is Christ in You the Hope of Glory?” We are to make war against darkness. We are to break down every stronghold in our life; we demolish them for the glory of God. We subjugate every thought that enters human mind to the obedience of Christ. Are you ready and built for battle with our enemy or are you the great pushover? The Church of Jesus Christ is to bring violence against the kingdom of darkness. Grit your teeth and believe the word of God and don’t back down. If God promised, He will come thru. We do not let go of our God. We are not the cowards of this generation anymore. Let hell tremble because the church is being awakened. We follow in the train of the conqueror. Know your position church of Jesus Christ! This is not playacting! This is life! We do not back down; we don’t quit walking. We continually say in confidence-“Watch what my God will do!” My God wins.

We are princes and princesses representing a kingdom. We walk in this world as citizens of another realm demonstrating in this realm the behavior of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. We are not of this world and we do not behave like it! This is what it means to be holy. We must have a practical holiness in our lives. God commands us in I Peter to be holy as God is holy. Maybe this is not our favorite verse to decoupage and hang above our sink, but it is a command of the Lord. Everyone should see Jesus in us. God is shaping us into a greater picture of Himself. How exciting is this! That our life becomes a representation of God’s glory.

Never forget we live in hostile territory. We are an enemy of the state when we sided with Jesus Christ. We cannot pander the world for approval and pander God for approval at the same time. No One can serve two masters! You have to choose your side! Is it God or the world? It is our belly or God? We have to choose which way we are going to live and whose approval we are going to seek. Are we a servant of Jesus Christ or a servant of this world? You can’t have it both ways. There is nothing more detestable to any kingdom than someone who attempts to serve both sides. Who are you going to be? A servant of God or a servant of the enemy? Do we look at the pantry of God for our appetite or is our belly raiding every other pantry of the flesh. Is it all about satisfying our needs, our wants, our appetites and our pleasures? If so, this is not how Christianity is supposed to operate.

Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Saviour. He who has stood before his God, convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him and to live to the honor of the Redeemer by Whose blood he has been cleansed. (Spurgeon)

Ravenhill: God’s goal is not to raise a generation of sandbox Christians. It’s fine for children to play and putter around in the sand, but grown-ups who insist upon remaining at that level of maturity will never enjoy the satisfaction of being used of God. Their lives will be wasted on foolish, fruitless pleasures rather than fulfilling God’s purpose in their generation.

Excerpt from my new book on the heart:

We are a new creation in Christ and the flesh which allowed sin to rule our mind, thinking and body is now dead. The flesh has no right to exercise any authority, power or control over any part of our mind or body for it was crucified with Jesus and died on the cross. Its reign is over. Its kingship has been overthrown. Its right to rule has ended. We must declare its death sentence daily and never give sin and the flesh one inch of our thought life or soon it will be building strongholds and ruling our thinking. The risen Christ has imparted His new life to our mind and body and He has the right to rule every single part our mind and body including our thinking.

We have a choice to make. We can allow our mind, thoughts and body to be instruments and weapons of sin or instruments and weapons of righteousness. My eyes are now His eyes, I only see what He would see; my ears are now His ears, I only hear what He would hear; my thoughts are now His thoughts, I only think what He would think; my mouth is now His mouth, I only speak what He would speak; my hands are now His hands, I only work the work that He would work; My heart is now His heart and out of my new heart comes His love, His compassion, His kindness, His tenderness and His mercies. We now have the mind, thoughts and motives of Christ because of our new nature birthed within us and the mind of Christ is the new ruler of our thought life. Allow Him to do the impossible in our thought life. Allow Him to separate the chaff form the wheat in our thought life. Allow Him to bring the fires of holiness and purity to our thought life. Allow Him to build Himself in our thought life. If we allow Jesus Christ to be the king of our thought life, our heart will be transformed into the most beautiful picture of our Lord that the world has ever seen and will become a brilliant lighthouse to all the world of the glory and splendor of our God.

My prayer for you from Philippians 1:

2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
7 So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

CT Studd: Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time of waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In God’s Holy Name let us arise and build! ‘The God of Heaven, He will fight for us’, as we for Him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Should such men as we fear? Before the world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God, we will venture our all for Him, we will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only our God, than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.

Some wish to live within the sound Of Church or Chapel Bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.

Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.

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