He Will Appear a Second Time…

Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV)

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

Our Verse of the Day has been studied before, but I always like to take a closer look at it for both the message and the hope that it brings to light for us. The writer of the Book of Hebrews (some scholars think it was Paul, others believe it might have been either Apollos or Luke) broadly discusses the Old Testament scriptural support and theological implications for the NEW COVENANT which is fulfilled in Christ Jesus.  The entire book is a fascinating composition that helped Jewish believers (and us today) better comprehend the mission for which Father God sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, into this world.  The ultimate purpose is found in one word: SALVATION.  And understanding how Jesus secured our salvation through His life, His death, and His resurrection, should encourage us to keep the New Covenant which God has ordained for those who love Him. I strongly encourage you to read the entire book when you have the opportunity….

Although, there is a great deal of commentary that can arise from a study of the Book of Hebrews, I promise to keep it narrow and focused on the verse at hand. As usual, I reprinted our verse in the surrounding context for emphasis:

Hebrews 9:11-15; 23-28 (NIV)

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts (useless rituals) that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!For this reason Christ is the mediator of a New Covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did He enter heaven to offer Himself again and again; the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But He has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

What I want to emphasize for us is the declaration of writer regarding the Second Coming of Jesus. Jesus’ first Advent was to fulfill, once-and-for-all time, the sacrificial atonement God has required for the forgiveness of our sin … to blot out our transgressions … to establish the justification for His mercy and grace. Then what does the text say?  “He will appear a SECOND time, NOT TO BEAR SIN, but the bring salvation to THOSE WHO ARE WAITING FOR HIM.”  My question is this:  Are YOU one of those who are waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus? The implication here is there are people who are NOT waiting for Him?  What does “waiting for Him” mean? Is it not a perpetual state of anticipation … that joyful angst of personal longing to see a loved one who has been gone? An active yearning for Jesus appears to be a natural manifestation of faith because the text indicates that Jesus will bring salvation to those who are awaiting His return. So, I want us to get laser-locked on the meaning of what has been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I believe Verse 27 sets up the context in which Verse 28 should be interpreted.  “JUST AS people are destined to die once….”  By means of comparison, what is getting ready to be said will be “very similar to,” or perhaps, even “exactly like” what has been stated.  We could possibly apply the following interpretation: “Just as people are destined to die once, so Christ was destined to be sacrificed once (i.e., to die once) to take away the sins of many….”  Now, let’s look at the remainder of Verse 27, which asserts: “And after their death, all people will face their final judgement….” This assertion is supported by other Scripture in that all will be resurrected and stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Cf. Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10; Hebrews 6:2; Revelation 20:12-13) Now, should the remainder of Verse 28, also follow the “JUST AS” pattern established in Verse 27? If so,we could possibly render the following interpretation: “And after His death, Christ was resurrected, and He will appear a second time for the judgment to come … and bring the reward of eternal life to those who are waiting for Him”. Again, my intent is not to over amplify what is written. I simply want us to see the pattern as it is written, and to consider theological conclusions regarding its application to the practice of our faith.

The application that I see is another affirmation of the certitude that our Lord Jesus Christ will return. I believe it indicates the purpose of His Second Advent to the earth will be different than the purpose of His First Advent.  His first coming was to redeem us from judgment … to obtain our justification … and to bright us the light of God.  His second coming is to bring salvation … to bring the reward of eternal life to those who have believed in Him … to those who are looking for His coming … who are waiting for Him … to those who love Him … to those who are living in obedience … to those who are not in fear (dread) of His return but who are in fear (reverence) of Him.  These are the ones who will receive the reward of salvation (eternal life) Jesus is bringing with Him.  But again, the reward is for “those who are waiting for Him.” I believe the question is whether we are living in anticipation of His return out of love for Him or living with indifference:

2 Peter 3:1-12a (NIV)

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you wait eagerly for the  day of God to come….

I will conclude with this reminder:

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! ~ Revelation 22:20

Be Devoted to Others…

Romans 12:10 (NIV)

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Our Verse of the Day continues to examine the expectations and qualities of our personal relationships with others. These are always great reminders when we might feel otherwise in our attitudes with other people. The Apostles give us some practical ways to demonstrate love … to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above ourselves:

Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” (Citing Exodus 20:13-17; Deuteronomy 5:17-21) and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Citing Leviticus 19:18) Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Galatians 6:1-3 (NIV)

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 (NIV)

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more….

James 2:8-9 (NIV)

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show favoritism, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

1 Peter 1:22-23 (NIV)

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.

1 John 3:11-18 (NIV)

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s actions were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Well, if you are struggling with loving other people as God sees them, especially those you consider the most unlovable, then I hope these Scriptures will give you some renewed encouragement to love as God in Christ has demonstrated His love for you. When it hurts to love because someone has hurt us … when it is not convenient to love because it takes of our time … when it is difficult to love because we have disagreements … when love requires financial sacrifice to provide for the needs of others … how do we put the unmerited, compassionate, agape love of God into action – in real terms?  I am reminded that Jesus addressed this issue for us:

Luke 6:27-36 (NIV)

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most-High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

As I mediated on all these scriptures, the word “kindness” came to mind. Jesus said that God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked – like many of us before we received the grace of repentance and came to a knowledge of the truth in Christ Jesus! Kindness is the greatest demonstration of the other fruit of the Spirit. Love, peace, goodness, gentleness, and self-control can all be expressed through our kindness. And kindness is inherent in longsuffering and faithfulness. Paul observed it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Cf. Romans 2:4). So, I think the kindness we extend to others should have this same intention. Indeed, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (Cf. James 2:13)

My friends, I think it is important for us to remember that God expressed His “unmerited” love through the riches of His kindness. As Paul wrote: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Cf. Romans 5:8) There is nothing we did to earn it or deserve it. We are sinners saved by grace alone! (Cf. Ephesians 2:5) And so, I believe it follows that we are to love others without consideration of “merit”.  We are not to love others because they deserve our love, forgiveness, or compassion; rather, we are to love others and to be merciful to them fully for the sake of love itself … while they too are yet sinners. That is HOW God has loved us … without condition! Amen!

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had toward you. ~ Philippians 2:3-5

Freedom to Serve…

Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Our Verse of the Day continues to focus on our relationships with one another; and I want us to spend time on the command to love one another. Jesus said to love our neighbor is second only to the command to love God. (Cf. Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31) As we have seen in New Testament scriptures, to love one another fulfills the command to love God. I think the Apostle John captured this thought best when he affirmed: “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (Cf. 1 John 4:20-21)

Galatians 5:13-25 (NIV)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature of our flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Citing Leviticus 19:18) If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So, I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

What Paul teaches here is that we cannot just do whatever we want based on the freedom we have received in Christ Jesus. We are called to be led by the Spirit and to live in accordance with His indwelling presence. Jesus, through the sacrificial atonement of His blood, saved us from the penalty of our sin; but we cannot continue to indulge the passions or desires of our flesh, or expect that such behavior or conduct will lead others to salvation. We must die to the power of sin in order to experience the freedom gain through Christ. Indeed, Paul had very pointed instruction in this regard:

Romans 6:1-14 (NIV)

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

My friends, we have been called to serve one another humbly in love. What does this entail? Perhaps, we should go back and look at the biblical definition of love the Apostle Paul provided in1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  It is my prayer that we will strive to keep these attributes of love at the forefront of our thoughts so that our actions will follow the excellence of love. We fail to love God in truth if we cannot serve one another humbly in love. So, let the freedom we have been given become the source we draw upon to love one another as Jesus loved us. Indeed, I pray we will keep these things in mind as we encounter and engage with those who are lost….

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. ~ 1 Corinthians: 9:19-23

My Redeemer Lives…

Job 19:25 (NIV)

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth.

We have probably read or heard this verse from the oldest inspired text of the Bible … and I think it might be a word for us to revisit. We know the story of Job … the incredible losses that he suffered; the intense physical and emotional anguish inflicted upon him; and the deep lessons of faith that he learned as he persevered through the experience. In the midst of this time of great pain, we find these comments which expressed the hope Job found within his soul … the hope of vindication … the promise of redemption … the confident assurance of his resurrection … and the prophetic knowledge of a literal face-to-face meeting with the Lord at the end.

Job 19:23-27 (NIV)

“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer (vindicator) lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. And after I awake, through this body has been destroyed, then in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

Job addresses not only the resurrection, but he declares we shall see God … with our own eyes! And I think, “How my heart yearns within me!” And, yet, is there not an element of “fear” that accompanies that thought? When He stands upon the earth, and I stand before Him, what happens next? I think about the Apostle John who personally witnessed the resurrection and the later ascension of Jesus … and while in exile on the island of Patmos He sees the Lord Jesus again and writes: “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead.” (Cf. Revelation 1:17a) I believe that is probably what will happen to most of us. There will be the undeniable reality (not faith) of what we have believed all these years standing right before us! Oh, I think many of us will be filled with awe and wonder … and gripped with a certain element of fear. There will be a long, hard gulp … a skip in our heartbeat … and intense reverence to worship Him.

I imagine there will be a wave of thoughts crashing and foaming in that moment. Perhaps, a common thought will be: “Did I accomplish what I was created in Christ to do?” “Did I miss His will … His call?” “Was I faithful at all times … in all circumstances during my life?” And yet, are these not questions we should be asking ourselves right now? If we lived with Jesus in full line of “sight” each moment, how would that change us now? Oh, how my heart longs to see Him as I ought to now…. Oh, how my ears need to hear His voice now …. Oh, how I need to do what I have been created in Christ to do now … what was prepared in advance for me to do. (Cf. Ephesians 2:10) If we all lived as righteous Job, I believe there would be more confidence when we stand before God on that Day. Yes, we should be about the Father’s business right now. Like Jesus, we need to work the works of Him who sent us while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (Cf. John 9:4) Indeed, the Father has equipped us to do so! “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (Cf. 2 Timothy 1:7)

My friends, we know that our redeemer lives! But do we live fully in this awareness? The Apostle John brings us this guidance for introspection: “We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did. (Cf. 1 John 2:3-6) Perhaps, we should all ask ourselves: “Do I live as Jesus did?” “Do I love others as I have been loved?” “Do I forgive others as I have been forgiven?” “Do I see others as I am seen by the Father?”

Well, this short verse from the Book of Job brings a challenge and hope to faith. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Cf. Hebrews 4:12) And so, I pray that we will always endeavor to apply the Word of God to our hearts … to change our thoughts and attitudes … so that we might have confidence and assurance when Jesus returns to the earth and we see Him as He is….

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.” And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me, endowed with His Spirit. This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” ~ Isaiah 48:16-18

Christ – Our Intercessor

Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)

Therefore, He (Jesus) is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.

Our Verse of the Day continues with our study on the sacrifice of atonement which Jesus offered up to God the Father for the sins and transgressions of people. We have looked at several passages from the Book of Hebrews which taught in great detail the reality of what Christ Jesus accomplished through His death on the cross; and the inspired writer focused on Jesus as our great High Priest who presented an eternal atonement for sin in the tabernacle of heaven … a tabernacle not made with human hands. His view is that the Messiah (Christ Jesus) serves as a priest … that He ministers as an intercessor before God on a continual basis for those who believe in Him (come to God through Him).  The rationale, within the context of Hebrews Chapter 7, is that the eternal nature (endless life) of Jesus affords a “permanent priesthood” for the purposes of our atonement, salvation, and ongoing intercessory needs. Let’s examine the larger passage for context:

Hebrews 7:11-28 (NIV)

If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical Priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord Jesus descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Citing Psalm 110:4) The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but Jesus became a priest with an oath when God said to Him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’” Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save completely (forever) those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself. For the law appoints as high priests, men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

And so, the conclusion based on this premise, is that Jesus is able to save completely (or forever) those who come to God through Him … because He always lives to intercede for them.  I believe His intercession is prayer (Cf. Luke 22:32; John 17:9, 15, 20); and Jesus also serves as our Advocate (our lawyer) against the Adversary or Accuser (Satan) before the throne (court) of God. (Cf. Revelation 12:10) The writer affirms this role was prophesied by King David in Psalm 110:4 where he declares, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind: “You are a priest forever,   in the order of Melchizedek.” So, who was this Melchizedek … this forerunner or archetype of the priestly role the Messiah would assume for us?  Well, you can read about him in Genesis 14; and the prophetic connection with Jesus as Messiah is further developed in Hebrews Chapter 8.

So, why is this of any importance to our relationship and walk with our Lord Jesus?  Well, part of what intrigues me is the language used: “He is able to save completely!” The blood Jesus shed was more than sufficient to save us absolutely. Nothing was partial. Nothing was missed. There are no conditional requirements. There is nothing for us to add to His work upon the cross or His resurrection or ascension to the right hand of the throne of God. His priestly intercession is eternally permanent. Your life and mine are secure in Him! And this truth should be a great comfort for believers … especially those who might think that their salvation is conditional upon themselves or their performance. Remember, God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) If we were incapable of sinning, there would have been no need for a Savior.  There would not be a need for a permanent priesthood or continual intercession. But we find both in Scripture! And the Apostle John affirms, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (Cf. 1 John 1:9)

Such mercy … such grace … such love in the midst of our weaknesses!  How can we not be humbled and always strive to live worthy of the Lord Jesus … and please Him in every way … bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God? (Cf. Colossians 1:10) My friends, we need a Savior! We need an Intercessor! We need Jesus! Yes, Jesus was ordained by God to be our High Priest forever! There is no need for an earthly priesthood at all anymore. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Cf. Ephesians 2:17-18) So, I pray we will trust Jesus at His Word. I pray we will completely trust in His finished work to redeem us and bring us to God the Father.

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Citing Jeremiah 31:31-34) By calling this covenant “new,” He has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. ~ Hebrews 8:7-13

Christ In You…

Colossians 1:27-28 (NIV)

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.

Our Verse of the Day brings into view a theological pillar upon which our faith in God rests.  It is something that Holy Spirit has revealed through the Apostle Paul; and it unveils a mystery to be experienced … which is “Christ in you!” I have reprinted the larger passage for context:

Colossians 1:15-29 (NIV)

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the Body, the Church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds as shown by your evil behavior. But now God has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the Gospel. This is the Gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His Body, which is the Church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the Word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

This is a wonderful, powerful portion of Scripture for us to examine! Paul declares both the sufficiency and the supremacy of Christ Jesus to not only achieve our redemption from sin, but to restore us to fullness through the intimacy of His indwelling presence. In His Son, the Father has revealed the mystery of His glorious grace and everlasting love. Through our Lord Jesus, God has made known the path of righteousness and reconciliation. Yes, this is the Good News … the Gospel we have been commissioned to proclaim; and we are urged to share our personal encounters with Jesus and His power to change us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,and in Christ we have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” (Cf. Colossians 2:9-10) “And God placed all things under Jesus’ feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” (Cf. Ephesians 1:22-23) “Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” (Cf. John 1:16)

When we look at the descriptive language used by the Apostles, we see their references to “fullness” in relational terms. God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Christ Jesus. And Jesus has appointed His fullness to be in His Body … the Church! Fullness connotates being filled with something; and in context, I believe this fullness is “Christ in you.” I believe this is what it means to be filled with the Spirit of God! He is the power that works so mightily in us to transfer us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light; and He equips us to be servants of the Gospel – to declare the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!

My friends, I hope that you will spend some additional time in prayer and meditation on the insight Paul has shared regarding the glorious riches of this mystery. To experience the “fullness” Paul has articulated, we must be filled with the life and abiding presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. He has been sent to us from the Father! He is our Advocate … the Spirit of Truth … given to live within us and be with us forever. (Cf. John 14:15-21) As Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Cf. Matthew 5:6)

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:14-21

Every Knee Will Bow…

Romans 14:11 (NIV)

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

Our Verse of the Day affirms that ALL people will stand before the throne of God and give account.  Although the immediate context is a warning about judging others regarding matters of religious practice; to me, Paul has inserted the greater issue of God’s sovereign and righteous judgment of His people. It is in this context that we are exhorted to be humble. As we read the exposition of Old Testament scripture found in Paul’s inspired writing, let’s review the context of the prophetic word he quotes:

Isaiah 45:22-24 (NIV)

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame.

Romans 14:10-13 (NIV)

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 

I think what Paul is trying to do here is remind us of the dangers of asserting ourselves or our own human judgments of how people should choose to express their reverence and worship of God – the only righteous judge of such matters. (Cf. Romans 14:1-9) Apostolic writings abound with references that instruct us to be humble, gentle, and to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Cf. Ephesians 5:21-22; Colossians 3:18; James 4:11-12; 1 Peter 2:13; 1 Peter 5:5) And this brings to mind another passage that I believe will bring clarity to the point I am trying to make here:

Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)

Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I believe when we see the alignment of these Scriptures, we see the message of humility before God with greater precision. We should not expect people to bow to us regarding a particular religious practice or denominational creed; rather, ALL will stand before God’s judgment seat and be judged according to HIS Word!  So, I will conclude here with what Jesus Himself taught in this regard and let this be our application:

John 12:44-50 (NIV)

Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the One who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So, whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

My friends, it is the Living Word of God which informs us of our Creator … our Sovereign God … our Holy Father who alone is God! There is no other! Every human being … every living creature … WILL bow down before Him! We can worship God now through faith, in the Spirit and in Truth, because that is the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. (Cf. John 4:23-24) But God has made it known … His Word is eternal … that ALL people will give an account of their lives on the Last Day. Yes, every soul WILL stand in judgment before Him! (Cf. Revelation 20:11-15)

The Truth is sobering! His Word is Truth! “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Cf. Hebrews 4:11-13) So, let us embrace the Word of God … the words God commanded Jesus to speak to us. I pray we will believe and obey Him because His command leads to eternal life! Amen.

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So, we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:6-10

Jesus Is Lord!

Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Our Verse of the Day comes from Romans Chapter 10.  As I reviewed this chapter, I was impressed by the Holy Spirit to reprint it for your reading and contemplation.  I believe its theology and doctrinal statements should cause us to pause and reflect on Gospel … its message of salvation through Christ … its acknowledgment of the grace extended to those who hear and come to faith in Jesus … and its lament for those who stubbornly refuse to hear and accept the Good News.  

Roman 10 (NIV)

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the Law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” (Citing Leviticus 18:5)But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (Citing Deuteronomy 30:12) (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (Citing Deuteronomy 30:13) (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” (Citing Deuteronomy 30:14) that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” (Citing Isaiah 28:16) For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Citing Joel 2:32)  

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Citing Isaiah 52:7) But not all the Israelites accepted the Good News. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” (Citing Isaiah 53:1) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course, they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Citing Psalm 19:4) Again, I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” (Citing Deuteronomy 32:21) And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” (Citing Isaiah 65:1) But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” (Citing Isaiah 65:2)

My friends, it is my hope we will deeply consider the truths that Paul is affirming here. Let us pray for those who have been resistant to the message about Christ! Let us lift up those who are disobedient and obstinate to the testimony of God concerning His Son, Jesus! Yes, let us continue to share the Gospel … the Good News to those who seek their own righteousness by their “good works” and not the righteousness that comes through faith.  For Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. HE is the message we preach in all hope and love to the unbeliever! Indeed, let us pray that the veil of darkness will be lifted so that unbelievers will see the light of the Gospel for their lives….  Amen.

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

According to the Scriptures

1 Corinthians 15:1 (NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, and on which you have taken your stand.

Our Verse of the Day because it focuses on The Gospel! Yes, the Gospel … the Good News that has been preached since the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And what is that Good News? Well, Paul shares the most important aspects of that Good News in a succinct presentation:

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the Word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born….

Here Paul captures the essence of the Gospel message as outlined:

1. Christ died for our sins – according to the Scriptures

2. Christ was buried – according to the Scriptures (emphasis mine)

3. Christ was resurrected – according to the Scriptures

Note each point is “according to the Scriptures” because I believe Paul is referencing Isaiah 53 to address all three issues of the message:

  1. By arrest and judgment He was taken away. Yet who of His generation protested? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was punished. (Isaiah 53:8)
  • He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. (Isaiah 53:9)
  • He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. After He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; (Isaiah 53:10-11)

Yes, the truths of the Gospel Message are found in the OT Scriptures. Indeed, Jesus Himself declared, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Cf. Matthew 5:17) And after He was resurrected, Jesus explained to His disciples: He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Cf. Luke 24:44) Jesus said “Everything must be fulfilled,” and it was fulfilled; including His resurrection. It is the resurrection that distinguishes Jesus from any other prophet or religious figure in history. The resurrection confirms His identity as Messiah … as the Son of God!  To reject or deny His resurrection is to reject Jesus and the words He spoke:

Matthew 28:18 (NIV)

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Mark 1:22 (NIV)

The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

John 10:17-18 (NIV)

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

Romans 1:1-4 (NIV)

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart (sanctified) for the Gospel of God— the Gospel He (God) promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who according to the flesh was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of Holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

You cannot find anyone else in history that has exercised the power to raise their own dead body from the grave. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the apex of the Gospel! His resurrection is the Great News because it confirms the promises of redemption, forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life. It confirms that His death was sufficient to atone for our sins! Yes, we have been forgiven and redeemed! Our salvation is true because the resurrection affirms it! His resurrection is proof that Jesus is Lord and Savior … and that He is every I AM statement ever uttered from His lips. The resurrection proves the authority of Jesus Christ who declared: “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Cf. Revelation 1:18) Indeed, Jesus is who He said He is – and this truth should fill the heart of every person with reverent fear.

With these convictions of truth in mind, I want to reflect on the impact His resurrection has on our faith:

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (NIV)

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But God did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Romans 8:10-11 (NIV)

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.

The resurrection is imperative for our faith in Jesus to have any relevance or any hope at all. Without the resurrection, there is no assurance of anything. And assurance is what we long for the most. The assurance of eternal life is the ultimate desire of every human heart. Indeed, Jesus the Living One, is our blessed assurance! The resurrection IS our assurance that God loves His Son; that God loves us; and that God wants us to be reconciled and restored to fellowship with Him. So, I pray the power of the resurrection will impact our faith and our hearts now more than ever. May it revive our prayer time and bring greater intimacy with our Lord Jesus. Indeed, I pray we will experience the power of His resurrection and the newness of life through His Spirit. For we are called to be alive in Christ! Since we have been raised with Christ, we should set our hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Cf. Colossians 3:1) There, Jesus is interceding for us! (Cf. Romans 8:34) Because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save forever those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. (Cf. Hebrews 7:24-25)

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ (Citing Psalm 118:22) Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”. ~ Acts 4:8-12

Dying To Sin…

1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)

“He Himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.”

In our Verse of the Day, Peter reminds us of the reason that Jesus died a physical death upon the cross.  Jesus bore the punishment for our sins!  He received in His body our penalty … the payment due for our sins … which is death. (Cf. Romans 6:23) His gracious, merciful act atoned for us. His high priestly sacrifice satisfied the righteousness of Father God … our Holy Creator. 

But closer examination of this verse also reveals the purpose for which Jesus died as well. Peter draws our attention to the application of our response to the unmerited mercy and forgiveness of Jesus; namely, “that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.” In disarming the power of sin through His sacrificial atonement (Cf. Colossians 2:15), Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death. (Cf. Romans 8:2) So, I believe this verse affirms what Paul asserted when he wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Cf. Galatians 2:20)

Romans 6:1-7; 11-14 (NIV)

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

I realize that my biblical text selections for commentaries have become repetitive the past few days, but I am convinced this is what the Holy Spirit wants us to embrace: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (Cf. Leviticus 44-45; 19:2; 20:7; 20:26; 22:32; 1 Peter 1:16) Indeed, it is Jesus alone who makes us holy through His blood atonement. He has separated us from the world and sanctified us to serve God the Father! Oh, how I pray the power of the blood of Jesus would so penetrate our consciousness that we would wholly consecrate ourselves to Him; that we would deny ourselves and pick up our cross daily and follow Him! (Cf. Luke 9:23)

My friends, it is my prayer that we will spend some time before the Lord Jesus today and thank Him for all He has done for us! Yes, praise Him for the forgiveness and salvation He purchased for us! Worship Him for sending His Holy Spirit to indwell us … to comfort us and guide us into all truth! Indeed, a very costly ransom was paid for our sins and transgressions. Through Jesus, we have been renewed, returned, and restored to fellowship with God! Through Jesus our relationship with the Father has been healed! Therefore, we should not deliberately keep on sinning and dishonor the purpose of the cross … that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin but a fearful prospect of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? ~ Hebrews 10:26-29