Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You Know that You Are Saved

"I don't know if I am saved."

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard other people tell me that they are not sure whether they are saved or not.

These individuals are sitting in churches, by the way.

They even share the Gospel with other people.

Yet they have no idea whether they are saved.

Or they believe that their salvation is based on some subtle knowledge which someone else has.

What does the Bible say?

"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20: 31)

We need life, and we receive this eternal life through Jesus.

John then wrote in his First Epistle:

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5: 13)

Earlier in his epistle, John writes:

"But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth." (1 John 2: 20-21)

John wrote to believers, to "dear children" that they may know they have eternal life. There is no secrecy, there is no wondering, there is no reason to live in doubt about one's state before God as a saved person.

We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit:

"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 21Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (2 Corinthians 1: 20-22)

and also

"Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 5: 5)

And also

"13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1: 13-14)

Followed by

"And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4: 30)

Let no one deceive your or despise your certainty: If you believe on the name of Jesus, then you are saved in Christ, Beloved, and this is written that you may know that you are saved!

Monday, September 1, 2014

God is Our Father, Because of His Son

I was intrigued when one preacher announced that for the Jews of Ancient Times, they did not know the LORD as Father.

In numerous references in the Prophets, though, God addresses Himself and is addressed as "Father".

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9: 6)

Here, the Fatherhood of God is manifest along with the Prince of Peace, Jesus, who is our peace (Ephesians 2: 14), because by His death, He took away our sin and brought us into reconciliation with God the Father (2 Corinthians 5: 20-21)

"Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. " (Isaiah 63: 16)

and

"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
"Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people." (Isaiah 64: 8-9)

Here again, God as Father occurs in connection with not remembering our iniquity. All of this foretells the adoptive work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer:

"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.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8: 15-16)

Jeremiah also painted a kind  and blessed future of Israel walking with the help of God as doting Father:

"They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. " (Jeremiah 31: 9)

The reference to the "rivers waters" speaks of the Holy Spirit, who leads us in the way we are to go:

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

"(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) " (John 7: 38-39)

and

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

"But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." (Galatians 5: 16-18)
Malachi, the final prophet of the Old Testament, shares the following recriminations of God the Father toward His people:

"A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? " (Malachi 1: 6)

The fear of the Lord is based on forgiveness (Psalm 130: 4), an everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9: 24) which had not yet occurred when Malachi prophesied, although Isaiah foresaw the sufferings of the Messiah on our behalf (see Isaiah 53)
"Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?" (Malachi 2: 10)

Man in his own effort cannot but transgress the covenant. That is why God promised to establish a new covenant:

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.

"And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8: 10-12)

God the Father is revealed to us through His Son:

"Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me." (Jon 12: 44)

See the Son, and you will see the Father.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

In Christ, We Have His Perfect Victory

"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8: 39)

There are seventeen elements mentioned in Romans 8: 38-39)

Seventeen is the number of perfect victory, which rests in our peace in Christ from the law, which Jesus fulfilled on our behalf:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Matthew 5: 17)

Some did not want His Victory, as many are too accustomed to defeat:

"And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts." (Mark 5: 17)

Jesus was present to heal all during His earthly minister, even the teachers of the law:

"And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them." (Luke 5: 17)

Notwithstanding our actions or beliefs, Jesus is working on our behalf:

"But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." (John 5: 17)

When we rest in this victory, including His Finished Work at the Cross, we do not have to fear what man may do, even the greatest temporal authorities of our day:

"17Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 18And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 19But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life." (Acts 5: 17-20)

We have a High Priest forever, and a King whose reign shall never end (Isaiah 9: 6), and in Him we reign in life:

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)

Old things are past away, and we are a new creature, a new creation:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5: 17)

In Christ, you and I have perfect victory. Don't fight to get it, but pray (1 Thessalonians 5: 17) to identify with Him (Galatians 5: 17).

Persuaded of Perfect Victory

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come" (Romans 8: 38)

Even though we are saved, even though through His blood we are taken from death to life, our minds take a while to renew to this truth:

"20But ye have not so learned Christ; 21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Ephesians 4: 20-24)

and also

"1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12: 1-2)

The will of God is all about God's grace redefining us in His Son.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3: 18)

It takes time for us to understand all that we have in Christ, that no matter what the world, our flesh, or Satan may throw at us, we are more than conquerors:

"16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."" (2 Peter 3: 16-18)

And also

"10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Ephesians 6: 10-11)

Keep reading the Word of God, see your rich inheritance in Christ, and be persuaded of who you are in Christ!

More Than Conquerors

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8: 37)

This passage has been quoted so many times, that the deep revelations hidden in this passage can be overlooked.

The Word of God is inexhaustible, like God Himself, and so everyone of us can read something knew in this passage.

We are literally "hyper-victors" through Him who loved us.

We are like the wife of the champion boxer. He took all the blows, and we enjoy the money which he earns for us.

We are the prince who inherits the kingdom which our Father fought for and won.

We step into the Promised Land which He has paid for.

We are more than conquerors in Christ, yet the Holy Spirit does not identify our Savior by Messiah, or his anointed status.

He identifies Jesus as 'Him who loved us."

Galatians 2: 20-21 grants us more insight into how He loved us:

"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2: 20-21)

We are not victorious in our flesh, for no good thing dwells in our flesh, and we have no confidence in it.

We are more than conquerors in Christ, and in His strength we stand (Ephesians 6: 10).

We have a victory beyond victory because we had no part or party in the fight. If we try to add to the fight or gain something in our struggle, then we are insulting the perfect work which Jesus did.

Why would we fight any further when the fight is already fought, and He conquered all?!

This verse, Romans 8: 37, matters also because we see a perfect example of rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2: 15)

All the passages in the Old Testament, like Psalm 44: 11, 22, should be read in light of the New Covenant and the perfect victory which Jesus has wrought for us.

Whatever the Israelites endured, even then God Promised a New Covenant (Ezekiel 11: 19), and a final victory in Him, in His Son.

Jesus: Our Lamb Led to the Slaughter

"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." (Romans 8: 36)

The Psalmist wrote this passage:

"Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen." (Psalm 44: 11)

and also

"Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter." (Psalm 44: 22)

Today, we have a Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep:

"11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." (John 10: 11)

and then

"14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10: 14-15)

We are not led to the slaughter, because Jesus went for us:

"He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth." (Isaiah 53: 7)

This testimony helped convert the Ethiopian eunuch in the service of Queen Candace:

"The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:" (Acts 8: 32)

Reminder: this is Jesus led to the slaughter for us. Let us get over this idea that we need to face any kind of slaughter or setback in order to prove something to Him.

Nothing Can Separate us From His Love

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"

Nothing can separate us from God's love. Nothing.

Let's get practical, though.

Why?

First of all, God is love:

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (1 John 4: 8)

and then

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4: 16)

So God is love.

And God is everywhere, witnessed in the power, authority, and glory of His Son Jesus:

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." (Colossians 1: 15-20)

The reason why people do not receive this love, even though He is everywhere, is that they do not have, know, or sense His love in them. Such is the power of sin.

Yet because of what Jesus did at the Cross, we can know and believe that we are reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5: 17-21), and thus wherever we go, we can trust that He is for us, and that His love carries us, that nothing can separate us from His love.