Saturday, April 19, 2014

We Love Because He (Father and Son) Loved Us

"We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19)

We love because He first loved us.

This verse does not contain "him" in the original.

What does the Message portray in this verse?

"We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first"

This translation assures that we will love as well as love others,  but first things first: we have to know and believe in His love for us. There is no way that we can love others in our own strength.

What about the Amplified?

"We love Him, because He first loved us."

The italics recognize that the word is inferred, but in truth, His love allows us to love without bounds, to love everyone whom He brings us in contact with.

Notice that the Amplified version added nothing more in brackets. There is no topping, no adding to the truth that we love as we have been loved by God:

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (John 13: 34)

and then

"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love." (John 15: 9)

Ponder that -- Jesus loves us as much as the Father loves Jesus.

Then you can love, because you will know and believe that the Father and the Son loved you.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Perfect Love Casts out Fear of Failure and Future

"18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. " (1 John 4: 18)

Man's greatest fear, whether he knows it or not, is punishment from God, a sense of reproach which we cannot remove from ourselves.

The same fear quickened Adam and Eve to cover themselves in fig leaves when they ate from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3: 1-7).

The root of this fear: that they were naked, ashamed, and condemned for the wrong which they had done:

"And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Genesis 3: 10)

Today, we have the perfect love of Jesus Christ to cover us:

Isaiah first prophesied:

"In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54: 14)

Jesus fulfilled this righteous exchange for us at the Cross:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

He told us to make His righteousness the priority in our lives:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6: 33)

The Night of His Crucifixion, He set forth the New Covenant:

"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:  28)

Paul proclaimed this Blessed Good News in all simplicity:

"38Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13: 38-39)

This Love, Jesus our Mercy Seat for all our sins (1 John 4: 10) casts out every fear, based on the fearful looking after of judgment from God (Hebrews 10: 26-27)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

As Jesus Is, So Are You in this World!

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

This verse is the theme of this ministry. The new identity, the royal standing, the priestly ministration of Jesus in our lives is so well presented to us in this verse.

Yet, the King James Translation "Our love made perfect" is not accurate, for we have no love that is perfect in and of ourselves.

Here is a more accurate rendering of this verse:

"By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world." (NASB)

Love is perfected: God's love, not ours.

Check out "The Message" Translation:

"This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day - our standing in the world is identical with Christ's."

Wow! This rendering brings out the fullness of love perfected among us, that God's love holds us, controls us, leads us, prospers us. This love lives in us, for God is love, and thus God fully dwells in us. I love how this translation brings out the new identity that we have in Christ: "identical with Christ's."

How many "Christ-ians" know and believe this? How may acts in accordance with this revelation?

Why do they fail to enjoy His hyper-victory (Romans 8: 37) and not reign in life (Romans 5: 17)

They do not believe in the full love of God shown to us at the Cross. They do not believe that all their sins have been paid for, both in what they do as well as think and feel. They are not aware, as I was not aware, that we were dead in our trespasses, and now we are alive. We are dead to sin, and alive in righteousness.

Check out the Amplified version of this powerful verse:

"In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world."

God's love for us is not some petty emotion of ineffective sympathy, but a powerful, dynamic union, and this perfection is revealed to us the more that we understand:

"As He is, So Are We" in this world.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Come at Jesus Boldly

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4: 16)

Jesus calls us to come at Him boldly

Why can we do this?

Because in Christ, all our sins have been forgiven:

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" (Colossians 1: 14)

We have, present tense, this redemption, in Jesus' blood:

"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." (Hebrews 12: 24)

Jesus' blood, present tense, speaks better things over us: not curses, but blessings; not vengeance, but forgiveness.

And this blood is still cleansing us:

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1: 7)

We are in the Light, because God is Light (1 John 1: 5), and because of Jesus, we are also all Sons of Light (1 Thessalonians 5: 5).

We can come at Jesus boldly and receive, and keep receiving His favor, because we are forever cleansed from all sin, forever!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We Confess Jesus our Righteousness

"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." (1 John 4: 15)

Jesus is, now and forever, the Son of God.

What is it about the Son of God that we need to know and believe?

That He is our righteousness:

"In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Jeremiah 23: 6)

He is our peace:

"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)

Notice that Isaiah prophesied about the child given to us, who is also the Mighty God, and is one with the everlasting Father.

When we confess Jesus is Lord, we are saved:

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10: 9)

What are we believing specifically, when we believe that God raised Him from the dead?

"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4: 25)

When we confess that Jesus is the Son of God, we are confessing that He is our righteousness.

Because we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 21), then we can rest assured that He lives in us, because the perfect blood of Jesus has perfected us forever (Hebrews 10: 14), and His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1: 7)

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Father -- Our Father -- Sent the Son


"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." (1 John 4: 14)

God the Father did not send His Son, so that people would have to guess or wonder.

There were clear signs of Jesus' coming, preached in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New Testament:

"10Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:" (1 Peter 1 : 10)

and

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:" (2 Peter 1: 19)

John emphasizes that our Father sent His Son. This salvation did not come to us from a distant God, or some deity who did not really care.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He announced the sonship which we can all receive:

"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20: 17)

Paul then preached to the city of Athens:

"For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device." (Acts 17: 28-29)

The Father sent His Son, so that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5: 21), that we would have the same status as His Son (Ephesians 2: 4-6), and that in every wise would be in Jesus' stead (1 John 4: 17)

The last part, I fear, most people miss the most. Jesus is not just the Savior for those who believe on Him. He is a Savior for all the world.

"1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2: 1-2)

He has paid for all the sins of the world. In this life, we are all convicted of sin, the status of sin because of Adam (John 16: 8-9), but then the Holy Spirit convicts of His righteousness (John 16: 10)

Let us never forget that God loved the world, including you. This love, so great that He gave His Son even when the world did not care (Romans 5: 8), should magnify His love to us even more.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

We Abide in Christ Because of His Spirit

"Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." (1 John 4: 13)

Abiding in the Lord is not something that we do by our efforts, but something which happens to us when we believe on Jesus Christ.

When we believe in the grace of God through Christ Jesus, then we receive His Spirit.

"22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." (John 20: 22-23)

At the time that Jesus breathed on the disciples, thus receiving new life, they were hiding in an upper room, for fear of the religious authorities. Many of them were fearful, and one of them, who missed Jesus' appearance the first time, demanded to see the prints in his hands and side before believing.

The Holy Spirit did not enter into people who were perfect. The Holy Spirit did not wait for the disciples to confess their unbelief. They say Jesus, and the received His Spirit.

We do not struggle to abide in Christ, but we simply believe on Him (John 6: 29)

Consider what Paul writes to the Romans:

"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." (Romans 8: 15)

Notice that "ye have received" -- it's in the past tense.

We do not earn adoption, or sonship, by anything that we do. Sonship comes as a gift. We are reborn as sons. How can we every think that we earn it in some manner?

 We do not struggle to get the Spirit, or to work up the Spirit in our lives, but rather rest and receive more of His grace and peace in our lives:

"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Galatians 5: 22-24)

The fruit of the Spirit is not created by our striving, but His living and thriving within us:

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15: 5)

Jesus is our life, and His life lives through us by the power of His Holy Spirit.

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Galatians 4: 6)

We are in Jesus, and Jesus lives in us, because He has given us His Spirit. Not a person whom we earn or strive for, but a person whom we receive by grace through faith.