No Discrimination in Christ

No Discrimination in Christ

Here’s a reassuring thought:  God has no favorites and He shows no partiality!  If you grew up feeling that your mom or your parents had a favorite child (who was not you), this will be very meaningful to you.  It will give you reason to feel more thankful than you might have previously.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Gal 3:26-28)  We are all children of God.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Gal 5:14)

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality . . . (Ac 10:34)

For God shows no partiality.  (Rom 2:11)

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  (Rom 12:16)

These passages from the Scriptures advise us to love all people and to freely associate with everyone.  We are all equal in His sight because each and every human being was created in the image of God.  God wants every human being to be saved by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

God offers salvation to all mankind as a free gift.  He isn’t withholding it from certain continents, from specific nationalities, or from people with a certain blood type.  His invitation is open to each and every person on planet earth.  Glory to God!  And He has given us each a free will so that we can choose our own destiny.  We can say “yes” to God or we can say “no.”  The choice is ours.

And then, we must keep on choosing, day by day, to serve the Lord with a joyful heart and to remain steadfast in Him.  As long as we stay in close relationship with the Lord, He gives us His gift of grace to make such choices easily and with a sense of contentment.  Hallelujah!

God Provides for Us

God Provides for Us

The Word of God reminds us that God cares for all of His creation, including the birds of the air.  And it states that we are far more valuable to the Lord than His birds!  So, of course, He provides for our needs daily.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  (Mt 6:26, see Lk 12:24)

By them the birds of the heavens have their home; they sing among the branches.  13 He waters the hills from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.  (Ps 104:12-13)

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:19)

Knowing that God is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, should fill us with confidence and reassurance in a very deep and meaningful way.  Hopefully, it liberates us to focus upon God and His goodness.  It will spur us to praise and worship the Lord daily, and to work diligently for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus is the Lord, our Righteousness!  (Jer 23:6; 33:16)  Along with Christ, the Father God has given us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness.  (2 Pet 1:3)  So rejoice in your many blessings and spread this gracious, Good News to others.  

Sealed by the Holy Spirit

Sealed by the Holy Spirit

The Bible says that we (believers) have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.

In 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 . . .  (Eph 1:13)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  (Eph 4:30)

What exactly does it mean to be sealed by the Holy Spirit?  It means that upon our salvation, the Holy Spirit has actually come to live within each and every one of us. (Ac 2:38)  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19)  He dwells within each and every Christian.

The word “seal” means to confirm, authenticate, or guarantee something.  The presence of the Holy Spirit within us is a potent spiritual connection between us and God.  Here are several verses verifying that the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

  • Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Cor 6:19)
  • Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1 Corinthians 3:17)

The very presence of the Holy Spirit within us confirms and validates our salvation experience, and it guarantees that we do have eternal life.  We will spend eternity with the Lord.

Bearing Fruit

Bearing Fruit

The Scriptures remind us that, as believers, we need to bear fruit to the Lord.  Let’s see what the Bible says.

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  (Joh 15:5)

Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  (Mt 7:17-19)

But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  (Mt 13:23)

But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.  (Lk 8:15)

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.  (Joh 15:8)

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.  (Rom 7:4)

After reading these passages, it’s clear to see that as we abide in Christ, He causes us to bear fruit.  And the Christian life is intended by God to be a fruitful life.  Disciples of Christ bear fruit—that’s very clear. 

Good fruit is produced by the Holy Spirit.  Galatians 5:22 reveals the fruit of the spirit to us.  It is evidenced in a good character; by contributing to the world and the people in it; and by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.  We can’t do any of this without abiding in Christ and staying closely connected to Him.  He gives us eternal life, and the fruit of the spirit is eternal fruit.  Glory to God!

The New Self

The New Self

In Christ, we have been given a “new self.”  (Eph 4:24)  We have been born again.  (Joh 3:3; 1 Pet 1:23)  We must cooperate with the Lord and put on the new man. In other words, we need to make the effort to live through our new man by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. 23 Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24 and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.  (Eph 4:22-24 GNT)

The Bible tells us to “put on” a number of different things.  We are told to PUT ON:

  • The armor of light (Rom 13:12)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14)
  • Incorruption; immortality (1 Cor 15:53-54)
  • Christ (Gal 3:27)
  • The new man (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10)
  • The whole armor of God (Eph 6:11)
  • The breastplate of righteousness (Eph 6:14)
  • Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (Col 3:12)
  • Love—the bond of perfection (Col 3:14)
  • The breastplate of faith and love (1 Thes 5:8)

We are being taught, through all of these Bible verses, how to live our born-again lives.  The Holy Spirit is tutoring us on the “normal Christian life” so that we may understand our responsibilities and be able to lay hold of our blessings and our inheritance. 

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  (1 Cor 6:19)

If we will rely upon God, trust His Word, and live obediently, we will be living the “new man life” which is upright and holy. 

How Do We Take Thoughts Captive?

How Do We Take Thoughts Captive?

Our thoughts are central to our lives because we act upon our thoughts.  (see Pro 23:7a; Mk 7:21)

When we consider our ways, it’s wise to turn our hearts to God’s Word.  (Ps 119:59)  God’s Word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts; and it will reveal our true motives to us—something that we all need.  (Heb 4:12)

We should reject our own thoughts and carnal ways; and turn to the Lord, who will forgive us and will renew our thinking.  (Isa 55:7; 65:2)

God understands our thoughts and knows our works.  (Isa 66:18)  But God’s thoughts and God’s ways are higher than ours.  (Isa 55:8-9)  That’s why the Bible tells us that we’re being changed into His image day by day.  (2 Cor 3:18)  We need to be changed.

Here’s how to take thoughts captive [confined; caged; enslaved]:

  1. Recognizing when they are spiritually unhealthy; worthless; unpleasing to God; and not in agreement with the Word of God;
  2. Stopping them in their tracks by determining that they did not originate in our own thoughts or hearts;
  3. Rejecting them outright and robbing them of any power over us; and
  4. Replacing them with Scripture verses that the Holy Spirit brings to our minds to counteract them and to minister comfort to our hearts.

It’s important to understand this process because the Lord tells us to take our thoughts captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5:  

. . . casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .

Our goal is to bring our thoughts into obedience to Christ, our Savior.  We willingly offer our thoughts to the Lord Jesus, who alone is able to confine them. 

As mentioned above, the types of things that we would want to take captive are those that are:

  • Spiritually unhealthy (fearful or sinful);
  • Unproductive to the Kingdom of God;
  • Unpleasing to God;
  • Worthless;
  • Originating from the evil one (disparaging of self or others; lonely; discouraged; depressed; lustful thoughts; mulling over past hurts; etc.);
  • Not in agreement with the Word of God.

We are blessed because we have the freedom and ability to choose what thoughts to entertain and what thoughts to utterly reject.  We have spiritual weapons (2 Cor 10:4) at our disposal that will assist us in the battlefield of the mind.  Several of those spiritual weapons are:  prayer; confession; praise; the Word of God; fellowship with other believers; and the power of the Holy Spirit.

As we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2), we become engaged in the battle against pretense and the arrogant philosophy of the world. Trusting Christ and rightly dividing the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15), we take every thought captive, pull down the strongholds, and, by the grace of God, set ALL of the captives free.  Hallelujah!

JOY

JOY

We don’t really think about joy very often, do we?  Even we believers don’t realize that joy is a consequence of our salvation! 

Joy can be recognized in various forms:  happiness, enjoyment, delight, wonderment, elation, or pleasure.

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  (Ps 16:11)  In God’s presence is the knowledge and the experience of joy genuinely felt.

The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!  (Ps 21:1)  When we consider the blessings and benefits of our salvation, joy should well up within us.  Our salvation makes us kings and priests before God!  (See Rev 1:6; 5:10)

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!  (Ps 32:11)  Our joy should be so powerful that it causes us to want to shout about it, on occasion.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.  (Ps 43:4)  Our joy will certainly move us to praise and rejoice in the Lord.

Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.  (Ps 63:4-5)  All throughout our lives, as a result of our blessings and our acknowledgement of our salvation, we should savor the utter joy of life.

Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy.  (Ps 132:9)  We are the “saints” referred to in this verse, and we should cry out in utter astonishment and exultation about the goodness of our salvation.

Begin today to savor the joy of your salvation!