With Fear and Trembling

With Fear and Trembling

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  (Phil 2:12-13 – emphasis added)

The word fear in the above passage of Scripture means with reverence and respect.  The reference to trembling can be understood to mean with great humility and the type of weakness that causes us to rely completely and solely upon the Lord and His grace.  We should also have a huge desire to never offend God through disobedience, as well as a great awe for God’s majesty and holiness.

Now what could the author have meant by “work out your own salvation”?  This is the concept of bringing something to completion or maturity, such as when Paul describes himself as straining or “pressing on” toward the goal of being Christlike.  (Phil 3:13-14)  It’s our responsibility to cooperate with the Lord by obeying His Word and following His plan for our lives.  Part of that plan is for us to submit to our Savior by obeying His Word.

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

Obedience and submission to the God whom we revere and respect is only our “reasonable service” according to the passage shown above. 

We work out our salvation, then, by going to the source of our salvation—the Word of God—which is the only instrument available to us to renew our hearts and minds as we reverently seek to walk the path of ever-growing spiritual maturity. 

Jesus Enables Us to Reign in Life

Jesus Enables Us to Reign in Life

For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)  (Rom 5:17)

We are intended to reign in life through [due to; by way of; as a result of] the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives.  Where are we to reign?  We reign as kings in this life—here and now.

Reign means to rule; to have authority; to be in power.  Where do kings reign?  They reign in their kingdom, territory, or domain.  We have the authority, given to us by Jesus, to have dominion in our own lives.  In our own lives, we have God-given power and influence, because our life is our domain!

Notice that Romans 5:17 reminds us that we’ve been given the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.  Let’s consider these two items.

The abundance of grace:  Abundance means plenty; richness; or lavishness.  Grace means unearned favor; God’s matchless kindness; or blessing.  Now, we understand that God has given each one of us an unending supply of His favor, kindness, and blessings!

The gift of righteousness:  A gift is something that has been given freely to another, such as a donation, scholarship, or grant.  Righteousness means right-standing; uprightness; or blamelessness.  Righteousness is a gift from God because those who have accepted Christ as their Savior have been justified by the work of Jesus Christ:  His sinless life; suffering and death; and resurrection from the dead.

So, since we are in right standing with God, there’s nothing that can come between us and Him.  And there’s no way to improve our righteousness with the Lord because it’s perfect right now—thanks to Jesus!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  (Rom 5:8-10)

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Rom 5:20b; 21)

The blood of Jesus washed away our sins.  (Rev 1:5)  We are new creatures.  (2 Cor 5:17)  We’ve been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21).

God wants us to reign in life over ourselves, over sin, over death, and over every harmful, destructive thing. Before we can reign together with God over the nations and over the earth, we first need to reign in life today over sin and death (Rom. 5:17, 21).  Jesus has promised that He will be with us, and we know that Jesus has already obtained our victory!  Hallelujah!

God Works Righteousness for All

God Works Righteousness for All

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.  (Ps 103:6 NIV)

The Lord works righteousness for all who are broken or harassed.  Our God is the ultimate champion for those who feel small, alone, or defeated.  The Lord also works justice for all who are oppressed.  Justice can be described as:  fairness; impartiality; integrity; or rightness.  He is our help in times of trouble.  (Ps 46:1)

By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us, O God of our salvation . . .   (Ps 65:5a)  He hears and answers our prayers!  And the Lord’s answer establishes righteousness and justice for us.  Glory to God!

The Lord is referred to as the horn of our salvation in Psalm 18:2.  Ever wonder what that means?  I believe that this conveys the idea that He is the very sound and song of our salvation—summoning [even as a horn does in battle]—spiritual, physical, financial, and emotional allies to us.  What a powerful and glorious God we serve!

Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.  (Ps 85:13)  Let us walk in His footsteps; and as we do, we walk in the path of righteousness.

Ministering Reconciliation

Ministering Reconciliation

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  (2 Cor 5:18-19)

This passage of the Bible informs us that God has given to us the ministry of reconciliation, which is a continuation of the ministry of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The ministry of reconciliation is the message of the Gospel.

. . . and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.  21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.  (Col 1:20-23)

Jesus told us in John 14:6 that no one can be reconciled to God without Him.  Salvation is through Jesus Christ. 

Once we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we were then drafted into service to the Kingdom of God; and we became servants of Christ.  (1 Cor 4:1; Col 1:7)  As Christ’s servants, our charge is to share this good news with everyone whom we meet! 

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  (Mat 28:18-20)

Considering all that Jesus has done and continues to do for each one of us, we are honored to willingly give Him our lives in order to serve Him.  When we share His Good News, we’re ministering reconciliation!

HOW Does a Soul Prosper?

HOW Does a Soul Prosper?

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.  (3 Joh 1:2)

How does a soul prosper?  What is a soul?  According to the Bible, we each have three parts:  a body, a soul, and a spirit.  (see 1 Thes 5:23) 

Each one of us is a spirit; we live in our own body; and we each have a soul.  Mankind was made in the image of God (Gen 1:26); and God is a Spirit (Joh 4:24).  Therefore we, too, are spirit-beings. 

We can see that we each have a soul that is distinctly separate and different from our spirit:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Heb 4:12) 

Even though the spirit and the soul are joined together, they are still separate parts of every individual.  So, we live in a body (2 Cor 5:6, 8) that has a soul.  The soul is where the emotions, the will, and the intellect dwell. 

Did you see that according to 3 John 1:2, the level or degree to which we prosper, and/or obtain the health and healing of God is directly related to the level or degree that our soul (the thinking, reasoning part of us: The Mind) is prospering?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Rom 12:2)

So our circumstances and situations can be changed once we have changed the way that we think about them!  How may we change our thoughts?  When we renew our minds with God’s promises contained in His Word, we change the way that we think about our situation.  And what naturally follows is that our emotions and will then follow where our thoughts take us.

God has given each one of us the gift of grace (Eph 2:8).  By God’s gift of grace, we may obediently and intentionally place our soul upon the path of prosperity.

You Shall Not Diminish

You Shall Not Diminish

Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry;
I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
 (Jer 30:19, emphasis added)

In the verse above, the Lord says that His people shall not diminish. Diminish means to weaken; fade; or shrink.  Rather, the Lord says that HE will glorify them!  The Lord is saying that He will elevate, approve and celebrate His people!

The Lord’s plan for all of mankind is to give us life and not only that, but an ABUNDANT one! 

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10)

The Lord tells us that He is pleased when His people prosper, and that trusting in Him will bring us prosperity.

Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”  (Ps 35:27)

But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.  (Pro 28:25b)

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.  (3 Joh 1:2)

The Lord’s blessings are upon His people:

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  (Ps 118:26a)

Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:  “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”
  (Mat 21:9)

You can see from this handful of Bible verses that God certainly has put ample promises in His Word that are intended to bless, benefit, and prosper us.  Therefore, we shall not diminish.

Forget Not

Forget Not

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases . . . (Ps 103:2-3, emphasis added)

We, as God’s children, mustn’t forget all of the benefits and blessings of our salvation.  The verse above mentions two of these blessings:  forgiveness and healing.  These are supernatural benefits of our salvation.

This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.  (Ps 119:50, 52)  The Word of God gives us life—life in every facet and dimension of our lives.  He is the one who actually upholds and sustains our lives!  (Ps 3:5; 71:6; Isa 46:3b, 4)

There are so many blessings that God pours out upon us, that we can become oblivious and even numb to them!  We need to wake up and start noticing what God has done and is doing constantly for us.  Look around you and perceive your blessings.

And the covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods.  (2 Kgs 17:38)  God does not forget the covenant that He made with man.  He wants us to remember it, too.  Not only that, but He says that He will NEVER forget us!  (Isa 49:15) Nor do we ever need to fear other gods or the gods of other people.

So we should find it pretty easy to REMEMBER and to meditate upon the fact that the Lord is:

  • Our reward (Gen 15:1)
  • Our Rock (Ps 18:2; 31:3; 71:3)
  • Our very present help in trouble (Ps 46:1)
  • Our open heaven (Joh 1:51)
  • Our Comfort (Ps 86:17; 2 Cor 1:3-4)
  • Our Deliverer (Ps 18:2; 40:17; 70:5)
  • Our Redeemer (Ps 19:14; 78:35; Pro 23:11)
  • Our Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6)

The list above is very abbreviated.  I could go on and on; and still not cover every blessing that the Lord bestows upon those who love and serve Him.  Remember these blessings and be thankful.