Be Law Abiding & Given to Good Works

<strong>Be Law Abiding & Given to Good Works</strong>

We are instructed by the Bible to live law-abiding lives and to perform good works to the glory of God.  Let’s look at what the Scriptures say:

My son, fear both the Lord and the king, and don’t keep company with rebels.  (Pro 24:21 ISV)

Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give to God the things that are God’s.”  (Mt 22:21 NCV)

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  (Rom 13:1 NIV)

He gave himself to rescue us from everything evil and to make our hearts pure. He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right.  (Tit 2:14 CEV)

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work . . . (Tit 3:1 NKJV)

Clearly, as believers, we must live in two different realms.  We live in this carnal world, which is very much opposed to the plans and purposes of God.  Simultaneously, we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom with Christ as our Lord and King. 

We’re called to represent Christ in the midst of this sinful and pain-filled society without allowing ourselves to become contaminated by it.  The only way that we can succeed is by obeying the Word of God; and by following the leading of the Holy Spirit as He counsels and leads us, individually.

By living holy lives and being valuable, law-abiding citizens, we prevent the gospel of Jesus Christ from being slandered and vilified. 

By living in peace and harmony with our neighbors, and importantly with other believers, we demonstrate our good works in:

  • being courteous to all;
  • doing good works within a civic framework as well as within a spiritual framework; and
  • submitting to our governing authorities.

These points are achieved practically in being honest in business; paying our taxes; being good neighbors; conducting ourselves in an orderly way; and obeying the laws of the land.  In conducting ourselves along these guidelines, we fulfill the Scripture that says:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  (Mt 10:16 KJV)  We are being wise and harmless!  Glory to God most high!

We Know Love, Thanks to Jesus

We Know Love, Thanks to Jesus

The Scriptures teach us that humanity knows love and is acquainted with love because Jesus gave up His own life to reconcile us back to our Father God.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  (1 Joh 3:16 NKJV)

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Rom 5:8 NIV)

 Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it . . . (Eph 5:25 NCV)

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  (Eph 5:2 ESV)

All of these Bible passages refer to the fact that Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice was an ACT OF LOVE.  The Lord tells us through the Word that we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Husbands are admonished to love their wives even as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed Himself on behalf of the Church. Husbands should want to protect their wives and children even as the Lord did.

And we’re encouraged to follow the example of Christ, and to become (as He did) a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  This gives us a reason to examine ourselves and to ask ourselves if we are demonstrating our love in ways that are spiritually and relationally significant to our nearest and dearest.  God bless you as you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you in showing love to everyone in your life!

We are Heirs of God through Christ

We are Heirs of God through Christ

Through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, we have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.  (see Rom 8:17)  An “heir” is a person who inherits, or has a right of inheritance, to the property of another person following their death.

 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15 NKJV)

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.  (1 Cor 2:12 NIV, emphasis added)

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God . . .  (Rom 8:16 ESV)

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  (Gal 4:4-7 NKJV)

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.  (Eph 1:5 NLT)

One of the rights that we were given as heirs is an inheritance of everything that belongs to God.  Everything in the entire universe belongs to God.  Both seen and unseen things belong to God!  It is all God’s property.

So, as incomprehensible as it may seem, when it comes to our inheritance as the children of God, everything that belongs to Jesus also belongs to us because we are joint heirs with Christ! 

“According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you . . . ”  (1 Pet 1:3-4 ESV) Our inheritance includes all of the blessings and promises found in the Bible and more.  We have been given an eternal inheritance that is shown above in 1 Peter 1 as “imperishable, undefiled, unfading and kept in heaven for us.” 

I think it’s safe to say that our eternal inheritance is so royal and so wonderful, that we can’t even get a true concept of the enormity and magnificence of it.  Have fun and receive inspiration from meditating upon this truth. God bless you!

Self-Control

Self-Control

Welcome!  The fruit of the Spirit includes self-control.  (Galatians 5:22-24 NIV)  Isn’t that wonderful?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24 NKJV)

When we accepted Christ as Savior, the Spirit of God made His home in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Our responsibility is to yield to the Spirit of God and to actually manifest this fruit!  It is quite exhilarating to do.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)  Consider the ways that you exercise the spiritual fruit of self-control.  Then praise the Lord for them!

Note:  This is a reprint of our blog article dated 08/20/2016.

Baptized into Christ

Baptized into Christ

When we received Christ as our Savior and Lord and were baptized in water, we were baptized into His death.  Wow!  That sounds a little dark, huh?

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  (Rom 6:3 NIV)

But the triumphant news is that we, who were baptized into Christ’s death, now live with Him and through Him, as the following Scriptures attest.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him . . .  (Rom 6:8)

This is a faithful saying:  For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.  (2 Tim 2:11)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  (Gal 2:20, underscoring added)

Christ lives in each and every believer!

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  (2 Cor 4:11) 

Believers are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake because we are denying ourselves, by dying to our flesh, in order to follow and to obey Jesus and His earthly example.  (See Colossians 3:5)

All who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, who have accepted Him as their Savior and have been water baptized, have been baptized into the body of Christ—His Church.  Praise His Holy Name!

An Established Throne

An Established Throne

As we read the Bible, we can see a consistent theme running throughout:  that God desires ALWAYS to do good to His people.  As we follow Christ obediently, by faith, we are one of God’s people.  Furthermore, He has decreed that His throne and His kingdom shall prevail forever.

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.  (2 Sam 7:16 NIV)

. . . 10 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. Also I will subdue all your enemies. Furthermore I tell you that the Lord will build you a house. 11 And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.”  (1 Chron 17:10-14 NKJV)

The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.  (Ps 103:19 CEB)

A throne will be established in mercy. In the tent of David a judge will sit on the throne in truth, seeking justice, eager to bring righteousness.  (Isa 16:5 EHV)

Why should God’s promise to establish a throne forever be good news to us?  Here are a few points for your meditation and reflection.

  • God, who knows EVERYTHING, is on our side.  (Ps 118:6-7 ESV; Heb 13:5)
  • God, who is ALL POWERFUL, is 100% for us.  (Ps 56:9b; Isa 41:10; Mt 28:20)
  • God is all-wise, and He shares His wisdom with us through His word.  (Ps 111:10; Pro 2:6; Lk 21:15; Jas 1:5)
  • God has good plans for each one of us.  (Jer 29:11; 1 Cor 2:9)
  • God is our healer.  (Ex 15:26; Ps 30:2; Jer 30:17; 1 Pet 2:24)
  • The Lord fights for us.  (Deu 3:22; 20:14; Josh 23:10)
  • The Lord has given us the victory.  (Deu 20:4; Rom 8:37; 1 Cor 15:57; Col 2:15; 1 Joh 5:4)

God’s plans for us are good.  He not only fights on our side, but He has already given us the victory! Hallelujah!

Promote Peace

Promote Peace

As disciples of Christ we’re called to promote peace in the world.  Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

What does it mean to “promote” peace?  As servants of the Living God, we are directed to:

  • Encourage and support,
  • Sponsor and further,
  • Advertise,
  • Elevate and advance peace in every circumstance and situation.

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.  (Pro 12:20 NIV)

If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.  (Lk 10:6 NIV)

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Mt 5:9)

Just from this small selection of Bible passages we learn that:

  • Promoting peace brings joy—not only to us but to everyone involved;
  • People who sponsor peace will have peace rest upon them;
  • We should do good by seeking and pursuing peace; and
  • All peacemakers are blessed children of God.  Hallelujah!

An invitation to promote peace is given to every believer in God’s Kingdom.  Let us joyfully respond to this appeal from the heart of God.

How Can We Overcome?

How Can We Overcome?

How can a human being overcome in the manner discussed in the Bible?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Rev 3:21)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Rev 12:11 NIV)

Overcome means to conquer, defeat, triumph over, or annihilate.  They triumphed over the enemy of our souls, satan. 

I believe the key verses that tell us how to overcome are shown above:  1 John 5:4-5 and Revelation 12:11.

  • Our faith in God, which is a gift from God, is one of our weapons designed to carry us to victory.  Our faith in Christ as our Savior, who is the Son of God according to the Word, is a stabilizing factor throughout life.  Hold onto this truth and never let it go.
  • Acknowledging that the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) cleanses us from all sin is another tool of victory bestowed upon us by the gift of salvation.  Remain mindful of this truth, and thank and praise God for it.  It has purchased our righteousness.
  • The ‘word of our testimony’ is also mentioned as part of our armament against the enemy that will sustain us and transport us to victory.  A testimony is a declaration—even evidence—of our life experiences.  As we daily state and affirm (1) who we are in Christ Jesus; (b) what we have through Christ; and (c) all of the blessings that we have received through salvation, we deepen and strengthen our roots of faith.  As we maintain this continuous testimony, we firmly plant ourselves (our roots) in the realm of victory.

According to Romans 8:37, the Lord has made us MORE than conquerors (winners, victors, overcomers).  All overcomers will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  Glory to God!

The Message of the Cross

The Message of the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18 NIV, underlining and emphasis added) 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16, emphasis added)

 . . .  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (1 Cor 1:23-25, emphasis added)

. . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5 ESV, emphasis added)

The message of the cross is sometimes referred to as the:

  • Gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16)
  • Good News (1 Thes 3:6)
  • Power of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Resurrection Gospel (1 Cor 15, entire chapter)

What is the message of the cross?  It is that God LOVES the world, and desires to be in RELATIONSHIP with each and every one of us.  Thanks to this truth, the Father God provided salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ.

Jesus humbled himself in coming to earth as a newborn baby.  He grew up as a normal, human boy and learned the trade of carpentry.  He lived a sinless, perfect life serving His heavenly Father.  Jesus preached Good News, and demonstrated the love of His heavenly Father by performing signs, wonders, and miracles. 

Jesus displayed the need for continuous fellowship with His Father, as well as drawing apart for prayer.  He modeled forgiveness, wisdom, and walking in the Spirit for us all.

The symbol of the cross is an icon of grim human suffering and public humiliation.  Jesus’ suffering and subsequent death and resurrection are all part of the message of the cross.  In the light of Christ’s resurrection, there is restoration of hope, complete joy, and utter triumph.  Hallelujah!

Notice that the preaching of this gospel of salvation is always accompanied by the POWER of God.

The message of the cross proves the magnitude of the love that God has for mankind.

Made Alive

Made Alive

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor 15:21-22)

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  (Rom 5:15-17)

Because all humanity is descended from Adam, we are all going to experience death someday.  In a similar way, everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will one day be made alive.

What does that really mean to us? 

It means that we, upon accepting Jesus as our Savior, have been born into the family of God.  Having accepted Jesus as our Savior and keeping our relationship with Him alive throughout our lives means that:

  • We belong to Jesus;
  • We are His seed and offspring;
  • We serve Jesus because He is our covenant Head and Representative; and
  • We shall be raised [resurrected] to immortal life in and by Jesus Christ.

One day, we will have eternity to spend in the presence of our living God who is love.  We will eternally be surrounded by perfect, unfailing, unending Love.  This is a blessing of our salvation for which we may continuously praise and thank God!