Treasures

Treasures

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Mt 6:19-21)

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.  (Pro 10:2)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  (Ps 19:9-10)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  (Mt 13:44-46)

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Col 2:2-3)

We may think that wealth and riches profit us in this life.  In some ways, that is true.  However, we should remember that any so-called treasure that is a result of dishonesty or sinful pursuits will not bring us the joy that truly satisfies.  Such treasures will never profit us in eternity. 

But the righteousness that is born of faith in Jesus Christ will deliver us from many evils in this life as well as from eternal death in the next.

The Bible is packed full of precious promises (treasures) for the believer.  There are promises concerning health, healing, prosperity, the blessings of children, and the joy of relationships.  There are promises about every area of life; and all we need to do is to study them, meditate upon them, and to claim them for ourselves.  Here are several examples:

  • Children are a blessing from God.  (Ps 127:3-5)
  • Great wealth is in the house of the righteous . . . (Prov 15:6a)
  • Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  (Ps 103:5)
  • Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.  (Isa 48:17)
  • For I am the Lord who heals you.  (Ex 15:26)
  • . . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  (1 Pet 2:24)

These are the true treasures of life and of eternity in Jesus Christ.

A Better Priesthood

A Better Priesthood

It was on the basis of the Levitical priesthood that the Law was given to the people of Israel. Now, if the work of the Levitical priests had been perfect, there would have been no need for a different kind of priest to appear, one who is in the priestly order of Melchizedek, not of Aaron. 12 For when the priesthood is changed, there also has to be a change in the law. 13 And our Lord, of whom these things are said, belonged to a different tribe, and no member of his tribe ever served as a priest.  (Heb 7:11-13 GNT, underscoring added)

Melchizedek’s lineage is not shown in Scripture, but his name means king of righteousness and king of peace.  So, he is considered to be a type of Christ.

The Scriptures say about Him, “You are a priest forever, just like Melchizedek.”  18 In this way a weak and useless command was put aside, 19 because the Law cannot make anything perfect. At the same time, we are given a much better hope, and it can bring us close to God.  (Heb 7:17-19 CEV)  This passage of the Bible refers to Jesus as “a priest forever.”

Here’s a pertinent quotation concerning Jesus’ priesthood:

In verses 4–10 of Hebrews 7, the author recounts how Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and that the Levitical priests (who were biological descendants of Abraham) would one day be commanded in the law to accept tithes from the people of Israel. The author concludes, “it is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior” (v. 7). Given that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, and the Israelites paid tithes to the Levites, this is a strong argument that Jesus Christ’s priesthood is greater than that of the Levites. – Article by Kim Riddlebarger,
Source:  https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/better-priesthood/

Levitical priests could serve only until they died.  Jesus, alone, serves as our Priest forever even into eternity, as the Scripture says:

“The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ . . . ”  (Heb 7:21) 

Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant.  (Heb 7:22)  Earthly priests’ work is temporary, but Jesus holds his Priesthood eternally because He will never die.  (Heb 7:24)  Jesus, in His perfection and holiness, is unchangeable.  He always lives to make intercession for His people. (Heb 7:25) 

Jesus is a High Priest above all others:  holy, unstained, innocent, and exalted above the heavens.  (See Heb 7:26-28)  Glory to God most High!  We are so blessed that He is interceding for each and every one of us who have made Him our Lord and Savior.

Preparation for Glory

Preparation for Glory

One of the purposes of our lives here on earth, aside from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is to prepare us believers for future glory.  At times, our preparation will seem very difficult to bear up under.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. . . (2 Cor 4:17)

The apostle and his fellow sufferers compared their current light suffering with the reward that, by faith, they knew awaited them in heaven.  They considered the heavenly crown awaiting them to be far more significant than their current afflictions. 

 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  (Rom 8:18)

According to the verse above, our earthly problems will seem mild and temporary when we view them from the safe haven of eternity with Jesus.  At times, it will help us to endure when we focus upon unseen realities that exist in the spiritual realm.

. . . knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  (Jas 1:3-4)

When our faith is put to the test, the Word reminds us to patiently endure—or to cling to the truth of God’s Word.  Remaining steadfast in faith through a time of suffering will result in our faith becoming more mature, deep and strong.  When we live in this way, we are following Christ’s example.

. . . though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.  (Heb 5:8) 

This verse is referring to Jesus Christ, our Savior.  This passage reminds us that our Savior learned, through suffering, all about the unique obedience needed to qualify Him as our High Priest.  (See Commentary on Hebrews 5 by A. R. Fausset, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

The point of this article is to meditate upon the fact that Jesus—the Savior of mankind—endured great suffering for our sake.  He didn’t grumble about it but focused upon His love for His Father and the end result of His obedience which was the reconciliation of mankind to God the Father.  At the cross, Jesus could say, “It is finished.”

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials . . . (Jas 1:2)

Look Into the Law of Liberty

Look Into the Law of Liberty

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he [she] does.  (Jas 1:25, word in parenthesis added)

This passage of Scripture is full of meaning, wisdom, and insight if we’ll take the time to think about it and to study it.

Why does this verse refer to the law of liberty?  I believe it’s because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news that sets people free.  Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are liberated from sin, bondage, and condemnation.  We experience a new birth in Christ and receive the promise of eternal life.

We find a law within the Good News of Jesus Christ, and it is a law of LIBERTY and not of slavery—life and not death!  In Romans 3:27 it is referred to as the law of faith.

James 1:25 is referring to a devoted student of the Scriptures as he/she, in all humility of heart and mind, intently studies the Bible.  This is done reverently and with a quality of examination, analysis, and recognition.  We would be on our knees in a spiritual sense.

We can each be this type of student of the Word.  How?  We read the Word expecting the Holy Spirit to illuminate a passage in such a way that it changes us—soul and body.  When it actually happens, our willingness to wait patiently on the Lord will give us even more insight as we glean how to apply it to our own lives and circumstances.

In this way, we have the privilege of fine tuning our lives to comply with and to obey the Bible in more detail and more holiness as we mature in our walk with Christ.  This is an ongoing process, and it’s an exciting progression as well as a sobering one.  It is a solemn and a holy process that occurs in our hearts and must be guarded constantly. 

If we let down our guard and forget what God has patiently revealed to us and taught us, we do damage to our own heart and to our relationship with God.  Our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in our lives, having value for all eternity.  It, alone, is the promise of eternal life. 

It is the law of faith and the law of liberty.  Value it, brothers and sisters!

Love Is the Gift of God

Love Is the Gift of God

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  (1 Joh 4:8)

LOVE – the single most important thing in life and in eternity.  There’s no way that we can “love too much”!

Firstly, God is love—as shown in the verse above.  That’s why it was easy to make the statement above that love is the single most important thing in life and in eternity.  This is true simply because God IS love—and HE is the most important Being in life and in eternity.  I believe that without God, mankind would have no concept of love.  God IS love—pure, perfect, unconditional, unending love. 

God chose to create us with a free will.  We can choose to obey Him or not; and we can choose to love God or not.  But when we DO love God and serve Him, He causes amazing things to happen in our lives. 

Here are just some of the wonderful things that God provides and does for those who love and serve Him:

  • Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful . . . (Ps 31:23) He preserves [maintains, upholds, sustains) His people.
  • Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. (Ps 91:14)  God will deliver us when we’re in trouble; and He will set us on high.  God made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus—that is being “set on high.”  (Eph 2:6)
  • I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. (Ps 116:1)  God hears our voices as we pray to Him.  And another verse in the Bible (1 Joh 5:14-15) says that when we know that God has heard us, we know that He has given us the very thing for which we have prayed.  Glory to God!
  • The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. (Ps 146:8)  The Lord gives sight to the blind; straightens those who are bent over and removes their burden; and He loves us.  The Lord is our healer.  (Ex 15:26; 23:25; Isa 53:4-5; Jer 30:17; Jam 5:14-15)
  • That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries. (Pro 8:21)  Wisdom (represented as a person) is speaking in this verse, and all wisdom comes from God Himself.  So this verse says that God causes those who love Him to inherit wealth, and He fills their bank accounts. 

This list includes verses from the Old Testament only, but there are even better promises in the New Testament for us!  My point in this discussion is that LOVE is a hugely important gift to consider.  And there are even bigger and better indications of God’s love for us in the New Testament.  Search out those hidden treasures for yourself!

We know that God loves each one of us.  But in addition to His love, He has allowed us to love and to be loved by fellow human beings.  That is one of God’s chief gifts to us.  The reason it is so key is because every ounce of love that we either feel for another or receive from another is a reminder and a representation of God Himself—who is love. 

Treasure, cherish and appreciate every single person who loves you and whom you love.  Enjoy the fact that you’re able to love other people, and that you’re able to receive and to experience their love for you.

Love—it’s a gift of God to each one of us.

No Condemnation

No Condemnation

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24 KJV)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . (Romans 5:1 NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  (Rom 8:1)

The free gift of salvation by faith which we received through Jesus Christ results in our justification!  We have truly passed from death (eternal condemnation and punishment) into LIFE—eternal love and unity with the living God.  We’ll spend eternity living and serving God in the light of the love of Jesus Christ.

Because we are not under condemnation (Rom 8:1), and because we have entered into eternal life NOW, we have a Mediator and an Intercessor:  Jesus Christ!  He represents us and fights for us!

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.  (Heb 9:15 NKJV)

A Mediator is an arbitrator; umpire, referee, or intermediary.  Jesus is all of these things for us.  Jesus is our Mediator SO THAT we may receive our eternal inheritance!  Our eternal inheritance is rich and abundant; it is available to us NOW.

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.  (Job 16:19-21 NIV1984)

Jesus pleads with God, on our behalf, as Someone pleading for a friend!  Jesus is our Witness—He knows and TESTIFIES that we are justified and set free because He gave His ALL for us! And we accepted His free and generous gift.  We accepted not only salvation, but all of the blessings, benefits, and promises that are part and parcel of that perfect and eternal salvation!

As we live out our salvation, life (and people) may still inflict hurts.  Yet, our God provides a remedy:  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [sorrows].  (Ps 147:3)  The Holy Spirit is your Comforter who pours out love upon you.  (John 14:16; Rom 5:5)

 Abundant life is ours!  (John 10:10)  A life rich in freedom, health, healing, reconciliation, prosperity, mercy, wisdom, grace, joy, and many more blessings are ours—in Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God that was slain!

You are without condemnation.  You have been and are justified—you are redeemed!  You are consecrated to God in order to live for Him.  Enjoy the blessings of eternal life, O child of the Most High God!

The God of the Living

The God of the Living

But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  (27) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.  You are therefore greatly mistaken.  (Mk 12:26-27) 

Jesus is speaking with the Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection from the dead.

In verse 27, the word mistaken correctly communicates deceived.  This indicates to me that there is an important point hidden in this verse that we need to investigate.

Jesus was discussing resurrection from the dead with the Sadducees, and the disciples were pleased with Jesus’ statement above in Mark 12:27, since they felt it was His verbal victory. 

We can see that the gospel of Luke echoes the main point:

 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.  (Lk 20:38)

This verse reminds us that “all live to Him,” meaning that to the Lord, no human being is ever dead or will be, but all mankind sustain an abiding conscious relation to Him. (Source of italicized, bold type material:   Jamieson, Faussett & Brown)

The “all” who live to Him mean “those accounted worthy to obtain that world.”  (see Lk 20:35)  They maintain a loving covenant relationship with the Lord which will never end.   

How helpful is this to us in the here and now?  The Bible states that God made mankind in His own image.  (Gen 1:26a; 27; 9:6)  Because we’re made in the image of God, once a human being has been born on this earth, it means that their soul [the essence of their identity and consciousness] will live for eternity.

For we know that if our earthly house [our body], this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  (2 Cor 5:1, bracketed comment added)

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.  (2 Cor 5:8, emphasis added)

That is why God provided our salvation through Jesus Christ, so that we could spend eternity with Him.  We live unto God while here in the flesh; and when we vacate our body, we go on to live with the Lord in Heaven. 

We serve the living God (1 Thes 1:9; Heb 9:14)—the God of the living.  Hallelujah!