Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 1:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 5:1-2 (ESV).
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Justified by Faith
What does it mean to be justified? It means to be made righteous. Through faith in Jesus Christ, the charges which stood against us, because of sin, are expunged from our record, and we now become the righteousness of God (See: 2 Co. 5:21). So, what is righteousness? It is “the approval of God”, and it “refers to what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes” (http://biblehub.com/greek/1343.htm).
We cannot be saved by our own righteousness. Our righteousness, in God’s sight, is like filthy rags (Is. 64:6). In fact, he said that no one is righteous, no not one (Ro. 3:10-18). Our good deeds will never outweigh our bad deeds. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We cannot save ourselves. Apart from faith in Jesus Christ we are separated from God, without hope, and destined to spend eternity in hell. Because the first man, Adam, sinned against God, all of us humans are born into sin. We all fall short of God’s divine approval (See: Ro. 3:23). So, God made a way in which we can be made righteous. He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for our sins. God made him who knew no sin to become sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21).
What is Faith?
We are justified (made righteous) through faith in Jesus Christ. So, what is faith? Our eternity depends on us knowing the answer to this question.
Well, first of all, faith is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9), but it is one we must receive and appropriate (apply) to our own lives. What I mean is that not everyone has faith. Although God gives us the ability to believe, we still need to exercise that faith by putting our trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives, through surrendering our lives to him. Faith is also continuous. It is steadfast (persistent). And, it endures to the end (See: Jn. 8:31-32; Co. 1:21-23; Hebrews 3:6, 14-15; I John 2:24-25).
So, how is that faith applied to our lives? The Bible teaches that we must first of all turn from our sin, and then turn to God in obedience to his will and to his ways (Matt. 4:17; Mk. 1:15; Acts 26:16-20; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6). You see, Jesus did not die just so we could be forgiven of our sins and have the hope of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but that we might live for the one who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15). He didn’t die just to forgive us of our sins, but he died to deliver us from slavery to sin so that sin would no longer be our master, but that now we would become slaves (servants) of his righteousness (Ro. 6:1-23).
Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be “born again,” or “born from above,” if he wanted to have eternal life. When we are born of the Spirit (born again), we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life (born again), “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23). The old has gone, the new has come. We are not the same as we were before. We become someone else. I mean, although we are still us in personality, our personality (our character) is transformed of the Spirit of God away from lifestyles of living for sin and self to now walking according to the Spirit of God. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die (in our sins), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity) (See: Ro. 8:1-14; cf. Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:6).
Peace with God
When we are justified (made righteous) by faith in Jesus Christ, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, what kind of peace? Well, Jesus said:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (Jn. 14:27).
So, how does the world give peace? The world’s idea of peace is for everyone to get along, and for there to be no more division among us. The world’s idea of peace is absence of conflict. They want the world to all join hands in singing “Kumbaya.” In other words, they are calling for unity of all religions and all walks of life (of all chosen lifestyles), and for the breaking down of all which divides us as the people of the world. Well, the gospel of Jesus Christ divides us saved and unsaved; Christian and non-Christian. It divides us righteous and not righteous in God’s sight; approved and not approved in God’s sight based on faith or lack of faith in Jesus Christ. So, the world’s idea of peace is to rid the world of the gospel of our salvation.
But, Jesus said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword. He came to turn family members one against another (See: Matt. 10:34-39).
He said, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Lu. 12:51).
What he meant by this is that being a follower of Jesus Christ means that we will be hated, rejected, abandoned, betrayed and persecuted even by our own family members, because they reject the Jesus Christ of the Bible and all that he stands for. Some of them may claim to know him, too. They will reject the gospel of our salvation, because they want to continue living the way they want, and they don’t want to submit their lives to Almighty God. So, either they will accept a diluted (half) gospel message which does not require repentance or obedience – no crucifixion with Christ to sin nor living to righteousness – or else they will reject the gospel in its entirety. Thus, the people of the world are divided as those who have sincere faith in Jesus Christ and as those who lack genuine believing faith in Christ Jesus.
So, if Jesus did not come to this earth to bring peace, but a sword, then what does it mean that we have peace with God through faith in Christ? Well, it is a different kind of peace. Remember here that Jesus told his disciples that he gave them peace, but not as the world gives peace. So, there is worldly peace which involves absence of conflict among all people, and the dismantling of all which divides us, and which forces (or urges) unity of people of all religions and all walks of life to come together with one mind, one heart, and one purpose. But, in contrast to that is a peace with God, which is absence of conflict with God and unity with him in mind, heart and purpose. It is God reconciling (restoring) us to him through the death of Jesus Christ, which we receive when we believe on Jesus. But, unity with God thus results in disunity with those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.
Into this Grace
God’s grace to us is his kindness toward us in providing for us the free gift of salvation by Jesus’ blood shed for us on the cross, which we receive through faith in Jesus Christ. It is his willingness to forgive us of our sins, to restore us to fellowship with him, and to give us the hope of eternal life with him. We do nothing to earn or to deserve this grace, so it is unmerited by us. Thus, it is a gift which we must receive by faith, via turning from sin, and by turning to God to follow him in his ways (in his righteousness).
In this grace we stand. So, what does that mean? It means that we remain, endure, persist, and continue in his grace. We place ourselves or we position ourselves in his grace. This does not mean we merely accept his forgiveness, though, and then continue to go our own way. To stand in his grace is not to take his grace for granted, or to stomp on his mercy toward us by continuing in sin. In fact, his grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. “He gave himself up for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Tit. 2:11-14).
So, to stand in his grace means that we persist and continue in him by daily dying to sin and self and by walking in obedience to his commands; by walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14).
So, if you have been taking his grace for granted, and you feel as though you have accepted his free gift of salvation from sin, but you have not truly died with him to sin nor have you been resurrected with him to new birth in Christ, and you are not standing in his grace (continuing in him), then I pray that you will repent of your sin today, and that you will submit your life to his Lordship, and that you will follow him and his ways from this day forward. Then, you can truly rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Amen!
Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures
Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.
For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.
Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.
We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.
Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.
Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!