The Lord Jesus led me to read Hebrews 2 (Select vv. ESV).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God), and creator of the world, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, and suffered like we suffer. He was also tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, drove out demons, comforted the sorrowful, ministered to the weak, and fed the hungry. And, he preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.
He was loved by some, but he was hated by many because what he spoke was truth, and many of them didn’t want to hear it, because they did not want to change their beliefs or their practices. He and his messages were, thus, an offense to them. They also didn’t like it that he was not bound to their human traditions or to their interpretations of God’s commands. And, they were offended by him proclaiming himself, not only to be their Messiah and Lord, but that he was, indeed, God in the flesh. So, they killed him.
But, it was God’s will that Jesus Christ should die on a cross for our sins, for he who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died, too, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. In his death, he put our sin to death, and in his resurrection, he rose victorious over sin, Satan, hell and death, on our behalf. So, when we trust in him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
What we have heard, thus, must be what Jesus taught and what his NT apostles taught regarding our salvation and eternal life with God. Jesus taught that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily and follow (obey) Christ. He said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), for Jesus’ sake, then we will save our lives for eternity, i.e. we will have the hope of eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25).
The apostle Paul reiterated Jesus’ words when he said that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, he said, if we walk (conduct our lives) 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). John said something similar when he said that if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars who do not live by the truth (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So many preachers today are preaching a half-truth gospel which requires no repentance, no submission to Christ and to his cross, and no obedience to Christ and to his commands. Their idea of faith in Jesus Christ is a mere acknowledgment of who he was and of what he did in taking our place on that cross. And, their idea of what he did for us on that cross is limited to him merely taking the punishment of our sin so we don’t have to be punished and so we can go free. But, they leave out the part which says he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness or that we must walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh, if we want to have eternal life.
So, we must pay closer attention, not to what humans are saying, but to what the Word of God teaches. This means we need to be reading our Bibles every day, diligently and prayerfully, seeking God’s face, and praying for the Spirit of God to guide us into all truth. We must read scriptures in context and compare scripture with scripture to make certain we are interpreting what we read in the correct context, too. Too many false beliefs stem from people taking scriptures out of context and then building entire doctrines around them, while they often ignore the bulk of other scriptures teaching on the same subjects.
So, we must know what the Word teaches so that we can walk in the truth, and so that we don’t drift away from it, potentially via the cunning and craftiness of humans in their deceitful scheming, who may have convinced us that we can have the hope of eternal life with God without repentance, submission or obedience to Christ. And, they call it “grace.” But, God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). So, know the truth, and the truth will set you free!
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, and we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, his Holy Spirit comes to live within us. He is our helper, our counselor and our comforter, whom Jesus promised his followers before he left this earth to return to heaven. He guides us into all truth, and he teaches us everything of Jesus. He also empowers and strengthens us to walk in holiness and righteousness, to resist Satan and to flee temptation and sin.
Because Jesus took on human flesh, and not just so he could be our sacrificial Lamb in taking away the sins of the world, he is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He knows, from personal experience, the pain of suffering, even unjustly, and he knows what it is like to be tempted to sin. So, he is able to help us to resist Satan, to flee sin, and to draw near to God. We do not need to do this in our own strength, in other words. So, we never have an excuse for willful and continuous sinful practices, because Jesus set us free from addiction (slavery) to sin, if we are truly in him, by faith.
So, because of all that Jesus did for us in dying on that cross, and in being resurrected from the dead, so that we can die to sin and live to righteousness, we should commit our lives to our faithful creator and we should follow him in all his ways. If he is truly our Lord, that means he is our owner-master and we are his bondservants; servants of righteousness. Our lives are no longer our own, because we were bought back for God with the blood of Christ shed on a cross for our sins. Therefore, we should honor God with our lives from this moment on in all that we do.
You are Loving and Forgiving
An Original Work / February 19, 2012
Based off Psalm 86
You are loving and forgiving,
Jesus, Savior, King of kings.
You provided our redemption.
By Your blood You set us free.
You are gracious; full of mercy.
No deeds can compare with Yours.
Great are You; there is none like You.
Glory be to Your name.
Teach me Your way, and I’ll walk in it.
O Lord, I will walk in Your truth.
May I not have a heart divided,
That Your name I give honor to.
I will praise You, O Lord, my Savior,
For great is Your love toward me.
You have delivered me from my sins.
Your grace has pardoned me.
You, O Lord, are full of compassion,
Slow to anger, bounteous in love;
Faithful to fulfill all You promise;
Glory be to Your name above.
Hear, O Lord, and answer Your servant.
You are my God. I trust in You.
Turn to me and grant Your strength to me.
You are my comforter.
Saturday, December 2, 2017, 4:37 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for what you taught me today through your Word, and for the time of fellowship with you this morning. I love you and I praise you!