Cause for Much Praise!

To those of us who are strangers on this earth, whose citizenship is in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ, who were chosen by God before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless before him, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit in our hearts, to obedience to Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be ours in the fullest measure (1 Peter 1:1-2 paraphrased).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 NASB)

Praise the Lord that we are no longer bound in our sins without hope and without God. I am so thankful that Jesus set us free from our chains which held us in captivity to sin, so that we can now walk in his love, in his light, and in his purity. Amen! I thank him, too, for giving us new life in him which is full of his love and grace, and which brings much joy and peace into our lives. Once we were hopeless, and now our lives are filled with hope.

I am thankful, too, that we are now in daily communion with our Lord, and that we are able to enjoy such sweet fellowship with him every day, throughout the day, and even into the night. We can daily come into the presence of Almighty God and just listen to him speak his words to our hearts. And, we can talk with him, and share with him what is on our hearts, too. And, we can experience his presence with us, his counsel and guidance, and his love, mercy, compassion and his comfort, too.

I am so grateful that we have this hope in God secure through our faith in Jesus Christ, which is God-given faith, and thus it is divinely persuaded as to God’s righteousness and holiness and of our need to walk in that holiness, too. We are blessed with such faith as this that can endure the test of time because it is of God and because our Lord regularly strengthens us in our faith, if we are willing, so that we can endure with him to the end of time and thus receive the fullness of our salvation when Jesus returns for us.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9 NASB)

We may not always feel like rejoicing, though, when our faith is being refined with fire and we have to go through difficult times which test our endurance and the genuiness of our faith in Jesus Christ. And, it isn’t that we will always leap for joy when those trials initially come, either. For, sometimes we have to first of all grieve, and work through those emotions, and then surrender to our Lord, and then the peace and the joy do come.

But, trials are for our good. Even Jesus learned obedience through the things which he suffered, and he was perfectly sinless. For, when life is too easy for us we can sometimes get lazy about our walks of faith and become complacent about things like holiness, purity and uprightness. So, we need trials to keep us humble, and to keep us seeking after God and his righteousness, and to make us more and more like Jesus.

When we have to suffer, and suffering is part of this Christian life, too, we learn to rely on God and not on ourselves. We learn perseverance and endurance and patience, too. We become more like Christ in our attitudes and actions, as well, and we become more compassionate, too, towards others who are going through difficulties. And, all of this is part of our sanctification process which will culminate in the salvation of our souls when Jesus Christ returns and he takes his faithful to be with him forever.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 NASB)

Because of this great salvation which has been provided for us, and because we have been given this new hope in Jesus Christ, which is Christ in us the hope of glory, then our lifestyles, our thinking and our attitudes should reflect Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation to us. We should not take his salvation and his grace to us for granted, but we should walk in the light which he has given to us, and we should run with perseverance the race which he has set before us, all in his power and strength at work within us.

What this means for us is that we no longer live like the world does. We don’t take pleasure in what the world enjoys, at least not in the sense of finding our enjoyment and pleasure in what is sinful and ungodly and impure. Instead, we prepare our minds for action. Thus, we don’t leave the door wide open for ourselves to keep falling into the same sins over and over again. And, we take appropriate measures to make certain that does not happen. So, we remove things from our lives which serve as a continual stumbling block to us. And, daily we put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, so that we don’t yield to them.

We have to be diligent about this. We have to take God and his word seriously. We can’t live casual Christian lives and expect not to get burned. We have to move away from trying to blend in, in order to fit in, to being willing to stand out, and to be rejected because we are different, which is what it means to be holy, to be separate from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus. And, we must be obedient to Jesus and his words and not think freedom in Christ is free license to sin against God.

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:17-21 NASB)

Our lives should be so set apart from the world that the world and the worldly church will not love us, include us, accept us, and want to join in with us. They will think us odd (peculiar), which is what we are supposed to be, but not in way that is fleshly and in order to gain attention to ourselves. And, worldly people probably won’t be comfortable hanging out with us, either, because we don’t do the things that the world of sin does, and we no longer think like that, and we don’t laugh at what they laugh at, too.

Basically, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to walk (conduct our lives) in the fear of the Lord, i.e. in treating God with honor, respect, reverence, submission, obedience, surrender, love, and faithfulness. This means that we don’t have one foot in the world and the other in our relationship with Christ. We don’t crave the things of this sinful world nor do we entertain ourselves with what is unholy, ungodly, impure and faithless. For, we can’t love God and the world, too. For, if we love the world of sin, the love of the Father is not in us (See 1 Jn. 2:15).

As well, the whole reason Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross is that we might die with him to sin and that we might live with him to righteousness. This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. Jesus didn’t die just to forgive us our sins, but he died to put sin to death in our lives, and that we might die daily with him to sin and walk in obedience to his commands. And, this is awesome! This is cause for much praise!! Because of this we should be shouting “Hallelujah!” For, we no longer have to walk in darkness, but now we can walk in the light of his love and live with him forever and ever, amen! Praise His Holy Name! All glory to God!

Jesus, Lead Me

An Original Work / July 22, 2011

Jesus, lead me all the way.
Be my hope and be my stay.
Gently lead me where I should go,
So Your Spirit, I want to know.
Open up my heart to You.
Fill me with Your love and truth.
Make my heart want to obey.
Be my Lord today. Gently lead always.

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Cleanse my heart, and make me whole;
Be transformed in my heart today,
As I turn from my sin and pray.
Make Your will known to my heart.
May I not from You depart.
How I long to hear You now,
As I humbly bow. Jesus, hear me now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – Jesus, thank You so much for giving us these new lives in You free from our chains and free to live for you in holiness.

 

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