All Our Days

A priest named Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, in their old age, as God had promised them, gave birth to a son whom they named John, as the angel of God had told Zechariah that they were to do. The angel also had told Zechariah that his son would turn many of the children of Israel to their Lord, and that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. As well, he would go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah to make ready for the Lord a people prepared (summary Lu. 1:5-17, 57-66).

Luke 1:67-75 ESV

And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

Our Redeemer

The Lord that John was to go before was none other than Jesus Christ, God the Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary about six months after John was born. So, Zechariah here was prophesying concerning Jesus as though he had already come.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the promised seed of Abraham through whom all nations are to be blessed. And, all who believe in him are Abraham’s descendants and heirs of the promise along with Isaac, Abraham’s son (See: Gal. 3-4). Thus, we who believe in Jesus are now the children of Israel.

Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. For, through his death on a cross and his blood that was shed for our sins, he bought us back for God so that we would now belong to God as his people, and so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but that we would be slaves of righteousness, instead.

Through faith in Jesus Christ, thus, Jesus is now our Lord (owner-master) and we are his servants. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want, but our lives are his to be lived for our Lord, who gave his life up for us to free us from our sin and to deliver us from the control of our enemy Satan (See: 1 Co. 6:19-20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

The Reason

So, what is the purpose of our salvation? According to many teachers and preachers of the gospel today, it is merely to take our punishment for sin, to forgive us our sins, and to promise us the hope of heaven when we die. But, is that all there is to it? Nope!

The purpose of our salvation from sin is “to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

That “packs a punch,” doesn’t it? It really says it all. The gospel of our salvation was prophesied by Zechariah, after the birth of his son John, who was to prepare people’s hearts for Jesus Christ, to turn them to God.

Basically, when we are born into this world physically, we are born with sin natures under the control of our enemy Satan, separate from God, and not able, in our own merit, to be approved by God and to share in his righteousness and holiness, and in his eternal kingdom.

So, our primary enemies are sin and Satan. But, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are delivered from the control of both. Amen! And, that is GOOD NEWS! We are no longer enslaved to sin or under the power of Satan, for Jesus set us free! Glory to God! Now our lives are submitted to Christ.

Now that Jesus has set us free, by faith in him, from sin and Satan, we can now serve our Lord without fear of Satan’s control over our lives and without fear of sin’s grip on our lives, too. For, in Jesus Christ, we are strengthened and empowered of the Holy Spirit to walk in holiness and righteousness the rest of our days here on this earth, as we yield to the Spirit’s control.

But, not only are we empowered of the Spirit to walk in holiness, but this is what was granted to us by God’s grace that we should do. This is why Jesus died, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s soon return (See: Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24).

Luke 1:76-79 ESV

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Although this is a prophecy concerning the ministry of John the Baptist, it really describes what all of us who believe in Jesus Christ should be doing. For, as followers of Jesus, we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. And, we are the light of the world, so we are to be sharing the light of Christ and his gospel message with others so that they, too, can find salvation from their sins.

But, it is not just to the unsaved that this message is to go forth, or at least it is not just to those who make no profession of Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives. But, this message of salvation, as prophesied here by Zechariah, and as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, also needs to be shared with the gatherings of the church, because so many people who profess the name of Jesus have been sold a “bill of goods.”

So many people have been lied to and have been deceived into thinking that faith in Jesus Christ is some one-time event that took place in their lives that secured them heaven for when they die, but that it doesn’t really have to impact their lifestyles all that much.

And, from all appearances, this describes the vast majority of those who call themselves Christians in America. Their lives, for the most part, are not that much different from those who never have made a profession of Christ as Savior of their lives.

The purpose of John’s ministry, thus, was to turn God’s people to the Lord Jesus. And, that has to be our ministry, too, to turn Christians truly to the Lord Jesus, that they “might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

For, far too many professing Christians in America, in American churches, do not have this sense that the purpose of their salvation is that they might serve the Lord without fear of the control of sin and Satan, and in holiness and righteousness before the Lord ALL THEIR DAYS. And, so someone needs to tell them the truth. Will you be that someone?

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

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