We Have to Yield

Ephesians 2:11-12 ESV

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

It used to be that God’s chosen people were the Jews, and that all non-Jews were considered to be Gentiles. It used to be that God required of his people that they (the males) be circumcised in the flesh (physically). And, it used to be that all who were Gentiles were outside of faith in God (in Christ), and that they were not heirs of the covenant promise God had with his people. They were separate from God (from Christ) and without hope. Yet, there may have been some believing Gentiles before Christ came into the world.

But, that is not where we are today.

Ephesians 2:13-16 ESV

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Now it is all those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior who are God’s chosen people, and who are heirs of the promise God made with his people. For, Jesus Christ destroyed that barrier that stood between Jew and Gentile, and he made us both one in Christ, for those who believe in Jesus Christ. So, the division is no longer Jew and Gentile but it is saved and unsaved or believer in Jesus and non-believer.

For, the Jew who does not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of his life, it is the same for him as it is for a non-Jew who refuses to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of his life. There is no difference. For, the non-believing Jew is the same as a non-believing Gentile. And, the Lord makes that quite clear in the books of Romans and Galatians, in particular, where he spells it out in clear language (Read Rom. 9:6b-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; 1 Jn. 2:22).

It used to be that God’s chosen people, too, had to follow a very long list of rules and regulations, mostly ceremonial in nature, and physical in nature, too. You can read about these in the Books of the Law (Genesis to Deuteronomy). The primary one, which was a point of contention with the early church, was physical circumcision. For, many Judaizers were trying to persuade Gentile believers in Jesus Christ that they, too, had to be circumcised of the flesh, and that they had to follow some Jewish regulations, customs and ceremonies.

But, when Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins, he abolished all of those Old Covenant ordinances (regulations) – all those which were outward and physical in nature but that had little to do with actual heart transformation of the Spirit of God. And, he summarized the ten commandments for us, which were God’s moral laws for his people, into two commandments. We are to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind, and we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40).

But, this love is not human love, of the flesh of man. This is agape love, which is God-like love, and which is based in preference for what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, honest and trustworthy, etc. So, if we love God with this kind of love, we are going to prefer what he prefers, thus we are going to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. And, if we love other humans with this kind of love, we are not going to lie to them, cheat them, steal from them, or commit adultery against them, etc. But, we will do to them what is good and righteous.

Ephesians 2:17-22 ESV

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Jesus Christ preached peace to the Jews and to the Gentiles. For, just because someone was physically a Jew, it did not mean he had the hope of eternal life with God. He still had to believe, and he had to obey God. And, today, just because someone claims to be a Christian or just because he grew up attending gatherings of the church does not mean he is genuinely saved from his sins with the hope of eternal life with God, either.

So, how does one become genuinely saved from his sins and part of the household of God today?

Scripture teaches us that we have to repent of (turn away from) our sins and turn to and follow the Lord Jesus with our lives in obedience to his commands. Yet, this is not works-based salvation, as some would have you to believe. We are still only saved from our sins because of what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross in taking our place so that we could be delivered out of our slavery to sin and so that we would walk righteously before him.

Yet, it is by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved from our sins and have eternal life with God. But, his grace to us and our faith are both gifts from God, for human faith is not what saves us. It is God-given and God-persuaded faith, which submits itself to the Lordship of Christ, which saves us from our sins and which promises us eternal life with God. And, it is continuous faith which endures to the end, too.

We are being joined together, and we are growing into a holy temple of God, and we are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Daily, by the Spirit, we are putting to death the misdeeds of our sinful flesh. And, daily we are taking up our cross and we are following (obeying) Jesus Christ with our lives. For, it is those who are walking (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, who have eternal life with God.

For, Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just to promise us heaven when we die. But, he died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. For, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, all this is by the Spirit of God. But, we have to yield our lives over to the Spirit’s control.

[Jn. 14:23-24; Rom. 6:16; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 3:24; Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 6:35-66; Jn. 10:27-30; Ac. 26:16-18; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 2:8-10; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1:5-9]

I Will Lift My Eyes

An Original Work / December 12, 2012
Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

Friday, August 30, 2019

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