Philippians 2:5-11 ESV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was and is God, who lived among the people of this earth for a specified period of time, many years ago. He left his throne in heaven, denied himself and his rights as God, and was born in the likeness of humankind. Also, he took on a servant role among the people on the earth when he healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, cast out demons, fed the hungry, and comforted the sorrowful.
But, that isn’t all that he did. For, his purpose in coming to the earth was primarily to provide the way of salvation from sin for us sinners. And, so he preached the way of righteousness, and he commanded repentance and walks of obedience to him. He ordered us in the way that we should go, which is the way of holiness, and he instructed us in the way of salvation from sin, too. He said we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him if we want to have eternal life with him (Lu. 9:23-25).
Yet, because his teaching was “hard,” not many wanted to follow his way, for they wanted a way that was easy. But, he said that the easy way was broad (all-inclusive) and that many traveled it, but that it ended in destruction. And, he stated that few traveled the narrow (strict, hard) way, but that it resulted in eternal life with God (Matt. 7:13-14; Jn. 6:35-66).
But, they didn’t like this teaching, so many rejected and deserted him, and the religious leaders in the temple called for his death on a cross. And, the crowds joined in, yelling for him to be crucified. But, Jesus didn’t resist them. He humbled himself in becoming obedient to death on a cross.
For, in his death, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness, and that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. For by his blood shed on a cross for our sins he bought us back for God so that we would now be God’s possession, and he would be our Lord (owner-master), and so that we would now glorify God with our lives (bodies, minds and souls). And, he lives that we might have new life in him (1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24).
Thus, Jesus Christ is the only way of our salvation from sin, and he is the only way to God the Father, and to peace, and to eternal life with God. Only through God-given faith in Jesus Christ can any of us be delivered out of our bondage (addiction) to sin and be able to walk in holiness and in purity of devotion to God; to our Lord Jesus Christ. And, we can only be saved from our sins by humbling ourselves before God, repenting of our sins, and by turning away from sin to follow our Lord in walks of obedience to Him.
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
It is only by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ that any of us is saved from our sins and has eternal life with God (Eph. 2:8-10). Without Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins, and without his resurrection back to life, we could not be saved and have eternal life with God. And, it is only as God the Father draws us to faith in Jesus Christ that any of us can find salvation in Jesus Christ, our Lord. We can do nothing in our own flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation. I want to make that clear!
But, that doesn’t mean we do nothing, or that we don’t have a part in our own salvation. We do! But, we need a correct understanding of what that part is, which is something that is often misconstrued. For, some people feel that they can affect their own salvation by good works, and that is wrong. And, then there are those who have swung the pendulum the other direction, and they say that even in repentance and obedience, we are trying to earn our own salvation by good works, and that is wrong, too.
We can’t, in our own flesh, of our own free will and choosing, make up our own gospel to suit us, on either end of the pendulum. Yes, we are not saved by doing good works in our own flesh. But, we are saved to good works of the Spirit of God. And, Jesus died for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. So, the very purpose of our salvation is to deliver us out of our slavery to sin so that we can surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and walk in his obedience.
So, God initiated our salvation via Jesus’ death on a cross. He is the one who draws us to Christ. He is the one who persuades us to believe in Jesus Christ and who gives us the faith to believe. And, it is the Holy Spirit of God who transforms our hearts and lives away from living for sin and self and who empowers us to live righteously before God. So, our salvation is of God and from God and empowered by God from beginning to end. Amen!
But! We have to cooperate with God. We have to yield to his Lordship over our lives. Daily, by the Spirit, we have to be putting to death the deeds of our flesh, and by the Spirit, we must walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God if we want to have eternal life with God. This is not us trying to earn our own salvation (Rom. 8:1-17).
This is God’s salvation being lived out through our lives as we yield to his will and purposes in our lives. And, this is how we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, realizing that it is God who works in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure. We cooperate with God in that work of delivering us from slavery to sin so that we can walk in holiness by doing what he says to do, and by not doing what he says not to do, in his strength (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14; Gal. 6:7-8).
Philippians 2:14-18 ESV
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
So, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are to live righteously before God in his power and strength, for this is his will and purpose for our lives. We are not to take God’s grace for granted or make God out to be like a genie in the sky there just to grant our every desire. We are not to see God’s grace, either, as free license to continue in sinful addictions, for Jesus set us free from our bondage to sin through his death on that cross, so we are to live for him.
And, we are to shine as lights in the world, in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, holding fast the Word of Life. And, this is not just with our words, but with our lifestyles. We are to live what the Word of God teaches, as well as we are to proclaim with our lips what it teaches.
Yet, this is not saying we will never sin, or that we will be absolutely perfect. We are all still clay in the Potter’s hands, and he is still molding us all to his likeness. But, it is saying that we are to walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God, and that we are to be separate (unlike, different) from the world.
For, this is why Jesus gave his life up for us. And, we need to be willing to give up our lives, too, to follow Jesus in obedience, and to share his gospel message so that others can be saved and have eternal life with God, too.
Being Made Right
An Original Work / September 8, 2019
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Cleansed and saved me,
Made me whole;
Purified me, now new within.
By His grace, I’m free from sin.
Holy Spirit lives within,
Teaching me to walk with Him,
Guiding me each step of the way.
Living for my Lord each day.
Father God, He is my Lord.
Walk with Him in one accord.
Follow Him wherever He leads,
Living holy, Him to please.
Witnessing for Him each day,
Loving others in His way,
Telling them about Jesus Christ,
And how they can be made right.
Saturday, September 14, 2019