With a Whole Heart
1 Chronicles 29:9 ESV
“Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.”
The people had willingly and freely given to the Lord for the building of the temple of God (Old Testament). So, what is the temple of God today? It isn’t a building built by human hands like it was then. And it is not a church denomination, nor is it an incorporated entity of the state.
The temple of God today is us who believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith which submits to Christ as Lord, dies with him to sin, and which lives to him and to his righteousness. It is a spiritual building, not a physical one, and it is built with living stones, which are us, with Jesus as the cornerstone.
So, how is the church, the body of Christ, being built today? Again, it is not with brick and mortar. It is through encouraging one another in our walks of obedient faith in Jesus Christ. And it is through speaking the truth in love, one to the other, so that we can all reach to maturity in Christ.
It is by exposing lies and proclaiming the truth so that our fellow believers are not led astray to follow after other gospels and another Jesus, and so that they are not led astray to fall back into sinful practices. And it is so that we will all walk in the light of God’s love and grace in obeying our Lord.
It is utilizing the gifts of the Spirit we have been given in the specific roles assigned to us by God within his body, in obedience to our Lord, again for the encouragement and the maturing of the body of Christ in our walks of faith with the Lord, with each one of us doing our part.
And it is showing love to others through the meeting of people’s legitimate needs, as we are able and as God leads, lending a helping hand, providing food or clothing or shelter, sharing a song or a scripture to encourage, and/or sending a card or flowers or whatever might help lift their spirits.
[1 Co 3:9, 16-17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:1; 2 Co 6:14-16; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:11-16; Rom 12:4-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Col 1:24; Jude 1:20-21]
It All Comes from God
1 Chronicles 29:14-16 ESV
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.”
As believers in Jesus Christ, all that we have in the way of spiritual blessings comes from God. Even the faith to believe in Jesus Christ is gifted to us by God, it is God-ordained and God-persuaded, and it is founded in Jesus Christ, who is also the perfecter of our faith.
So, what this means for us is that, since this faith originates in Jesus Christ/God, and is gifted to us by God, and that to have such faith we must be persuaded by God to believe in Jesus, this faith is going to be in line with God’s divine character and will for us.
Thus, when we believe in Jesus Christ with this faith, which comes from God, we die with Christ to sin, and we are reborn of the Spirit of God, and now we live to Christ and to his righteousness. We no longer walk (in conduct) according to our flesh, but now according to the Spirit.
So, our faith and our salvation are the working of God’s Spirit from start to finish. Yes, it involves our cooperation. And yes, it involves us submitting ourselves to the will of God. And it involves us walking in obedience to the Lord, but all of this is done in the power of God.
So, all of our obedience, our service to our Lord, the gifts we have been given, the ministries God leads us to, etc. all comes from God if indeed we have been born again of God’s Spirit which is evidenced by us dying with him to sin and us living to him and to his righteousness in his power.
So, this is not works-based salvation, because none of this originates with us. We can’t come to faith unless God draws us to faith in Jesus, and we can’t live for the Lord but by God’s grace and in his strength and power, and we can’t persevere in our faith except by Jesus’ perfecting that faith.
[Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17]
He Has Pleasure in Uprightness
1 Chronicles 29:17-18 ESV
“I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.”
Again, all this comes from God. We can’t be upright except for what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on that cross so that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin and so we might now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. We can’t be upright in our own flesh. Impossible!
So, if our hearts are upright, praise the Lord! Do we have a part in it? Yes, we do. We are not to continue living in sin. We are not to let sin rule our lives any longer. We are not to obey fleshly passions. And we are not to present our bodies to sin as instruments for unrighteousness.
But we are to walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and we are to set our minds on the Spirit and not on the flesh, and we are to live our lives to please God. For, if we live according to the flesh, we will die, but if BY THE SPIRIT we are putting to death the deeds of the body, we will live.
And we are to die daily to sin and deny self and follow our Lord in obedience to his commands. Our lives are no longer to be lived for ourselves, but for the glory of God. And we are to live for Jesus who gave his life up for us, saying “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to righteousness daily.
But, again, all of this is only possible because of what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross. And it is only possible as he gives us the strength and the power of God to live holy lives, pleasing to God. But we must surrender our lives to him and let him do his work in and through us.
[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Tit 2:11-14; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26]
Praise the Lord
Lyrics by John Kempthorne (1775-1838),
Music by Lowell Mason (1841)
Based on Psalm 148:1-2
Praise the Lord! ye heav’ns adore him;
Praise him angels, in the height;
Sun and moon, rejoice before him;
Praise him, all ye stars of light.
Praise the Lord! for he has spoken;
Worlds his mighty voice obeyed;
Laws which never shall be broken
For their guidance he has made.
Praise the Lord! for he is glorious;
Never shall his promise fail;
God has made his saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.
Praise the God of our salvation!
Hosts on high his pow’r proclaim;
Heav’n, and earth, and all creation,
Laud and magnify his name.
Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
Lord, we offer unto thee;
Young and old, thy praise expressing,
In glad homage bend the knee.
All the saints in heav’n adore thee,
We would bow before thy throne;
As thine angels serve before thee,
So on earth thy will be done.
Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah!
Amen, Amen, Amen.
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