2 Timothy 2:19 (KJV) 19Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
There are argumentable teachings in the Bible—teachings that aren’t so clear; Christians interpret them differently and take positions that are often diametrically in contradiction to each other. Don’t be alarmed; none of these teachings have to do with salvation or God in His nature or being. But there are teachings set in stone. Here are two of them: God knows those who belong to Him; those who belong to Him must depart from iniquity.
We believe in the omniscience of God; He doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to who are His and who aren’t, who are saved and who are lost. His part is covered perfectly well. He’s not negligent; He’s not forgetful; He won’t have any “oops” moment. Our part is our part. Although we’ve heard it often stated: “Christianity is not about rules; it’s not about dos and don’ts; we’re not under the Law,” this doesn’t mean we’re unruly and lawless.
We have a loving relationship with our Father; we also have a very respectful relationship with our God. Our Father is our God; our God is our Father; we love Him; we fear Him. We want to do the things He wants us to do because we love Him. But I’ll be honest. In our imperfection; we don’t always do things He wants us to do; that’s when we ought to do them even when we don’t feel like doing them. It’s settled; one of the things we want to do, we ought to do, and we must do, is to depart from—turn away from iniquity, unholiness, unrighteousness, evil, or ungodliness. Yes, whether we want to or not, we must.
Joel 3:16 (KJV) 16 The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
The Day of the Lord will be an earth-shaking, heaven-altering event. To some it will be very dreadful. It will be a day of judgment and wars like no other. But to God’s people, there’s nothing to fear. As He always is, He will be His people’s hope, refuge, strength, and stronghold.
We live with no fear. We don’t fear any man, any situation, or anything. We only fear Him Who we love most and Who loves us most. Disasters are real—both man-caused and natural. They’re here and they will keep on increasing. This may not sound comforting. When face-to-face with such devastating events, it’s but natural to be shaken. But we know that our God can and will protect us. He can and will deliver us.
It’s not that we won’t share in the hardships. But the beauty of living as His children is that surroundings and situations don’t define us; they don’t dictate our joy or peace. How can wars, famines and plagues scare us when death itself no longer has dominion over us? Our Savior defeated death. Death to us is a transition—a doorway to the presence of our most Beloved—the greatest Being in existence, and to the most beautiful place there is.
We don’t look for trouble; we don’t pursue hardships; we don’t pray for disasters; if it’s at all possible, we’d rather not have any of them. But we don’t live in denial. We face reality and truth head on. And we do it humbly, gratefully, hopefully, peacefully, confidently, joyfully; knowing that the One in control of all things is our Dad Who only wills the best for us and orchestrates everything according to His will.
Colossians 3:12 (KJV) 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering
We’re different—unique in so many ways. We’re part of God’s elect; not everyone’s a part. We’re holy—made holy that is; not everyone is. Being made different; we’re also called to be different—in our thoughts, character, and in our actions.
We’ve received abundant mercy; we are merciful—compassionate; freely we have received, we freely give. People speak of love very easily; it’s sad that they also treat it very casually. There’s a lot of lip-service, but not a lot of reality. We’re kind; we need kindness more than ever. Others say we live in a cruel world; rudeness seems to be the trend. It’s easy to understand why there are so many people living in deep depression. They need help; they need hope; they need to see that not everyone’s out to get them; not everyone is a competition or an enemy; not everyone wants to put them down.
We are gratefully humble; we don’t need people’s approval or praise; we’re not insecure because we find our significance and worth in our Lord Jesus; we don’t find it necessary to jockey for position because position isn’t what makes us important. It’s a joy for us to consider others better than ourselves. We’re meek; we understand that people need tender, gentle, loving care. We’re surrounded by fragile—sensitive people; many are them are already broken. We can’t change everyone, but we can change ourselves—for the better—continuously—increasingly better. And through us, the world is and can still be a better place. It may take a long time for us to see the difference; it’s okay, we have enough patience for that, and we’re still continually growing in it. We’re different—set apart for God’s specific purpose; we love it.
Colossians 2:3 (KJV) 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
True wisdom and pure knowledge are found in our precious Lord Jesus. We who have received Him in our lives have full and instant access to them. We won’t possess all of what the Lord has, but He allows us to have what we need—especially those that have to do with life and godliness. Books are helpful; we support that; we love reading and learning from those who’ve gone before us. But more than all, we have the very existence of truth, wisdom, and knowledge already living inside us.
Mysteries are real. There are mysteries God planned to reveal only to His children. There are times when God chooses to reveal them without any effort on our part, but often, God leaves the joy of responsibility to us. There are also mysteries God designed and desire to be kept secret; we don’t bother forcing ourselves to learn them. Some or perhaps many of those secrets will be revealed to us in due time—in eternity perhaps. We’re willing to wait—excitedly.
Why are many of God’s children wise? Not everyone graduated from universities with multiple degrees? It’s because we have our Lord Jesus. He’s in us; we’re in Him; we spend a lot of time together. He listens as we pour out our hearts, and we listen as He pours out His. We sit at the feet of the greatest teacher in entire existence. We are truly privileged. That’s why we stand steadfastly and walk faithfully against even the most well-crafted arguments and polemic against our God and against our faith.
Philippians 4:5 (KJV) 5Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Moderation has much to do in relation to the coming of the Lord. The Lord’s return is near. Readiness for His return—wise preparation includes this most often overlooked virtue.
Instead of insisting on our own preferences, we give way. We don’t enforce our choices; we don’t lord it over others; instead, we reflect the gentle spirit of our Lord, His graciousness, His unselfishness, mercy, and understanding. It isn’t easy, but it’s doable. People often do things that are very foolish and can easily anger us, especially when their thoughtless actions result to more hard work for us—grrrr.
But we can’t be preoccupied with anger and frustration. It takes a lot of yieldedness to God’s Spirit, but we choose to see past people’s senselessness. Through this, we avoid anger and conflicts that can render us less effective in our testimony. We’d rather be more focused on the Lord’s coming than our own personal fulfillment. People are watching; we represent our Lord; we watch for His return; we watch our actions and reactions.
2 Chronicles 11:16 (KJV) 16And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers.
God is the ultimate priority of true worshipers. There are no double thoughts about pulling ourselves from one place and planting ourselves to another if that’s what God wants us to do. Our hearts are set on seeking and following the LORD, and if doing so calls for sacrificing of anything here on earth we find extremely valuable, we joyfully do so.
We don’t deny that there are those who profess to be followers of our Lord yet relegate God to one day a week worship. Their priority is their profession, or position, or recognition, or a person. Most of their precious resources are spent in earthly things instead of our Lord’s Kingdom. True worship of God is a continuing lifestyle. It’s not sporadic; it’s not selective; it’s not catered to our comfort, or our benefit, although worshipers are benefited much.
Life of worship willingly denies self, daily takes up cross, and follows the footsteps of our Lord. What seems very hard in other people’s perception is a joy to us. Our joy is found in being in God’s will. If this necessitates forsaking everything else, so be it. We ascribe to God the highest worth, that’s why He’s the One we worship. That’s settled in our hearts and mind. Everything else comes far second. And for Him, we gladly do anything.
Ephesians 6:8 (KJV) 8Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Even in and under the age of grace, the Lord still operates in a reward system. Doing good still has its merits and blessings. All of us are still affected by this divinely ordained principle, system, or design.
Whoever we are and whatever our status is in society, we live in the assurance that our God Who is gracious is also God who is fair and just. He won’t shortchange us. God compensates our life of loving faithfulness. He doesn’t have favoritism; it’s because (I personally take it as) we’re all His favorites.
We find delight in pleasing our Master, and He returns the favor in an inestimably gracious way. That’s why I understand that there’s no contradiction between grace and rewards. God values our good works, He rewards them, and His rewards are incalculably more gracious than what our works deserve. This is clear in the principle of sowing and reaping; in general, what we reap is always multiplied times more than what we sow.
This is why we so willingly, lovingly, diligently, and enthusiastically serve the Lord and others. Although His rewards aren’t our prime motivation, we believe the truth about it. They’re real; they come; we gratefully receive them, we enjoy them; and we know there’s a lot more of them. Praise God.
Ephesians 4:16 (KJV) 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
There are no misfits in the body of Christ. God put us all together “perfectly.” We all have a part to play. We affect each other. How faithfully or unfaithfully we do our part determines whether or not we help each other grow in His love and likeness.
We serve others well; we serve others the best way we can. We don’t serve just for the sake of serving. This isn’t something we do just for the sake of fulfilling our obligation. If that’s the case, we would settle for the easiest ministry in the church. No; we pursue what we believe God has called us to. We seek out the best and greatest way we can serve the church—not for our own personal aggrandizement, enrichment, or popularity, but for the benefit of His children, His kingdom, His Name.
Ephesians 3:19 (KJV) 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
One of the ways we can be filled with all the fullness of God is by knowing the love of Christ. Although his love is beyond full comprehension, it isn’t beyond partial comprehension. And God has given us the wisdom we need so we can keep growing in our knowledge and understanding of His love: in its width, length, height, and depth. God want us to live out His fullness; we want to live out the fullness of life and power that He gives us. Knowing, experiencing, living out and living in the love of our Lord Jesus has a direct correlation with living out God’s life and power.
Some believers often have “unspoken” preference between power and fruit of the Holy Spirit; they emphasize one over the other. Perish the thought that I’m implying what they’re doing is wrong. Personally, I conscientiously try my best to teach the importance of both. Both have its merits, both are important to God. Both are connected. God strengthens us with His Spirit and invites us to a greater understanding of His love so we can live in His strength and power, and do so with love as our motivation.
People, especially the lost, need to see the reality of God. In our particular generation, there are many who would no longer listen to reason. There are so many who are set in their beliefs—reasonable or unreasonable. Many are no longer open and willing to dialogue. Blindness is so prevalent. Lies are rampant, acceptable, and promoted in order to support and push their beliefs and agenda. It’s in this milieu that manifestations of unconditional love and miraculous power of God through us may have greater impact. Reason, love, power—all these are important; God has given and made them all available to us; we utilize all of them, and we grow in all of them.
Proverbs 28:13 (KJV) 13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
Hiding or concealing sin has an adverse effect or consequence: it causes some kind of failure. Conversely, confessing and forsaking sins has a positive or favorable consequence: mercy—withholding of corresponding punishment or penalty.
Instead of regarding or hiding sins in our hearts and being more concerned about effectively covering them to avoid being caught, we confess them quickly and sincerely. There may be discussions as to the extents of the meaning of “not prosper,” but regardless of anyone’s interpretation, we would like to avoid it at all cost. We sin—that alone is always heartbreaking as believers, why linger there?
For others to come to a point when they would rather cover their sins than confess them is a proof that they’re already treading a very dangerous ground in their Christian walk—it’s a clear indicator that there’s a part of their walk where they are already off-course—they’ve been derailed and need to do everything to get right back on track as quickly as possible. We don’t hold on to sin; we discard and throw away every sin from us because they weigh us down and sidelines us. We don’t want to miss out on anything that our good God has for us. We desire the prosperity He wants us to have.
The more we’re tempted to cover our sins, to sugar-coat them, the greater the need for us to get rid of them as quickly as we would a burning coal or a ticking bomb in our hands. Mercy is a better choice than failure. Some people feel like they get away with it because they’re still succeeding even as they continue secretly sinning. But they don’t know what much greater benefits the Lord would have poured out on them had they chosen to walk faithfully instead. Besides, there really is nothing hidden; men may not see everything, but God sees all things. He already declared that there’s nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and that our sins will find us out. Why risk it?
Truth be told: we don’t ever want to find ourselves with a slightest inclination of covering our sins. We’d rather live in His pleasure.