Our Body as Force for Good

Romans 6:13    (KJV)   13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We have a choice as to what to do with our “members,” our bodies, whether they’ll be instruments of sin or instruments of God. As believers, the choice is very clear; our natural predisposition now that we’re alive from the dead—we’ve been raised to a new life—is to live out this new life for God’s glory and honor.

Romans 6.13 - Bodies - Force for GoodChoice is a big word today, and our hearts go out to those who misunderstand the meaning. Choice doesn’t equate to doing wrong. Choice speaks of one of God’s most loving and wisest gift to mankind: free will. We keep that honor when we become believers. But instead of being slaves to sin, we now have power over it. The choice is ours, and for believers, our choice equates to what’s good, right, and godly. We can choose otherwise, but the precious Holy Spirit is now powerfully moving in us to will and to do God’s will. We don’t feel violated; at times I pray what I know God won’t answer—that He would just take full control of my will and make me do everything exactly as He wants me to.

With that powerful divine influence, we yield. We submit our bodies to the leading of God’s precious Holy Spirit; we deny sin its say, and we live victoriously and wonderfully. How beautiful are the pilgrimage of those who wisely reject the deceptions of the enemy, those not blinded by the lying attractions of temptations. Our bodies are no longer sin’s helpless tools and victims. Praise God, through our Lord, we’ve found authority and power to see through sin’s devious allurements, to render our bodies dead to it, and to offer our bodies as living sacrifices—Holy and acceptable to our beloved Lord and Savior.

Aside from God’s pleasure, guess how happy my spouse is that I choose to devote my body to her alone instead of enjoying the pleasures of infidelity. Guess how happy my family is that I serve them instead of abandoning them. Guess how happy my neighbors are that I desire them good and not harm. That’s the beauty of a righteous life. It becomes an instrument of blessing and joy to our heavenly Father first and foremost, and to others as well. What a wonderful life.

 

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Free and Obedient Hearts

1 Chronicles 29:18   (KJV)   18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:

Can our sovereign and loving God work in our hearts—people’s hearts—without violating our free will?  I guess He can.  We may not fully understand how He does it, but He can.  Otherwise, there’s no point praying for Him to make His people want to obey 1 Chronicles 29.18 - Free and Obedient HeartsHim.  We’ve seen clear examples and explicit passages in the Scriptures showing this.  God changed the heart of Saul (1 Sam. 10:9); He prophesied about giving His people a new heart (Jer. 24:7); He directs the king’s heart like rivers of water (Prov. 21:1); David prayed for God to give him a clean heart (Ps. 51:10).

Yes He can, and Yes He does work in people’s hearts.  This is not however a removal of free will, or cancelling of our responsibility.  In fact, we see clearly in the Scriptures how Saul turned away from God, how Solomon turned his heart towards the gods of his wives, how one king after another chose to rebel against God, and how His Old Covenant people repeatedly disobeyed God.  We as His people weren’t made robots when we placed our full dependence on Him to save us and surrendered our lives to Him.

We were made new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), but we still obviously have a choice whether we obey or disobey Him, whether we abide in Him or not, whether we live faithfully or not, whether we deny Him or not.  God won’t fail; if He says He’ll give us new hearts, He will. In fact, for believers, He already has.  What we do with our God-given new hearts is up to us.  As for me, and I pray my entire household, we will worship and serve Him faithfully—wholeheartedly.

Unstoppable

Exodus 11:3   (KJV)   3 And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.

God has ways and means of changing people’s attitudes without violating their free will. God is in control; He will work out everything according to His purpose. Those who consider others as enemies can change and see those enemies as friends. Those who abuse their workers can change and honor those workers for being a huge help to them. Those who consider someone in a very negative light can change and see their greatness instead.

God is Sovereign. Even when things seem to be getting out of hand, even when He seems very silent and uninvolved, even when evil seems to be winning and growing. There are specific times in history when God’s handiwork becomes absolutely obvious; when no matter how people act or react, whatever they think, whatever they say or do, however flagrant their rebellion is; pertinent people, things, and events move clearly towards righteousness.

People may not even associate the events with God’s work or intervention, but the momentum becomes unstoppable. The government, mainstream media, Hollywood, educational system, politicians, and many other powerful and influential individuals or groups may unite against God and His people, but all their billions of dollars and their endless rhetoric will even work against them. When God declares special favor upon a person, or His people, favor comes like an unstoppable flood; there’s nothing His enemies can do. So we live in Him; we seek, pursue, and exalt Him, His Kingdom, and His righteousness. Against the torrents of hypocrisy, lies, and abusive attacks, we have peace, knowing we’re on the right side, and His favor is upon us.

One Thing

Luke 10:42   (KJV)   42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

In the final analysis, there’s only One that really matters: Jesus. Although there are those who get bogged down with a lot of small details, what’s important is our Lord: things in and about Him. It’s a joy to know that we make the right choice, and the Lord values our luke-10-42-one-thingchoice of Him; He protects that; He vindicates us as we stand for Him: for what is good, right, and godly; when we choose Him over anything and anyone; when we choose the eternal over the temporal.

We believe in the existence and reality of God; we believe in the reality of the invisible spiritual dimension. Others only believe what connects with their senses: what they can see, hear, smell, touch and taste. Our prayer is that they’ll have a saving belief of and experience with the Lord so that they could share in the wonders of life eternal and the unlimited realm. The supernatural exists; our Lord Jesus: His coming, His teaching, His resurrection, His ascension proves that.

We make the main thing the main thing. We know who we are; we know our purpose; we know our destiny. We are God’s children; we keep pursuing a growing and more intimate relationship with the Father. There’s a great harvest; we are lambs sent among wolves, but we go loving on the wolves nonetheless. We don’t fear because God has given us power, love and wisdom; we know how to navigate through the rough “seas” of this earth. We press on towards the mark of the high “heavenward” calling of God in Christ Jesus. It’s really that simple. So we seek Him and His righteousness, and all the small details of life that often distract others from what really matters in this life and eternity are taken care of personally by our precious Lord Jesus.

Living in the Spirit

Romans 8:9   (KJV)   9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

We are not in the flesh—we’re not controlled by that part of us that desires sin. What a wonderful affirmation!!! Praise the LORD!!! The reason why we’re not controlled by the flesh is the Holy Spirit; He’s the new force, power, or influence Who is in control of us. For romans-8-9-living-in-the-spiritthose of us who have received the Holy Spirit through our faith in the Lord Jesus, it’s a very encouraging guarantee: He’s now in control of the wheels, no longer our sinful nature.

This sounds very interesting; it’s almost like we don’t have to do anything about it because it’s automatic. But to clarify, we have a part here. We are also urged to make righteous choices. I pray that my humble short exposition adds clarity to those who may have a small question regarding the seeming irreconcilability between God’s Sovereignty and our free will. Does God sovereignly control us to live in the spirit, or do we make that determination? It’s both.

If there’s any consolation to us who may have to exert a little more effort in understanding Paul’s teachings especially in his letter to the Romans, we’re not alone in this; even the Apostle Peter pointed out the fact that parts of Paul’s letters are hard to understand. Praise God, we have the mind of Christ; we can understand. “Hard to understand” doesn’t mean impossible to understand. Regarding the outworking of God’s Spirit in us and us choosing to live in the Spirit—both are true as I wrote above.

The apostle Paul affirms this repeatedly. We as true believers are the ones in whom the Holy Spirit lives. We in whom the Holy Spirit resides, the Holy Spirit takes control of. We who the Holy Spirit takes control of, mind the things of the Spirit and choose to walk after the Spirit. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have the ability to choose otherwise; it’s just that we are now new creations, with new nature, who now desire thus choose to live freely in righteousness and life, and no longer as slaves to sin, flesh, and death.

The Nation’s Hope

Psalm 125:3   (KJV)   3 For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.

God’s supreme governance over the affairs of humanity or the entire creation is a source of the many encouragements and comforts we as believers have. We do have differences of choices when it comes to who shall lead a nation. The choice becomes hard when you have psalm-125-3-the-nations-hopeto choose between two godly candidates. But it becomes an easy decision when choosing between one that stands for more evil and one that stands for more good.

There comes a seeming threat when the majority favors the ungodly choice. That’s why we rejoice in God’s sovereignty. He makes the determination as to who to set up as the head of a nation. Another very reassuring reason to rejoice is the basis—at least one of them—as to who God chooses. He bases it on the people, more specifically, His people. When the land is identified more as of the righteous, God makes sure the wicked’s rod won’t hold sway.

He cares for the righteous—His people. He leads us not into temptation. He knows our frame; He remember that we are dust with much frailties. He’d rather not get us close to the mouths of roaring lions looking to devour us. That’s why we pray that we get our acts together. We as His people humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways—sincerely, truly. As He promises, He hears, forgives us, and heals our land.

Doubly Righteous

Revelation 19:8   (KJV)   8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Righteousness matters. We as people made holy by God are also made righteous by God. That’s the kind revelation-19-8-doubly-righteousof righteousness that’s all God’s work. We don’t have anything to do with it. When we grabbed hold of our Lord Jesus in full dependence on Him as our Savior and our Lord, He made us righteous. He gave us His righteousness, meaning, we are as righteous as He is. There is of course a different kind of righteousness, and that is, righteousness based on our deeds. We have a choice to do, think, say, and choose what’s right, good, and godly. We can walk righteously or unrighteously.

The fine, clean, white linen—the righteousness of saints is interpreted differently by Bible teachers. Some refer to that as positional righteousness—that imputed to us by God, void of any deed from us. Some believe it to be practical righteousness—the good deeds of God’s people. It could go either way, but it could be both. This is something that’s worthy of acceptance and balanced treatment.

Positional righteousness doesn’t prohibit practical righteousness. In fact, the opposite is true. As people made righteous by God, our walk ought to be righteous; our thoughts, words, deeds, and choices ought to flow from who God has made us to be. Our “doing” ought to naturally flow from our being. The tree bears its corresponding fruit. That’s why genuine Christians or impostors are known by the kind of fruit they bear. Our Father is righteous; there’s no right option but to live righteously. We understand that temptations abound and they will continue to come, but our minds are made up. Our beings have been reprogrammed; our spiritual DNA is that which is righteous. We trash and throw off everything evil, every fruit that doesn’t belong to a person made righteous. We have been made righteous, and we’ve got fruits—proofs to show it.