From Slavery to Royalty

Galatians 4:7   (NLT)   Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Praise God, we are now His children; we’re no longer slaves. He made a way. Transformation from slavery to royalty would have been way more than enough blessings to last for eternity, but there’s more; He also made us His heirs. That’s a proof Galatians 4.7 - From Slavery to Royaltythat us being His children isn’t just a joke; He isn’t kidding around; it’s as true as true can be.

God—the Father of creation is now the Father of our spirits. He is our loving and powerful emancipator. Our sovereign God—He Who lives completely free bought and brought us our freedom. In the fullness of time, in His perfect, surprising, and yet painful way, He gave us His only and beloved Son. Our precious Lord Jesus lovingly and willingly left His throne of glory, became like one of us, and offered His very own life as a sacrificial payment for our sins.

We are free spirits. We are free from the power of sin, from the penalty of sin, and will eventually be free from the presence sin. We are free from the Law—no longer bound and subjected to it. We are delivered from its curse.  We are not children under Law, we’re children of promise. We’re not children of Hagar; we are children of Sarah. We are not from Mount Sinai we are from heavenly Jerusalem.

We’ve been powerfully and mercifully liberated by our Almighty loving God and Father. We don’t use our freedom to indulge our sinful desires; we don’t allow ourselves to be entangled again to the yoke of slavery. It’s for freedom our precious Lord Jesus set us free. We’ve been freed; we are free; we stay free. We’re enjoying our prized liberty as God’s children, enjoying our inheritance, blessing and serving others with them, and looking forward to infinitely more.

Transformed Hearts

Romans 2:29   (KJV)   29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. That’s a saying we’ve probably heard many times, but its truthfulness can’t be ignored. It’s not that outside appearances aren’t important to God, it’s that He knows that the true nature of a person is found and comes Romans 2.29 - Transformed Heartsfrom the heart. The heart is the wellspring of life. Our words and actions, whether they be good or evil, are just natural external expressions of what’s abundantly stored within us.

Obedience is good, good works are that—good, but it’s obviously possible for people to obey and do good things externally—as great pretenders.  To do good, even when forced, for the purpose of helping others has some merits, but doing good for the purpose of deceiving others is reprehensible. It’s possible to have a heart that really desires to worship, serve, and obey God—a heart that sincerely desires to do good to others. It’s a heart changed by God’s Spirit.

One of the best evidences of a Spirit-transformed heart is that it’s “praise is not of men, but of God.”  For us, living good, upright, and godly lives isn’t to impress people but to bring their attention to the Him Who made us new creations as we shine our lights. He deserves our full surrender and obedience.  The truth is: He deserves everything we are and everything we have.  More so, He deserves infinitely more than everything we all are and everything we all have.  We see perfect sense in giving Him no less than our all and our best.

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.

Faith Gaps

1 Thessalonians 3:10   (KJV)   10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

We desire to effectively and efficiently disciple our brothers and sisters in Jesus.  We want to do the best we can to help each other grow in our walk.  And spending time with each other is essential to this.  Discipleship somehow works better when our disciples see 1 Thessalonians 3.10 - Gaps in Faithus and are able to not only read and hear about what we teach, but see how we exemplify our teachings. They see how our beliefs transform us from glory to glory.

We all still need to grow.  Each one still has this “gaps in faith” that are slowly filled through continuous learning of the Word.  God has provided us each other.  God is an omniscient Father desiring to teach us, instruct us, lead us and guide us.  He left us with the written Word and sent us His Holy Spirit as more than sufficient helps in this.  He wants us to live the best life we can live—one that’s fruitful, growing, and powerful,

We need divine guidance.  Forks in the road are everywhere; convincing voices abound; it’s very easy to stray from the straight and narrow.  We humbly admit: as long as we’re on earth, even to the best of our abilities, we’ll continue having blind spots—gaps in faith.  It’s just right that we first and foremost humble ourselves and receive faithful instructions from those our loving Father provide as our disciplers.  Then freely we give what we freely receive. As we’re helped decrease our faith gaps, we help others to do the same.  Altogether we grow in our doctrine and practice.  Deceptions come, hardships hit, but we remain straight and strong.

 

Blessed and Wise

1 Corinthians 15:10   (KJV)   10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

We’ve all failed God. We who have turned away from our sins, we who have placed our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation, we who have waived the white flag of surrender to His Lordship are saved and have become new creations—all because of His love, mercy and 1 Corinthians 15.10 - Blessed and Wisegrace. We all need Him if we are to be who we ought to be. We can’t reach our full potential and our beautiful destinies apart from our Maker, Sustainer, and Guide.

The abundance of blessings we receive from our extremely generous Father enables us to be who we need to be and do what we need to do.  We don’t get there passively; faith without works is dead, thus, unfruitful. We can choose to make wise use of all His gifts or we can waste them. God honors our efforts. As I often state, “For every step we take, God takes a million.” That sounds like an exaggeration, yet for all we know, it may actually be very conservative.

We honor our incomparably generous Lord with our faithfulness. How faithfully or unfaithfully we use His gifts to us shows how grateful and appreciative we are to Him—or not. We are grateful—eternally grateful. We understand that His blessings will continue to flow even in paradise. That’s why despite all the seemingly unpleasant treatments we receive for being a believer, we are steadfast in our faith, and we willingly and enthusiastically labour in the Lord as He works faithfully and strongly in and through us.

Beloved Children of God

1 John 3:2   (KJV)    2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

One of the greatest blessings in our relationship with God is us being adopted into His family as His very own children. Those of us who receive Him, who believe in His Name, He gave us this awesome right and honor of becoming His children. We have a true, living, 1-john-3-2-beloved-children-of-godloving Father-child relationship with God. This is something affirmed in us by His precious Holy Spirit. We now call Him Dad.

Because we have this saving belief, experience, and relationship with our Father, we’re assured of our eternal destiny: we will spend eternity in His presence, and our predestination will be fully realized: complete conformity to the image of our dear Lord Jesus. Right now we enjoy and celebrate our victories in growth. In this imperfect world where the prince of darkness still has widespread influence, we, though still sharing in this imperfection, though still struggling at times against temptations, though still failing and falling at times, look forward to our ultimate transformation. One day soon, we will see our precious Lord appear in the clouds, and we will be gloriously changed.

God wants us to draw ever closer to Him because He loves us truly, fully, unconditionally, and infinitely. We all turned away from him, went astray and got separated so far away from him. I can’t imagine how much we broke His heart. He did everything so He can bring us back. Through our precious Lord Jesus, we’re back. People don’t understand why we love Him; we don’t have to be forced, threatened, or coerced to pray, read His Word, fellowship with our spiritual family, and speak to others about Him. We enthusiastically and excitedly look forward to them. How can we not be? We and Dad—we love each other very much.

Seed of Holiness

1 John 3:9   (KJV)   Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Our heart deeply yearns that we glorify our holy God in the way we live. What a great honor to be instruments of our Master’s praise. It’s a wonderful privilege showing people that there are real believers—people who truly follow Him. Our treasured relationship with Him goes beyond cerebral; it totally involves our hearts; it plainly shows through the 1-john-3-9-seed-of-holinessindisputable way we live. Our confident confession and our visible actions are in harmony with each other. God has made us righteous; we show it well.

Others say believers are total hypocrites; that’s quite understandable, but it doesn’t mean they’re right. Hypocrites show something different without an inch of inclination to change. True followers of the Lord Jesus aren’t perfect, but changes are happening progressively; we truly desire change, we passionately pursue change. We try our best getting rid of our sinful ways and anything that displeases our beloved Savior. If we show ourselves holy, it’s because God has made us holy and we want to be holy.

It’s our deep desire to have God’s seed in us growing and manifesting increasingly more. Personally, in my humble understanding of God’s Word, a true believer’s life and lifestyle is characterized with goodness and godliness; a sinful lifestyle and true Christianity is a contradiction. Yes, we’re not perfect; we still fail, sin, and fall, but we don’t make a habit and practice of it. It breaks our hearts when we do; we don’t glory in it. Our search isn’t on how to be better in sinning without being caught or exposed, rather, our journey is a continuous quest towards our Father’s greater pleasure. Positionally, He’s always pleased with us; praise God, He also gives us additional honor and privilege of pleasing Him practically.

Close and Clean

James 4:8   (KJV)   8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Our Lord’s gracious invitation is always extended to us. The Father tenderly draws us through His gentle Spirit, and we willingly and gratefully come. As we do, we’re wonderfully transformed into His image; we’re changed from glory to glory. Changes james-4-8-close-and-cleanhappen; we walk the straight paths of righteousness, holiness and purity. We delight in clean living—in and out. Our minds and hearts are set: we choose God over the world, over others, over ourselves, over anyone or anything else.

He is our continuous pursuit. We want to know Him ever-increasingly more. We want to be as close to Him as possible. The closer we are to Him, the clearer we see Him, the more we know Him, the more we become like Him. Our faith-our dependence on Him, our relationship with the Lord is proven genuine even through the hardest of tests, trials, and situations. It’s not a cheap claim and confession; instead, it’s clearly evidenced in our lives.

All for God, and God for all—totally and absolutely—all in, all out, all the way. The cross before us, the world behind us, though none go with us, we are committed: we follow Jesus, ever closer. Our eyes are set on Him; our path is clear. Nothing can stop us. We’re going all the way—to the upward call of our Lord. Suffer, we may; it will be way more than worth it all. Surrender to Him, we do. We walk without the unneeded weights of our sin baggage. Jesus is seen increasingly more in us; we look for and see God’s image in others. We treat everyone with love and respect. That’s why we don’t discriminate; that’s why our lives are testaments of God’s blessing; our lips are fountains of sweet blessings as well. Our minds, our hearts, our works—all them are aligned toward one end: the glory of our beloved God and Savior.

Victory!

1-corinthians-15-57-victory

1 Corinthians 15:57   (KJV)   57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The honor and glory for our victorious lives as believers belong to God. He’s the reason and the One Who gives us victory. He gives us victory over forces and enemies no one else has any effective weapon against: sin and death. This victory is generously bestowed and shared to us through our victorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He defeated sin, death, and the grave: living a perfect life, dying a sacrificial death, and rising again on the third day.

We as His people live in victory. That’s why we are more than conquerors—not through our own power but through the power of the Holy Spirit—the power that gloriously raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead—the power that was actively involved in the creation of the entire universe—the awesome power continually residing inside of us. Left to ourselves, we’re pathetically powerless against the tandem forces of sin and death, but with God, we triumphantly rise above both.

That’s why we have transformed lives; we’re new creations; old stinking things have passed away, all things have become beautifully new. There are obvious changes in our beliefs, our love, and our choices. There is no question that we know our Father, that we have surrendered to our Lord Jesus, and that the Holy Spirit is working in us. From glory to glory, we claim one victory after another— journeying progressively on to the very image of our precious lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have no shame; we have no fear; we’re gratefully and humbly sure about our saving relationship with Him, and we excitedly wait for the Lord’s coming and our ultimate victory over death—our bodily resurrection.

Praise to You Lord—our victorious Lord and King! Maranatha.

Glorying in the Cross

galatians-6-14-glorying-in-the-cross

Galatians 6:14   (KJV)   14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

We exalt Jesus alone—not another person, not a group, not a denomination, not even ourselves. Whatever accomplishments we have: spiritual, educational, societal, or anything else—we count all of them as trash compared to what our precious Lord Jesus has accomplished. So yes, if there’s someone and something to be proud of, it’s the Lord and His loving sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. He’s the One we adore, praise, and worship.

This doesn’t mean that we got rid of righteous and godly living. I can’t overemphasize this: there’s no conflict and competition between the Gospel—the cross—and holiness. We’re not saved by our own good works, but we’re saved unto good works. They do come together. Our positional righteousness and practical righteousness don’t have a kind of disconnect; one is in a perfect state of Christ-like righteousness; the other is in a progressive state and journey towards it.

Yes, we glory in the cross. With that, we also know that it’s through that cross—that accomplishment of our dear Lord that we’ve been transformed. The world has lost its appeal to us. Our interest in this world is now rendered dead—crucified, and we’re no longer appealing to the world either. We smell like poison to them. Through what Jesus has done, we now have the Holy Spirit leading us so that we no longer plant towards our sinful desires. We don’t engage in immorality, impurity, lusts, pride, and other sins. We’re confident in Him, we live to please His Holy Spirit. We reap eternal life and not death. His Kingdom is our inheritance.