I am grateful for air, spoken into existence and maintained by You to satisfyingly fill our lungs, sustaining life at all times. Awake, asleep, running, or resting; thank You for providing!
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (ego, overweening pride); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Philippians 2:3-4 (King James Version)
Me: Good morning, Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit: Good morning, Jon!
Me: Considering that passage in Philippians 2, I have to admit chafing if my superiors at work take an opposing stance against any of my ideas of how things ought to be done.
Holy Spirit: Think back to Eve’s interchange with the serpent:
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
What does verse six say about Eve’s rationalization? She “saw” that the tree produced fruit that was “good for food”, which is consideration for sating the physical self. She was going by how the fruit appeared to her, though I had said that it was deadly. Think of how she had to disbelieve My word. She “saw” that it was pleasant to the eyes, giving consideration to the emotional self. You experience, of course, My voice speaking to you and if you consider sinning against My direction, you know how focusing on the object of your desire instead of Me and My word leads to the same kind of decision as Eve made.
I made clear all wisdom is not from above. Let us look at what James says about it:
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
From James 3 (NASB)
Eve was deceived and she desired wisdom from the wrong source. Notice the component of selfish ambition in verse 14? She did not ask Me for My wisdom. I have made it clear to you, also through James, how to get My wisdom:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Finally, having partaken, Eve gave also to her husband. She was looking after her own interests, putting that demonic wisdom to work, right away.
Me: She was thinking, “If it hadn’t been a good idea, I wouldn’t have done it”?
Holy Spirit: She was. How often the deceived try to convince others to follow them!
Me: I definitely see the similarity to Eve’s deception and my egotistical chafing about being overridden at work. I pray you will help me be constant in seeking You and in putting the welfare of others before myself. I ask You to help me be gracious and convincing if You are guiding me down a path that has been opposed and quick to see and acknowledge if the other person is right.
I would like us to look at 1 Corinthians 13 with different eyes.
Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB
Many are discouraged in these days. Consider this (hopefully familiar) passage with me.
Do you see therein rejoicing? Do you see belief? Hope? Steadfast Endurance? Patience? Humility? Kindness? Does attainment of these seem like a high hurdle? Insurmountable, perhaps?
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4:8 King James Version
The fulfillment of those 1 Corinthians 13 characteristics is in the very nature and character of God. They will not be in us unless and until He is in us. And once He is in us:
I recommend a careful meditation on the fourth chapter of Zechariah. Zerubbabel was a leader of the first group of Jews returning to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity. The Lord is presenting Zerubbabel with a promise of His support and power to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to rebuild the temple:
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
For the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth, so that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
2 Chronicles 16:9a
Lets get back to those characteristics of our God that we began with, and look longingly again:
Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it [a]keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB
Is He in us? He wants to be. Do you feel His eyes upon us? Are we depending on His might? The question is, what do we want? Our plan, or His?
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
I am awed, really, how God is faithful to reinforce the messages He is strengthening in my life. This verse in Ephesians is a mighty example. I tend to get discouraged when I try to communicate truth I find helpful into the lives of friends who are engaged in self-defeating thought patterns and clearly suffering. I am dismayed when it seems my attempts fall upon deaf ears and the troubles of my friends persist. I find myself feeling that there is something I have failed my friend in; some way I have let him down. I stumble into the same trap that Moses did when he argued with God that he wasn’t articulate enough to carry the message (Exodus, chapters 3 & 4).
Of course, it is easier for us to recognize these patterns in others than in ourselves. The things we believe that are not true and that lead us to trouble are not easy to root out precisely because our internal filter (belief system) is contaminated by the lies we believe. These beliefs seldom bear scrutiny in the light of day. They are more like an unconscious subtext running subliminally in the background. Some of them may have come into existence when we were mere “infinks”*, when we didn’t know any better.
Better, I would meditate on verses like Ephesians 3:20 until the truth of it is fully ingrained in my heart that it is God, and God alone, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above anything I would even conceive of. Meditate until I can stand without wavering upon the truth that He is already at work in me to accomplish things that are hard to believe. Impossible, in fact, in the natural realm. The believer ALREADY has the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside. What is left is is the transforming of the mind to align with this truth (Romans 12:2). In that way – meditating on these powerful truths in scripture – these failures to grasp the truth in daily life can be rooted out. In me. In my friends. In You. In Power.
Eat your spinach, you no good infink. Eat it. EAT IT. Eat it.
I am grateful for the guidance You give us! I am grateful for Your love and example!
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. – Proverbs 14:34
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. – Matthew 22:35-40
Me: Good afternoon, Jesus!
Jesus: Good afternoon, Jon!
Me: Why did you say, “And the second is like unto it”?
Jesus: Both have their basis in love. Both require an unequivocal attitude; all, all, all. “All your heart” will result in your desiring the most intimate relationship you can have. Not the most you can muster in yourself, but the most you can have in the power of My Spirit as you purpose to submit your heart to Him. “[A]ll your soul” involves your hands and feet and the practical outworking of what you can do. Again, with My empowerment (John 15:5). “[W]ith all your mind”, of course, is talking about what you think of Me (and your neighbor). Is is the truth? Do you see your neighbor as made in My image?
I have been having a conversation with the Holy Spirit the past couple of days. For you who think “conversation” has a narrow definition, the Spirit has been making certain impressions on my heart, which then leak into my mind when I am in a meditative mood (often). In turn, I prayerfully pose questions to the Spirit, asking for clarification. Often a pertinent verse of scripture will come to mind; a process that is only possible if one has taken the trouble to put verses of scripture into one’s mind in the first place. One of those, John 16:13, is relevant to the description that I am giving:
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
In any event, the this conversation concerns several notable times in my life when my circumstance turned dramatically and more-or-less permanently for the better, as a direct result of someone close to me either making a decision which negatively impacted them long term, or in another case, absorbed some grievous abuse such that I did not become a target of the same. I think I will not share the details of these, since the persons I am thinking of are deceased now and unable to consent to my sharing.
However, as I meditated on these life-changing events, I was led to a couple of passages. The first is Romans 8:28:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
All things – even decisions made of those close to us – decisions which proved to be good for me as this passage in Romans 8 promises even while apparently detrimental to the person following the path they decided upon. As I contemplated these situations from my past, the Spirit showed me that I was, in a way, a beneficiary of Judas’ decision to betray Jesus. (You can read about the beginning of that in John chapter 13.) We all needed Jesus to go to the cross to bear our sin and the death-wage we earned though it. Judas played a part in that, and you can see that Jesus acknowledged that it was necessary. If you follow the story, you find out that it did not end well for Judas, at least in life. Jesus Himself then suffered in our stead on that cruel Roman cross that we might be restored to the position of having God as our Father. I find it humbling to consider that I may thrive as a result of the troubles of others. Did God “do bad things” to them that I might prosper? No, no, no. He is not like that. Their choices were their own. (And in Jesus’ case, it was the reason He came.) Yet mysteriously, His grace persists, causing even the most unlikely of “all things” to work out for my good.
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world , that
we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined
us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to
the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His
grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we
have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In
all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will,
according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a
view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that
is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and
things on the earth. Ephesians 1:3-10
Before there was a
single molecule of earth. Depending on how expansive one is willing
to be with the word “world” [Greek
– kosmou], possibly before there was a single physical
particle of anything, anywhere;
we were chosen. I shared at some length in my last post the
conversation I had with God the Father on the intriguing subject of
predestination as an aspect of God knowing the end from the
beginning, so I am not going to divert into that mystery here, other
than to recognize again
that the scripture is replete with these references that center
around God being omniscient and
eternal. Since we are bound
in time (at least for now) and He is not, we presently
have little concept of just
how these things work.
important thing for me to see, is that before there was any “there”
there, God looked at my need to be rescued from the downward
death-spiral of sin and disobedience
and determined to save me by
the sacrifice of the Son. The word “grace” in verse six also
connotes that it is a free gift and contingent only upon my
willingness to accept it. In other words, when Jesus uttered, “It
is finished.” from the cross, there was no further
action necessary from God’s side of things.
is truly extravagant
in His giving. Paul used the word “lavished”. Marvelous.
Marvelous! Marvelous indeed! No wonder verse six mentions praise! I
return for a moment to the words
“He chose” in verse four.
We are not accidental beneficiaries. No, we are adopted (verse five).
I daresay any adoptive parent will attest that adoption is not a
random-chance event; no one ever said, “then an adoption happened”.
last thing. It says “in the beloved”. I am a first-born son, as
far as my natural family goes. Like most first-born children, I was
in a performance-based sense
of self. I need to lay this mindset down. I understand that
intellectually now but it is deeply ingrained. Some might ask, “Just
why do you need to abandon this sense of yourself”?
The answer is precisely
because in my self I cannot live up to the holy life that is being
spoken of, life that is even capable of true communion with God. Only
One has ever managed it. The real mystery is that He made a way for
me to be “in” Him. That is the way of acceptance, the way of
salvation, the way of communion, of joy, of peace, of adoption. Of
14 For as many as
are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not
received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received
the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit
itself* beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of
Short side trip: Greek αὐτὸ is the third-person pronoun (he,
she, it) determined by context. I believe the Holy Spirit is a
person, an essential part of the Person of God (Deuteronomy 6:4),
even as our spirit is an essential part of our being. I don’t
presume to fault the KJV translation too much; it is impossible for
the mind of man to contain a full understanding of God any more than
a child knows a parent fully. We may know the Spirit as He
incrementally reveals Himself to us in our spirit when we become
intentionally still enough to hear.
17 And if
children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if
so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified
18 For I reckon that
the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Me: Good morning
ABBA: Good morning
Me: When I went to
investigate Romans 8:17 further, I began to meditate on all of Romans
8, and I found it to be a cache of endless treasure (and a few hard
ABBA: When you were
raising children, did you find that they were usually able to
comprehend the full depth of things that they asked questions about?
Me: No, they were
able to recognize and ask about many things that were both mysterious
to them and wonderful at the same time. Deeper understanding often
required more intellectual background than they yet possessed.
Really, more than I yet possess.
ABBA: How would you
Me: Some dads would
say, “Ask your mother” but I have always been disposed to try to
give some response. I wish I could say I generally gave a
heart-centered answer, merely acknowledging that it was a complicated
question. At a young age, they were usually trying to decide how to
relate to the thing, not learn how it was designed. I wasn’t
heart-centered enough myself in those days and would ususally give an
answer they were unprepared to make use of. I suppose I am still
prone to do that if anyone asks me something.
ABBA: Yes, most
young children are trying to learn, whereas some adults are trying to
control. I understand you want to be accurate. I made you that way.
Still, you have to consider the questioner and their frame of
reference. I sent My Son, in part, to communicate My love for you
(John 3:16) in a way that was unmistakable.
Me: The heart
message in verse fifteen is one that is at the very center of the
good news of the Gospel – that in Jesus we are adopted into Your
family and no longer under the fearful severity of the law (which we
instinctively understand we have violated). Now, we are brought in by
love (1 John 4:8).
ABBA: You understand that the law is satisfied because Jesus suffered the penalty due to you. Do you also understand that as heir you have all of My resources available to carry out our mission? Do you know, you inherited a part of My mission as well? (Matthew 28:16-20)
Look at Romans 5:5. “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Do you understand that this promise is that My very nature is being manifest in you?
Me: I am trying to
understand. I hope that is what this series is accomplishing for me
and for any who read it with a spirit of contemplation. I know these
things intellectually. I can read them in the scriptures. It is the
heart that is stubborn. Usually, I don’t even realize that it is
being so obstinate or that I have some negative self-talk running in
the background. I do know that I need to repent of those internal
messages that run contrary to the promises You have made to us.
ABBA: Keep listening
for My Spirit to guide you into all the Truth. Keep delving into the
scripture while looking to Me for Guidance. Commit My promises to
memory and the Spirit will bring them to remembrance when you need
Now, what do you
consider a hard concept?
Me: As I read on in
Romans 8, I got to wondering about the “predestination” concepts
in verses 29-30 (and many other places). I decided to read a bunch
of other’s take on those verses. I was surprised by what I found.
ABBA: How so?
Me: I found a lot of
people identifying as “Calvinists”, making all kinds of
assertions about You and what this passage means. Some were mostly
taking aim at “Armenians” whom they said were wrong to not put
enough emphasis on it. Some seemed to be emphasizing Your loving
nature, but perhaps only to some particular insiders of Your
choosing. Others took what I would say are extreme views, claiming
any foresight You have is equivalent to a final determination and
that man has no free will and therefore no responsibility. Some
claimed they were saved and others were irrevocably out because You
had not chosen them. I found that the banner of Calvinist
flies over all kinds of doctrinal positions. So much so, that I would
say it is meaningless in a practical sense. I am sure I have not
scratched the surface, nor that I want to.
Why do people feel
the need to put You in some kind of box that they can circumnavigate?
Don’t they even have a sense of Your limitless nature? Don’t
they ever go outside at night and look up at some of what You have
done? And how do some so handily ignore the Great Commission, or the
fact expounded in Scripture that You are not willing that any should
perish, while recognizing that some choose to reject. And that is
another thing, some of these particular Calvinists used the fact that
some reject You as “proof” that You did not choose them. If I
know You at all, I know that is not true.
I believe you led me
to these related scriptures:
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men
count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that
any should perish, but that all should come to repentance
Romans 3 – Speaks
of the inclusive will of God.
Ephesians 4: Grieve
not the Holy Spirit. (Why give this instruction if, as I understand
the extreme position of some, that the will of God is irresistible?)
Proverbs 14:12 –
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof
are the ways of death. (This explains well enough to me why it is
hard to get a persons to change their mind. Their way seems right
to them. Convinced of it they are, yes. They don’t see the end
because it is, well, at the end.)
John 1:12-13 But as
many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of
God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of
ABBA: Of course I
led you to these scriptures and you know your identity as My child.
The philosophies of men do not and can not describe Me. I have
repeatedly shown you that a few of those who emphasize My sovereignty
do so in order to be dogmatic about something they think they know
about Me – that they really have no choice. At least they
recognize the universe is not all about them. But they miss this
fact; the only one who can restrict Me is Me. You are made in My
image in this regard. You can control what you do, too. To belabor
the point, I can of My own will, let you act according to your own
will. It should not be lost on you that true love between us is not
possible under other circumstances.
Me: Thank you
Father! I love you!
ABBA: You are
welcome! I love you!
I live and work in a community where perhaps the majority of the population attends churches where the members would identify as Calvinists. Many have been schooled at Calvin College, or one of the many similar institutions. Please understand that I know something of the hearts of these people and I am in no wise intending to paint my friends and acquaintances with a broad brush because of the extreme views of the few internet denizens that I mentioned above. I know from conversations with friends that these local churches have active missionary programs. Why would they do that, if salvation was an irrevocably-settled issue through “predestination”? It was through one of these churches that I initially learned that I could have a direct and intimate conversation with God and expect to hear from Him in my spirit through His Spirit.
On the other hand, if any finds him or herself subscribing to the notion that we don’t really have a choice, please keep seeking. Consider this: Why would the scripture spend so much time telling us how to live in alignment with God’s plan, if we could not fail to do so?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
Probably, the most
well-known verse about salvation is John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is good news indeed, if one can believe it. In fact, believing is the key to the door (John 10:7, Hebrews 11:6). Ephesians 2:8 uses the word faith. Others relate this fact by using the word trust, which is backed up by Romans 15:13, among many other passages.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Why so many
different expressions? Are we not clear on the premise? How could we
be? Plumbing the depths of this astounding gift requires more
meditation and resulting revelation than we could receive during the
days alloted to a mortal lifetime. I have found increasing faith,
deepening belief, and growing trust with no practical end of the
quest in sight. The reason for this delightful endlessness is that an
aspect of of salvation is that we are coming to be in Him
(Acts 17:28) and He is without limit. Eternal. Omniscient.
Omnipotent. Omnipresent. He is all of these things and He is love (1
I have heard grace
defined as “unmerited favor.” Merriam Webster has the first entry
as: “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their
regeneration or sanctification”. Unmerited is right. Scripture
aside, I only have to look back on my own path to recognize that
truth. The scripture, of course, bears this out too.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
I am grateful that
Ephesians 2:8 is explicit in pointing out that salvation is His work
and is a gift to us. Yes, we have to believe. If we come to
recognize Him at all, belief is a very low threshold.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
It is finished. I
love this passage! No more work required. If I think by my works I am
going to add something, I am painfully deluded and lacking in faith.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12
So what does “work
out your salvation” mean? To me, it signifies that journey of
trying to understand, and endeavoring to make my actions line up with
the truth revealed in the scripture. “Am I? Are You?” Why fear
and trembling? Because. Sometimes I act like I am insane. I do
things that are counter to the Truth (capital T, as in “I Am the
Truth”). I can’t even claim that I don’t know any better.
I am grateful for
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
I need that power to
restore me to sanity.
Finally, I want to
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:28
Though His sacrifice is finished (complete), He is not done with me yet. Nor, I suspect, is he done with you.
I Am… Justified by
faith in Christ. Galatians 2:16
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but
through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus,
so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works
of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
Me: Thank You Jesus!
For this great exchange, for your radiant rightness in exchange for
our wretched wrongness.
Jesus: Isaiah saw
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.—Isaiah 64:6
In fact, any who have seen the result clearly after trying to live right, will acknowledge the truth of Isaiah’s words. And those who do not see are worse off still and in bondage to blind pride. (Matthew 23:3)
There is none righteous. No, not even one. Isaiah 45:21; Romans 3:10; Mark 10:18
And the scripture makes sure knowledge of this salvation I Am providing cannot be missed:
Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. Isaiah 28:16
Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Mark 11:23
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18
He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. John 6:47
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:38
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, John 11:25
And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. John 12:44
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. John 14:12
just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” Romans 9:33
For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 1 Peter 2:6
Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5
Me: Thank You Jesus! What a treasure of promise! I love You!
Jesus: You are welcome! I love you! Remember, the kind of believing these scriptures are speaking of is of the heart, not mere mental assent.
20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
Romans 8 highlights
the importance of “putting to death the deeds of the body”:
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Just as Jesus
wrestled with His upcoming crucifixion in the garden, so I have had
to make peace with the process of “dying” to the things I want
that are contrary to God’s will for me. Another way to identify
many of the things that need to see death is to recognize those
things that I desire that are not in my best interest. I don’t mean
my shortsighted desires either. I mean not in my best interest in the
sense of the total of this life and its continuation after I shuffle
off of this mortal coil. God has my best interests at heart, just as
he has yours. He is limited by nothing except His having opted to let
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 9:23
Please don’t think
that this is one more exhortation to hitch up your pants and redouble
your efforts to exercise greater willpower. There is one thing about
the dead; they don’t expend more energy than the difference in
their remaining temperature and that of their surroundings. This is
about turning over your “chooser” to God. Jesus made this
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Heb 7:25
My wife and I make a regular practice of reminding ourselves of some of the traits of God by praying through them together. Jehovah M’kaddesh — God our sanctification — is one of those descriptions. This word M’kaddesh is a transliteration from Hebrew which is often rendered sanctification, meaning set apart for God, or made holy. Holy means without fault and wholly consistent. The word saint is derived from it. Note very clearly that this is one of God’s attributes and it is not energized by us. We’re supposed to be dying to the thing in question. Remember? So what’s the problem? Its His power, but our choice.
I’m leaving you
with a link to a set of sermon notes on this attribute of God. They
are not my notes, but those of the late Rev. Don Robinson. I have not
explored more of this person’s writings, but I found this
particular one a thorough-going explanation of the many times in
scripture that this word comes up. He also makes it clear that this
is a life-long pursuit. We have a long way to go, but infinite help.