Alive in Christ

Christ paid the penalty

Romans 4 to 7 As I read this, all I could think about was what Martin Luther must have thought when he read this letter. What freedom he now had, as I do as well, freedom in Christ, freedom from sin, freedom to serve Him, not to gain heaven but because this is our gift back for our salvation. No wonder he took the church to task! They were like the Pharisees of old, and they needed correcting. No wonder he, like Paul, was willing to step forth to proclaim the good news: you are saved by faith, not by works!

God grants righteousness on our faith and not of works, which is precisely what Martin Luther, proclaimed and for which the church rebelled. Yet, like Martin Luther, we can declare righteousness because of this truth.

Now, as to death, we shall be like Christ in His resurrection, We die physically, but we shall never die spiritually; God so loved us that even while a sinner, Christ died for us. [Rom 5:8]Therefore, we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness, and we prove that through our works which takes us back to James. Prove your faith by your works. [James 2:17 -19] Rom 6:14 we are no longer under the constraints of the Law, but we are under grace. Rom 6:19, we are now slaves of righteousness for holiness.

Life Lesson: If we say we are righteous, live as righteous because of what Christ did.

 

The Challenge for Today

Saved by faith

Romans 1 to 3 and Acts 20:1-3 

Over and over Paul emphasizes that truth. If we want to be justified we must believe by faith and that only. Paul also emphasizes that he is unashamedly a believer in Christ and the gospel message. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” [Rom 1:16] 

Are we proud to be a believer in the gospel; do we echo Paul’s words? How often do we excuse ourselves for not sharing the gospel message? How often do we not let unbelievers know that salvation is by no other way or name but by the gospel of the risen Christ? 

Truly this is true and we need to share it: Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Salvation is by faith not by works. Share this truth today!

Preparation for Fighting Spiritual Battles

Be strong and courageous

2Cor 10 How do we fight the battles of life? The world, led by our archenemy Satan, uses weapons of hate, deceit, physical and mental arguments. But, Paul reminds us that “For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards,” [2 Cor 10:3] for these will fail.  Instead, we are to use the weapons Christ used and which Paul lists for us in the book of Ephesians.

The most important weapon is the truth of our Master. He is “the truth, the way and the life” instead of false ideas cloaked in truth. The breastplate of righteousness guards our heart and our minds from the lies and deception and the worries of this world. Are our feet shod with the gospel of peace?  The belt of truth is to cover the most sensitive part of our anatomy for it keeps us sexually pure. The helmet of salvation protects the truth we have memorized which transforms us by the renewing of our mind.  The sword of the Spirit anoints us and empowers us in contrast to the sword of lies, deceptive arguments, and false logic our enemy uses. 

Our duty is not to attack but to withstand Satan’s attacks and although our weapons are scorned by the world they are feared by demonic powers.

Death and Eternal Life

Is heaven on your bucket list

2Cor 5 What if you knew that today or tomorrow you would be meeting God face to face? A precious friend whose elderly father is nearing his step into eternity waits for that last breath. As the friend waits, she recalls his life as a pastor and his work amongst the lost. She recalls his life as he taught her the scriptures she holds in her heart and shares with others. In this, we have this promise God has given to us. Ps 116:15 KJV tells us that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

Paul also shared that we might be comforted. We now live in an earthly house, but one day that house will close, and it will be by God’s timing. Until then, know this truth: we have a heavenly home already prepared for us. “Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God” [2 Cor 5:5] We who are left here groan in our earthly house, but we too one day will see the glorious Christ waiting for us on the shore of the celestial city.

Victory is but a word, but victory in Jesus is a lifestyle.

Unbelievers vs. Believers

This is our prayer request

2Cor 1 to 4 Unbelievers have a veil over their minds and their hearts. They cannot understand nor comprehend who Jesus is. But when the Holy Spirit reveals Him, the veil is removed, and they see, understand, and clearly see Jesus. Paul explains it this way: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2Cor 4:4] The god of this age is, of course, Satan, who diabolically wants to keep unbelievers in his kingdom of darkness. But God’s light is greater than Satan’s darkness ” For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ.” [2 Cor 4:6].

Today pray for those whose hearts are blind to the gospel and Jesus.

The Gospel & The Resurrection

Victory in Jesus

1Cor 15 There is an old hymn titled “Victory in Jesus” which tells the gospel story. It tells us that the greatest gift that God has given to us. Paul reminded the Corinthians that it was Jesus in the flesh that lived, died, and was resurrected on the third day according to the scriptures. Without the resurrection, he was just a man like any of us, but because He was raised death has been extinguished. “The sting of death is sin, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! [1Cor 15:57]

It is because of His death and His resurrection that one day we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in the moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. This mortality will put on immortality for we are now being sewn into the beautiful tapestry of the image of the one who gave His life. It is because of this we can sing with the choirs of heaven, Victory in Jesus!

The Holy Spirit and Christmas

The Holy Spirit is our gift

1Cor 12 It is December, and that means Christmas is coming! God gave us the best Christmas gift ever when He sent His Son Jesus. But, God also plans ahead and He had your name on a special gift; the Spirit to reside with you FOREVER AND EVER!

Jesus said: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;” [Jn 14:16] He is our permanent teacher, not just on Christmas morning but FOREVER! and EVER! In addition, Jesus prayed that; ” But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.”  [Jn 14:26] And then in 1Cor 12, we read that the Spirit gives; better than Santa! He also distributes; not to just good boys and girls but to every saved believer as He wills. He works all these things for His glory and that we might edify others and especially the church. There may be a diversity of gifts, but the same Spirit who does all of this and more, and we are to receive each one gratefully. 

Since eternity the Spirit has been actively distributing gifts, and you are blessed to have received His gift, whether it be knowledge or wisdom or the gift of x, y, z as he gave to Daniel. 

Do you know your gift? Do others recognize that you have been anointed with the Holy Spirit? Are you grateful for the gifts He has given to you?

You are the Body of Christ…

you are called to be found worthy

1 Cor 5 to 8 Life Lessons for the Church and Believers who make up the Body

Even though the Corinthian church had many sins that needed correcting, Paul could stop and say, you are unleavened–meaning they were believers. He said you are washed, you are sanctified, and you are justified. If we just stopped and pondered that when the enemy comes calling, we might see ourselves differently. Yes, we sin, but 1 John 1:9 says if we confess them, God will cleanse us from all this unrighteousness that beleaguers us.

However, then with all that, Paul takes this church to the woodshed! Why are you dragging your dirty laundry into the marketplace? Why are you not remaining pure both in and out of marriage? Beloveds, this should not be! Instead, you should see yourselves as the Body of Christ purchased with his blood, and you now are the temple of the Lord. Be ye pure! Be ye holy! Beware of being a stumbling block to outsiders.

Do we ache when sin abounds?

Do we want purity and righteousness as Paul wanted for the Corinthians?

Wisdom is found in Christ!

Truth!

1Cor 1 to 4 Paul challenged them to remember that as Spirit-filled believers, they like him, have the mind of Christ. He lovingly reminded them not to get caught up with the factions of the world who fall into one of two camps. Remember this; there will always be some, like the Jews, who won’t believe unless they have supernatural evidence. Then there will always be some, like the Greeks, who want to debate with human wisdom but refuse to read the scriptures to let the Spirit teach them the truth! Remember what James taught: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.” [James 3:17]

Let the Spirit guide you in all things and let your life be the evidence of who you are in Christ.

Remember this truth: “no one knows the things of God except by the Spirit of God.” [1Cor 2:11] Without the Holy Spirit, no one can know this truth: “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” [2Tim 3:16]

God has a sense of humor~

God has a sense of humor

Acts 19 God’s sense of humor

I always love this chapter because of what took place with Sceva’s seven sons. Principle: Don’t mess with God and His message or his messengers. 

The seven sons of Sceva thought they could ride on Paul’s coattails: “some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were possessed by evil spirits, saying, “I sternly warn you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. God sends  a man with an evil spirit who said to these seven sons; ” “I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?” [Acts 19:13-16] Hilarious!  🙂 This is a reminder of Psalm 2: “The one enthroned in heaven laughs in disgust; the Lord taunts them.” [Ps 2:4]

God has a sense of humor and He uses an evil spirit to ferret out the false exorcists. When the evil spirit descended on these sons they left in a hurry leaving naked and wounded. [Acts 19:13-16]

Let’s remember who God is or you might find yourself in that same position.