Be Diligent!

Friday, August 09, 2013, 7:30 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “My Heart’s Desire” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Pet. 1 (ESV):

Partakers of the Divine Nature

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

True knowledge of God is not just knowing about him, or having studied about him in books, including in the Bible, but it is knowing him intimately through relationship and experience, and through applying to our lives what knowledge of him we have taken into our minds. Jesus said that his sheep know him, he knows them, they listen to him, and they follow (obey) him (See Jn. 10). This is true knowledge of God/Jesus Christ.

It is by grace we are saved, through faith. This is a gift of God and not of ourselves, lest any of us should boast that we somehow attained heaven or God via our own efforts (See Eph. 2:8-9). We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our salvation. While we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly. So, it is only in the power and working and strength of the Holy Spirit within us in transforming our hearts and in making us new creatures in Christ Jesus that we can even have this knowledge of God/Jesus. Yet, we must cooperate with that work. God does not just zap us and take us over and make us do what he wants us to do. We don’t become mindless puppets on a string when we accept his invitation to salvation. We must submit and yield to his work of grace in our hearts in turning us from the darkness of sin to the light of his righteousness. This is what faith is all about.

His calling upon our lives is not just to become positionally saved so we can go to heaven one day. His calling upon our lives is to be partakers of the divine nature. In other words, as new creatures in Christ Jesus, we are created to be like Christ in true righteousness and holiness (See Eph. 4:17-24). We are to put off our old ways of living for self and sin, we are to allow the Spirit of God to transform us in heart and mind, and we are to put on (apply) our new lives in Christ Jesus. Yet, we do all this through God’s divine power given to us for life and godliness. So, in essence, the faith that is involved in salvation - though a gift from God and not of our own making - must be appropriated in our lives through action, i.e. through us yielding, submitting, and surrendering to God and to his purposes for our lives, and through us fully cooperating with his work of grace and sanctification in our hearts.

Ineffective or Unfruitful

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

By God’s grace, through faith, we have escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of our sinful desire. So, we should live like this is true! Salvation by grace is not just a free ticket into God’s heaven. It is a transformation of heart, mind, and attitude, resulting in a radical transformation in our behavior. We are saved from the control of and slavery to sin while still on this earth – and day by day God gives us all we need to remain in his love and to resist returning to our old ways. The corruption he has saved us out of is not just that of our own participation in obvious sin actions, though, but is also participation in being entertained by others’ sinful actions via TV, movies, the Internet, music, et al; as well as we are saved from the sinful desires that wage war against our minds and hearts.

Because God has saved us, and because he has called us to live holy lives pleasing to him, and because he has given us all we need to resist Satan, to flee temptation and to walk in obedience to him and to his teachings, we should make every effort by his power at work within us to grow in all practical knowledge of him and to apply his truths to our daily lives. This means that we are to continually be growing, maturing, learning and applying what we learn in all practicality to our lives on a day-to-day basis. The more we spend time with Jesus in walking in his truth, his light, his grace and his love, the better we will know him, and the more like him we will become, because daily we will be yielding our lives, behaviors, minds and wills over to our Savior for him to work his will in our hearts and minds.

This should thus result in us increasing in measure daily in areas such as:

· Goodness (virtue) - moral uprightness; honesty; faithfulness, integrity, etc.
· Knowledge - knowing Christ more intimately; practically applying what we learn
· Self-control - restraint; self-discipline; not giving in to sinful impulses and desires
· Steadfastness – perseverance in faith and practice despite all opposition
· Godliness – becoming more and more like Christ in attitude and behavior
· Brotherly affection – kindness, gentleness, compassion, sympathy, etc.
· Love – selfless and self-sacrificing; giving of ourselves to legitimate needs of others

If these qualities we possess, and if they are increasing in measure in our lives, they will keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful in all practical knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ – in all intimacy of relationship and in applied truths (obedience). In other words, these spiritual qualities given to us by God - and as applied to our lives through our cooperation with his work of sanctification in our hearts - go hand-in-hand with our ability to be effective and fruit-bearing disciples of Jesus Christ. Our faith is like the “hand” and they are like the “glove.” They work together in unison, and together they produce lives which are effective in testimony, witness, service, character, relationship, lifestyle, and in result (fruit). If we don’t put these godly characteristic traits on – like putting on a glove over a hand (faith) - then these missing elements will hinder our relationships with Christ, our walks of faith, and our testimonies for Christ and for his gospel of salvation.

Nearsighted and Blind

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

If we are lacking in these spiritual qualities (listed above), not only will we be ineffective and unfruitful in our Christian lives and ministry for what has eternal value, but scripture teaches us that we are nearsighted and blind. A nearsighted person in this sense is lacking in foresight, prudence, insight, precaution, discretion, wisdom and good judgment. And a blind person is unable - due to being nearsighted - or is unwilling to perceive or to understand his own spiritual condition. He is lacking in both purpose and good sense. A nearsighted (and blind) person will thus walk right into sin because he or she did not have the forethought, wisdom and discernment to guard his or her heart against it.

This person chooses to forget that he or she has been cleansed from his or her past sins. This person may remember intellectually and even emotionally, but not in all practicality, because he or she has not taken advantage of all that God has given to us by his divine power for life and godliness, but has instead decided to go his or her own way and to follow after his own evil desires instead, even after coming to the knowledge of the truth.

The Bible describes such a person in several ways. In one respect, this could be speaking of someone who was genuinely saved, but who, over time, got caught up again in the ways of this world and thus began to forget that salvation means more than just eternal life with God in heaven, but it means living godly and holy lives pleasing to God while we still live on this earth. Thus, this person is in great need of revival and restoration. This could also be speaking of someone who just thought he or she was saved because he was taught that salvation did not require him to turn away from sin or to walk in obedience to Christ, and so he never was in genuine relationship with Jesus Christ, but had only the appearance of salvation. Or, it could speaking of someone who had all the enthusiasm of a new believer, and who thought he was off to a great start in his faith, but because his faith never really took root, eventually he drifted away from the faith he claims yet to possess. These last two persons are thus in need of genuine salvation by God’s grace through true faith.

Confirm Your Calling

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So, the encouragement here is thus to make sure if you really have genuine faith in Jesus Christ or if you have bought into a clever lie of Satan. True faith is faith in action. Jesus said that to love him means to obey him, and if we obey him he and the Father will make their home with us. The New Testament scriptures thus equate obedience with true salvation, and they equate turning from slavery to sin with true salvation and with genuine faith and practice. The scriptures are real clear that genuine faith perseveres, is continuous, endures to the end, is repentant, obedient, submissive, and it grows and matures in faith, knowledge and practice. The scriptures do suggest that one can be genuinely saved and yet, for a time, fall away from that pure devotion to Christ and be in need of revival and renewal. Yet, at the same time it also suggests that there are those who are fooled into thinking that they are genuinely saved when they are not. Their faith and practice is in form only, but there never was a true transformation of the Spirit of God which took place. So, today be sure that you truly know Jesus. Your eternity depends upon it!

My Heart’s Desire / An Original Work / June 29, 2013

Based off Rm. 10; Lu. 9:23-26; Ep. 4:20-24

Loved Ones, Oh, my heart’s desire
Is that you might come to Jesus.
Many appear zealous for God,
But they do not trust in Him.
They have not submitted to the One
Who saved them from their sins;
Not forsaken their sins,
Nor have they obeyed their King.

The word of the Lord is near you:
The word of faith we’re proclaiming:
That you must confess your faith
In Jesus as your Lord and King:
Believe in Him as your Lord,
And follow Him where’er He leads.
Share the gospel; be a witness,
And meet others’ needs.

Beautiful are the feet of those
Who bring the good news of Jesus:
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself today;
Die to sin and self, and
Let the Spirit transform you in heart;
Put on your new self in Jesus,
Yielding to the cross.
Hi Ms Sue; I think some of this song that you quoted is based on one of the Psalms that goes: How lovely on the mountain are the feet of him that brings good news'....

Hi Ms Sue; I think some of this song that you quoted is based on one of the Psalms that goes: How lovely on the mountain are the feet of him that brings good news'....

It is actually a quote from Romans 10:15 which is a quote from Isaiah 52:7, I believe.
PS: I guess most people start reading chapter 52 in the middle of the chapter rather than at the beginning, anyway.

Seems to work this way, anyway.