Because Of Him

Saturday, April 12, 2014, 8:49 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “I Sing of His Mercy.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 1 (NIV).

Enriched in Every Way

…I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is the beginning of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church – “to those sanctified” (purified) “in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people.”

Paul thanked God for the Corinthian believers because of God’s grace given to them in Christ Jesus. God’s grace was manifest in this way: Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on a cross for our sins so that we might be forgiven and cleansed of sin, and set free from slavery to and the ultimate penalty of sin – eternal damnation. He died, as well, so that we might have eternal life with God in glory. He also died so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). In fact, his grace given to us teaches us to say “No!” to “ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” while we wait for Christ’s return (See Tit. 2:11-14). When we come to faith in Christ, by his grace, we die with Christ to our old lives of sin (See Ro. 6), and we are transformed away from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are being sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (See Ac. 26:16-18; cf. Eph. 4:17-24).

God’s grace to us not only saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life with him, but because of God’s grace to us, his Spirit has been placed within all believers in Christ Jesus, so that in and by his power, wisdom and strength within us we CAN say “NO!” to worldly passions and desires, and so we can live for him. Thus our lives have been enriched with all the spiritual gifts, blessings and provisions God has for us and that we need in order for us to live for him, to minister his grace in its various forms within the body of Christ - of which we are members - and so we can be his witnesses and lights for the gospel of salvation to a lost world. It is the Spirit within us who leads, counsels, guides, directs, corrects, equips, admonishes, strengthens, empowers, and teaches us each day. He is also the one who keeps us firm in our faith to the end, i.e. we cannot serve and live for God in our own power and strength, but only in the power and strength of his Spirit within us.

Perfectly United

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought...

Coming to faith in Jesus Christ obviously does not mean we suddenly reach a level of absolute perfection. We still live in flesh bodies. Although we have died with Christ to sin, and we have been regenerated and transformed by the Spirit of God, and our sins are no longer charged against us, but Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account, this does not mean we become sinless. Otherwise we would not need these epistles to instruct us.

The plan is for us to no longer sin, yet the writers of the New Testament acknowledged that it is possible and probable that we might still sin on occasion, yet Christ is our advocate with the Father when we do sin. We can go boldly to the throne of grace (of God) to help us in our time of need. God is faithful. He will see us through each and every situation in our lives. He has already provided the way out from underneath the weight of temptation so that we can stand up under it. He has freed us from the control of sin, and he will continue to give us all we need each day to not give in to temptation to sin. We just have to appropriate to our daily lives what he has already done for us in conquering sin in sinful man. The NT writers also taught that, because we died to sin, we should live in it no longer.

As humans, even as Christians, there must still be something inside us which pulls us towards being followers of humankind, because scripture speaks much to this issue. Humans must tend to idolize other humans and have a tendency to follow them, and so this is something we must guard against. There are many popular preachers and teachers in our world today who have large followings. Some of them or many of them are not teaching the true gospel of salvation but are saying what people’s itching ears want to hear, which is probably why they have such large followings. We need to make sure we are following Christ and his word and not humans. We are all different people, uniquely designed by God, so we are not going to all think exactly the same way on all things, but we should not let our differences over disputable matters divide us, and we should agree together on the essentials. We are united in Christ Jesus because of God’s grace, and through faith in Christ, so let us not let ourselves or other humans and/or their humanistic teachings divide us.

Message of the Cross

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…

The message of the cross is not only Christ crucified for our sins, and thus he put to death our sins, but it is also us individually accepting God’s invitation to his salvation, thus we are crucified with Christ, dead to sin, but alive to God, no longer enslaved by sin but free to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness in the working, power and strength of his Spirit within us. This is foolishness to those who are perishing, because they want to hold on to their own lives and be the ones calling the shots, living to do what pleases them, making their own decisions, etc. It seems foolish to them, not only that God would come to earth, take on human flesh and die for us, but that any reasonable and rational human being would submit and surrender to the cross of Christ, willingly allowing the Spirit of God to turn them away from living for sin and self to living for Christ and his righteousness. So, they may ridicule, mock and even misjudge us, because they don’t understand why anyone would willingly give up ownership of his or her own life in order to serve and live for God.

Because of Him

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

There is nothing within us which deserves or which is capable of earning our own salvation. God did not choose us because of our greatness or our goodness. He died for us while we were yet sinners. He chose us when we were weak, unworthy, and miserable sinners to receive his free gift of salvation. Only because of him and through him can we be saved and have eternal life with God. Thus, we cannot boast in our own human efforts, but only in the Lord Jesus and what he has done for us in saving us from our sins and giving us new lives.

I Sing of His Mercy / An Original Work

Based off Psalm 32 / April 10, 2014

Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven
By the blood of Jesus Christ.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does
Not count against them; freedom found.
When, in silence, I did not confess
My sin to You; had no strength.
Then I owned up to my sin and
You forgave and cleansed me within.

Therefore let the godly pray to You;
Draw near to You; grace they’ll find.
They will not be o’ertaken by afflictions,
But in Christ peace abounds.
Lord, You are my hiding place.
I find my refuge in You secure.
You protect me from all evil.
You give songs of vict’ry in You.

Lord, You teach me to walk in Your ways;
Counsel me in love, I know.
Help me to not be stubborn and
Unwilling to follow in Your truth.
Thank You for Your love and mercy.
I put my trust in You always.
I rejoice in my Lord and
I sing of Him throughout all my days.