Words of Life ~ BLOOD

We are blessed again to have Jim from The Domain for Truth post a special Word of Life. Thank you, Jim. You are a precious example and a great teacher of the Life we have in Christ.

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(All Bible verses are from the NASB with Strong’s definitions)

How rich is the theme that leads us to the blood of Christ – the blood of the everlasting covenant through which His people are united in Him for eternity.

There are 392 references to blood in the Bible (KJV) with meanings.

A study of the meaning of blood shows the wonderful grace of God through Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament lays the foundation.  Starting with the book of Genesis, we see the early use of the term blood testifies of the seriousness of sin.

Old Testament H1818
םדָּ dâm, dawm; from H1826; blood (as that which when shed causes death) of man or an animal; by analogy, the juice of the grape; figuratively (especially in the plural) bloodshed (i.e. drops of blood):—blood(-y, -guiltiness), (-thirsty), + innocent

In Genesis 4:10-11 we find what God says the blood of the innocent did after the matter with Cain murdering Abel:

“He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.

In the Noahic covenant, God established the penalty of blood for blood.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” Genesis 9:6

Then there is the extended discussion in the Laws of the Old Testament about the sacrificial system which involves blood.  Why is it a bloody matter?

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11

That is the Old Testament reference from Leviticus the writer of Hebrews uses:

“And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

This verse states that without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It is fitting imagery given to show blood is needed for physical life – so in the spiritual realm, the blood of Christ is needed for spiritual life.

The blood of Christ is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins; an accomplishment that is multi-faceted.  We will survey some of these aspects below. We can learn much about the order of salvation from tracing the theme of the blood of Christ.

New Testament G129
αἷμα haîma, hah’-ee-mah; blood, literally (of men or animals), figuratively (the juice of grapes) or specially (the atoning blood of Christ); by implication, bloodshed, also kindred:—blood.

The Blood of Christ Justifies 

God is a Holy and Just Judge. In order for us to be saved from hell, Jesus Christ had to pay the penalty for our sins.  Justification is to be declared legally righteous on the basis of what Christ has done.  Yet Romans 5:8-9 teaches that justification is accomplished by the blood of Christ:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Verse 8 reveals that God has shown His love to sinners. The means is stated in the second half of the verse – Christ died for us.  Verse 9 unpacks this truth by revealing to us that believers have been justified by His blood.  The effect of being justified by His blood means we are saved from God’s wrath and judgment.  What wonder – that the blood of Christ can declare us legally righteous!

The Blood of Christ Provides Propitiation

Remember Romans 5:9 – the blood of Christ justifies us and therefore we shall be saved from the wrath of God.  To appease the wrath of God against sinners, that is, to have the wrath of God against us satisfied, requires the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9). This is called the doctrine of propitiation.

Those who trust in the atoning work of Christ live in gratitude for His work of grace to and in us.

The Blood of Christ Redeems 

The Bible reveals that as nonbelievers we were at one time slaves to sin.

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” Romans 6:20

In the New Testament era, the purchase of slaves by a new master was called redemption. God uses this motif to say He has paid the cost to make us His people that we may be servants of righteousness (Romans 8:6).

 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7

Redemption is only through Christ’s blood. This is not because we deserved it. No – the verse makes it clear – it is because of the riches of God’s grace.

This doctrine has implications and practical application for church members.

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

The Blood of Christ Provides Communion with God

When I say the blood of Christ provides communion with God, I mean that the blood of Christ brings us close to God.

“Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12-13

Verse 12 explains our condition before we became believers – we were separated and far from God.  But in verse 13 we see the opposite for us as believers.  How are we brought near to God?

By what means? – by the blood of Christ. Knowing what it cost should change how we view our time with God and our worship.

The Blood of Christ Sanctifies

The blood of Christ also washes us and changes us in a practical and ethical way.

“Therefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Hebrews 13:12

Christ sanctifies us. That’s amazing, since Christians often think of the Holy Spirit’s sanctification. The truth is that it is both Christ and the Spirit!  Yet what is the means by which Christ sanctifies us? The verse here says, through His own blood.  This is associated with the crucifixion of Christ as the verse references His suffering outside the gate of Jerusalem.

This should change the way we view holiness and sanctification.  It is a privilege to pursue godliness to please God and Christ in light of what Christ has done for us.

The shedding of the blood of Christ is the means God has provided to save us.  Tracing the theme of the blood of Christ reveals the beautiful jewels of Christ’s work of salvation.  His blood has justified us, provided propitiation, redeemed us, draws us near to God, and sanctifies us in Christ, making us His – here, now, and forever.

Have you appreciated these treasured truths of the Gospel to such a point that you are motivated to serve and live for Christ? Let this be our prayer.

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their life even [when faced with death.”
Revelation 12:11

Related Article: A Bloody Crown, A Bloody Cross, A Bloody Sacrifice

 

Three Powerful Words in the Christian Vocabulary

If we are to get Beyond a Mere Christianity we must know the language. In 2016, an article titled Three Obstacles to Spiritual Growth listed Words as the main obstacle, followed by Feelings and Influences. I did not realize, until I reviewed that article, that we mentioned the three words we write about here.

I will begin by saying that the majority of those who are professing believers in Christ are not familiar with or use these three words; yet they are significant in what we believe and how we live. Are these words used in normal conversation? No, but, it is necessary for a Christian to know and understand them. We cannot just say, “I love Jesus.” These powerful words give true meaning as to why and how we love Him. If understanding these three words is too much for one reading, you may want to save the article in your files and come back to it as you have time.

Propitiation, justification and sanctification originate with the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit. Since these are not man’s words but God’s Words, we need to review them often and meditate on them with the Biblical references. I write this article with the same need as others through every generation to understand:
1. what God planned for His people,
2. how he established His plan through His Son
3. how He executes His plan by the power of His Holy Spirit

All three words end in the suffix “ation” meaning “action or process.”

 PROPITIATION G2434
Propitiation in Greek is hilasmós – properly, propitiation; an offering to appease (satisfy) an angryoffended party.

It is used in 1 John 4 and in Romans 5, both times of Christ’s atoning blood that appeases God’s wrath, on all confessed sin.
By the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate hilasmós (“propitiation”). (biblehub.com)

Before the foundation of the world, in planning a kingdom and a family for Himself, God our heavenly Father made a covenant of redemption with His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 1:9). This covenant would provide the work and conditions of His grace, whereby He would reveal His love for His people and by His Holy Spirit, draw them to Himself. Just as His work of Creation, the action and the process of Redemption would be His and His alone.

Why and how does a Christian love Jesus?

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

God shows us His love in all generations through the sacrifice of His Son for us 2000 years ago. He planned to give up His own Son to appease His wrath against us. (Who can understand this love?) He gave His Son to give us life, so that we would live eternally with Him. Someone’s blood has to appease His anger against sin. It will be His or ours. Someone has to pay ~ either us or His Son.  He was the perfect “Lamb that was slain.” Only God could provide such a sacrifice for us.

I remember the word “propitiation” by syllables. The prefix “pro” indicates a professional who is able to perform. The center of the word is “pit” where Jesus finds us. “I” am between the “pit” and “ation” whereby His is the action and process of bringing me out of the “pit.” O, what love that gives all that He is and has. He could give all for us through His death; through His resurrection and ascension He would gain His own life again and give life to all who are drawn to Him in faith and repentance.

There is a connection between PROPITIATION and JUSTIFICATION through the righteousness of Jesus.  Romans 3:24-26 incorporates “propitiation” and “justification” through the sinless life of Jesus Christ that qualifies Him for propitiation that leads to our justification.

”Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

JUSTIFICATION G1347
Dikaíōsis(dik-ah’-yo-sis) fromG1344 aquittal (for Christ’s sake
The act of God declaring men free from guilt and acceptable to him.

 Whereas God planned for the blood of Christ to appease His anger for our sins, He planned through Christ to justify His own actions in pronouncing us “Not guilty” for our sins. It is a forensic term as if applied in a court of law.

Notice in the following references the terms “offences” “judgment” and “condemnation.”

“Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification.”Romans 4:25

“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”Romans 5:16

“Justification is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ. It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of his Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ ( Romans 10:3-9 ). Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness which perfectly and for ever satisfies the law, namely, Christ’s righteousness ( 2 Corinthians 5:21 ;  Romans 4:6-8 ).” Bible Study Tools

We have advanced in our understanding of the connection between PROTITIATION and JUSTIFICATIONNow we are brought to see the connection between JUSTIFICATION and SANCTIFICATION~ the work and power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

“The act of faith which thus secures our justification secures also at the same time our sanctification (q.v.); and thus the doctrine of justification by faith does not lead to licentiousness ( Romans 6:2-7 ). Good works, while not the ground, are the certain consequence of justification 6:14 ;  7:6 ).” Bible Study Tools

SANTIFICATION
Sanctification is not a word found in the Old Testament, but references are made to the things God sanctified, things that were set apart, consecrated as holy for Him; the seventh day, places of worship, priests, etc.
New Testament G37
hagiozo; to make holy, consecrate, to regard as special (sacred) sanctify.

The word carries somewhat of a different meaning in the New Testament as it refers to a personal ongoing action or process on His part for His people. While propitiation and justification are one-time actions and already accomplished for all His people, sanctification is an ongoing action and process in making us holy; to live a consecrated life to Him as He is preparing us for eternity with Him.

As stated earlier: To show His love for us, God, the Father, planned, and in His timing sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Jesus fulfilled the covenant of redemption (the covenant of grace) living a perfect life in obedience to the will of the Father. He was offered as a sacrifice for us, appeasing God’s wrath against us; was buried, and resurrected, securing our justification.That being finished, He ascended to the right hand of the Father as our High Priest to intercede for us. He sent the Holy Spirit to continue His work of sanctification in each generation until Christ comes again.

Let’s follow the process from Christ’s work on the cross to the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.

“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.1 Corinthians 1:30

Paul explains sancitifcation of the Spirit in 2 Thessalonians 2:13

“God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”

Simon Peter uses the same terms in 1 Peter 1:2,

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

 Propitiation leads to justification, and justification through the power of His Spirit in our sanctification brings us in obedience to Christ, the perfect plan of salvation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:9).

Gracious and holy Father in heaven, how can we understand such a holy love and the power of your love, except as you send your Holy Spirit to do this great and mighty work in us. We praise you for your plans and ask that you continue working in our hearts and lives all that you desire for us ~ all to your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Related Article: What are Justification and Sanctification?

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PRAYERS That Bring the House Down

It is a delight to share our newest book.
PRAYERS That Bring the House Down is the eighth blessing (akin to having more grandchildren) God has given in answer to our heart’s desire to preserve what He is still teaching us of His goodness, grace and glory.
Father and Family Books are specifically published for our children, grandchildren and future generations to know of the legacy of our Father’s kingdom, and available on Amazon to all who are interested in how He has been working in this seventy-eight year old heart and life. We receive no benefits from sales, even if we ever recoup our expenses. Priced very reasonably, any profits are designated for missions and charity. Fran

“Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” Psalm 71:18

The Power of God’s Holy Will

Contemplation abounds as I consider this title.

When the title The Power of God’s Holy Will came to mind, I had no idea where it would lead. Would this be an article or a book? I had no clue as to what to write. Waiting and praying, meditating on the different facets of this title left me unsure, except as the Lord would give me bits and pieces of the meaning of it.

The scope of God’s power covers more than is possible for any human to think, much less write. God’s holy will is beyond our knowing and writing, except when He reveals it or fulfills it in us.

We know what was God’s will for creation, because He did it. We know what His plans were in the first generations of creatures because we have the historical records. But, no one knows the reality of God’s will before it happens. We have prophecies that have been fulfilled, so we know those were God’s will. Some are still unfulfilled, but even in these, there are different interpretations as to how and when they will be fulfilled.

We are told in the Old Testament that we will know if a man is a true prophet, if what he says comes to pass. Until it does, we are not sure if the prophecies are God’s will.

By faith we believe what God’s Word says, based partly on what He has done already.

How did the prophecies and their fulfillments happen? Were these dependent on men? What power did they have to make God’s will happen? – None, whatsoever. The same power that revealed the prophecies to men is the same power that brings His will to be done. And there is no thwarting His will. His power and His will cannot be separated. Within His sovereign will is the power to reveal and fulfill.

A Circle of Subjects

In the process of these thoughts there have been other things circling, so as to see a relationship.

The study of Humility has been for me an ongoing process for years, especially since the publication of our study and review of Andrew Murray’s book Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness.*

We have seen much interest in the work of the Holy Spirit in the last few weeks, even as we wrote four particular articles on this subject, and have heard questions and comments from others.

The subject that came into the circle, resulting in the following diagram, is Holiness.

So, what does all this mean?

It is simple if we follow the diagram clockwise. The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent is the power to reveal truth, wisdom and knowledge of God’s will in His Word, and to fulfill God’s will. God’s will is clearly revealed for us through Jesus Christ His Son, who came in humility, bringing humility from heaven to us. The Holy Spirit works the humility of Christ in us for one purpose ~ for our holiness. His power works through our humility to make us holy.

Christ lived a holy life and died to make us holy; to bring us to the Father as His image bearers. This is the bottom line, the purpose for all that God did for us, does for us, in us, and through us.

We are given new life in Him, to conform us to the image of His Holy Son, so as to make us compatible for eternity with Him.

Preservation and Sanctification

We used to make blueberry, strawberry and pear preserves, using the old-fashioned method, adding sugar to the fruit, and slowly cooking until it boiled down to the consistency we wanted. In the same way, the work of the Holy Spirit of Christ in us boils us down to one thing ~ HOLINESS.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord:”
Hebrews 12:14

It is the power of the will of God that preserves us, keeping us humble and holy, making us examples of His own work for others.

This circle never stops, but is a continual working. We can say all we want about God’s holy will, but we miss the point of faith and salvation, the revelation and fulfillment of His will, if anything is more important or a substitute for holiness. Jesus died for nothing less than holiness for His people.

 “Christ also loved the church,
and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it
with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself
a glorious church,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;
but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27

 “ And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul
and body be preserved blameless
unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Dear Father in heaven, God of all grace and peace, holy and faithful, revealing your will to us, your people, by the power of your Holy Spirit through your Word and in us ~ how could we ask for anything more than to be conformed to the image of your Son, made holy to share your glory. You call us to holiness, to witness of the power of the Spirit of Christ within us. Fill us with your power to do all your will in humility and holiness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be glory forever and ever. In His precious name, we pray.

Suggested Reading: A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility*


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The Reason and Season for Contentment

Jesus is the reason and the season for contentment. We cannot say this strongly enough.
We looked at the role of God, the Father, last week. We will look at the role of the Holy Spirit next week.

Why are we centering on Jesus, the second person of the Trinity? There are many reasons.
(I have to, at this point say as I remind myself, everything I write is something the Lord is teaching me. At this point in our writing about contentment, I am excited about what we are learning.)

Our last post on Jesus could not be enough. Remember John’s last statement of his gospel, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” So, if you want to be richer and content with what God has prepared for us as His children, don’t skim this article, but stay with me to hear what He wants us to know.

With a Christian worldview, we see through the eyes of the church, the body of Christ. He is the head and we are growing up into Him as we continue in His Word. We are set free from the bondage of ignorance, the power of death and sin, of fear and the world’s influence.

How is this possible without Jesus Christ? We would still be in our sin, and in the chaotic upheaval of the world. I doubt that the world would still be here. At the precise time that was planned, He was born into this world to fulfill the promises that had been made. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Why are Jesus’ followers not rioting, and complaining? Jesus makes the difference.

How the Trinue God Works His Plan and Power on Earth

Let’s look at how His plan is established in Jesus His Son. God, the Father sent His Son to make the difference ~ between the world and His kingdom ~ a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness under the law, fulfilling every jot and tittle.:) His life is the center point of God’s plan.
He is the Son, whose life we are given through his death and resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Since His ascension and ruling at the right hand of the Father on our behalf, He is calling those who are His to live in union with Him. This life is a new life, a supernatural life, in a new relationship with Him and the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit working all things according to His will and covenant with His people.

Let’s look more closely: God, the Father  + God, the Son + God, the Spirit = The Trinity.

Take away God, the Son ~ We would not know God the Father, nor would the Holy Spirit have been sent to us.

From all the Biblical references we see how the Father focuses all things on His Son. We understand that the whole of God’s Word, from beginning to end, is about Jesus Christ, the promised, living, dying, living, ruling and reigning Messiah. He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega.trinity

We do not have room or time to include all references to Christ, but only a few that relate to His role, His relationship to the Father, the Holy Spirit and to us. I would ask that you reply with the references that you know.

The first promise of the Messiah, Conqueror, and Savior ~ Genesis 3:15
Promise of a Son ~ Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

He is the image of the invisible God ~ “for by Him were all things created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:15-20

 “Making known to us the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose,
which he set forth in Christ

as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:9-10

John, the Baptist’s witness of the Son ~ Matthew 3:11
The Father’s witness of His Son ~ Matthew 3:17; 11:27; 17:5; 1 John 5:6-12;  John 17:1-7, 24;
The Holy Spirit’s witness of the Son ~ John 14:26; John 15;26; John 16:7, 12-15

“He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.

All that the Father has is mine;
therefore I said that he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
John 16:14-15

We have only begun to scratch the surface. There is layer and layer, precept upon precept of “the way, the truth, and the life” that is ours in Jesus Christ, our Lord. All that we need for life, godliness and contentment is all rolled up in this one “ball of wax” and beyond us, to discover what is ours in Him. He is the center and root of all things blessed and beautiful, filling and overflowing with the goodness and grace for all that we need. All that is precious, amazing, and fathomless is promised in Him, revealed and fulfilled in those who are His children.

The Season for Contentment

Because Jesus Christ holds the secret, the means and the power for all things for contentment, we must continue to keep our eyes, ears and all our senses on Him. He is the reason for our contentment. Therefore, the season for our contentment in Him is year-round, never ending, now and forever.8a98b22c4e447787d8764dd91bbbad54

Gracious Father, We thank you for your plan for true life, in and through Jesus Christ, who is to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, who upholds all things by the word of His power, who sits at your right ruling and reigning until you have put all things under His feet. We praise you that your greatness and power in Him is unsearchable. Thank you for this unspeakable gift of grace and life in Him, now and for eternity. Open our eyes to see and live in the wonder of who and what He is to us as your people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Three Obstacles to Spiritual Growth

I would rather write than eat; pray than sleep; read His word than play, because the one about whom I write, and the one to whom I pray, is the one who gives me life, and the one for whom I live.

This has all been through a process of growing and bearing the fruit of the Lord’s work in me. Though I sometimes wonder in my thoughts and my actions, He always brings me back to the path and continues His guidance.    (Galatians 5:22-23)galatians5v22-23-700x329

Spiritual growth is from the seed of new birth, rooting, the buds, flower, and fruit, all the work of the gracious and powerful God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ~the vine dresser, the giver of life.

By the supernatural working of His Holy Spirit He births and brings to maturity those who are His children. (John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:1-3)

None of the life of faith is without some struggle through the wilderness in which we live, but it is where God chose and placed us to bring us to Himself.

This growth is described in Psalm 1:3. A man who turns from walking in the counsel of the ungodly, from standing in the path of sinners, and sitting in the seat of the scornful, to delighting in God’s Word, is like a tree that bears its fruit in its season. Its leaf also shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper.

Why do some Christians not grow and bear fruit?

Let’s compare this to a child born to a family. Consider how this child matures to adulthood as we look at these obstacles.

  1. Words: As a child grows, baby talk is put aside and new words are used to describe how we live. The family leads the child to discover new things, new tastes, and new adventures. New words are explained so that they can understand how to relate to others, new surroundings, etc.

As a new Christian, we grow through the training of God’s Word. When we find words that we do not understand, we stop and take the time to find the meanings and how they apply to our new life in Christ. Words like “propitiation,”  “justification“  and “sanctification” need to be understood, along with other words that are in the Christian’s vocabulary. With the study and discovery of these spiritual things, we experience the new tastes and the new adventures that enable us to grow.

  1. Feelings: When children exhibit their feelings and the family gives in to them, they learn to manipulate, and these keep them childish. They will never grow to positive and joyful adulthood if they never learn to get past their feelings.

Feelings are usually a normal reaction of the flesh to whatever is happening, either in our imaginations, our conversations, or our relationships to others.

As Christians, we do not live by feelings. They most often keep us stunted in our growth, keeping us dependent on how we feel about our circumstances and others. Instead, God’s Word brings us into the fellowship of His Spirit and grace to examine our feelings in comparison to how we should think, speak and act in our circumstances. We grow when feelings are put aside and we minister to and serve others.

  1. Influences: Everything around us is an influence either for our spiritual growth or against it. Responsible adults guard their children from the influences that would harm them. We see the results in our society of children who are exposed to violence, drugs, etc. They are planted in the middle of the darkness and chaos of this world and bear the fruit of it.

God’s children no longer enjoy such an environment. Their new hearts are fertile soil in which He plants His seed, the seed of His Son, Jesus Christ. By His Spirit He waters, and by His Word He continues to nurture His plants to full maturity, so that we are compatible for an eternity with Him.

The importance of relationships with other strong but humble and fruitful Christians cannot be understated. The fellowship of a local church that studies, applies and lives according to His Word, along with personal Bible study and prayer, are the means of watering and nurturing, so that there is no question that we are God’s children. He bears the fruit of His Word and Spirit in us ~ to His own glory, and our joy.

Dear Father, Thank you for the new heart, and the seed of the Life of your Son that you have planted in us. By your Holy Spirit, draw us to your Word, assure and nurture us, grow us in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Bear the fruit of the Spirit of Life in Christ through us, so that the world sees true life in the middle of the darkness and decay. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

(To learn more how God works to grow us, check out our book The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE STUDY. Profits from all our books are designated for missions.)

The Best of God’s Grace

It has been said that a common grace is extended to all of God’s creatures ~ “In Him we live, and breathe, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) This is seen in that He allows us to accomplish all that we can do in this life apart from Him. Even in the daily rebellion and unbelief He holds back His omnipotent hand from a total destruction of all that defies His authority. The best of God’s grace is hidden from the world in the treasury of His written Word, the Bible. It is discovered in the life and work of His Son, His living Word as He reveals Him through the written Word. He draws us to His Word, written and living, by His Holy Spirit. It is the Amazing Grace that John Newton wrote about ~ “that saved a wretch like me.” How many times did I sing this hymn before I knew what it meant?

“I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”

 By this revelation of His grace for our justification God produces the new heart and spirit that brings us to repentance and faith in Christ. This grace adopts us into His family. It is continually poured out for our sanctification, so that we, in a new state of being, love Him and desire to daily obey and please Him. A growing grace within us, like an ever-flowing stream, carries us through this life and death into His eternal glory. It is an abundant grace, an abiding grace, a sufficient grace, a marvelous grace that all who receive it can testify. 00015IDear Father, pour out your grace upon us.  Make us to know your presence and power carrying us through this day in obedience, honor, and glory to you.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

Related Article: Jehovah Rophi

What Do You Know of God?

This question is posed to anyone who is ready to give an answer. Many can speak of a salvation experience; or of a spiritual awakening. Others may answer with what they believe about God. These are not what I am looking for. Neither do I ask for quotes from the Bible except as they support the experience of your daily and constant relationship with God. (Please do not answer if you think God has failed to live up to your expectations.)

10334420_851203868227504_9052069652549057749_n You are invited to submit your answers so as to aid me in a project on which I am working. My own answer to this question is not as easy as I thought it would be.

By your own words how would you convince yourself that God is real? How has God who is Spirit and the Spirit of Christ made you to know Him? How has He revealed Himself to you through the everyday working of your life?   What is the witness of Him that He has given in your heart and your personal life?
Knowing that He works within the parameters of the physical be practical in your answer, specific and concise.  Take your time to think of your best answer; not your whole life story.  We will be blessed to hear from you.  (If you are not able to answer on this blog email at f.rogers@bellsouth.net)

Dear Father, there is more than we are able to comprehend, experience, or to witness of you.  Make us to know how we should speak of you and not of ourselves.  We praise you that for all of life through the good times and the bad you are present and real to us as your children.   In meekness and fear let us give an answer to others that glorifies you.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Related Article: Salvation, Past, Present and Future

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Experiencing the New Birth ~ Part 2

Proof of New Birth
A newborn baby once delivered is given to its parents by the hands of the doctor, a midwife, or a nurse. You would not see this done by only one hand. Similarly, the new birth is not a one-handed event. The two hands of faith and repentance bring the new life to its parents for feeding and care.photolibrary_rf_photo_of_parents_with_newborn

We are brought to the new mother, heaven, the new Jerusalem, who is free; (Galatians 4:16) and to the heavenly Father who sired us; and to the milk of His word, whereby we grow. (1 Peter 2:2)

We are never the same after the new birth, but in repentance and faith turn from our former way of life, continuing to pray, read, study, memorize and meditate on the truths of God’s Word. We are continually growing closer to God, being transformed by the renewing of our minds as He, through His Word and Spirit, conforms us to the image of Christ, His Son. (Romans 12:1-2 and 8:29) We desire to know and love Him more; to please Him in all things; we love the things He loves; we serve and worship Him above all things.

Proof of a new birth will be seen as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Physical life does not stop after we are born. We are not left in a crib the rest of our lives. We are fed, and we grow and develop into adulthood. And so, our new birth in Christ will show the signs of the nature and disposition of Christ in us as we grow in our relationship with Him. The love of God, by which He brings regeneration, is the same love that keeps us, and continues to grow in and through us. The love that is spread abroad in our hearts is the love by which we love Him and others. We could not love God and others before this new birth. John speaks plainly in his letters of this love.

Love Begets Love
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”  1 John 4:7

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:14,16

Love takes on a different meaning in our new birth. Love for the things of God displace our love for the world.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

Some Christians say that they cannot tell you the day or time of their new birth; but, they know that their life was changed; that as God brought them in faith and repentance to Christ He has kept them by His power to persevere and to be victorious over sin. They have not turned back, but have continued to walk with Him and to grow in their relationship with Him.

 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” 1 John 5:2

The new birth, with the new heart, keeps us to God’s Word for the instructions that He has set forth for His people and His kingdom. Our applying ourselves to know, believe and obey is part of His work in us, for our pattern of life so that we can say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

(From The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study)
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Laying Hold of Eternal Life

0001LALiving in a world of oblivion we see and experience life that is out of focus with true life. By reading God’s Word we see the life that God meant for us to live. At the same time we realize that it is more than man is able to do. His commands are not just requests, but what He expects from what He has made as His own. As humans created to bear His image He has proved that we are unable to be His image-bearers. Every creature, since the beginning, has failed the test. God’s righteousness is beyond the scale of any human being who walks the face of the earth and breathes the air that He created and sustains for us.

He knew this beforehand, and so did not leave us hopeless in our oblivion. Andrew Murray, in his book Waiting on God, states that God’s commands are what He promises to do.

With this in mind let us look at how He enables us to lay hold on eternal life, not just for the time to come, but for a clear vision of this life on earth now. We can understand this laying hold through four means; appropriation, procurement, apprehension, and approbation. This are relative to how we obtain and hold possession of the physical things that we own; and so we can apply them here.

Appropriation
Appropriation is “something set aside for a particular use.” Even as governments or businesses plan for certain projects, we lay aside money for what we want to purchase.  Before time began God made plans, in covenant with His Son, Jesus Christ, for our redemption. In the fullness of time, according to the Father’s will, Jesus was born, becoming one of us. The covenant was ratified when Jesus died. “It is finished” was His proclamation for the procurement of those to whom He would give new life. But, how would we know; and so lay hold?

 Procurement
To procure means to “obtain.” Synonyms are to “get” “lay hold of” “acquire” “secure” and “buy.”  Procurement is “the action of obtaining or procuring something.”  Eternal life is not only off our scale of experiencing, and understanding, because of our oblivious state; but beyond our obtaining. We can buy almost anything we want in this world, except another life. This life is the only one we have, and is daily wasting away. Without help we will eventually die, and then eternity will no longer be an oblivious state, but a reality of what life is without God, for those who did not “against the time to come, lay hold of eternal life.”  It is not that we are able to buy another life, but that the procurement is God’s deal, so to speak. He wants His people for Himself. He made provisions and plans for the purchase of His people. With the life and blood of Christ, without our knowing, or our consent He bought us, as His sons and daughters.

Apprehension
The word apprehension has two meanings, “anxiety” is not the one we refer to, but the second, which is “capture.” Like sheep we continue in oblivion until the Holy Spirit shines the light into our hearts of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We will never find our way to God, but by His drawing us to Christ (John 6:44-45) or finding us in our sin and misery reveals our condition and need for Him. From the beginning He always knows where we are and will pursue until He lays hold of us. jesus_rescues_sheep3_301x500

The Shepherd looks for His sheep until He finds them and brings them into His fold. Can we refuse His care? Not in the condition that He finds us. He apprehends in exactly the time of His choosing, when we are helpless and hopeless, seeing ourselves as we are, in need of a shepherd. He then opens our eyes to see Him as He is, the giver of life.

Approbation
Approbation means, “approval.” Synonymns are “consent” and “praise,” Our redemption has been since before the foundation of the world, and revealed when God comes to us, gives us a new heart and spirit and a new life in Christ, and brings us in Christ to Himself,. By faith and repentance we turn and respond in praise to His calling and living, laying hold of eternal life in Him. A new foundation is laid up in heaven for that time to come. A new home is being built for those who are in Christ. He continues to hold onto us and we hold onto Him in obedience of faith, seeing and seeking His kingdom and His righteousness throughout this life, separated and continuing in the state of sanctification, as He prepares us for that day when He will say, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:23)

Dear Father, having nothing of our own, but what you planned for us before time began, we praise you.  By the same power that you apprehended us, let us live with thankful hearts in obedience of faith.  Let that light that you shined into our hearts shine through us that others may see what is true life.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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