Father, I come before you in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Lord, you know all things. They are all before you like an open book. Who can hide their heart from your presence and your eye? The deeds of the most clever men are exposed before you. Your omniscience knows know bounds - and if it were not for grace, I would be of all men most terrified. But there is grace, abounding and glorious, poured out upon the weakest of men, and abounding to your glory.
Father, I praise you and I worship you; I thank you for all that you are and all that have done. There is no one like you in Heavens and on the Earth or under the earth. You are the King and there is no other. You are Savior and you share your glory with no one. Father, this day you know me and my great need of grace. Why am I here except that you called the weakest among men, the most ignoble among brothers, and that by your grace, often times, the lesser teaches the greater? That is always my case and I praise you. I worship you. Father, help us today, to the wind with eloquence, to hell with brilliant intellect, Father. Let the truth go forward. Let me be changed that the state of your church be more glorious. I pray for grace upon grace and mercy upon mercy for myself and for those who read my blog. Help us, Oh God, and we will be helped; and we will boast in that help in Jesus' Name. AMEN!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

He Became To Us

           A simple look to the thoughts and ideas of many Christians suggests that the idea of righteousness by works, i.e. self-righteousness, is very well rooted in many Christian minds. However, the Scripture does not support this idea. Indeed, what the Scripture points out is not our ability to achieve a right standing before God but the sacrifice of Christ who achieved this right standing for us. I Corinthians 1:30 tells us about Christ's accomplishments on our behalf:

1 Corinthians 1:30

  "It is because of him [meaning God] that you are in Christ Jesus....."

As we see, it is BECAUSE OF HIM, meaning God, that we are now in Christ Jesus. It is not because of our worth or our abilities but because of the grace, love and goodness of God that we are in Christ Jesus. In the preceding verse (verse 29) Paul says "so that no-one may boast before him [meaning God]” and then it continues:

1 Corinthians 1:30

  "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore as it is written "let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

            Jesus Christ became to us all these things. He became (past tense). It does not say that WE became to him. Instead HE became to us. He became wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Do you know why we are righteous, redeemed and holy before God? Because Jesus Christ became to us all these things. When did He become ? When you believed. When you believed with your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confessed Him as Lord (Romans 10:9), you were declared righteous, you were saved, you were sanctified. I know, it would have been very logical if God had told us:

           "Look, you will do this and that work and then you will be saved, become righteous etc." Although there are many that teach exactly that, the Bible does not teaches it. What the Bible tells us is that to become righteous and saved you need to believe with your heart i.e. to truly believe, in the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection and stay in the faith. We are saved by faith through grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

              In whom shall we boast therefore? Not in our works and achievements but in the Lord who “who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30)  

Amazing Grace

            The good news contained in the part of the Word of God addressed to the believers after the day of Pentecost is that Jesus Christ met all the required conditions so that by confessing Him as Lord and by believing that God has raised Him from the dead you are righteous and saved. This is really good news, is not it? Ephesians tells us:

Ephesians 2:8

  "For BY GRACE you are saved through faith: and this not from yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: Not by works, so that no-one can boast"

Also Romans 10:9-10 

“That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

And Acts 16:30-31 

“Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

Also: Romans 3:20-24, 28

  "Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his [God's] sight by the works of the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin. But now the righteousness of God, apart from the law has been made known, to which the law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus ......Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law"

         The above passages state that our salvation and our right standing before God, i.e. our righteousness, are not based on how many good works we did, do or will do but on the grace of God. According to the above passages, even if you kept all the law you could not be righteous before God; for as we read: no-one can be righteous before God by the works of the law. And it also says that "all have sinned". Even if you had never sinned in your life (which I’m sure it is not true) there is still Adam's sin which passes down from generation to generation. But praise God, another way has been provided by which we can be righteous before Him. This way is called grace. Yes, someone had to work for all these gifts to be made freely available to us. However, this was neither you nor I but the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 3 tells us about the accomplishments of Jesus Christ:

Romans 3:23-26 

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God 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; he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

         The redemption is IN CHRIST JESUS, not in what you and I achieved. This is very important if we want to understand the relationship we have with God. Our relationship is based upon the grace of God and the accomplishments of Jesus Christ, NOT upon our worth, works or achievements. We are righteous before God twenty four hours a day. The reason is that this right standing was given to us by grace. It was given to us as a result of the unmerited favor and love that God has for us. It is "righteousness of God", NOT righteousness from ourselves i.e. self righteousness. This "of" denotes the source of this righteousness. This source is neither you nor I but God. Galatians 2:16 also tells us:

      "know that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we too have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law no-one will be justified."

         Once more we see that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ! If it was by works, I could say: "Look I did more than you. I deserve it more than you." No-one deserved something from God. It was God who, motivated by His love for us, sacrificed His Son so that by believing in Him we can be righteous and saved. That's really grace! Amazing grace!  

God Loves Us

         Does God love me and how? This is a question that has been asked by countless people, countless times. The answer the Bible gives to this question is that God not just loves us but He loves us more than anybody else could ever love us. Let’s see this from the Word of God.

1. God loves us - He gave His Son for us.

           To see God’s love for us, let’s start from 1 John 4:9. There we read:

"This is how God showed his love among us..."

           Love, when it is honest, is always manifested in actions. Here the Word of God tells us that indeed God loves us and that His love was shown, was manifested. How? The answer is in the remaining of the verse:

1 John 4:9 

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him."

           God showed His love to us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world that we might live through him. Along the same lines, John 3:16 tells us:

"For God so loved the world that he gave........"

          As we said above love always takes actions, giving, and God, because He loved us, He gave! What did He give? Let’s carry on reading:

John 3:16-17 

           "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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but the world through him might be saved."

         God, for no other reason than love for us, He went so far as to give His Son to die for us, so that by believing in Him to have eternal life. Romans 5:6-10 demonstrate this point even more clearer:

Romans 5:6-10 

          "For, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him. For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having being reconciled, shall we be saved through his life."

            See the phrase “God demonstrates His own love for us”. How does God demonstrate His love for us? He not only gave His Son for us, but He gave Him when we were still sinners, ungodly, completely unworthy of any such sacrifice! The same we also see in Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2:1-3 

         "As for you, you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you used to walk when you followed the ways of this world, and of the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient; among whom all of us also lived at one time, in the cravings of our flesh, following the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."

             I have marked in the above passage several words that are in past tense to give emphasis to the fact that for the man who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection the state described above is PAST. We were dead in trespasses and sins and objects of wrath. But we are no longer any of these! The state described in these verses is for us history, not reality! It is a state out of which we were delivered! But how were we delivered, by whom and why? Ephesians 2:4-9 give us the answer:

Ephesians 2:4-9 

"BUT because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - by grace you are saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us up with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no-one can boast."

            The word “BUT” that opens this passage makes a contrast between what precedes it (verses 1-3) and what follows it (verses 4-9). Verses 1-3 gave us the pitiful state in which we were before we believed. As we read there, we were “dead in trespasses and sins” and “objects of wrath”. But God, “because of His great love for us”, changed all these: now instead of “dead in trespasses and sins” we are “alive with Christ” and instead of objects of wrath we are seated together with Christ in the heavenly places! From God’s perspective, it is already done! And why did God do this? "BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US......EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN TRANSGRESSIONS"!

2. God loves us - He made us His children.

         Another passage that demonstrates how much God loves us is given in I John 3:1-2:

"How great is the love the Father has given to us that we should be called the children of God and that is what we are. The reason that the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved now we are the children of God..."

             That we are children of God is also what Galatians 3:26 tells us: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”! And as the above passage makes it clear, this is a proof of how much God loves us. Really “how great is the love the Father has given to us”.

3. God loves us - He trains us.

             We saw above that God, because of how much He loves us, He made us His children. And as a loving father trains and disciplines his children, so also and much better does God. As Hebrews 12:6 tells us:

Hebrews 12:6 

"the Lord disciplines those He loves..."

              Discipline may not be what we like but it is what we need! That’s why only those who really love us care enough to discipline us. And that’s why God disciplines us too: because He loves us and cares for us.

4. God loves us - Nothing can separate us from His love

       Next and last stop in this short journey in God’s love is Romans 8:38-39:

Romans 8:38 – 39 

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels [what kind of angels? fallen angels, angels of Satan], nor principalities, nor powers, nor present things, nor future things, nor height, not depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. "

          God loves us and there is absolutely nothing, no power, no principality, nothing present or future that could separate us from His love. He loves us and He will never stop loving us. This is the truth of God’s Word.

5. God’s loves us – conclusion.

             To conclude this article: we saw from the Word of God that God loves us and this is proved by the fact that He gave His Son for us, doing this even when we were sinners and ungodly! It would be a huge sacrifice to do this for people who were righteous and good. But we were not any such people. We were sinners, ungodly, dead in trespasses and sins. Nevertheless this did not stop God: He loved us and because of His love for us , He gave His Son for us while we were still sinners, so that by believing in Him can become alive in Christ and seated up with Him in the heavenly places.

             Furthermore we saw that because God loves us, He made us His children. And as a caring Father disciplines his children who loves so also and much better does God.

             Finally we also saw that God’s love for us is so GREAT and there is nothing that could separate us from it. To say it differently: there is nothing that could ever make God to stop loving us!