Posts tagged ‘faithfulness to God’

His Bride – His Church

For a God who is love, what else can be the motivating factor for His people to be obedient to Him? It is love! If tomorrow, a believer chooses not to partake in any way, in the worship of any other god, his conviction is the love that comes from the faithfulness, like that of a wife to her husband. The intimacy this bride is to share with her Groom that is Christ, that relationship can be shared with no other, for such will be playing the harlot to her Groom who is God Himself.

The body of believers is who the Church is and she is His bride. Her beauty is seen in her conviction and obedience to Him for that declares her love to her God eternal (John 14:15). Just as Adam could not build a relationship with any of the animals as he did so with Eve, because she was made in his likeness. In the same way God cannot build a relationship with His Church, unless He sanctifies her into His likeness and that is one reason why we are called to continuously grow into Jesus’ likeness. This amazement with which Adam then un-fallen first looked at Eve (Gen 2:22-23) can give one the idea of how Christ looks on (SnSol 4) as His Spirit sanctifies His Church.

Rev 19:17
7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”

Those who wait on Him in trust have their records of sin wiped to the extent that they come to be called virgins who wait for their groom and He is Sovereign to the extent that the love they have for Him is what He has given them through His Spirit (Mat 25:1-13). This love for God is so zealous that it makes the believer see the fear of the Lord in waiting on Christ in trust, which is clean and enduring forever; such people are deemed righteous according to his judgment.

Psalms 19
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.

This bride’s beauty is in her meekness because it is her Groom who chooses her out of the world (John 15:16), for reasons over which He is completely sovereign. Just as father Abraham made his servant take an oath in Gen 24 that he would not bring Isaac a wife from among the Canaanites but from among his own people. In the same way our Heavenly Father sends the Holy Spirit to search out for His Son a bride from only those whom He has called and that is His Church (Mat 22:14). The Holy Spirit with His Church invites the ‘called’ to come receive the free gift of Salvation, which He paid for with His life.

John 6
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’

Rev 22
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

So His bride and His Church say unto God: I love you Jesus Christ!

Sovereign grace Vs Legalism and Antinomianism

There are large numbers of Christians, who have become subject to views of antinomianism or those which are legalistic. Legalism is that which says that one is saved purely by works of Law while Antinomians hold a view that the grace of God covers them to the extent that even though their carnal nature is not made subject to true repentance, they are still saved because of grace. Mat 1:21 speaks to both these extreme apostate ideas by showing the legalist that Salvation is in Christ alone, while it shows the antinomians that Christ’ deliverance is not “in our sins” but “from our sins”

Mat 1:21
21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

A preacher once said: one can only enjoy the benefits of Christ’ Cross when he bows before the claims of Christ’ Crown. What this refers to is essentially that one truly receives Christ in his life only when he receives Him as SAVIOR AND LORD. For those who try to merit Salvation it shows they have not truly received Christ as their Savior and for those whose nature shows no elements of any sanctification, they have not truly received Jesus as their Lord.

Sanctification is the work of His Spirit. To many believers, the Holy Spirit is generally associated with how much noise can be made at a spiritual gathering. The work of the Holy Spirit is very deep and for one to associate the Spirit primarily with the gift of tongues today is almost blasphemous. The gift of tongues was given only to the early Church, who did not have the compilation of the Bible, once the Bible was compiled in about the third or fourth century, the gift of tongues and prophesies ceased because the Bible is complete and sufficient to edify the Christian and cursed is that person who tries to add or take away from it. It is for this reason, that the many noise makers in spiritual gathering do not find one interpreter today for three of these people who are said to have this gift of tongues.

Quoting from the Nicene Creed, which was a faith declaration of the early Church, this is what is stated when it speaks of the Holy Spirit: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life”. We know when God created Adam from the soil, He breathed life into Him. We also know that scripture in God breathed. So though it was His Holy Spirit, that God had put into Adam to give him life, which Adam lost in his disobedience. In the same way the Word of God in the Bible, is God breathed (Holy Spirit) proceeding from Father and Son as One, given to us in scripture that we may believe and have life.

It is interesting to note that the Exodus came before Mount Sinai, what I mean to say is that God first delivered His people from Egypt and then gave them the Law at Mount Sinai. It was not the other way around. As a preacher I know once said, it took God one day to get His people out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of His people. We see from all of this that though a believer is saved by grace and not His own merit, lawlessness cannot be a part of his life. He is always subject to the Moral Law of God, where He puts God first and his neighbor at par with himself.

1Thes 2
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

You see the reason, we can do the stuff that is pleasing to God, is ONLY because of the life given to us in Christ i.e. His Holy Spirit. Had we not received Christ, we would not know or have the slightest inclination to please Him. So the word of God in the scripture, is the life given to us in Christ, which His Spirit i.e. God; who is at work, in us who believe. Thus even after we have been sanctified, the only statement we shall render to God is the one in Luke 17:10.

Luke 17
10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

Such is Sovereign grace, that he who receives it humbled not exalted in himself, for the very meaning of grace is unmerited favor i.e. when one receives (especially concerning Salvation) what he does not deserve. I need to emphasize here that sanctification is not our work but the work of God in us, it is hence seen from the parable of the master who calls people to work in the vineyard that he who is called to work even at the very last moment, receives full wages i.e. even the person who is on his death bed and repents unto Christ, he too receives the full measure of Salvation; for just as Salvation is of the Lord (Lam 3:26), Sanctification too is by Him (Lev 20:8) and so He does with what is His own as He pleases… Sovereign Grace!

Mat 20
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

Christ and the Law

It is considered by many Christians today that believing in Jesus Christ means that you are free from the Law. People like to quote Romans 6:14 and John 1:17 to show that the Law does not apply to believing Christians. They say Christian life is a standard higher than the Law. Well, it must be understood that there are two aspects of the Law i.e. the physical and the spiritual/moral. Now the Bible says that if one keeps the physical aspect and yet transgresses the spiritual aspect of the Law, he still transgresses the Law but he who does not keep the physical aspect of the Law and yet maintains himself in the spiritual aspect of the Law, he keeps the Law.

Romans 2
25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

The Law therefore seen is Spiritual (Romans 7:14) and all hangs on two commandments, it is to first love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and secondly to love your neighbor (even it is your enemy) as you love yourself (Luke 10:27). It must be understood that the law that came to a close in Romans 10:4 was the law, the physical aspect which people used to establish their own self righteousness. Gal 3:24 says that it is the Law that leads us to Christ because the Law makes people realize the dreadfulness of sin (Romans 7:7) and convicts them (James 2:9) that they may be brought to repentance… back to Christ. As His Church is the believing body that is susceptible to sin, the reason a Christian has been brought to the terms of facing his sin, is because the Law is written on his heart (Romans 2:15) and so he keeps the Law and is judged by the Law (Romans 2:12) but his faith in Christ has made the curse of the Law fall on Him who was the atonement sacrifice of all the sin of His people (Gal 3:10, 13).

There was a time I felt that the grace by which I was saved was grace that gave me freedom from the Law but I have now come to realize that that is certainly not the case. In fact it is by His moral Law (Romans 6:16-18) which has been imputed in me by His Spirit that I realize that the grace I have received is not one that gives me freedom to sin (Romans 6:15). The Law is perfect (Psalms 19:7), nothing which is perfect can get any better. If I am called to love my neighbor as I love myself, then I am automatically called to never covet, steal or murder against my neighbor. The way I had come to receive the grace of Christ, was a way that was lawless, a blasphemy against Christ Himself. This I have seen as my sin, for in loving Christ, I am called to obey His commandments.

John 15:10 (Jesus’ word)
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Now here is an interesting thought in John 15:10, as per reformed theological study Jesus Christ is referred to as the Second Adam. You see both Adam and Christ were subject to the commandments of God. Adam was created perfect (un-fallen) while Christ did not inherit original sin as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. Both Adam and Christ were representatives of a people, while Adam represented all mankind, Christ represented the Church. Both were subject to the Covenant of Life i.e. the Salvation of the people they represented that depended on their works in obedience to God. It must be seen that this testing was only for a certain period of time; else the term ‘eternal life’ would not have existed. It was a famous theologian who said: In Christ, the sons of Adam boast of more blessing than their father lost. So if any racial distinctions are ever to be drawn, it is those who were represented by Christ who are superior and this is grace that he who is saved is saved by the merit of Christ and not himself. For by himself, his fallen nature is inherent from Adam.

The Bible does say that man is not justified by the Law and even where there is no Law, people perish (Romans 2:12). It is right that man is justified by faith in Christ but the grace that we receive in Christ extends to receiving the Holy Spirit, who fulfills in us the requirements of the Law (Romans 8:4). Though it says in 1Cor 15:56 that the power of sin is in the law it should never be considered that the Law is Sin (Romans 7:7) for a person comes to terms with the power of sin through the Law (Spiritual) besides 1John 3:4 refers to sin as lawlessness.

Matthew 5:18 (Jesus’ word)
18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Atonement was accomplished on the cross (John 19:30), while the Salvation of the Church is being accomplished in the furnace of trial and affliction, suffering for Christ sake (Phil 1:29) by believers all over the world (1Peter 5:9). On the other hand the sin playing out of a person’s lust accomplishes death (James 1:15) for the reprobate as it incurs the wrath of God (Jeremiah 30:23-24). So we see that His Law shall remain till His Salvation is accomplished for every elect and His wrath accomplished for every deemed reprobate.

There are many religions and cultures around the world who claims to adhere to strict regulations but when you step out into their streets and public places, their nature of rebellion against the spiritual Law of God sticks out like a sore thumb but these will surely receive His justice and even those whose acknowledgement of His Lordship is nothing more than lip service (Mat 15:8) and outward displays these will also be deemed under the same lawlessness.

Matthew 7
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

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