Thursday, December 13, 2012

No Condemnation in Christ

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus... (Romans 8:1)

In Genesis it says that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6, Rom 4:3).” And Paul tells us in Romans 4:23-25: “Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed (accounted) to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”

By our faith in Jesus Christ, God has accounted our sin to Christ, who bore our sin on the cross, and accounted Christ’s righteousness to us, and this because of God’s amazing grace. His love for us is truly immeasurable!

In Romans 7:21-25, Paul says, “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man (faith). But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

That brings us to Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

The word Gospel means “Good News”, and oh what good news it is! Justified by faith in the atoning death of Christ. There is no good work that we can do to justify ourselves before God, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Even though there is a battle between “this body of death” (the sinful nature still resident in our bodies) against the Spirit of God now in us, we have forgiveness (God is not accounting our sin against us anymore) and we have eternal life, in Christ. Glory in the grace of God today, all of us who are children of God! He has freely forgiven and has given you all things in Christ. Go boldly to the throne of His grace and praise His name. Worship Him in His holiness. Do not let anything separate you from your Father’s love today. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. By faith we no longer walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; born again, born from above, worshiping in spirit and in truth. We are a new creation in Christ, who loved us and died for us. Be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit today.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you (Acts 1:8) and He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). Go and get this dynamic power from your Father today!

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? … just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom 6:1-4). If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive to God because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Rom 8:10-11).

The only way to live in victory over sin and in closeness to the Lord, and to have powerful ministries of the Lord, is through the power of the Holy Spirit living in and through us, overflowing and pouring out of us. We can be filled with the Spirit to overflowing and surrounded in Jesus’ presence by drawing near to Him daily, through prayer and through God’s Word. A life empowered by God Himself is the only way to overcome our weaknesses and have lives yielded to Him, lives that bring glory to His name! This happens, for the most part, through a daily relationship with the King Himself over many weeks and months and years. It happens in a day and it happens over a lifetime as we mature in Christ. Our life with Jesus is minute by minute, day by day.

In God’s view of things your salvation is a done deal if you have received Christ as your Lord and Savior! So, enter in today. Take hold of Him now! Walk in His glorious freedom from sin and enter into His rest.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom 12:1-2). …put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts (Rom 13:14).

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13).

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Rom 8:29-30).

 It is done! Now we enter in by grace moment by moment and take hold of all that God has given us!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Seek First the Kingdom of God

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever (2 Peter 3:18).

We want to mature in Christ. We need our growth in Christ to abound. Three essentials must be present in our lives and taking priority over everything else: prayer/communion with God, the study of the Word of God and fellowship with other believers.

First of all, prayer is our time with Jesus. If we know that we can come to Him anytime and receive from Him His grace and forgiveness and lovingkindness, we will be seeking Him everyday. This time with the Lord, through His Holy Spirit in our lives, is so sweet and empowering. Lay your burdens at His feet and trust that He knows everything happening in your life. Just spend some time with Jesus, away from everything else. Don’t leave His presence until you’ve heard from Him and have His comfort and peace. Many times the Lord speaks through our worship and through His Word, so use your Bible and worship in prayer.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Secondly, reading and contemplating God’s Word is what helps us to be sure that our beliefs and views of Him and Scripture are founded on His truth. We are also able to hear from God more easily and accurately. We must be born again by faith in Jesus Christ to fully understand the Bible and to hear His voice in our hearts because “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).” Pray that the Holy Spirit Himself will teach you His Word. The amount of growth and the rate of maturity will be directly linked to the amount of time we spend in God’s Word learning from Him.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious (1 Peter 2:1-3).

Finally, fellowship with other children of God in the Lord and in His love. Along with our time with the Lord in prayer and study of His Word, fellowship in Christ helps us to grow in grace and knowledge. We receive encouragement and strength as Christ reaches out to us through His body.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:18-21).

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:14-16).

By doing these three things first in your life, every day and every week, before all else, you will begin to experience new and powerful growth in your walk with the Lord like never before. Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (your needs) shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”