“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NASB
Paul was a dedicated man. He was willing, he was zealous, he was alert, he was active; but he was only a tool in the hands of God. He completely ruled himself out of the picture–and each of us should do the same.
We are what we are by the grace of God. All that we are, all that we ever hope to be; all that we have or ever hope to have; all that we have accomplished or ever hope to accomplish is because of God’s grace.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up when the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worse that you must not quit.
“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.” John 14:10-11 (HCSB)
Today, much is said about the love of God, and the love of Jesus for sinners–but in many instances the deity of Jesus is denied. Men talk much of the holiness of God and the love of Jesus; but the Word of God clearly teaches that Jesus–the Son of God–is just as holy as Jehovah God is holy, and that God the Father is just as loving as Jesus is loving.
Christ Jesus the Lord was God in flesh. Therefore in holiness, in righteousness, in purity, in love–in all things–God the Eternal Father and Jesus the Son are one (John 10:30). Until we believe, confess, and fully embrace the holiness of Jesus, we cannot possibly have an adequate conception of His love.
Even Judas Iscariot confessed that Jesus was holy. He sold the Lord for the price of a slave, but later returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matt.27:4).
One of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus confessed that the Son of God was sinless: “We are punished justly, because we are getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41).
Three times Pontius Pilate confessed that Jesus was without fault–therefore holy; In John 18:38 he said to the Jews, “I find no grounds for charging Him.“ And in John 19:4 he again said to the multitude, “I am bringing Him outside to let you know I find no grounds for charging Him.” And in John 19:6, when the Jews continued to demand the crucifixion of Jesus, Pilate said to them, “Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.”
The Bible makes it clear that Jesus possessed every attribute of Jehovah God. When Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, “ Jesus replied, “The one who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). Since Jesus was God manifested in flesh, those who saw Him in person saw God. Today we who see Jesus with the eye of faith see God. To know Christ is to know God, and those who do not know Christ do not know God. To know the meaning of God’s love in its power, purity, and fullness, we must look at Christ, God’s only begotten Son. He was the love of God on display.
[All Scripture is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible]
“Who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10 (NASB)
God has honored and crowned His creation, dressed him with dignity, given him the opportunity to make choices, and enabled him to reason and think. He gave His Son that we might have a way to the Almighty. Without God life would be an endless vacuum with no incentive or purpose. Life without God would be a cheat. God has made life a challenge, a thrill of conquest. He gives strength far beyond ourselves. He encourages the downcast heart.
Isaiah, the mighty statesman of the Old Testament, said: “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because He trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). – W. E. Thorne, A Bit Of Honey
“I am The vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 14:5 (NASB)
“We are in Christ by grace; but we need to realize and accentuate the union by meditation and prayer. Waiting more absolutely for His impulses in intercession and action. Being silent for Him to speak. Drawing on Him by the constant appeal of faith which becomes as natural as breathing. Looking away to Him for His commendation. Seeking only His verdict on what may have been said and done. So closely joined to Him, that He may produce in and through us whatever fruit He will for the refreshment of men and the glory of God.” - F. B. Meyer
For with patience to wait
and faith to endure,
Your life will be blessed
and your future secure,
For God is but testing
your faith and your love
Before He appoints you
to rise far above
All the small things
that sorely distress you,
For God’s only intention is
to strengthen and bless you.
Helen Steiner Rice
“. . . they will lay hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated because of My name.” Luke 21:12-17 (NASB)
Jesus made it clear that to be one of His disciples was to invite persecution. He warned them that they would be arrested and taken before the authorities for questioning. Ironically, this persecution would present the disciples with the opportunity to witness to their persecutors. And most important of all, God would not be far away. God would be there, through His Spirit, giving them the words to say.
Later, Peter and John found themselves in such a position. Arrested and forced to stand before the Sanhedrin to answer questions, Peter and John served as witnesses to the power of Jesus and proclaimed that He was indeed the Messiah, crucified yet raised from the dead. When commanded to stop speaking of Jesus and to forsake their faith in Him, they spoke boldly, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). What was true in Paul’s day still holds true today. Contemporary disciples will face various kinds of persecution if they seek to live a godly life.
The sufferings of the disciples would be a testimony, proving to Jew and Gentile the depth, the reality of their faith, the power of God which strengthened them. Today, when faced with persecution, Christian patience shows the mighty influence of the grace of God. It testifies for God more effectively than words.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NASB)
“If WE confess OUR sins.” John did not say, “If YOU confess YOUR sins,” or “If THEY confess THEIR sins.” He said, “WE”–meaning the personal pronouns included John. Believers do commit deeds of unrighteousness; we do things that we know are not pleasing to God, and we omit things that we know would please Him–deeds of godliness that we could do. Even the most consecrated believer sins, and we need to confess our sins. When we do confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive.
Those of us who have exercised faith in the finished word of Jesus and are covered by His blood are saved by grace–but we still live in the same body we occupied when God saved us by His grace. We sin because we are sinners, even though we are sinners saved by grace; we still have the old nature tagging along. A sheep is not a sheep because it bleats and produces wool: it bleats and produces wool because it is a sheep. A rooster is not a rooster because he crows; he crows because he is a rooster. Sin was our nature when we were born into this world. When we are born again God put within us a new heart but He does not give us new flesh.
If sinners will just confess to God–both sins of omission and commission–God will forgive and abundantly pardon. Forgiveness comes as a result of true confession on the part of the one seeking forgiveness. God is faithful to all His children. He will do exactly what He has promised, He will do all that He has promised, and He will forgive us when we sin if we confess our sin.
God is not only faithful and righteous to forgive our sins, but He is also faithful “to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Righteousness is imputed; therefore when God imputes righteousness, all unrighteousness must be removed. Righteousness and unrighteousness cannot abide in the same heart. Ultimately God will remove all stains of guilt from soul, spirit, and body, and we will stand perfect before Him, holy, cleansed, without spot or blemish. Such can be ours only through the shed blood of Jesus and the unsearchable riches of His grace.
“If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8 (NASB)
Regardless of how consecrated we may be, regardless of how completely separated from the world, no matter how far advanced in holiness we may become, never in this tabernacle of flesh will we pass beyond the need for cleansing. Paul warned of this in 1 Corinthians 10:12: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”
Through the disobedience of Adam all men are sinners. Even if it were possible for a person to live above sin from the time he reaches the age of accountability until he dies, if his character were absolutely unmarked by sin, he still could not say, “I have no sin.”
Sin has roots; sin also bears fruit. The flesh, the old nature, the root that produces fruit, is always there. As long as we live we will be plagued with our own flesh; but thank God, the Holy Spirit is victor over the flesh, and He is the Divine Agent who gives us victory.
In the first Adam, all die; but in the last Adam (Jesus) all who believe are saved from sin and the curse of the fall. It is Jesus the Righteous One who presents us faultless to the Father; it is not we ourselves. He is the propitiation for our sins, He is our Redeemer, Sanctifier, Leader, Protector, Savior–and He has promised to never leave us not forsake us. He has declared that if we confess Him before men He will confess us before the heavenly Father.