For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 2:11-14; 3:3-7)
Praise Almighty God for His grace that has appeared to us! Bless His Holy and Righteous Name. May we all respond fully to the teaching of His Spirit contained in that ancient book, the Bible.
As a relatively new believer in Christ, who spent over two decades as a devout Muslim, I am often asked for the best way to introduce the Gospel to Muslims. There are many opinions on this topic, ranging from using apologetics to just being a “good Christian.” Though most Christian’s natural inclination in approaching Muslims is apologetics, it often turns into arguments about doctrine and hurling insults about Islam that alienate the listener. I believe the real power lies in the reality of the Trinity– God the Loving Father, His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
God is Love. In over 20 years of being a devout Muslim, I never heard God referred to as being love or commanding us to love others. Islam teaches that God is merciful and kind, but the word love is never mentioned. A Muslim must worship and sacrifice for a God that does not ever tell you he loves you. You cannot rely on him to console you in times of trouble, and he was mainly there to judge you. Quite frankly, it was incredibly depressing since I could never maintain the countless set of rules and laws that demanded strict obedience.
Compare that to the Bible, God’s infallible, living Word where God describes Himself as love.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16
In a life filled with disappointment from people who claim to love you and a God that doesn’t consider love significant enough to mention, the simplicity of this Truth was very appealing. Our Heavenly Father is the originator and fulfiller of everything we know and experience of love. He so loved humanity that He sacrificed His only Son to rescue us. Not only does God extend His love to His children, but love for Him and those around us is the foundation of our faith.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31
Being loved unconditionally and learning to love others the same way has brought me extraordinary joy. Never underestimate the power of explaining to a Muslim how significant love is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is God incarnate. In Islam, you never really know if your good deeds are enough to enter God’s Heaven. On the Day of Judgement, God will decide if you were “good enough” and that terrified me. What if there was one big sin He could not forgive despite my hundred acts of obedience? It was very unsettling to live every day, wondering whether I would spend eternity in hellfire. Then I learned that God would guarantee a place in His eternal Heaven if I put my trust in Christ as God incarnate. I needed to accept that Jesus was God wrapped in flesh, who came to Earth and died on the cross, then rose again from the grave to pay for my sins.
The Divinity of Jesus is the most significant point of contention between Islam and Christianity. However, if you know all the miraculous qualities Christ has in Islam, unpacking what they think happened on the cross may be the key to their salvation. All Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin birth resulting from God’s Divine Spirit impregnating Mary. They know Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and performed countless miracles during his life. They also believe Jesus ascended to Heaven and will descend from Heaven in the End Times to defeat the Anti-Christ. However, Islam claims Jesus did not die on the cross. Instead, they claim Judas Iscariot’s soul was placed inside Jesus’ body so people would think it was Jesus, but God took him to Heaven. So, Muslims attribute many Divine abilities and manifestations to Christ but only deny the crucifixion because His death and resurrection would prove the integrity of the Bible. When you state these facts to most Muslims, it immediately leads them to question their understanding of Jesus. How can they believe that he had so many God-like abilities, but He is not God incarnate based on some illogical explanation for who died on the cross? Therefore, planting the seeds of doubt about how Islam portrays the crucifixion is essential.
Receiving the Holy Spirit. In Islam, it says God is closer to you than the veins on your neck, but he will not speak directly to you. In fact, it claims it is not befitting of God to do so. There is no intermediary between the Muslim and God, but prayer is a one-way communication. As a Muslim, I had no way of knowing whether he ever heard me or even accepted my prayers and pleas of repentance. There was no conversation between us. Conversely, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, God dwells within the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit who speaks directly to us, continually.
…He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18
Once I was saved and baptized, I was excited for what would happen next. I kept asking my mentor, “so now what?” She would lovingly but persistently keep saying, “wait to hear from the Lord.” I had no idea what she meant by this. I did not know how to talk with God, and I surely did not expect Him to talk back! It was not until I studied what it meant to receive the Holy Spirit that it made sense. Learning and experiencing the Holy Spirit’s guidance within me is how I know that I am in a relationship with the one TRUE God. Many Muslims have no idea that accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior leads to God’s indwelling through the Holy Spirit. It definitely piques their curiosity to think they would be able to hear from God directly.
Be sure it is clear the Trinity is three manifestations of the one true God and not three separate gods. We have God the Father who loves us; He came down in His Son to save us and leaves us His Holy Spirit to guide us. Muslims accuse Christians of being polytheists because they do not understand this, and unfortunately, many Christians cannot properly articulate it.
Having left Islam, it saddens me to hear even Christians make the false claim that we all worship the same God and each religious path can lead to the “truth.” Do not be content to give false or comfortable versions of a “truth” that leaves the individual without salvation and the love of God that comes through faith in Christ. The listener may not readily accept it, but that is not our concern. There is only one God, and no one will reach His presence except through faith in Christ. I understand and believe that now but I did not think that as a Muslim. I wish someone would have had the courage to say it to me earlier in my life.
Finally, I always end the discussion, challenging a Muslim to pray for God to reveal Himself and the reality of Jesus Christ. Their mind may fight the Truth of what you have told them but if it is His will, trust in the power of our God to lead them.
Hedieh Mirahmadi was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel. She dedicates herself full-time to Resurrect Ministry, an online resource that harnesses the power of the Internet to make salvation through Christ available to people of all nations, and her daily podcast LivingFearlessDevotional.com.
“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Jonathan Swift –
“Some of the meanest people are church people.” –Anonymous
“Minister, we been praying for revival of religion. And now God poured out his Spirit, we all ‘fraid for it.” –A Believer participating in the 1860 Jamaica prayer revival
Religion is dangerous in the sense that it is unregenerate man’s attempt to reach God by church membership, rituals, sacraments, obeying man’s commandments and teachings and performing other good works. It can only reform man, not change him. Religion can not cause man to be born again; therefore, it does not free man from his enslavement to sin. It still dominates him; therefore, though religious, he still hates and can be as mean as a snake. Listen to Brother Paul writing to the Christian church in Colossae concerning the keeping of religion’s commandments:
“These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” Colossians 2:23
Religion can not give us victory over our sinful nature. Paul said this about religious people: “…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Tim. 3:5). The power to radically change our sinful life only comes when we are born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3).
Flee to Jesus Christ, and to Him alone, to escape man-made religion s0 you can experience true life. Ask Him to save you today and to forgive all of your sins and be your Lord and Savior. He will cause you to be born again and the Holy Spirit will come to you and be your Comforter and Guide in this life. And He will change you by causing you to will (desire) and do of God’s good pleasure, bringing freedom from the human sinful nature.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1: 17
Following is a true story from Dr. H. A. Ironside, a former pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. The subject is Ephesians 1:17. The story also contains the best definition of biblical meditation I have ever read. Enjoy. Carl
“I remember years ago, while my dear mother was still living, I went home to visit the family, and found there a man of God from north of Ireland. I was a young Christian at the time, engaged in gospel work. He was a much older man, an invalid, dying of what we then called “quick consumption.” He had come out to Southern California, hoping climatic conditions would be of some help to him. But it was evident that he was too far gone to be recovered to health again. He lived, by his own desire, in a small tent out under the olive trees a short distance from our home. I went out to see him there, I can remember how my heart was touched as I looked down upon his thin worn face upon which I could see the peace of Heaven clearly manifested. His name was Andrew Fraser. He could barely speak above a whisper, for his lungs were almost gone, but I can recall yet how, after a few words of introduction, he said to me, “Young man, you are trying to preach Christ; are you not?” I replied, “Yes I am.” “Well,” he whispered, “sit down a little, and let us talk together about the Word of God.”
He opened his well worn Bible, and until his strength was gone, simply, sweetly, and earnestly he opened up truth after truth as he turned from one passage to another, in a way that my own spirit had never entered into them. Before I realized it, tears were running down my face, and I asked, “Where did you get these things? Could you tell me where I could find a book that would open them up to me? Did you learn these things in some seminary or college?” I shall never forget his answer. ” My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. There with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time, and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart, and He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor that I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world”
Is it not true that most of us do not stay long enough in the presence of God? We do not get quiet enough to let Him talk to us and reveal His mind to us. “Meditation,” someone has said, ” is becoming a lost art in our day.” To meditate is really to chew the cud. Just as the cattle take their food in the rough, and then ruminate and get the sweetness and the good out of it, so the believer needs to read the Word and then spend time quietly in the presence of God, going over it again and again, ruminating, chewing the cud, until it becomes truly precious to the heart.
It is when one thus gets in the presence of God that the Holy Spirit delights to take of divine things and show them unto us. It is thus we grow in the knowledge of Christ. That is one reason why the Spirit came. Every believer to a certain extent has the knowledge of Christ, but the original word implies more that that. It is not merely knowledge as such; it is really super-knowledge, or full knowledge. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.” Perhaps you know him as Savior, as the One who has redeemed you from everlasting destruction, as the glorious Head of the Church, with whom you are linked by the Holy Spirit. He would have you to go on to know him better, for there are riches in Christ that you may be sure you have never yet entered into. We cannot afford to be negligent, or to let other things crowd out the blessing we might have by giving more time to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. ”
H. A. Ironside, LITT.D – In the Heavenlies [Ephesians] (1937), pages 86 – 89
But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
Lord Jesus to the parents of the little children- Luke 18: 16-17 (emphasis added)
This morning the pastor shared this Scripture in his sermon and it reminded me of the following statement by the commentariat Matthew Henry:
“The Holy Spirit is given to us to make us like little children.”
What a great truth to live by. May we become like little children in our relationship with our Heavenly Father; trusting, believing, receiving from and loving Him, as little children in relationship with their earthly fathers.
When Jesus returned from the wilderness and being tempted by Satan, the Scriptures say that He came to His hometown Nazareth, in the power of the Holy Spirit. He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath as was His custom and He stood up to read. The scroll of Isaiah was given to Him and He found what we know as Isaiah 61 and read the following:
 “The SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,  To PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
and then He said this:
“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4: 21
This caused quite a stir in His hometown synagogue. Why?
The Hometown Guy, which is what His old neighbors considered Him to be, had just informed the congregation that He was the Anointed One or Messiah that Israel had been looking for for hundreds of years. At that time Israel was looking for the Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression.
They could not receive this awesome revelation and ended up trying to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff.
Jesus had declared that He was the Messiah. The title Messiah refers to one who is anointed with oil, symbolizing the reception of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to do an assigned task (Vines). It refers to the consecration of someone or something to a specialized task (Moody).
The Hebrew word for Messiah is masiah and in the Greek it is christos. In the English language it is christ. In English speaking cultures Jesus is known as Jesus Christ which means Jesus The Messiah or Jesus The Anointed One. The word “Christ”, emphasizes the special anointing of Jesus of Nazareth for His role as God’s Chosen One (Vines).
Jesus fulfilled the two qualifications to be the Messiah: 1) the anointing of the Holy Spirit and 2) He was able to fulfill the specialized task.
Please note that after defeating Satan’s in the wilderness, it is said that:
“And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…”
He was “anointed with oil” so to speak; the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, note that in verse 18 above that Jesus said “…because He [God The Father] anointed me to…” and then He read the specialized task that He was “anointed” to do:
…to preach the gospel to the poor
…proclaim release to the captives
…recovery of sight to the blind
…to set free those who are oppressed
…to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
There is a spiritual and physical component to these task. He preached the good news of God’s mercy to those who realized they were spiritually bankrupt (poor) regardless of their financial status. He physically healed the eyes of the blind but He also opened the eyes of the heart (the understanding) of the spiritually blind. He set free people who were held captive and oppressed by sickness and disease. He also set free those who were enslaved and oppressed by the demons, held captive to do Satan’s will.
So we see He had the qualifications of the Messiah: He was anointed because of the Holy Spirit and there were specialized tasks that only He could perform. All through the New Testament we see Him fulfilling these tasks thereby proving that He is the Messiah.
He was the Servant Messiah who died for our sins and was raised from the dead and is seated at God’s right hand as I write this. The favorable year of the Lord has brought eternal salvation from the guilt and penalty of sin. By God’s grace we can be saved from our sins through simple faith in what Christ did on the Cross. During this “year” God remembered us Gentiles and made a Way for us to be reconciled to Him through the Cross of Christ. The Gentiles were welcomed into the kingdom of God.
These are the days we are living in. Next time we will look at the yet-to-come second advent of the Lord Jesus. Hope you will join us for it. You will find it very interesting.
Thank you for your time. I pray you were blessed by the Word of God.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a middle aged man who was in the midst of a very stressful situation. He spoke of his past Christian experience and was confused about the future. Our interaction reminded me, that as biblically born again believers, when we wake up in the morning, there are only TWO things the Lord requires of us:
To Love Him
To Love Our Neighbor as Ourselves
The Lord Jesus said:
“…AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ Mark 12:30-31
and then He adds this statement:
“There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
The Lord Jesus says there is nothing greater than loving the biblical God and our fellow man.
The word “love” is the Greek agapao. This “speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and praise.” (Wuest) It is the same word the Apostle John used in John 3:16 to describe how God feels about lost mankind, whom He sent Jesus to redeem. He considers each person precious. That is why He paid such a high price to redeem lost sinners, like you and me.
Therefore, when I wake in the morning, this is all that God requires of me. I am to consider my fellow man, lost or saved, as precious to God and, therefore, to me.
Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, He gives me the desire and willingness to do this. (Philippians 2:13).
If I love God like Jesus said:
I will have no other gods before Him
I will not have idols in my life
I will not take His name in vain
I will treat Him as Holy
And if I love my neighbor as myself:
I will not murder him
I will not commit adultery with his wife
I will not steal from him
I will not lie to him or against him
I will not covet his possessions.
When a person is biblically born again by the Holy Spirit, God begins to change that person from a “hater” to a “lover”. A “hater”, as I am using it, is someone who sins against God and his fellow man. A synonym of “sinner”.
Take for example the apostle John.
The Lord Jesus nicknamed John and his brother James, the Sons of Thunder. They evidently had a short temper. Luke 9: 54 says that they wanted to call down fire from heaven to kill some Samaritans who did not receive Jesus into their village. Jesus rebuked them saying “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” After years had passed, we see in the Book of Acts, John with Peter returning to the Samaritans to minster to them (a manifestation of love) with Philip, the deacon. Through what John learned from Jesus as a disciple and what God did in his heart when he was born again, he was changed from a “hater” to a “lover” of the Samaritans.
Later in his life, he wrote what we know as I John. In chapter 4: 7-12 his changed heart is manifested in these words:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is PERFECTED in us. (emphasis added)
Everything God has done for us through Christ is to help us PERFECT His love in us:
We identify with the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection, therefore, we can overcome Satan and our sinful nature and walk in love toward others.
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit spreads the love of God in our hearts so we can properly love Him and our fellow man.
The Holy Spirit is given to us to comfort, teach, and encourage us as we fight the good fight of faith in learning and persevering to walk in love toward others
The Bible is given to us to teach us how to love through the example and instruction of others who had to learn to walk in love.
The Bible gives us levees for our love so it is channeled in the right direction and does not overflow into unrighteous.
The Body of Christ, the Church, is a place to exercise our love gifts, share love and perfect our love.
When Christ returns and we stand in His Presence, we will not turn away in shame because we have conducted ourselves like He conducted himself.
The ultimate goal of the Christian life is to be PERFECTED in love. To cause us to do what the scripture said in the beginning of this blog. To stop being a “hater” and change into a “lover” of people and God.
Conducting ourselves in love toward others, assures us that we are saved, “God abides in us“. John said “We love, because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19)
The devil will use religion to heap expectations and distractions on us that will choke the true spiritual life out of you if you let it. If that is where you are, take a time out and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any traditions of men or church that are clouding your understanding of God and what he expects of you. Then ask Him to PERFECT His love in you.
In closing, listen to Paul’s personal priorities as expressed in I Corinthians 13 and 14:
” If I speak with the tongue of men and angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love ,I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.‘
“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
“Pursue love…” (emphasis and underlining added)
In Paul’s personal life he was pursuing love. He was another disciple that was changed from a literal “killer” of Christians to a “lover”. May we yield to the working of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who is trying to make us “lovers”, freeing us from being “haters”.
Thank you for your time. May we be enriched in all knowledge and understanding by His Holy Spirit who was sent to lead you and I into all truth.
“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age…” (Galatians 1:4)
“Be having salt in yourselves,..” Lord Jesus (Mark 9:50)
The twelve disciples had been walking down the road with Jesus and, among themselves, they had been debating which one of them was the greatest. The Lord begins to correct them about how to be the greatest in the kingdom of God and warning them about temptation, sinning, and hell. At the end of the conversation, He makes some comments about being “salted with fire” and salt. In the interest of brevity, I will only address what is related to our discussion on the pernicious evil age and its corrupting influence.
When He mentioned salt, the Apostles minds would of probably immediately thought about how the law of Moses stated that temple sacrifices should be salted with salt. Secondly, they would of remembered that salt was a preserving agent. Peter, John and James, all former fishermen, may of used salt to preserve their catch of fish.
By having “salt” in themselves, it would prevent the corrupting influence of the evil pernicious age. Remember the effect of the evil influence is likened to decay and rot on your morals or virtue. What does salt represent? One fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23 is self-control and I believe that is what Jesus is using salt to represent. Self-control will keep you from being “carried away” or “towed” by Satan and enticed to sin. It preserves your morals from decay and rot. The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us the ability to control our will. We are told in II Peter 1: 5-6 to add the qualities of self-control or temperance to our lives. This would protect them and us from the corrupting influence of the age which Lord Jesus came to rescue us from.
Concerning salt in our lives, the Holy Spirit led me to Matthew Henry’s ACommentary On The Whole Bible. Here are his comments written prior to 1721 A.D.:
“The nature of man, being corrupt, and as such being called flesh (Gen. vi. 3; Ps. lxxviii. 39), some way or other must be salted, in order to its being a sacrifice to God.
“Our chief concern is, to present ourselves living sacrifices to the grace of God (Rom. xii. 1), and , in order to our acceptableness we must be salted with salt, our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified, and we must have in our souls a savour of grace. Thus the offering up or sacrificing of the Gentiles is said to be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, as the sacrifices were salted, Rom. xv. 16.
“Those that have the salt of grace, must make it appear that they have it; that they have salt in themselves, a living principle of grace in their hearts, which works out all corrupt dispositions, and every thing in the soul that tends to putrefaction, and would offend our God, or our own consciences, as unsavory meat doth.
“Our speech must be always with grace seasoned with this salt, that no corrupt communication may proceed out of our mouth, but we may loath it as much as we would to put putrid meat into our mouths. As this gracious salt will keep our own consciences void of offence, so it will keep our conversation with others so, that we may not offend any of Christ’s little ones, but may be at peace one with another.”
Did you notice how he compares the effects of the evil influence of the age to “putrid meat”, “unsavory meat” and “putrefaction” in the soul. This is the rot and decay that we mentioned earlier. He also mentions “our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified”. “Mortified” is an old English word meaning ” to subdue and kill”; in the Christian sense “to reckon” dead as Paul tells us in Romans 6: 11 (KJV).
Therefore, we need to do as the Lord said and “Have salt within yourselves…” How do we do that? Believe what Paul said about your identification with Christ and present or yield yourselves to God as His servant and trust in the indwelling Holy Spirit to give you the desire and power to do the will of God as you exercise self-control to say “NO” to the enticements of Satan and the age. When you exercise your will to say “No”, He, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to follow through. Your sinful nature will not have dominion over you! This will increase the fruit and power of the indwelling Spirit in our lives AND MAKE US MORE USEFUL TO GOD. This is the only way to stop the corruption of this age from defiling us. Only God’s way works.
Hear Lord Jesus through Paul’s words in Romans 6:12-14:
“Thus, also, as for you, you be constantly counting upon the fact that, on the one hand, you are those who have been separated from the sinful nature, and, on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus. Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it [the body] in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once-for-all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and put your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, for [then] the sinful nature will not exercise lordship over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
(Wuest Expanded Translation)
This completes the third installment of this series. The next blog will address what Apostle John had to say about loving the world. I hope you will join us. May God richly bless your understanding of these things and may His indwelling Spirit empower you with self-control.
“For as many as are being constantly led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
I recently heard of a Christian brother in a local church, who during a discussion on the Holy Spirit, expressed his fear of the Spirit. Due to erroneous teaching he had received over the years and things he had seen, he had become afraid of the One who indwells him as a believer; the very Helper Jesus sent to him when he believed.
The Apostle Paul told us in Romans that we are to be constantly led by the Spirit of God. The word “led” is the Greek word “ago” and according to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words it means “to bear, bring, carry, lead,” and is translated by the verb “to lead”. An example would be the act of leading about an animal at the end of a rope. Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek says this about “ago”:
“An animal’s owner would wrap a rope around its neck and then “tug” or “pull” until the animal started to follow him.
“Pay careful attention to the “tugging” and “pulling” of the Holy Spirit in your heart. He is a Gentleman and does not force you to obey Him. He prompts you, tugs on your heart, and pulls on your spirit to get your attention. Sometimes His “tugs” may be so gentle that you almost miss them. But if you’ll develop your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, He will gently “lead” you exactly where He wants you to go with your life.” (Emphasis mine)
Have you developed this sensitivity to the Helper? If not, we pray that you will.
Our scripture goes on to say that those who are led by the Spirit, these are sons of God. In Galatians Paul says that while Israel was under the law of the Old Testament, they were considered “nepios”, an immature person who needed a guardian to look after them. The guardian was the law of the Old Testament. But in Romans 8:14, Paul uses “huios” which signifies someone of full age; a mature person having outgrown the need for his former guardian.
In conclusion, we are living under God’s wonderful, unbelievable grace as born again children of God. We have no need for the law because we have the Spirit of God living in us, vastly more powerful and effective than the law. If you will, He is our guardian now. He is our source of godly desires and the power to do the will of God. He is grieved by our sins and wanderings. He is faithful to convict us of our sins and bring us to repentance. He will never leave us or forsake us. Let us develop a sensitivity to his “tugs” and “pulling” so he can lead us in the way we should go. What wonderful provision God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ has made for those who trust in Jesus Christ.
Pay Close Attention To Yourself and The Holy Spirit
“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, …” (II Peter 1: 5)
Virtue or moral excellence is the manifestation of the “energy” of the Holy Spirit working in us, in response to our faith in Jesus Christ. Our response to this “energy” is to have “energy” in the outliving of our faith which will manifest itself as “change” in our behavior, resulting in increased moral excellence.
Now stop and read the first paragraph again before going on. Do you see this in your life?
“Change” takes “energy” or power. From whence does it come? Listen to what is on record and is just as true today as when it left Peter’s writing instrument 2000 years ago. “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these, He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (II Peter 1: 3-4) He has given us “everything” we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of God, which is found in scripture, and precious magnificent promises that are found in scripture also. Why did He do this? So His born again children could be partakers of His divine nature, which has been implanted in them, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust or passionate cravings.
“Change” always takes “energy” or power. Our precious Lord Jesus told the disciples before His death, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:8) He sent His Spirit to come along side of us and to help us successfully live the victorious Christian life. He, the Holy Spirit of God, is constantly releasing His energy so we will desire the sweet will of God and, then as we say “yes” and move our will to obey, He releases His power to make the change a reality.
Peter begins this exhortation of II Peter, by asking that sanctifying grace and sanctifying peace be multiplied in the sphere of and by the full knowledge of our God, even Jesus, the Lord. Listen to Wuest’s explanation of this knowledge:
“The particular word for knowledge here, epignosis, speaks of experiential knowledge, that is knowledge gained by experience. This knowledge of Jesus Christ possessed by the believer therefore, is not a mere intellectual knowledge of the facts concerning Him acquired by a study of the Gospels, for instance, but a heart experience of what and who He is, gained by such a study, including a personal association with Him, by means of the Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is a person with Person knowledge through intimate fellowship.”
He has not left us as orphans. He is wanting to fellowship with us. Reflect on that for a moment. Out of this fellowship will flow two things: 1. sanctifying grace, the work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded believer producing Jesus’ personality traits. 2. Also out of this fellowship will flow sanctifying peace, the tranquility of heart which is the result of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our life.
May His “energy” be evident in your life. May you be increasing in all the fruit of the Spirit as you fellowship with your Lord and Savior Jesus.
While recently at MD Anderson in Houston I noticed that the signage in some departments held a message applicable to Christians. This one was in a patient’s room and the normal meaning is obvious. The spiritual message is:
Call (for the Helper), Don’t Fall (into Satan’s snare). Stay safe (in the Grace of God). Call for help (when under attack).
The Lord Jesus, after He went into Heaven, sent the mighty Spirit of God to be the believer’s Helper, Comforter, Teacher and Sanctifier. Each born-again believer is sealed in Christ Jesus with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13). Jesus knew we would need a Helper. Sometimes The Helper in us is all we need to overcome sin and the devil. At other times we may need the prayer, advice or encouragement from the Helper in a brother or sister in-Christ. Avail yourself of the Holy Spirit’s assistance if you need it.
Remember: Call. Don’t Fall. Stay Safe. Call for help.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Jesus (John 16:7)
“And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…”. (Acts 2:2-4)
“….but be filled with the Spirit…” (Ephesians 5:18)