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THREE WITNESSES THAT TESTIFY IN THE EARTH

1 John 5:7-8 – There are three that testify, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

The Holy Spirit came to earth after the Son ascended to the right hand of the Father. Consider this, a man is ruling from heaven at the Father’s right hand. The Spirit of God has come to earth to bring forth a new creation out of mankind. Mankind, which has been bound by Satan’s control. The Spirit is here to create all men in the image of Christ. The process which the Holy Spirit leads us into is “the water,” where we are to experience death with Christ and His resurrection power. It is a death to the flesh and the receiving of His life. The cleansing of Christ’s blood from our sins is applied as the Holy Spirit quickens our spirit and the new birth takes place.

As one receives the New Covenant in the blood of Christ, one is accepting the conditions of the covenant, which is giving up our life in exchange for His. This means I must die to self. Our death to self transpires in the waters of baptism. It is in the waters of baptism that death transpires. Coming out of the water, resurrection life takes place. The Spirit testifies we belong to God through Christ. The blood testifies, we are clean and accepted by God. It testifies that Christ’ blood was shed for our sins, destroying all enmity between God and man. Faith in His blood establishes peace with God. The water testifies of our death to our flesh and to our new life in Christ.

Let me be clear, I am not saying that regeneration happens because of the act of going into the water, but it is important to understand the water is more than a religious action. Paul’s teaching is quite clear concerning baptism. “How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:2-4). The water is a very important witness on earth to the reality of our salvation.

The Spirit bears witness to our spirit that we are sons and daughters of God. The water testifies to the world, we died to this life and now belong to another age. And the blood witnesses of our cleansing that we are now partakers of His life. Let us go forward with great hope and expectation of God’s eternal purpose that He has chosen for us in Christ.

Father, I receive the witness of the three You have given the Spirit, the water, and the blood. I thank You for the relationship with You that the Holy Spirit has brought into my life. I praise You for the water which testifies that I am no longer my own. I belong to Christ who cleanses me with His precious blood and witnesses that God is absolutely delighted in me.

BE DILIGENT FOUND IN PEACE, SPOTLESS, AND BLAMELESS

2 Peter 3:14 – Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless, and, blameless.

Because we are looking for the promise of future things, Peter says “be diligent.” Diligence is one of the greatest qualities of the Christian life. Peter qualifies diligence “to be found by Him in peace, spotless, and blameless.” This covers a lot of Christian living.

Peace speaks of “His Rest.” For the Christian, watching the news should be a different experience than what the world experiences. The world knows “anxiety,” but the believer knows “His promises,” Our life should be a reputation of being “spotless” from the world. I am burdened for many in the church today that do not keep themselves spotless from the world. Many believers converse and conduct themselves like the world. They participate with great enthusiasm in worldly practices. Except for attending church services, it is hard to tell them apart from the world. The world accuses the church, meaning Christians, of hypocrisy. The world knows what kind of life we should be living and many times the Christian is not found “blameless.” Peter says, “Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” Peter gives testimony that Paul said the same things. He also says that “the untaught and unstable distort the Scriptures to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:14-16).

Peter’s exhortation for the believer is to “be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (verses 17-18). Do not accept everything you hear. Today, there are some who speak and write not having the right motives, not led by principles which lead God’s people into “steadfastness.” Our great need is to “grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord.” The Lord Jesus is our standard. His Apostles are our example of Christ’s life and give us the foundations of our faith. It is Christ alone that fills all in all.

Peter finishes his instructions to the church by saying, “To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (verse 18). As we devote ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, let it always be about His glory. He wants the glory now and He will have the glory throughout eternity. Let us be a people that take the glory with us into eternity and not wait for eternity to give to Him what He alone deserves.

Father, thank You for expressing Your heart through Your servant Peter. Give me grace to receive all that Peter teaches in 2 Peter 3. Help me today, and throughout my earthly life to live for Your glory and honor. My hope is fixed on eternity and the day You have prepared for all who trust in You.

DELIVERED FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN, OUR FINAL VICTORY

2 Peter 3:7 – By His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Judgment is a difficult subject to talk about because people want to think they will be ok in eternity. Notice that Peter says, “The present heaven and earth are being reserved for fire.” It is important for the believer to stay focused on the promises of God regarding our future. The new creation of God, created in Christ, is not reserved for judgment, because Christ Himself bore the wrath of God on our behalf. Judgment is reserved for “ungodly men.”

A day is coming for the believer when our salvation will be complete. We have considered, in the last couple of days, freedom from the penalty of sin and the power of sin. Today, we consider the final stage of deliverance, “sin’s very presence.” Peter encourages believers by reminding us that God is not slow concerning His promise in the way some think of slowness. Our God lives in eternity, not a time-space world. Using Peter’s reasoning recorded in 2 Peter 3:8-9, it has only been 3 days since the cross and the resurrection of our Lord. “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

There is a New Heaven and Earth coming. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). This is a powerful exhortation not to trust in this world’s goods. Peter goes on to reason, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:11-13).

Peter, in his explanation of our future hope, keeps it simple. Today, there are so many viewpoints about the end and what things will look like. Many people are confused and many are filled with questions about the end of the world. Why not lay aside all the reasoning’s of men and just believe the apostles and their revelation of the end? This is a vast subject so we will continue with Peter’s thoughts in tomorrow’s devotional.

Father, today help me to see the present world with a correct viewpoint. Focus my eyes on the world to come where sin’s presence has been completely removed.

DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF SIN

Acts 1:8 – You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses.

The power which the Lord is promising comes from heaven’s authority. That authority was given to proclaim the good news of the gospel of the kingdom. It is an authority to live a life above sin. It is an authority to set captives free from Satan’s control. In Acts 1:7, the KJV uses the word “power” from the Greek word, exousia, which means “authority”. In Acts 1:8, the Greek word for power is “dunamis,” where we get our English word “dynamite.” The Lord is giving His disciples delegated authority which comes from His Father.

Many have the idea that the benefits of receiving the Holy Spirit are limited to being born again and going to heaven. Jesus makes it clear that receiving the Spirit is so much more. The Spirit of God brings “authority” and “power” to live a life of victory over Satan’s control through sin and darkness. As we walk in the light, as Christ is in the light, we walk in delegated authority to live out His life presently and release that life to others. The Lord has delivered us from the “authority” of Satan, his kingdom of darkness, and the power of the enemy through sin.

As we have seen previously, we were set free from the “penalty” of sin. That freedom began in our spirit when it was regenerated by the renewing of the Holy Spirit. See Titus 3:4. Today we are learning that the Holy Spirit empowers us to be free from the “power of sin” in our daily walk. Sin takes root in the areas of our intellect or human reasoning, imagination, memory, affection, and conscience. It is a daily battle to bring our reasoning into alignment with God’s word. Paul instructs us to cast down imaginations that exalt against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Hurts and wounds of the past are stored in our memories. Unclean images can also be stored in the memory of our mind. Have we set our affections on earthly realms or things above, as Paul admonishes in Colossians 3:2? If we do not deal with sin daily, it is possible for our conscience to become seared and fail to work on behalf of godliness. See Hebrews 9:14; 10:22.

Today, receive the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life free from the power of sin. Let us choose to walk in the authority the Lord has given to every believer. In our daily walk, let us choose His kingdom rule over our soul, mind, emotions, and will.

Father, I choose to be an over-comer in my daily walk. I receive the authority and power that You have made available through Christ Jesus the Lord. Thank You for power to overcome the enemy, to allow the Holy Spirit to rule in my life, and to minister Your victory to others day by day.

DELIVERANCE FROM PENALTY OF SIN

John 5:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

What a powerful promise Jesus gave to those listening to His teaching. The disciples came to realize that only Jesus had the words of eternal life. “Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?’” It is God’s will that all would come to repentance (John 6:68). Judas’ heart was set against receiving the “words of eternal life.” His will was fully committed to his self-interests. Jesus carried the words of eternal life even for someone like Judas, but Judas would not hear.

In Christ, as a result of the cross, the penalty of sin has been addressed. Paul taught the Roman church that, “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The biggest choice in this life is to choose between eternal “death” and eternal life.” Christ paid the penalty for sin, once and for all. We now must choose to trust and follow Him or continue on the path that leads to death and separation from God. “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-21). It took the blood of Jesus to deliver us from the penalty of sin, which is death and separation from the Eternal One. “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

God the Father has provided deliverance from sin’s penalty. Jesus freely offered His blood as the redemption price. The Holy Spirit applies the blood of Jesus to a repentant soul, giving us a right standing before God in our spirit. No longer will the penalty of sin affect us. “I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds” (Revelation 20:11-12).

If you are a believer in the redemptive work of God through Christ, rejoice that your name is written in the Book of Life. The penalty of sin was paid on your behalf. There is no second death in your future. The penalty for sin was paid, which is the starting point for an overcoming life through the Lord Jesus Christ.

NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS YOU WILL

This passage is the clearest picture mankind has of absolute surrender to the will of God. This is the turning point leading away from Adam’s rebellion, insisting on his will and not God’s.

Christ, whom Paul calls “the Last Adam,” fully fulfills God’s redemptive purpose for humanity. Jesus, chose to lay aside His will for the will of God. Once and for all He made it possible for the one who puts their faith in His redemptive work, to be able to do the same as He did. Our minds, emotions, and will have been liberated to fully surrender to God the Father.

Peter stood strong before the religious leaders that wanted to kill the disciples. Peter chose the will of God even in the face of death. One of the Pharisees named Gamaliel gave sound counsel to the group of religious leaders saying, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God” (Acts 5:33-39).

Because of what Jesus accomplished for mankind, setting our will against God’s will becomes a much more serious matter. Gamaliel’s counsel is good counsel for us as well. We never want to find ourselves setting our will against the Lord’s. When we do, we are fighting against God. Later, the disciples found themselves in need of help in caring for the needs of the people. They made a determination to appoint seven men full of the Holy Spirit to serve the people and their needs. They willed to do the will of God and to devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4-6).

Paul declared, “I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!” (Acts 21:13-14). Here is another example of choosing God’s will over one’s own will and the will of friends. The elders of Ephesus tried to persuade Paul not to go to Jerusalem, but Paul felt that He had heard from God. They came to the conclusion that they should become silent concerning the matter, and acknowledged that God’s will be accomplished.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’” (James 4:13-16).

Father, teach me and empower me each day to say, “If the Lord wills.” Help me to learn how to listen to the Holy Spirit.