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RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

John 1:12 – As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.

In John 1:12, Jesus speaks of the most important right an individual can possess, “the right to become a child of God.” The world thinks that we are all God’s children. It is true, in biblical terms, that our genealogy can be traced back to Adam. The Bible speaks of Adam as “the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Adam lost his standing through sin. God established the law of a “blood sacrifice” in the Garden of Eden when He took the skins of an innocent animal and covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness. Through what God did, we have the first prophetic picture of God’s provision for fallen humankind through His Only Begotten Son. Paul calls Jesus the last Adam who has redeemed us back to God making it possible for each descendant of the first Adam to once again have a “right standing” with God the Father.  In our spirit, we have a sure standing as sons and daughters of the living God. Jesus’ victory has secured our standing as children of God.

Paul writes of our relationship with God in his letter to the Romans, “All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). The question each believer must ask throughout their life is, “Am I being led by the Spirit of God?” Sons do what the father directs. We live in a society where sons do their own pleasure and this even seems correct. Young people strive for independence. It seems like the goal in child development. Jesus came to do the will of His Father. Even as a child, He understood “being about His Father’s affairs” (Luke 2:49). Later as an adult, Jesus taught, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30).

Being led by the Spirit of the Father is what sons of God do. The Lord did not save us simply to transport us to heaven. The Father’s plan is to have sons and daughters throughout the earth whose utmost desire is to do His will. The true witness of a son of God is someone who is seeking the Father to know His will in their life so that they may please Him in everything they do. When a person comes to know that their standing before God is absolutely sure, they must do God’s will or simply be unfulfilled in their lives.

My personal experience has been to know absolute fulfillment by doing what the Lord has directed of me. Equally true, I have been miserable when disregarding God’s will and pursuing my own interests. There is a contrast between a child and a son. I know I have the right to be God’s child as Jesus taught in John 1:12.  As I mature in my relationship with the Father, I now know I am a son of God because I must do His will as Jesus Himself came to realize.

Father, I thank You I have received Your Son Jesus and have been given the right to be a child of God. Strengthen my resolve to grow in sonship where my earnest desire is to do Your will at all times. Help me in my commitment to Your kingdom purpose.

THE BLOOD TESTIMONY TO GOD

John 10:25-29 – You do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.  But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

There are three works of Jesus that testify of His redemptive work in each believer and take place in our spirit, soul, and body. These works testify of the complete salvation our Lord has provided for His redeemed people.

The beginning place of our salvation is in our human spirit. It is our spirit that is “born again.” The blood of Jesus testifies to God the Father as His blood is applied to the life of the believer. “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:20). “For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:24-27).

The Hebrew High Priest had to bring the blood of an innocent animal once a year into the holy of holies and offer it before God’s mercy seat as a testimony from God’s covenant people of their need of His mercy and forgiveness. When the Lord saw the blood of the sacrifice, He would have mercy and cover the sins of His covenant people. This yearly practice was a prophetic picture of the real sacrifice which took place when Jesus, our High Priest, offered His own blood as a testimony to His Father. Once and for all blood is before God testifying to the redemptive work of Christ.

As one, by faith, receives what Christ has done for them, the shed blood of Christ is applied to the individual’s life and allows the Spirit of God to recreate the human spirit into the image of Christ. The believer becomes a new creation as a result of the blood’s testimony to God the Father. A covenant testifies to both the one who created the covenant and the one who receives the covenant. The covenant we have in Christ is sealed with His own blood for all eternity.

Father, I thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place. Thank You Father, that the blood of Christ is the testimony of my redemption. I know I stand before You fully approved and fully complete because of Your Blood Covenant.

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.

BAPTIZED – SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY

Hebrews 6:1 – Leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity.

The word “baptized” comes from the Greek baptismo, meaning to dip. The writer of Hebrews includes the doctrine of baptisms (plural) in his list of things that are the elementary teaching about Christ. There are many baptisms we find listed in the New Testament. There are baptisms in water, Spirit, fire, the cross, and sufferings. There are three to consider here in regards to our three fold-salvation for spirit, and soul, and body.

The first baptism is for our spirit man. Paul teaches, when we were redeemed, we were baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. As the blood of Jesus covers us, we are immersed in the blood and are justified, becoming members of His body. “Much more being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9). This baptism applies to our spirit man and is a spiritual baptism. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

The second baptism is “water” baptism. It is God’s ministers that baptize us into water. Peter writes, “it is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21). In Romans 6, Paul speaks of this baptism as the place we join Christ in death and are united in His resurrection.  Paul powerfully outlines what we have gained in Christ when he writes, “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority, and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). This is a large sentence, but necessary to keep the thought fully intact.

The third baptism is to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the one who would baptize us with the Holy Spirit, “John answered, saying unto them all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit  and with fire’” (Luke 3:16). As one receives the Spirit, power is available to live a life for Christ on a daily basis. The Bible calls this daily walk “sanctification” which means to be “set apart.”

Father, I accept Baptism, not as a religious act, but for what You intended as described by Paul. I invite the Holy Spirit to circumcise my heart and remove the body of the flesh. I pray to walk in the Spirit daily, being led in the power of resurrection life received through Christ the Lord. 

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.