Holiness (Hebrews 12:10)

Being holy isn’t something we are required to do: it is something that we get to partake in or experience.  

For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)

We do not strive to get it, we are holy and God wants us to abide in that holiness.  We are not chastened because we commit an act of sin, we are chastened when we depart from experiencing holiness and resist returning.  Sin is a divergence that leads us away from the holiness that God wants us to experience.  It robs both the believer and God from the goodness that he wants us to experience with him.  When we see this truth, we drop the burden of holiness and embrace the experience that awaits us.

Live What You Believe (Galatians 2:11-13)

When a person comes to Chist, they begin a journey of learning and living by faith.  It may sound like an easy task, but it is anything but that.

Remember, the scriptures are your sole source of truth. God may use people that he gives to the church and their gifts to guide and influence you, but in reality, it is still just you and God.  God brings to you truth and he expects you to trust him and live by faith in that truth. 

There may be times when you struggle with this.  Your struggle may come from a mis-understanding of truth or from fear that may keep you from believing and living by faith.  It can happen to the best of Christians.  The scriptures record the Apostle Peter as being one of those who struggled.

When certain disciples came to Antioch from James, Peter, who had previously eaten with the Gentile believers, withdrew and separated himself from them.  It was a terrible decision that brought upon him rebuke from the Apostle Paul.  Furthermore because of his vacillating, he probably confused and offended the Gentile believers, negatively affected his testimony, and hindered his ability to lead and influence others.  The worst was that he grieved the Holy Spirit and disappointed his father in Heaven.  All of this happened because he feared what others would think.

I wonder how many times in my life, I have failed to live as I believed, but instead altered my actions to satisfy others.  Believers need to know what they believe and then live according to that belief without being confused or ashamed. To keep from falling into that trap, I suggest that you consider the following.

1. Expose yourself to the scriptures daily.

2. Learn truth from the scriptures.

3. Believe what the scriptures say and not what others tell you what they say.

4. Ask God for grace to live the truth that you learned and believed: especially when you may be afraid.

5. Praise God each step of the way.

In Christ (Romans 8:39)

For the believer, one of the most important phrases in scripture is the phrase “in Christ”. All the blessings that we have as believers come from our position in Christ. We are joint heirs in Christ. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings by that same position. In fact, every benefit that we have as a believer comes from our position in Christ.

Years ago when I worked in the steel mill, I was required to fulfill a 90 day probationary period. During that time I was obligated to fulfill every aspect of my employment and could not display any type of violation. If I did, the result would have been discharged from employment. But then, the 91st day came. It was at that point that I became a member of the union and with it entitled to all of its benefits. I inherited health benefits, vacation time, strict guidelines for types of work put upon me and protection from wrongful treatment. I was in!

Likewise when I trusted Christ, I was in! All that Christ has, I became a joint heir. His righteousness – mine! His Sonship – mine! His power – mine! The list can go on, but what I believe the be the greatest inheritance that I get from being in Christ is God’s love.

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)

The love that I get from God is not based on me – and am I ever glad of that – but is based on his love for his son and what he has done for us. The reason that nothing can separate me from the love of God is because there is nothing in Christ Jesus that God does not love and there will never be anything in him that could be unlovable. God, who is love, cannot stop loving and Jesus, who is the perfect object of love, can never be less than that. Because I am in Christ, I will never be less than completely and perfectly lovable.  Yes! I am in!

Grace and Peace (Galatians 1:3)

Grace and peace: these are familiar words and this phrase is found several times in scripture.  But why does the Apostle use these words?  Is it merely a kind of formal greeting or are these words intentional?

Grace is God doing a divine work in the heart that manifests itself in the life of a person.  This happens at salvation, but it also takes place in other areas.  The fruit of the Spirit is a work of his grace and these are manifested in every area of the believer’s life.  In short, grace is when God does through us what we are unable to do ourselves or God enables us to be something beyond the scope of our ability.  So in actuality, “grace to you” means: May God grant you the ability to do and be what you are unable.

The word peace comes from the word which means “to set at one”.  This is much like when a bone is broken and a doctor sets it at one so that healing can take place.  When countries are at odds, a negotiator may meet with the heads of state and bring these countries back into a harmony of agreement.  What he actually does is to set them at one again.

Peace in the believer’s life is when God brings either his presence or truth to the believer resulting in faith that the situation is under his control and will some how bring about or work together for good.  No longer is the believer anxious or distressed.  His heart is set at one again.  Peace from God comes by recognizing that God is in control of all the circumstances that are out of your control.

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.  (Galatians 1:3)

From God, you get two fantastic benefits: he will help you do what you cannot do and be what you cannot be and also control all of the circumstances in your life.  He is doing a work on the inside and also on the outside as well.

Therefore, rejoice in him.  Walk today knowing that his strength is promised to be with you and his sovereignty will control all that is around you.