The life of God

God’s purpose for our lives can be found in one verse of Scripture – Romans 8:29 “For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Thats God’s purpose for your life – to be conformed to the image of Jesus. It is not just to use you in ministry, or to bless you, or to heal you, or to restore your dominion, or to deliver you from your difficulties or from sin or Satan. His ultimate purpose is to make us like Jesus – full of His nature and life.

Seen another way, it is to fill us with His life and express himself through us in character and power, so that we can be like Jesus.

Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 b”. The Greek word for life used in this verse is “zoe” which means “the life of God”. Why don’t we read that verse again using the actual meaning of “zoe”.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have the life of God, and that they may have the life of God more abundantly.” So, we see that Jesus came to make available to us the life of God. This verse also suggests that we can have this life of God in increasing abundance. Marvellous! What amazing possibilities to the one who believes! The life of God – the eternal, omnipotent, indestructible, sin destroying, disease destroying, unconquerable, holy life of God in the disciple of Jesus. That would make the man who carries this life a master, with dominion over the world, over Satan, over sin and over sickness and disease.

Lets look at some verses of Scripture along these lines and as we do, I would urge you to recognise the infinite possibilities laid before the disciple of Jesus, who chooses to believe  –

  1. John 1:4 – “In him was life and that life was the light of men.” The life of Jesus, when received, becomes light within us. Thats why Jesus said that we are the light of the world – because his life is the light within us. Jesus also said that the eye is the lamp of the body. If the eye is sound, the whole body is full of light. The eye here speaks of the human spirit. If the spirit is sound, the whole body is full of light (the darkness of sin or disease cannot enter the body). The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord (Proverbs 20:27) and, as in the verse above, the lamp of the body. When the life of Jesus comes in, the spirit is made alive or sound or is full of light. When the spirit of man is sound (full of the life of God), then the body is full of light. That means that as long as our spirits are filled with the life of God, disease cannot come near us. It also makes clear that as long as we are filled with the life of God, the darkness of sin cannot come in. Do you see these wonderful possibilities….if only we can believe?
  2. 1 John 5:11, 12 – “God has given us eternal life and this life is in his son. He who has the Son, has life; he who does not have the son does not have life.” There is only one way to receive the life of God – by receiving Jesus. For, this life of God is only found in Jesus. As we have received Jesus, we have received the life of God – the eternal, all conquering, omnipotent life of God. Can you believe that? Can you regularly remind yourself of this amazing truth?
  3. 1 John 5:13 – These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,…..” This is vital – that you may know that you have eternal life, that you may know that you have the life of God within you, that you may know beyond a shadow of doubt. Do you? There is the life of God pulsating in each cell of your body, in your soul and in your spirit and it is God’s will that you enjoy this life in an increasing measure. It is God’s will for the Holy Spirit to provide life to your mortal body to sustain you through life’s journey until it is time to make the transition to your eternal home. (Romans 8:11).
  4. 1 Corinthians 6:15 – “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” Hey….hold on; I thought that I am part of the body of Christ because I am connected to Christ in my spirit. What does this verse say? This verse shows us that our BODIES are members of Christ. That means our bodies are part of Christ’s body. That means our bodies are recipients of the life of Jesus. That means our bodies – every cell and every organ and every blood vessel are continually vitalized and rejuvenated and made alive by the life of God. Sickness, disease and pain cannot come in. The “head and the body” and the “vine and branch” are two pictures of Christ’s relationship to us. In both these pictures, the same life passes through the body and the branch. For the body and the branch to be alive, life must flow. That life is what Jesus came to give.
  5. John 7:38 – “he who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” God’s plan is not just to make us a recipient of the life of God, but to make us “dispensers” or “ministers” of the life of God. This life of God can flow out of our spirits and souls and our bodies to impact others, dispelling death from their lives in the process. Wherever we go, the spiritual atmosphere is bound to change because of this life that we carry.

I would like to encourage you, saint of God, to seek to be filled with this life of God, which is found in Jesus, in an ever increasing measure until His life is freely expressed through you in character and power.

Thus God will cause us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

God’s masterpiece

The Bible tells us that we are God’s masterpiece, his handiwork (Eph 2:10, NLT). We are God’s showpiece, the demonstration of what God’s salvation does in an individual, the picture of God’s plan for the one who believes in Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, we find that our experience does not match up with that and I would like to invite you to see why.

We have not experienced salvation as God meant it to be mainly because we have not understood it correctly. An incorrect understanding has limited our ability to receive from the Lord. We have taken God’s salvation, shrunk it to suit the size of our intellects and keep shrinking it further to fit within our ever diminishing experience. If our lives are the true picture of what Christ’s salvation can accomplish, then salvation has surely accomplished very, very little. No wonder then, that the unbeliever does not want what we have or claim to possess. We have pompously declared that Christ’s death can only provide for the forgiveness of sin and the assurance of heaven. In doing so, we have yelled, without saying so, that his death is not deemed sufficient to heal sickness or to free men from the devil’s power or to transform men to be like Christ in character and power. In our conceit, we have repackaged Christianity and portrayed it to be a faith that can only save the soul but is powerless to save the body. Then we live, rejoicing in the limited salvation we enjoy, not even wondering whether God would have taken the trouble to come to earth and return, offering a partial salvation. And so our lives are pathetic, a reflection of what we believe to be true.

God’s masterpiece? No way, not by a long shot!

Can you imagine God saying, “this is my masterpiece indeed……I can save his soul, but I really can’t heal his body or deliver him or provide for him. He will have to trudge through life trusting me. And if he makes it, I will take him to heaven.” That would be a cruel joke. And, praise God, it is not true.

The salvation that Christ provides is much more than the forgiveness of sin and the assurance of heaven after we die. God’s ultimate purpose for us in this life is to make us like Jesus, to dwell in us and manifest himself through us in supernatural power.

Mankind, throughout history, has been plagued by several ills, which are sin, sickness, curses, the devil and death. Since man cannot save himself from these ills, God showed up in human form, lived a sinless life, went to the cross, gave up his life as a sacrifice for sin, died, was buried, destroyed Satan, rose from the dead as death could not hold him down and ascended to heaven. God had only one plan for salvation, only one solution for all of the ills of man – Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in Colossians 2:2 that God’s plan is Christ himself (NLT). The sacrifice of Jesus life on the cross and the shedding of his blood is the solution for sin, it is the solution for sickness, it is the solution for the curse, it is the solution for satanic oppression and it is the solution for death. The salvation that God provides through Jesus Christ includes all of the following –

  1. Forgiveness of sin
  2. Freedom from sin’s power
  3. Certainty of going to heaven after physical death
  4. Certainty of a future resurrection of the body
  5. Healing of sicknesses, diseases and pains
  6. Divine health
  7. Freedom from the curse
  8. Freedom from the dominion of Satan
  9. Every spiritual blessing
  10. The righteousness of Christ imparted to us permanently
  11. The life of Christ/eternal life in us; we become the dwelling place of God
  12. Supernatural, resurrection power in us, flowing out from us

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God takes the individual, forgives his sin, reconciles the individual to Himself, makes him free from sin’s power, heals his sicknesses, frees him from Satan’s dominion, frees him from the curses over his life, imparts Christ’s righteousness to him, blesses him and comes to live inside him with supernatural power. The Christian is one who is full of the life of God. He cannot be defeated, sickness cannot invade his body, the devil cannot overcome him. He is a master – over the devil, over the world and over every circumstance. He walks in triumph and is the aroma of Christ in this world. He carries the character and power of Christ and is full of resurrection power and life. Every part of his spirit, soul and body is filled with the life of God. He is united with Christ and as a result, God dwells in him. Now the Christian is God’s masterpiece; God shows him off as the wonder of His creation and the crown of His salvation.

How do we know we are saved?

  1. The Bible, the Word of God, says so. Do read the letters of Paul in the New Testament.
  2. God has given us the Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13,14 NLT).The presence of the Holy Spirit is the assurance. By the way, before anyone cries foul and say that we should not trust solely in an experience, I’d like to state that Christianity is an experience – repentance is an experience, receiving Christ is an experience, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience, worshipping God is an experience. Peace is an experience, joy is an experience, love is an experience; why, even death is an experience. I, for one, like to experience God’s presence and power; to be conscious of His presence within me all through the day.
  3. A changed life. We experience all that Christ died to provide. Peace, joy, love, a sense of righteousness, a growing desire for God, a desire to live righteously and love for the brethren are evidence of salvation. You simply begin to bear fruit.

We are God’s masterpiece, his handiwork.The ultimate purpose of Christ’s sacrifice is not just to take us to heaven when we die, but to make us clean and pure like himself, dwell within us and then cause His Spirit to flow through us to impact the world.

Oh, what God has done!

“But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9, ASV”

Beloved, we are saved to show forth the multi-faceted excellencies of God in this world. Our lives are meant to be an advertisement for the excellencies of God; the manifestation of divine life in a human being, the demonstration of the life of God in man. We are meant to be the showcase for Christ’s salvation, the evidence of what God can do in one who is yielded to him.

The Christian life is meant to be supernatural from beginning to end. It is Jesus Christ living in us and manifesting his life through us. The fruit of the Spirit is simply that – the fruit that only the Holy Spirit can bring. It is supernatural love, supernatural joy, supernatural peace, supernatural patience, supernatural kindness, supernatural goodness, supernatural gentleness, supernatural faithfulness, supernatural self control and supernatural humility. We cannot produce the fruit, God does it when we are yielded to Christ. Paul encourages us in Galatians 5 to “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” These states of being “in the Spirit or in the flesh” are mutually exclusive – you can’t be in both states at the same time. Its like trying to be in the air and on the ground at the same time – its just impossible. Hence, our focus ought not to be trying to overcome the works of the flesh but to be “in the Spirit” for when we are in this state, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Is’nt it “by the Spirit” that we can put to death the deeds of the flesh?

Let me say that again – your life is meant to demonstrate the excellencies of God – to demonstrate his nature, his transforming power, his favour, his life, his salvation, his mercy, his grace, his love, his blessing, his healing, his care. Think about it.

Lets look at some other verses of Scripture on this topic.

  1. Paul – “However for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering as a pattern to those who are going to believe in Him for everlasting life. 1 Tim 1:16”. Paul’s life was a pattern, an example, a demonstration of the patience and mercy of God to those who would be saved. His life showed forth the mercy and patience of God. His life showed how God reached out to one who hated Christians, saved him and transformed his very nature.
  2. Lazarus – “Now a great many of the Jews knew that he was there; and they came, not for Jesus sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. John 12:9-11”. Lazarus, who was raised from the dead by Jesus, demonstrated the fact that Jesus had power over death. His life showed that Jesus was indeed the resurrection and the life.
  3. The Christian – “Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ and through us diffuses the fragrance of his knowledge in every place. 2 Cor 2:14”. Our lives are meant to diffuse the fragrance of Christ – his nature and power. We are meant to show forth the fragrance of Christ to the people of this world.
  4. The church – “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Ephesians 3:10”. The church is meant to demonstrate God’s wonderful salvation to all the spiritual authorities in the heavenly realms.
  5. We see various examples of people who were healed or delivered or forgiven in the New testament. Their lives were an example of the power of God which could transform bound, sick, demonized and broken lives. The disciples of Jesus were perfect examples of what God could do with mostly uneducated people. The nature and power of God were evident in their lives.

He who has Christ, has life. The wonder of salvation that man can experience on earth is that God would take sinners and failures such as us, forgive us, cleanse us, reconcile us to himself, make us holy, righteous and blameless and live within us. The life of God expresses itself through us continually; whether we have just turned to Christ or whether we have been in Christ for years – what differs is the extent or measure of life that is manifested.

Lesson 101 in Christian living is simply this – you cannot live the Christian life in your strength. You need Jesus to live within you by His Spirit. It is about receiving God’s life, yielding to him and allowing his life to be expressed through you.

I like Balaam’s prophecy about Israel in Numbers 23, especially in verse 23 “There is no sorcery against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!'”. The KJV says it this way – “What hath God wrought!”

May it be said of us too – “Oh, what God has done.”

Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The kingdom of God

In the forty days between Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and ascension to Heaven, He appeared to his disciples and spoke to them of things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Since He spent so much time speaking about the kingdom of God, it will be worth our while to study and meditate on this and apply it to our lives.

I will portray my understanding on this topic and while I realise that you may not agree with it, I urge you to think about these things and come to a conclusion in this regard. We must realise that what is of paramount importance is not just talking about or debating the kingdom of God, but entering it and experiencing it.

The kingdom of God can be understood as the rule of God or the dominion of God. 

1. It was spoken of by John the Baptist, that it was at hand – Matthew 3:2

2. From the days of John, the kingdom has been forcefully advancing – Matthew 11:12

3. The kingdom came when Jesus, the king came to earth – Mark 1:14,15; Matthew 12:28; Colossians 1:13 (the kingdom of Jesus)

4. The kingdom arrived in power when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost – Mark 9:1; Matthew 12:28; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:33

How do we enter this kingdom?

1. John 3:3 – Unless you are born again, you will not see the kingdom of God. To see the kingdom is to understand the kingdom. We cannot even begin to understand the things of the kingdom of God unless we are born again. To be born again is to repent of one’s sinfulness and to believe in (receive) Jesus Christ the Lord. This is a work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in the heart of man.

2. John 3:5 – Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. To enter the kingdom is to experience the kingdom. Unless we are born of water (baptism in water) and born of the Spirit (baptism in the Holy Spirit), we cannot experience the kingdom of God.

What are the characteristics of the kingdom of God? Let us look at ten important characteristics. If we claim to be in the kingdom of God, we must exhibit these characteristics in our lives.

1. Romans 14:17 – Righteousness, peace and joy.

2. 1Cor.4:20; Acts 1:8 – Divine supernatural power to be witnesses to the King.

3. Daniel 2:44 – It destroys all other kingdoms, cannot be destroyed, stands forever.

4. Luke 9:1,2; Luke 10:19 – Authority over demons and sickness and over all the power of the enemy (Satan).

5. Galatians 5:22,23 – The fruit of the Spirit.

6. Acts 10:38 – Power to heal sicknesses (oppressed by the devil).

7. John 14:12 – Power to do the works of Jesus and greater works than those.

8. Gal. 5:16; 1 John 3:9 – Victory over sin and the flesh.

9. 1 John 5:4 – Victory over the world.

10. Matthew 13:31-33 – It grows and spreads.

Hebrews 1:6  shows us that faith is the “currency” of the kingdom. All transactions in the kingdom are effected by faith.

The kingdom of God has come! Jesus is the king! Hallelujah!

Let us submit to the King, enter into the kingdom of God and be worthy citizens of the kingdom.

To the promised land

I was invited to a church in the Philippines on the 1st of February 2015 to speak on a theme that they had set for this year – “Going with God”.

While seeking and waiting on the Lord for the content of the message, he showed me the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land.

The journey from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan has three parts to it – the beginning, sustenance during the journey and the destination. The Christian life is similar to the journey of the Israelites as we too are on a journey with God – from the land of sin and bondage to our promised land.

1. The beginning – Prior to even starting their journey out of Egypt, one event had to take place – each of the Israelites had to encounter the Passover lamb. They had to kill the lamb at twilight and apply the blood to their doorposts and lintels and stay inside the house until morning. They had to encounter the lamb and take refuge under its blood. That month was to be the first of their months – their calendar started that month. Similarly, your calendar, dear Christian, starts with your encounter with Jesus Christ, the Passover lamb and your taking refuge under Hs blood. Until you have this encounter, you are no Christian. You may speak the lingo, smell like one and even look like one, but you are’nt one. It is not about a mental assent of the truth about Christ, but an encounter with Him. Jesus is the way to the Father, through his death we are reconciled with God, He is the door. The main reason why Christianity is dying in the western world is because people have not had this encounter with Jesus. Without this, Christianity is just a set of rules which no one can keep. Today too, sadly in our churches, we have a lot of talk and preaching and teaching, but no encounter with Christ. The church is to be the fullness of Christ, people who come to church must encounter Christ. This encounter must be a daily encounter for us as Christians.

2. Sustenance during the journey – The Israelites had need of food and water during the journey, just as the Christian needs spiritual food and water during his or her spiritual journey. So God gave them manna from heaven to eat and water from the rock to drink. They ate manna every day of those 40 years that they were in the wilderness. The manna stopped once they entered the promised land. In John 6, Jesus says that he is the true manna that cam from heaven. He is the bread of life. If anyone eats of this bread, he will never die. Jesus also said in John 4 that He was the one who gives living water. In chapter 7, he says that everyone who thirsts could come to him and drink. The living water that Jesus spoke of was the Holy Spirit. 1Corinthians 10 speaks of the Israelites drinking water from the spiritual rock that followed them, who was Christ. So, dear Christian, you need to see that Jesus is the sustenance for your journey. You have to feed on Him for Jesus said in John 6 that he who feeds on him would live. We can only be sustained during this journey with God when we feed on Jesus each day; he is our food and he is our drink.

3. The destination – The destination for the Israelites was clear – it was the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, a land of prosperity, safety and blessing. The Christian too has a destination, a promised land. What is this destination? There are two parts to this destination – one is fulfilled right here on earth, while the other is fulfilled when we get to heaven. The Bible says in Romans 8:29 that God has pre-destined us to be conformed to the image of His son, Jesus. Our destination then, while on earth is to be conformed to the image of Jesus. It is certainly not anything else, just being transformed into the image of Christ. While on earth, we must also realise that we ought to experience all of Christ’s salvation; we must experience all that Jesus died to provide us with – freedom from and victory over sin, sickness, the curse, the world and Satan, Christ living in us, being filled with all the fulness of God, knowing Christ. So, our earthly promised land is to experience Christ’s salvation and to become like Him.

The second leg of our destination is fulfilled when we get to Heaven. Paul says it so well in Philippians chapter 1. He says that although staying alive would be beneficial to the believers, to depart and be with Christ was far better. He sees Heaven as a place where he would be with Christ. So, dear Christian, our heavenly destination is to be with Christ.

I hope you can see this journey you are in with greater clarity now – you start this journey with an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ and His blood; you are sustained during the journey by feeding on Christ and drinking of Him; your earthly destination or promised land is nothing but experiencing all of Christ’s salvation and being transformed into His likeness, while your heavenly destination is to be with Christ.

Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Enjoy the journey, fellow Christian! The Lord is with you.

The New Covenant

God directed my focus to the term ” new covenant” the other day so I spent time meditating upon it and did receive revelation from the Lord, which I would like to share. I know that once your eyes are opened to receive this into your spirit, your relationship with God will drastically improve. Every Christian experience is preceded by revelation knowledge that we receive from the Holy Spirit individually through the Word of God. In our age we have spent many years receiving head knowledge but not revelation (heart) knowledge and thats why our experience has been shallow and does not match up with what we profess to believe.

The term “covenant” in the Scriptures is generally understood as a contract or agreement between God and man. I see, however, covenant as much more than just a contract or agreement, much more than just agreeing to a set of stipulations.

Covenant primarily involves a union, an inseparable union between God and man.

All of God’s being and all of man’s being is involved in covenant.

The covenant also involves agreement and stipulations but the primary focus of covenant is this union.

Malachi 2:14, 15 tells us that marriage is a covenant too – between a man a woman with God as witness. In the process of this covenant, God establishes a spiritual union between the man’s spirit and woman’s spirit and the two are then one in spirit. Thats why adultery or divorce does such damage – it tears at the very spiritual union between husband and wife that God established.

Lets look at the facts. While there will be some who will dissect this and list all that they disagree with or think is unbiblical and receive nothing in the process, my focus is on reaching the rest.

1. The New Covenant is one that has been established between God the Father and Jesus the Son.

Psalm 89 : 19-29 shows us that God makes a covenant with Jesus. Jesus’ part was coming to earth, taking on human flesh, living s sinless life, preaching, teaching and healing, destroying the works of Satan, going to the cross, bearing man’s sins, sicknesses and curse, shedding his blood and dying on the cross. The Father’s part was to be with Jesus all through his journey, to empower him with the Holy Spirit, to give grace to pass through suffering and death, not to leave him in Hell, not to allow his body to decay, to raise him from the dead and raise him to Heaven to the right hand of God, to give him all authority in heaven and earth and through him to provide for the salvation of man.

2. Since we are in Christ, we are part of this new covenant. This means that God has made a covenant with us too because we are in Christ.

Hebrews 8:8 shows us that God makes the new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah in the last days. The Bible tells us the following as to who comprises Israel –

Romans 9:6 – …”for they are not all Israel who are of Israel.

Romans 9:8 – “That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”

Galatians 3:7 – “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham,”

Galatians 3:29 – “And if you are Christ’s, you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Philippians 3:3 – “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

Roman 2:28,29 – “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

We can see that we who are in Christ are the Israel that God is speaking of here and this new covenant involves us too for we are in Christ.

What is the implication of us being a party to the new covenant in Christ?

In return for our belief in and surrender to the Lordship of Christ, we get to enjoy every provision of the new covenant. We have a union between our spirits and God. All of God’s being is involved in this covenant and all of ours too.

All that has been provided for us through Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension are available through this covenant – the forgiveness of sin, cleansing, deliverance from sin, sickness, curse and the devil, eternal life, assurance of Heaven, God’s indwelling, God working in us to satisfy his own demands of us, God working through us in signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Spirit, divine health, divine blessing, divine authority and power over all the power of the enemy, power to be witnesses of Jesus and many others.

Can you see the force of this covenant? Nothing can stand in its path, nothing can destroy it, nothing can break it, it is as if we are in the grip of a mighty force field, anything that comes in will be destroyed by the power thereof – it is an eternal covenant between God and Jesus and by extension, with us who are in Jesus Christ.

May we receive revelation as we meditate upon this. Believe and receive all the provision of this wonderful new covenant in the blood of Jesus. God be with you.

 

Salvation – man’s responsibility

The Bible teaches us that God himself is our salvation. Although I have no understanding of either Hebrew or Greek, I read that the name “Jesus” comes from the compound word, Jehovah-Sus, meaning “God is my salvation”. Indeed, glory to God, God Himself is our salvation; He came down to earth and took on flesh, lived a sinless life, died, was buried, was raised to life and ascended to Heaven. Through his life, death and resurrection, He has provided salvation for man. Man, by his own effort, can never earn salvation, it is a free gift from God.

Having said that, does man have a role to play in experiencing this salvation? Is there anything that man has to do? Or does he just sit back and let God do everything for him?

Lets look at what the Scriptures have to say about this. We will look at ten words and phrases that speak of man’s responsibility concerning salvation. While here, against each of the responsibilities, we will look at God’s role. Do note that I have not listed references here as I normally do; why don’t you look them up yourself?

1. Repent – “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

2. Believe – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”.

3. Work out your salvation – “….For it is God who works in you both to will and to do according to his good pleasure”.

4. Overcome – “They overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto death”. “You have overcome them, for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world”.

5. Have faith in God – “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith”. The gift of faith is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

6. Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, do not sow to the flesh – “If by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”. “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”.

7. Go into all the world and preach the gospel – .”….you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me……”

8. Works of ministry – “…….those things which Christ has accomplished through me, in word and deed……..in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God……”

9. Produce fruit – “He who abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing”.

10. I laboured more abundantly than they all, always abounding in the work of the Lord – “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working, which works in me mightily”.

While we see these words or phrases that speak of man’s responsibility concerning salvation, we also see that in each of those, it is actually God who enables man to do what is required of him. Therefore, salvation is definitely of God, from beginning to end, so that no man can boast.

Do you remember God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac? When God prevented Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, but provided the ram for the sacrifice, Abraham saw God as Jehovah-Jireh or “the God who provides”. What does this show us? It shows us that God provides what He demands of us. He either provides what is required OR lives within us, empowering us to do what He requires of us.

Having said this, I must emphasize that we will never enter into and experience Christ’s salvation in its fulness unless we fulfill our responsibilities. Although God provided the ram for the sacrifice, Abraham had to get hold of the ram and sacrifice it just as you and I have the responsibility to put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit. The New testament has several references to this possibility of not experiencing all of Christ’s salvation unless we fulfill our responsibilities.

Why this seeming dichotomy? On the one hand, we see that it is God who enables man to do what is required of him. On the other hand, we see that we will not experience Christ’s salvation in its fulness unless we fulfill our responsibilities.

The reason for this seeming dichotomy is because of the fact that we have a free will – we can resist His promptings, quench His Spirit, rebel against His leading and feed the flesh, among others.

What should we do then?

We ought to simply be completely yielded to Christ so that He can live within us to do what He requires of us.

 

Abiding in Christ

The subject of abiding in Christ has perhaps been spoken about, taught and written about more than most other subjects in the Bible. When I studied the Word, I found that although Jesus spoke about us abiding in him in John 15, he did not let us know how to abide in him nor did he explain what exactly he meant by the word “abide”.

While seeking to understand the Word, I saw that the first epistle of John shows us how we can abide in Christ. First, let us start by understanding what is meant by the word “abide”.

The word “abide” could mean to rest, to remain, to continue, to stay, to dwell. I believe that abiding in Christ is more than just the notion of remaining in Christ or remaining connected to Christ or relating to Christ. I believe that it means living in an experiential union with Christ where one is consciously aware of his presence and power. We need to grasp this well – it does not refer to an exercise that one does once a day and believes that he is abiding in Christ by faith. It is experiencing his presence and power every moment of the day.

How do we abide in Christ?

1. 1 John 4:15 – “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God abides in him and he in God”. It is the person who has received Christ Jesus as Lord that is placed into a union with Christ and can abide in Him. God places us in union with Christ, in fact, the Word says that he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

2. 1 John 2:24 – “If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the son and in the Father”. It is by making the Word of God our constant meditation and delight that we can abide in Christ.

3. 1 John 2:27 – “The same anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him”. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that enables us to abide in Christ. One of the ways that is effective in becoming conscious of God’s presence is by speaking in tongues.

4. 1 John 3:24 – “Now he who keeps his commandments abides in Him and He in him”. Obedience enables us to abide in Christ – keeps us conscious of HIs presence and power.

5. 1 John 4:16 – “He who abides in love, abides in God and God in him”. The love that is spoken about here is the love of God. In fact, Jesus says in John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, I also have loved you, abide in my love”. The more we meditate upon and understand the love of God, the more we will be conscious of his presence.

6. John 6:56 – “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in Him”. This speaks of relating with Christ as the one who satisfies my hunger and my thirst; as the one who is my food and drink, as the one who is the source of my life.

What is the effect of abiding in Christ?

1. 1 John 3:6 – “Whoever abides in Him does not sin”. Abiding in Christ will bring us to the state where we do not sin.

2. John 15:7 – “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you”. Abiding in Christ guarantees answered prayer.

3. John 15:5 – “He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing”. Abiding in Christ causes us to bear fruit. The fruit that is spoken of here refers to the fruit of character and the fruit of works. We begin the bear the fruit of the Spirit and do the works of Jesus.

4. 1 John 2:28 – “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming”. Abiding in Christ gives us confidence to meet him when he appears. We do not need to fear or worry about when Jesus will come again. No matter when He comes, we will be confident.

May we live our lives each day abiding in Christ.

Salvation – 2

The Bible tells me that God has set forth Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. There is no other solution for sin – it is Jesus himself. Since Jesus is the sacrifice for sin, he has dealt with both sin and its effects upon the human race.

The effects of sin are –

  1. Separation from God
  2. Demonisation
  3. Sickness
  4. Curse
  5. Physical death
  6. Eternal death
  7. Defiled earth

Through the death of Jesus, sin has been dealt with once and for all. Since sin has been dealt with, the effects of sin have also been removed. Not only has sin lost its power over the Christian, but the effects of sin have also lost their power over the Christian.

Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have been reconciled to God. We have been delivered from the dominion of darkness and from the spiritual powers of this world. We have been set free from sickness and disease. We have been redeemed from the curse of the law. We have been saved from eternal death.

With regard to physical death, we must note that physical death is the “last enemy”. This will be taken out of the way at the very end. However, the Word tells us that Jesus abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. This verse shows us that death, though it still exists, has lost its power over the Christian. It is just a door through which the Christian passes into eternity.

Why did Jesus not deal with physical death through the cross and take it out of the way forever? If he were to have done that, all of us would have lived eternally on this defiled earth, which God did not want. He desired that we live eternally on the “new earth”, the earth that has been cleansed of all defilement. This will happen sometime in the future.

Having said this, do we find Christians still bound by the effects of sin? Certainly. How is this to be dealt with?

I believe that we ought to demand that sin and its specific effects be removed from our lives. Through our faith in and declaration of God’s word and this truth specifically, we must appropriate the fact that Jesus death has cancelled sin and its effects from our lives.

May we experience Christ’s salvation in its fullness.

Salvation – 1

To the contemporary Christian, salvation is about Jesus Christ saving the soul from sin and eternal death. This limited view has kept believers the world over in a state of perennial mediocrity. The one who dares to believe the Bible will see that it is much more – it is not only about being saved from sin and eternal death, but about being saved from sickness, Satan and the curse as well. It does not end there – it also includes being placed in a divine union with Jesus Christ when we were baptized (Rom 6:3). There is more good news – Salvation is Christ Jesus living in me, transforming me into his likeness, expressing himself through me and bearing fruit through me.

When I received Christ, I was instantly delivered from the dominion of darkness and transferred to the dominion of Jesus, who exercises that dominion by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has dominion over my spirit, soul and body. Therefore, sin cannot have dominion over me. Sickness, disease or pain cannot have dominion over me. Satan cannot have dominion over me. The curse cannot have dominion over me. Death cannot have dominion over me.

Through the Holy Spirit, I exercise dominion over sin, sickness, Satan and the curse.