Tag Archives: salvation

Created For His Glory

“He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” – Psalm 100:3

God specifically created His people for the purpose of living to please Him and bring Him glory. From the moment He made us, God designed us for a relationship with Him. As the Westminster Confession of Faith so aptly phrases this concept:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

We aren’t just an accident, a blunder of random space dust or prehistoric goo. We were designed with a life purpose in mind. We are here for a reason.

It’s easy as humans to doubt our purpose, to wonder why we are here, and to feel insignificant. Reminders like this verse should help us to realize how truly empowering it is to have our hope sustained by the work of Christ, and God’s plan from before time began.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20, we are exhorted to honor God in all we do with our human bodies:

“…Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God…You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

When we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our redemption from our sins, it should cause us to want to do rightly.

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Rebels {Both Historical & Present}

In Numbers 14:1-4, we see that truly “misery loves company.”

– The People Rebel –

Numbers 14:1-4

“Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

(4) And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.””

Rather than encouraging one another and giving one another reminders of God’s faithfulness and their hope in Him to guide their future, the Israelites griped together.

Complaining often leads to disobedience and entertaining prideful thoughts that man’s wisdom is better than God’s. – In verse 4, the people came up with what they thought was a superior Plan 2.0, instead of showing trust and obedience to God’s original Plan 1.0 that He had given them through Moses.

As we move into Numbers 14:13-19, Moses is speaking to the Lord on behalf of the people of Israel, after Joshua and Caleb had returned from the Promised Land spy mission and told the people to trust in God’s promise that they would overtake the land if they acted in obedience.

13 But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for you brought up this people in your might from among them, 14 and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O Lord, are in the midst of this people. For you, O Lord, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard your fame will say, 16 ‘It is because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to give to them that he has killed them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.'”

We see in both verse 19 and 20 that God listens when we sincerely admit our faults and ask Him to pardon our sins. There are, however, still consequences for complaining against God and showing a lack of gratitude for His provision, as we see in the following verses, and time and time again throughout the Israelites’ journey.

In more modern times, we aren’t unlike the people of Israel once were. Too often, we pride ourselves on being rebels with our own will, sticking to our own plans, rather than the ones God has directed for us.

Hebrews 3:7-19

” 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,

on the day of testing in the wilderness,

where your fathers put me to the test

and saw my works for forty years.

10 

Therefore I was provoked with that generation,

and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;

they have not known my ways.’

11 

As I swore in my wrath,

‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.”

Let us not be the generation that does not enter the Lord’s rest. Let us not harden our hearts to truth, or be ashamed to stand for morality and righteousness. Let us not provoke the Lord’s anger through rebellion against His commands. Let our hearts not go astray, or ignore the knowledge of the ways of the Lord. In 1 Samuel 12:23a, God clearly states that:

“Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as worshiping idols.”

Rebellion brings us closer to the demonic rather than the Divine. Hearing truth doesn’t lead to positive results when couple with a rebellious heart. A rebellious heart and unbelief go hand-in-hand, and restrict the person who embodies them from entering eternity with Christ. We must gently, but firmly, impress upon us there the urgency for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

What do they think?

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Worship from the heart is more desirable to God than religiousity and excessive rule keeping. God desires our heart rather than empty practices that mostly serve simply to keep up the appearance of holiness in front of other people.

 

 

Personally, I have watched several of my friends come away from appearance-centered cultures and into the freedom that Jesus brings those who love Him with a sincere heart. It’s such a beautiful change to watch!
If we had to impress God and other people with our own holiness, we would all be in trouble! The only one we need to be good enough for is God our Father, and we only do that through the righteousness of Jesus.
Less worry about what other people think and more focus on pleasing and honoring God out of our love for Him brings joy to our lives. We all forget this from time to time – I know I sometimes do!

 

 

Let’s remind one another and remind ourselves through frequent reading of the Word that our primary focus is to love God through our obedience and through recognizing the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. Let us seek to deepen our relationship with Jesus and not spend the majority of our time anxious about how religious we appear to other people. Their opinion doesn’t matter in the long run.

In The Light

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My husband and I were talking about this concept before heading to church, then this passage was a part of the main sermon text today.

 
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” – 1 John 1:5-6

 
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Demons recognize Who Jesus is; the Devil himself quoted Scripture to Jesus. Quoting Scripture, whether in or out of context, doesn’t make you a Christian.

 
Being saved by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and following Him with a sincere, albeit imperfect, heart makes you a Christian.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:7-9

Comfort & Gratitude

Luke 10:16,19-20 “The one who heard you hears Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me, and the one who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me. Behold, I have given you authority to treat on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

We can find comfort in the realization that when we share the truths of God’s Word, the response we receive is for or against God Himself, not for or against us. I know from personal experience that the truth of God’s Word and the commands therein are not particularly popular in this world. I’ve personally receive some very negative feedback and even insults for sharing truth publicly. I must remember that these responses are against God Himself – I’m just one of His mouthpieces here on earth. I should not take these insults personally, but rather stay focused on the truth of the Lord. It’s up to Him to change hearts – it’s not up to me.

We should be more thankful for our salvation than focused on our power over evil. Rather than gloat that we aren’t any longer prey to evil, we must humble ourselves in gratitude to Jesus for His sacrifice that allows us to be freed from the bondage of sin and evil. We should focus on what Christ has done, not so much on what He enables us to do, for without Him, we are powerless against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Let’s thank the Lord for His new mercies to us each and every day.

Confidence

What is confidence? My fellow musical fans may, as I did, think of Maria’s song in The Sound of Music – “I Have Confidence.” 

The official definitions of the word are these: “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust,” the state of feeling certain about the truth of something,” and of course the one referenced in the song: “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”

The fulfillment of the Word of God brings us confidence that 1) He had the power to save and 2) He does what He says.

We see in Ephesians 3:12 that “because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” “Such confidence we have brogue Christ before God.” (2 Coronthians 3:4)

When our hearts are right before God through Jesus Christ, we can have confidence in our salvation. “Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” (1 John 3:21) It is because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross that we sinners can come anywhere near our holy Creator. Let us boldly live in faith, reminded of the confidence with which we can approach God with our worship and prayer, because of Jesus.

Perfume & Hair

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Luke 7:36-50

“36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

The religious leaders of the day did not show much honor to Jesus, even the honor that was custom in the culture at that time when you had a guest in your home! In contrast, this woman, a person from the street corner, recognized the greatness of Jesus and the darkness of her son. She as truly grieved for her sin, begged for His forgiveness through her humility, had faith that Jesus could forgive even the most vile sins, and honored Him as King with anointing.

Jesus tells us that she was forgiven of her sons because of her faith, but that the Pharisees who didn’t even honor Him with the most basic practices of respect, lacked the humility and faith needed in order to be forgiven of their sins.

Let us be more like the woman – recognizing God’s greatness and the magnitude of our sin, rather than only trying to appear religious to others. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)