Hebrews 4:2: “For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.”
The word of the gospel brings multiple blessings to us. At least it should. However, the Bible, experience of the people from the past and I hope your and mine example shows that people have missed a lot of those blessings because we failed to believe the Word of God. It has always been faith that opened heaven for blessings to come to people lives. Yes, both in the New and the Old Testaments.
How did Abraham become righteous in the eyes of God? By means works? No, by believing what God said. Everything that comes to our lives does come by the grace of God and faith. So, if you expect to be really blessed and see God working in your life you have to firmly believe his word and trust his promises in your life. Do not just listen to the word of God with indifference. Listen to it with expectation and faith in your heart. That is how you will extract most value out of it. God bless you!
Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
The Bible tells us that joy is one of the fruit of the Spirit. If you want to be fruitful you need to cultivate joy in your life. Does not sound very spiritual? Well, it is very spiritual. The kingdom of Heaven is full of joy. There is no sorrow in God’s kingdom. When you reach Heaven all of your tears will be wiped away. However, I have some very good news for you. You can start rejoicing now. ‘What for?’ you may ask. What do you read in the Bible?
Your sins are forgiven. You were taken out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of God. Your nature was changed. The power of Satan was broken and now you are under the power of God. You have become son/daughter of God. You have been blessed with all possible blessings. God loves you. After you die you go to Heaven and enjoy eternal never ending life. Now, do you find something to rejoice about? If you don’t, reread the second paragraph of the post again. Then pick up your Bible and read the first three chapters of epistle ot Ephesians, then Romans chapters 1 through 8. I bet you will be dancing and rejoicing by the time you finish doing the reading.
Colossians 1:13: “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…”
People live in one of the two spiritual kingdoms: kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of God’s son. There is no neutral territory in the spiritual realm. You either belong to Satan or to God. All the world is under the power of sin and consequently under the power of Satan. All of us used to be Satan’s slaves. He tortured us and tormented us by means of sin. Our destiny seemed bleak.
However, God interfered in our lives and the gospel of his son shone through. We saw his precious plan to redeem us and we repented of our sins and believed in Jesus. That’s when God in his mighty power tore us out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into his kingdom of his son. Your previous master devil and his treacherous kingdom has no rights to torment, torture or harm you anymore. You are under God’s protection. You are covered by his son’s blood. You can no give commands to the devil and he must flee from you. What a glorious redemption!
Romans 7:4: “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
If somebody tries to convince you that you have to live according to the Law of Moses today you can be one hundred percent sure that they are ignorant of the sound teaching of the New Covenant. Even if you wanted to live according to it you would fail. The people of old tried and they failed. So will you! The sole purpose of the Law was that of a guardian and educator that had to prepare us to the coming of Christ. Christ did come and the former educator is no longer necessary.
We live under the New Covenant now. Redemption has come. We died to the law so that we could live to God. An educator or guardian cannot occupy position of a father, husband or redeemer. When the perfect timing for redemption came, the Law had to step aside. And it did! Now we have two laws only: love God and your brother. That’s it as far as laws are concerned. Praise God for the tremendous joy and freedom that Christ has bought us by his death. Never belittle his work on the cross. Never!
Ephesians 1:18-19: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
The apostle Paul saw the importance of praying for the opening of spiritual eyes of Ephesians. A shift that occurred when the Old Testament ended and the new one began was tremendous. Unfortunately, a lot of believers in Ephesus did not see that. A lot of believers across the world still do not see it. They read the Book and do not notice that. In fact, the devil has done a superb job by blinding them and instead seeing the truth they see something else there.
It is said very clearly here what Paul prays about. He wants the Ephesians to see the hope, the glorious inheritance and the great power. All of that belongs to the people of God. We have tremendous hope. We know that we are saved and shall not be condemned. We should know that God has prepared wonderful inheritance for us. And we must see that his power works in us.
If our eyes are open to see all of that we will hardly have a single day for discouragement, sadness, hopelessness, worry and anxiety. Let God open our eyes.
Romans 5:17: “For if, by the trespass of the one man, deathreigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in lifethrough the one man, Jesus Christ!”
There was a time when we were under the power of sin. Satan was our master. What a terrible master he was! A cruel one! He made us suffer and live in shame, hopelessness and godlessness. Our path had to end in eternal damnation. However, things have changed when Christ found us in this desperate situation.
He wiped away our sins and Satan lost power over us. God changed our nature. We are under God’s authority now. He is a good master that loves his servants. Furthermore, He gave us power over sin and ability to reign in life. We have become more than conquerors in Christ. Who can frighten us? Who can separate us from the love of God? Nobody and nothing! Satan has no claims for us. He lost us and so did sin. Jesus freed us from all powers of evil. We can rejoice now as we can reign with Christ in this life. Praise God!
John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
A real test if we are Disciples of Christ or not is not in the are of knowledge of the doctrines and specifics of Christian theology, ability to memorize Scriptures, say long prayers, fasting often or evangelizing the unreached. It comes when we have to show love to our brothers in Christ, for those that might have different understanding in terms of theology, for those who have a different social status, different tastes, cultural backgrounds and etc. Love is the ultimate test.
Why? That is the most important thing of all. People search for it. They long for it. They dream about it. They desire love. And that is the final argument that convinces unbelievers in reality of Christ. When they see how we love each other they come to understand that there must be a greater power that inspires us to do that. And this leads them to conversion. Let us set our priorities right. Love and righteousness should be on the top of our lists.
1 Thessalonians 5:23: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soulandbody be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus came to redeem us from head to feet and take us out of the hands of Satan forever. He did not just come to save us from hell. He came to change us, our nature, change thoughts and finally transform and heal our bodies. It is all part of sanctification and redemption. We are property of God by means of Christ sacrifice. We neither belong to ourselves, nor to the devil anymore. God owns us.
We do not owe anything to our sinful flesh or the devil anymore. Jesus paid a very dearly price to God to take us out from eternal damnation and the claws of Satan forever. We should be very grateful to our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ for his obedience to Father and determination to do whatever it takes to redeem us. It cost him a lot. He was in deep spiritual battle in the garden of Gethsemane. There was ‘if’ in his lips. “If that is possible, may this cup be taken from me”. Fortunately, Jesus did not stop there, but added “yet not as I will, but as you will”.
He was strengthened by angel and went on to finish what he had started. And he did! Now we can enjoy all the benefits of redemption forever. Let us be forever grateful to Jesus for that. Let us rejoice in our Redeemer and his glorious redemption. You belong to him. He loves you. He is never going to leave you. You will stay with him throughout eternity (it will never end). Wow! I am already happy in advance. And so should you.
James 4:7: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
That is the foundation for a successful spiritual fight and guarantee of victory. It starts when we submit ourselves to God. You cannot win any fight without him. He is the source of your spiritual victory. And not only of victory! He is the source of eternal righteousness, love, light, peace, joy and anything that is good. You need to be connected to that source before you can expect to start fighting evil. Bow down before him and acknowledge his kingship. When you submit yourself to God He makes you like him in nature. Evil leaves you from inside out. You cannot resists exterior evil if evil is present within. You need to get rid of it within, so that you can fight it on the outside.
When you have done that you can successfully resist the devil. He will flee at the word of your command in terror. If you are under authority of God, devil is under your authority. If you are not under authority of God you are under devil’s authority. That’s it! Pretty simple right? We cannot be in neutral territory. Either we server one and resists the other or vice versa. There is no neutral spiritual territory. So, whom do you submit yourself and whom do you resist?
2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
There is a lot of misunderstanding about freedom. Most people identify it with ability to do what they want. However, it is just part of the picture. When we think about it we have to ask ourselves whether we can rely be free from the things we want to do. If we are not lying to ourselves we would have to admit that there are bad things in our lives (bad habits) that we both want to do and also want to get rid of them. So, when are you free in this instance? You are free if you are able not to do what you really want. If you are not, you are a slave of your own desires. To tell the truth there is no neutral territory in life. Either you are a slave of devil, or you are a slave of God.
Now the word of God says that the Holy Spirit of God can really set us free. That means He can set us free from evil ways of Satan and make us free to choose things that God likes. That is real freedom. That is what the Holy Spirit is leading us to. It sets us free from our egoism, evil habits and everything that is not God like.
Ask Him to free you from your bondages and live as a free person.