This week ended the 5 year journey of my son’s family adopting a beautiful little girl from Haiti. The moment this orphan’s feet hit USA soil she was a legal citizen and officially theirs. Another word for son-ship in this verse is adoption. We all have the opportunity to be legally adopted by our Heavenly Father. But for some, they see God only through the lens of their biological father…a man that might have been absent, abusive, or angry. Despite the faults and failures of your earthly father…your Heavenly Father will be loving and involved. He is not to be feared for retaliation. He is just and will never leave you. He will accept you just as you are, and will love you unconditionally. God is your Daddy, which is what the word Abba means…and He’s wanting to be that Daddy in your life you may have never had.
We all have things we’ve done that we’re not proud of. Lapses in our character where we actually thought we could hide willful sins…but God saw everything. And the longer we attempt to cover-up and rationalize sin, the harder it is to admit we’ve crossed the line. David in Psalm 32:5 told the Lord, “I acknowledge my sin to You, and do not cover up my iniquity.” The first part of David’s confession was Relent. We need to yield to God and admit we’ve messed up. The second part was Repent. There needs to be true remorse and shame for our sin. We’re sorry for what we’ve done, not just sorry we got caught. Finally, we need to Remove the sin from our life…by whatever means it takes. By keeping a short account with God, we won’t find ourselves outside His Will and far from His compassion.
What’s it mean to excel in the grace of giving? Here the Apostle Paul was encouraging the Church in Corinth to be generous in their giving to others. Generosity can be a learned behavior…we see our parents or family acting unselfishly with their money or time…and we do the same. But on the other hand, dire circumstances we’ve lived through can also determine how generous we are, or not. Fearless generosity is an investment into God’s Kingdom work and excelling in this grace of giving is the start of that bold approach.
John was so concerned about the early Church being deceived by false teachers that he repeated this warning later on in his letter…for he wrote in Chapter 3:7 of I John, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” Any teaching that denies Jesus Christ is God incarnate…and any teaching that places any thing or person above Him is fraudulent. With cunning and wiliness false teachers will speak of a “type” of Jesus, but if you listen carefully, it’s a corrupt version and not the truth. So how can you know you’re not being lead down the path of destruction? Without the firm foundation of the truth of God found in the Bible, we can all be easily duped and mislead. Open the Bible…read the truth…allow it to formulate the basis of your belief system. For when you have the truth within…no one will be able to lead you astray.
Our Christian journey isn’t perfect, for everyday we mess up. We say things we shouldn’t…or out of anger and frustration we act unkindly. Holiness isn’t something that we’re suddenly bestowed with when we say “Yes” to Jesus…it’s a process…a daily effort towards perfection. Philippians 1:6 tells us, “That being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This journey towards holiness – towards perfection, is God’s purpose for you. And as you walk in the Spirit, you’ll discover that His ultimate plan and purpose for you is that process towards holiness.
Jude was warning the Church that they had allowed false teachers to infiltrate the Body of Believers. These men were called Libertines, and their corrupt doctrine suggested that Christ’s grace released them from all authority or restraint. They believed in absolute freedom without any control by God’s moral law. Their creed was, “Our souls are saved by grace, so whatever we do with our bodies, which will perish anyway, doesn’t matter! So we can do whatever we want, whenever we want to.” But Jude saw it as blaspheme and corruption both morally and spiritually…and likened them to wild animals… without conscious or control.
God had been very specific to Moses on where and how to sacrifice offerings to Him. (Leviticus 17:3-5) But the people had fallen into the habit of worshiping at the high places of false gods instead…and it became Israel’s pitfall. Even King Solomon became too comfortable and apathetic about where he worshiped God…for it tells us in I Kings 3:3, “Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.” By using the altars of false gods, the Jewish people were unwittingly incorporating and melding deceptive ideology into their worship of the one true God.