You are who you are because of Him. “For it’s God Who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13) Who you are today only goes to show the miraculous work God has done in your life. So never disrespect the Lord by taking a self-deprecating and lowly position when speaking of God’s power working through you. Sure, we’re not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought…but anytime we minimize and discount what God has done for us, it’s like throwing away all the love and benevolence He has lavished on us. We are who we are because of God and His grace towards us…and nothing else.
Jesus is speaking here of the Holy Spirit…”the Spirit of Truth Who goes out from the Father, He will testify about Me.” (John 15:26) The plan of redemption centers on Christ, and the Holy Spirit’s plan and purpose is to bring honor and declare openly the manifested glory and preeminence of Jesus. But for many a Christian, Jesus has become merely a figurehead of our religious experience at Church, with the services becoming more like rock concerts or Vegas shows. Sadly, Jesus has been delegated to a nice person to imitate…but think, Jesus was our Savior long before He was just a lofty example to pursue. We must always remember this… Jesus Christ is Salvation itself and the truth and essence of the Gospel Message alone…and anytime we’re straying from this we’re grieving the Holy Spirit.
Most humans enjoy giving…but many find it hard to accept an unexpected gift. And within this lies the rub and the subject of this verse. The gift of Salvation is just that…a gift. We will never earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. Romans 4:25 explains it like this, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” The forgiveness of our sins and the reconciliation to a Holy God is only based on the atoning sacrificial death of Christ Jesus. And until we get to the point of being destitute and banishing our smug self-sufficiency and pride, there’s not much He can do. For it’s not until we realize that we can only enter the Kingdom of God through the door of brokenness and need. Only then will we fully understand God’s grace.
Have you ever waited for the sunrise? Maybe it was at the bedside of a loved one, or it might of been just you by yourself, alone with your fears and anxiety. The dark cold night seems to stretch on forever as you wait for the dawn. But something happens when those first few rays of light come over the horizon…your hope rises just like the sun…and that’s what you’ve been hanging on for…a new day, renewed hope, and God’s fresh compassion. But think about this, the sunrise pales in comparison to the glory of God’s presence, for within Him is the source of all light and energy and someday the sun will no more be your light by day…for the Lord will be your everlasting light. (Isaiah 60:19)
Paul was trying to explain that the power of the Cross does not lie in the effects of the Cross that we normally dwell on. That’s because our own words, experiences, and testimonies of salvation, sanctification, and healing may be interesting to hear…but hold absolutely no power to save lost souls. It’s only when we speak of the Cross…God’s great point of spiritual power… that the redemptive might of the Cross comes into play in a person’s life. The reality of Jesus Christ and Him crucified will do its own work without the necessity for our embellishment or ramblings. For it’s within the message of the Cross and its power that holds the Truth of God, the blood of Christ Jesus, and the saving grace for all.
Anything we will ever do for God is only a small meager imitation of His generosity to us in the inexpressible gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” as John 3:16 tells us. For just as death came through Adam… life was made possible for us through Jesus Christ. Or as Romans 5:15-16 says, ” But the gift isn’t like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many.” Today, let’s all take a moment to thank God for His indescribable gift of His Son, Jesus.
When was the last time you expressed gratitude to the Lord for the gift of your Salvation? It tells us here that death will be swallowed up in victory, once and for all sin will be destroyed, and along with it the Law which is the instrument of sin. “For if those who live by the Law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless.” (Romans 4:14) Think back to Abraham in the Old Testament…he received God’s promise by faith not the Law. And likewise we have received the same victorious promise through our faith in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 2:14-15 talks about this victory…”Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Today, take a moment to thank God for your freedom and victory !
Most times our personal affirmation of God is tied to what’s happening in our own life. When life is moving along great and everything is wonderful we tend to not thank Him for the peaceful sameness and security we are enjoying. And when sickness, loss, or chaos takes over our world we’re even less likely to thank Him. But God is the God of the good times and the bad…of sickness and of health…and He deserves our thankfulness regardless. In Exodus 15:2 we hear a song of thanksgiving, deliverance and hope from Moses, “The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” Today, let us express our thanks and praise to God for what He has done, is doing, and is about to do in our lives.
As the Body of Believers, the Church, we are to showcase our practice of love, forgiveness, and graciousness to the world. But too many times we forget that, “We who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:5) Instead, we all have our own agendas, motives, and pet projects…and soon harmony, unity, and gratefulness is missing from within the Church walls…and surprise, we’ve become just like the world. So during this Thanksgiving week let’s remember what Paul said to the Church in Rome, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19)
We all have one…a friend from our past that we know we shouldn’t hang around with. Someone whose attitudes, morals, and character is far from ours, but we keep telling ourselves maybe we can change them. The short answer is probably not, and instead of changing them, we’re in danger of picking up bad habits and being influenced by their sinful lifestyle. I Corinthians 15:33 puts it very well, “Don’t be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” The path is clear – either righteousness or wickedness, life or death, and bad company can change us faster than we can ever think we’re going to change them.