NO ‘BUTS’ IN THE GOOD NEWS
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. – Ephesians 2:8
Imagine having a rich uncle who comes up to you one day and says, “I have really good news for you. I know you need a family car badly, so I bought you a really nice one!” Your jaw drops at the good news. But before you can thank him, he says, “It’s all yours…BUT you have to pay me monthly installments of $1,000 for it.”
Suddenly, what started out as “good news” doesn’t turn out to be good news after all. Why? Because it contains a big “BUT!” The “gift” isn’t genuine because it has a condition attached to it.
Sadly, this is how some people understand the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They’ve been told, “Yes, you are saved by God’s grace, BUT from now on, you have to make sure that you come to church, read your Bible, pray, serve, dress holy…to keep your salvation.” Like the car, salvation is not really a free gift—you have to merit it with “installments” of good works.
Beloved, good works are important, but they can’t save you. The only thing that can save you is the blood of Jesus. And when you put your faith in Jesus and His finished work, you were saved for all eternity, with no strings attached because grace is not grace if your works have any part to play in it (Romans 11:6)! That’s why the gospel of God’s grace is truly GOOD NEWS! And it is knowing and believing this that produces godly fruits of faith and righteousness in your life!
PRACTICE EXCELLENCE …
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men – Colossians 3:23, NIV
You can probably think of many times in which you simply did not give your best effort, or didn’t really try very hard. Every person, because of our human imperfections, sometimes chooses to be lazy and not try. But the example given by Christ, and the one mentioned in Colossians 3, is completely the opposite. Christians are to be the best at whatever they do, because they are to do everything as if they were doing it for God alone!
When you put your whole heart into whatever it is you are supposed to do, God will recognize that and bless you for it. You should strive for and pursue excellence in all you do, for the sake of God; He blesses excellence!
Matthew 5:13, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
What is it that will be cast out and trodden under foot of men? Is it the salt, or is it possible that Jesus is speaking about the world? If we as believers lose our preserving influence, then there is no other way for the Lord to save the world. It will be dominated by men.
God flows through His people. It is not our own power that changes people. It’s God’s power in us. but God will not do it without us. It’s a partnership.
Many people spend a lifetime praying for God to move, not understanding that He is going to flow through them. It is not God who is failing to intervene. It is God’s people who are failing to cooperate and let Him flow through them.
Every Christian has God living in them. Therefore we are carrying around other people’s miracles. If we fail to walk in the supernatural power of God, then somone will miss their miracle. We are God’s salt to preserve this putrifying world. Today, get out of the shaker and let the life of God which is in you flow to someone in need.
YOU ARE PERFECT IN GOD’S EYES
Hebrews 10:12, 14, KJV – But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God… For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
God sees you with no flaw, spot or imperfection, so honor His Word and the finished work of His Son by saying, “Amen!” Don’t doubt your perfection in Christ.
To see yourself as being far from perfect is not modesty, but a failure to understand the perfect sacrifice that Jesus has made for you.
The Bible tells us, “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified”. Did you get that? You have not only been sanctified, that is, made holy, but by the same offering of His body, you have been perfected. You are both holy and perfect in God’s eyes!
Your sins have been purged perfectly. Today, Jesus is seated at His Father’s right hand not because He is the Son of God (although that is true), but because His work of purging your sins is completely finished and perfect!
So instead of being conscious of your sins, which is to have an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22), you can have a perfect conscience, a conscience that is free from the guilt and condemnation of sins.
When you find yourself conscious of your sins, just say, “Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your wonderful work at the cross. It is a perfect work that has removed all my sins completely.
“Holy Spirit, thank You for convicting me of righteousness, not my own, but God’s righteousness given to me as a gift. Keep on convicting me in the days to come, reminding me especially when I fail that I am still the righteousness of God in Christ.”
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory! —Isaiah 6:3
It used to bother me that the closer I drew to God in my walk with Him, the more sinful I felt. Then a phenomenon I observed in my room enlightened me. A tiny gap in the curtain covering my window threw a ray of light into the room. As I looked, I saw particles of dirt drifting in the beam. Without the ray of light, the room seemed clean, but the light revealed the dirty particles.
What I observed shed light on my spiritual life. The closer I approach the Lord of light, the clearer I see myself. When the light of Christ shines in the darkness of our lives, it exposes our sin—not to discourage us, but to humble us to trust in Him. We can’t depend on our own righteousness, since we are sinners and fall short of God’s standards (Rom. 3:23). When we are proud, the light reveals our heart and we cry as Isaiah did, “Woe to me! . . . For I am a man of unclean lips, . . . and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isa. 6:5 niv).
God is absolutely perfect in every way. Approaching Him calls for humility and childlike trust, not self-importance and pride. For it is by grace that He draws us to Himself. It is good for us that we feel unworthy as we draw closer to God, for it humbles us to rely on Him alone.
Holy, Holy, Holy! Though the darkness hide Thee, Though the eyes of sinful man Thy glory may not see; Only Thou art holy—there is none beside Thee, Perfect in power, in love and purity.
There is no room for pride when we walk with God.
ONLY THE HUNGRY ARE FED
Matthew 5:6, “Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
In the natural world, people eat even when they aren’t hungry. Many of us can prove that by turning sideways and looking at ourselves in the mirror. But in the spiritual realm, only those who are hungry can get fed. One of the worst things that can happen to us is spiritual complacency.
Being hungry for the things of God is one of the best things that can happen to us. Most people don’t feel that way. They would rather have the feeling of being full. But Jesus promised us that fullness would follow hunger. No hunger, no fullness.
Therefore, what many people hate is actually a sign of spiritual health. Longing for more of God is a healthy sign. No one hungers for God on their own. That is not the nature of man. No man hungers for God unless the Spirit of God is drawing him (Jn. 6:44).
Hungering for God doesn’t cause God to move in our lives, but it is a sign that God is already at work in us. We should praise God for spiritual hunger and be encouraged. He doesn’t make us hungry and then let us starve. He does so in order to fill us with His blessings and love. We need a hunger that will never be satisfied until the marriage supper of the Lamb.
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