And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26-27)
Even now the believer tastes the fruit of this glorious promise. Since our life and soul are caught up in the very life and soul of our Lord Jesus Christ, we gain every conceivable blessing! And as even now we are reigning at the Lord’s right hand in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), so then shall those who are of the name of the Lord reign in majesty and honor at His glorious coming! Rejoice in the Lord’s goodness, O people of God!
Who through faith…escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle. (Hebrews 11:34)
We have seen that by trusting in the Lord, His people “subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire” (Hebrews 11:33-34a). Other testimonies indicate that there are still more consequences of accessing grace through faith.
By faith, some of God’s servants “escaped the edge of the sword.” The prophet Elisha experienced this. The king of Syria sent his army to encompass the city. “There was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?'” (2 Kings 6:15). Elisha saw the true situation by the eye of faith, so he prayed. ” ‘LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). Then, the Lord struck the enemy forces with blindness and delivered His people.
Others of God’s people “out of weakness were made strong.” King Jehoshaphat showed what this meant. “The people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others…came to battle against Jehoshaphat” (2 Chronicles 20:1). In weakness, the king cried out to the Lord. “We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us…but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12). The Lord assured them of His victory. “The battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle…stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you” (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17). Strengthened by faith and filled with expectation, they marched out to watch the enemy armies destroy one another.
Others “became valiant in battle.” Samson exemplified this. “The Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him…and his bonds broke loose from his hands. He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey…and killed a thousand men with it” (Judges 15:14-15).
We may face many imminent threats, but we can trust the Lord to provide His escape. “The Lord will deliver me from every evil work” (2 Timothy 4:18). The Lord provides His strength, even when we are weak. “For My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Our God can also make us valiant in battle. “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:13).
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26)
The gift of God’s Spirit is truly miraculous and sure sign of His evident mercy. Though uncomprehending His work or power, ever will He aid us in our multiplied weakness. He is working in us daily causing us to be conformed to the image of Christ Himself. Praise the Lord for this Helper all you people of God!
Growing in Knowing the Lord, grace is the factor.
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. (2 Peter 3:18)
The new covenant of grace (at its very core) is a covenant of relationship. God’s grace enables us to grow in spiritual intimacy with our Lord. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Here, grace is linked with growing and with knowing the Lord. As surely as grace was for spiritual birthing, grace is also for growing. The most strategic area of spiritual growth is progress in a deepening relationship with the Lord. Paul prayed in this manner for the saints: “that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him…and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
This process of growth necessitates consistent intake of the word of God. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). It is through the Scriptures that we learn of the grace of God. The word of God is “the word of His grace” (Acts 20:32). Also, the word of God has the Lord Jesus Christ as the constant, primary subject. “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). The pervasive presence of Christ throughout the Scriptures is a vital truth for growing in grace, since grace is found in the Lord Jesus. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
God’s will for our lives is that we might live in His word. This allows us to grow in His grace that we might know Him better. This truth is to delight our hearts and change our lives. “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). So many people (sometimes, even the people of God) chase after human wisdom, earthly power, or material riches. God desires that He becomes the delight of our hearts and the goal of our life: “that he understands and knows Me.” So, let us respond with joy to Hosea’s call. “Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of [the knowing of] the LORD” (Hosea 6:3).
Living in Christ, Christ Living in Us #REALLOVE
“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him…At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 6:56 and 14:20)
In our verses, we again see the extent of the intimate relationship that the new covenant of grace provides. An astounding intimacy is declared in these words: “abides in Me, and I in him.” We have not merely come near to Christ, nor has He simply drawn close to us. Rather, we live in Him, and He lives in us! We live by being in Christ (by being related to Him, by being united with Him, by drawing our spiritual life from Him). Moreover, He lives in us and desires to express His life through us.
This unique arrangement for spiritual intimacy is experienced by the one “who eats My flesh and drinks My blood.” Although the language sounds strange to the natural mind, the picture is common, that of eating and drinking to find life-giving nourishment. The unusual aspect is that the source of the nutrition is a person. Earlier in Jesus’ discourse, He had indicated what this process encompassed. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). Eating and drinking of Jesus’ flesh and blood involves simply coming to Him in faith. When we come to Jesus, we are counting upon who He is (His person, His flesh, the Son of God becoming a man). When we believe in Jesus, we are also relying upon what He did (His work, His blood poured out for us upon the cross). As we relate to Jesus in this manner, we are finding our spiritual sustenance in Him. Thus, we abide in Him and He in us.
Of course, the Holy Spirit would participate fully in this process. “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Jesus was leaving His disciples soon to return to the Father. So, He comforted them. “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:18-19). On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured forth in fullness and power. Now, the Spirit would make the very life of Jesus available to all of His followers. As they trusted in Him, Christ would live in and through their lives. reblog
Every Spiritual Blessing Ours in Christ
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
Living day by day by grace is essentially about developing an intimate relationship with the Lord. “You also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead” (Romans 7:4). We have considered some of the radical extent of that intimacy through the intriguing phrase “in Christ.” “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Through this profound uniting with Christ, astounding spiritual riches are now ours.
This is why Paul offered grateful praise to the Lord. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul’s thanksgiving was for what the Father has given to us: “who has blessed us.” Notice, the verb is in the past tense-this has already happened. What is it that has already been given to us? It is “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Think of it. This truth is staggering in its implications. Every grace resource that heaven has to offer is already ours here on earth. This does not mean that we are fully aware of all that has been given to us. Certainly, it does not mean that we are experiencing all of these blessings. Yet, it does mean that they are all ours to draw upon for fullness of life here on earth!
The reason these rich blessings are ours is that they all reside in Christ. In Christ is forgiveness, righteousness, and wisdom. Also, love, joy, and peace are found in Him. In Christ dwells victory, discernment, and courage. Moreover, compassion, strength, and perseverance are part of who He is. All this and far more is found in Christ. “For it pleased the Father that in Him [in Christ] all the fullness should dwell” (Colossians 1:19). Now, we dwell in the place (“in Christ”) where all of this richness resides: “who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” All these spiritual resources of the kingdom of heaven are now ours “in Christ.” “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for [upon] grace” (John 1:16).
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
He never deserted them, but they in cowardly fear of their lives, fled from Him in the very beginning of His sufferings. This is but one instructive instance of the frailty of all believers if left to themselves; they are but sheep at the best, and they flee when the wolf cometh. They had all been warned of the danger, and had promised to die rather than leave their Master; and yet they were seized with sudden panic, and took to their heels. It may be, that I, at the opening of this day, have braced up my mind to bear a trial for the Lord’s sake, and I imagine myself to be certain to exhibit perfect fidelity; but let me be very jealous of myself, lest having the same evil heart of unbelief, I should depart from my Lord as the apostles did. It is one thing to promise, and quite another to perform. It would have been to their eternal honour to have stood at Jesus’ side right manfully; they fled from honour; may I be kept from imitating them! Where else could they have been so safe as near their Master, who could presently call for twelve legions of angels? They fled from their true safety. O God, let me not play the fool also. Divine grace can make the coward brave. The smoking flax can flame forth like fire on the altar when the Lord wills it. These very apostles who were timid as hares, grew to be bold as lions after the Spirit had descended upon them, and even so the Holy Spirit can make my recreant spirit brave to confess my Lord and witness for His truth.
What anguish must have filled the Saviour as He saw His friends so faithless! This was one bitter ingredient in His cup; but that cup is drained dry; let me not put another drop in it. If I forsake my Lord, I shall crucify Him afresh, and put Him to an open shame. Keep me, O blessed Spirit, from an end so shameful.
Our good Shepherd has in His flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith, but He is impartial in His care for all His sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to Him as the most advanced of the flock. Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with His arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish-He nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; He finds weak minds ready to faint and die-He consoles them and renews their strength. All the little ones He gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye He must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far- reaching and potent arm, to gather them all! In His lifetime on earth He was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that He dwells in heaven, His loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. How gently did He gather me to Himself, to His truth, to His blood, to His love, to His church! With what effectual grace did He compel me to come to Himself! Since my first conversion, how frequently has He restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of His everlasting arm! The best of all is, that He does it all Himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending Himself to rescue and preserve His most unworthy servant. How shall I love Him enough or serve Him worthily? I would fain make His name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for Him? Great Shepherd, add to Thy mercies this one other, a heart to love Thee more truly as I ought.
Thus far in our daily meditations on growing in the grace of God, we have examined various areas of biblical truth, such as: the Old Covenant of law, the New Covenant of grace, God’s sufficiency for godly living, living by the promises of God, and Old Testament saints who lived by God’s grace. Now, we return to an extended consideration of how we avail ourselves of the glorious riches of God’s grace. As noted earlier in our studies, God’s grace is accessed through humility and faith.
If we desire to live by God’s grace, we must be willing to renounce pride and to walk in humility. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The Lord is opposed to the path of self-sufficiency. When we pridefully assume that we can produce the kind of life God calls us to live, spiritual progress is prevented. Humility involves agreeing with God’s pronouncements concerning our inadequacies. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 3:5a). The person who is willing to walk humbly before the Lord has an accurate understanding of our comprehensive need for the Lord to work in and through our lives. “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b).
Along with humility regarding ourselves, God wants us to walk in faith regarding Him. The Lord wants to work in our lives by His incomparable grace. Faith accesses grace: “through whom [Jesus] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” The Lord is pleased by the path of “Christ-dependency.” Whenever we face any issue of life by faith in Jesus Christ, we are drawing upon the abounding grace of the Lord. When we dependently accept that God can produce the kind of life He calls us to live, spiritual progress is assured. Faith involves agreeing with God’s pronouncements that He is our adequacy: “but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5b). The person who is willing to walk in faith toward the Lord has an accurate understanding of God’s comprehensive ability to work in and through our lives. “He who abides in Me… bears much fruit” (John 15:5b).
Also, as noted earlier, humility and faith are relational realities. Neither can be produced by us. They are not the result of human labor. They can only develop as an increasing reality through a growing relationship with the Lord Jesus.
What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? (Romans 8:31)
Fear not, O believer, for there is naught to stand against you! All potential powers and enemies pale in significance to the power of God. No mere creation can threaten to undo the work and will of its Creator. God is sovereign. He holds all things in the palm of His hand, He does whatsoever He wills to do. And He loves you! Therefore rejoice, for while God is for you, O child of faith, nothing can truly be against you. And He is with you to everlasting.
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