He is faithful and just…
May 7th, 2019
There is a lot of buzz in churches today focused on God’s Love. Before I get much further, I want to assure you that I also and enthralled that the God of Creation loves me, loves every one of us, and loves this world so much that he gave his only son.
I’m solid with you there.
I have some issues with segments of the church, which choose to focus exclusively on the love. God has a laundry list of attributes and some are more attractive than others to us. Justice for example is a core attribute but if we are out of step with the Lord and sinning, we’d just as soon he wasn’t so just, it makes us more than a little nervous as we act in defiance to his will.
But yes, God is Love…
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (CSB)
Let’s not stop here and relax. There is more to salvation than loving a loving God. If you’ll stop humming “I love you, you love me, let’s go play in eternity” for a bit there are some things we need pay some attention to as we are loving God.
First is how we define love. I can tell you very quickly how Jesus defines it.
“If you love me, you will keep my commands.”
John 14:15 (CSB)
So, loving God back doesn’t seal the deal. Jesus expects a demonstration of that love in us; thus, he says, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.”
But here is where this salvation business gets a bit stickier…
I’m going to say something that may make you just a bit uncomfortable. Sorry but it must be said.
Grace does not apply to you!
As Jesus redefines our concept of love and nestles it in obedience, he also takes faith and further defines the expression of that faith and obedience in a change taking place in us.
To have grace apply we must become new creatures. There must be a change taking place otherwise grace hasn’t been applied. It is the evidence of a change taking place inside.
If we have faith in Jesus it means we will love and obey him, we will trust in Jesus.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9 (CSB)
The act of confessing Jesus as Lord, is transformative.
It transforms our minds.
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 (CSB)
Transformation is an obvious evidence of salvation. We become a new creation when Christ Jesus is at the center of our lives.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (CSB)
This renewal of our minds that takes place in transformation, is the essence of repentance.
Let me explain this a bit more in depth.
When we have fully vested our faith in Jesus, we become a new creation. When Paul states in 2nd Corinthians that “the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” He is talking about complete transformation of who we are, with a new set of behaviors, and a mind that is cast in the framework of God’s thinking.
A major part of that transformation is replacing that mind that is in constant conflict with God, with a mind that is in alignment with him.
Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out
Acts 3:19 (CSB)
Repentance goes beyond obedience. Obedience is nothing more than compliance to a requirement. Repentance goes on to actually see a change of our mind to parallel God’s way of thinking about things.
We then become obedient not because we are being told to do something, but we believe that doing so is doing what is right and good.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 (CSB)
Repentance isn’t something that we do one time and we are done.
Peter tells us this repentance is a dependency for forgiveness. With our initial repentance we receive the Holy Spirit. As we could never have the complete mind of God in our flesh-based minds, one of the key roles for the Holy Spirit is teaching us.
He teaches us God’s word. More specifically he explains God’s Word to us in a way that we would never think of on our own.
This doesn’t happen all at once. The Holy Spirit will introduce new understanding as we are in need of it. When this revelation takes place a lot of it will be disclosing sin that we were not aware of before.
When this takes place then we want to again, alter our thinking (repent), confess this shortcoming to Jesus so that the sin may be forgiven as Peter talks bout.
So much so that if we are in the Word of God on a regular basis then potentially, we could “Repent Daily”.
Trust Jesus for your salvation. Study His Word. Rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you and then when new sin is disclosed to us, repent and confess it to Jesus. It could be an everyday occurrence, and perhaps it should as I don’t’ think any of us can go one day without committing some sinful behavior.
In the Grace of Jesus!