The Biblically mandated paradox is…
We live by dying!
|Though Salvation is a free gift to us, it did not come without a cost! The fact is it cost God the Father His only begotten Son; and it cost Jesus His all, even His life and His shed Blood, poured out for us at Calvary’s cross!
The Bible clearly says that the road to destruction and eternal separation from God is wide, and the road to life is narrow, and few there be who choose it; it says also that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.
Let us not be deceived as most of the world, in thinking that life is ALL about us, and that is to be lived as we see fit! That presumption that is so common and is characterized by an attitude that we live as the center of our universe, and that life revolves around us, is the very nature of what sin is, that has separated us from God! As the Prophet Isaiah said: “All of us like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus) the inequity of us all!“
Likewise for us, there is a paradox, in that we CANNOT earn this salvation, as it is given freely to all those who love God and are called according to His purpose as a free gift; but here’s the paradox, we find life only by losing it, and we experience life abundantly only as we are willing to die to self; meaning we willingly forfeit our free will, our ambitions, and our ALL, in favor of living our life by faith, trusting in the Unseen God; and relying and casting the whole of our lives and our circumstances on the promises we find in His Word… we are no longer living for self, but we are now living by faith, trusting in Jesus Christ alone!!!
The Cross is the Symbol of our Death to Self
“And Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?“ Matthew 16:24-26
Based upon what I have just said, let us each examine ourselves; and ask ourselves how we would do if we were put to this test, as happened to these people in the former Soviet Union:
|Thursday, August 19, 2010
Can we be trusted?
1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
They began by singing a hymn quietly. Suddenly, in walked two soldiers with loaded weapons at the ready.
One shouted, “If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!”
Two or three quickly left, then another. After a few more seconds, two more. “This is your last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ,” he ordered, “or stay and suffer the consequences.”
Two more slipped out into the night. No one else moved. Parents with children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly, fully expecting to be gunned down or imprisoned.
The other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said, “Keep your hands up–but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ.
We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers.”
The other soldier interrupted, “But, instead, we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.” (From “Living Above the Level of Mediocrity,” by Chuck Swindoll).
Wow. Can you imagine being faced with a decision to run or die for our faith? We are living in a day where this could very well become reality! But how many of us would be willing to stand?
Let’s start deepening our relationship with the Lord today so that our minds may be focused on heavenly things and not consumed with the weight of all the worldly ones. That it would be easy for us to make a stand for Him should that day ever come. There’s so much work to be done!
Your family in the Lord with much agape love,
George, Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
This is where the rubber meets the road for all of us; and truly, like the soldier who jumps on the live grenade to save the lives of his buddies, we won’t know until we are likewise tested, in that moment, what our reaction will be. We can only hope and pray that our response would be pleasing to God.
Christianity itself is a paradox, in that to pursue life and to experience life abundantly, as most in the world are seeking to do, though they are looking for love and fulfillment in all the wrong places, to seek life as God requires, we must willingly relinquish our will, our emotions, and our desires, and even our very lives, by faith, into the hands of the ONE who created us, and who gave us our life.
The paradox is, that when God gives you a gift, as was demonstrated in Father Abraham’s willingness to offer up his beloved son, Isaac, as a sacrifice (see Genesis 22), that gift only became his to enjoy completely as he willingly gave it back to God, the one who gave it to him to begin with… and so it is with us!
You see as the Bible says, our lives (as a born-again, blood bought Christian) is no longer our own, to live as we want and choose; but we have now, subsequent to our receiving God’s gift of Salvation in Jesus Christ, have been bought with a price!
The fact is for all of us, every breathe that we take, and with every beat of our heart, it is all only by God’s grace!
Tomorrow is promised to no man, and our opportunity to turn to Jesus and receive God’s pardon for our sins can only happen in this life, sometime between our birth and our departure in death.
So for those of you who have yet to make this commitment, right now is the time for your salvation, in this very moment; for in the next moment you might be dead!
God gave each of us a free will and the freedom to choose how we will spend our lives; but there is a reckoning coming, and we each will be held accountable for how we lived our lives, and what did we do with God’s gift of love, that is found only in Jesus Christ?
It is God’s desire that we each choose of our own free will and volition to serve and to follow Christ; but He will not force that decision upon us, for He is looking only for willing subjects, who love Him and who want to serve Him!
So this is the choice we all have… we can spend our lives on Self, as most of the world is doing, who are on that broad path to destruction and death; or we can spend it on Jesus Christ, as those who are on the narrow path have chosen to do.
Which path are you on today; and how are you doing when it comes to carrying your cross every day?
Jesus makes it very clear that for us to be His disciple it will cost us our total commitment and the forfeiture of our free will, and how we choose to live our lives.
For us to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we are to walk as He did, in His earthly ministry; and to find out how he lived and how He walked, it will be required that we consult the Bible, and meditate and study it often; and then by faith we each are to live our lives moment by moment, trusting and becoming acquainted with our closest friend, helper, comforter, and guide, the Holy Spirit, who now lives inside of every born-again believer.
As Jesus said, seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and learn to operate in righteousness; and the way we do that is by putting on the mind of Christ, and by our learning to live and do and think as He does, as we trust in the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, moment by moment, 24/7, 365 days a year!
For the born-again covenant child of God, performance is no longer an issue, as Christ paid for our sins, all of them in total… past, present, and future!
Living as a Christian and our living our lives in a manner that is pleasing before God is now a heart issue, and is an issue of love and commitment, in our not ever wanting to hurt the one who loved us and who gave so much up so that we could be reconciled back into His family and live with Him forever!
So we each are admonished in scripture to first count the cost, and see whether or not we are willing to make that sacrifice or not; and whether we are willing to commit ourselves to a life of faith to an unseen God, by dying to self, and living to please only Him?
Our new life in Christ is based on a blood covenant, that is modeled in the relationship between a man and his wife; and as it is in the marriage covenant between a husband and wife, it is a life long commitment that says we commit ourselves to each other “Until death do us part;” only with God that commitment extends on into eternity.
Under a blood covenant this is what is required of both parties, each partner promises to give their very best and ALL that they have for the benefit of the other; and even if one does not carry their weight, the commitment of the other partner is to carry them until they can!
Thank God that Jesus does that for each of us every single day of our life, because there is not a one of us that does not blow our end of our covenant with Him everyday, and we each need to be carried by Him every single day!
This is exactly what Christianity is, and the ultimate reward for ALL of us will be if one day we hear these words from our Lord and Master… “Well done good and faithful servant!” Selah