It Is Finished

John 19:30—”When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

It is finished—Christ satisfied God’s justice by dying for all to pay for the sins of the world.  These sins can never be punished again since that would violate God’s justice.  Sins can only be punished once, either by substitute or by yourself.

John 4:34—”Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

Jesus accomplished God’s work through His life and death on the cross.  It is difficult to fathom that His death two thousand years ago paid for our sins today and for the rest of our lives on this earth.  What did or can we do to deserve this kind of love and forgiveness?  

Colossians 2:13—”And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

The father of sin, Satan, wants to keep a veil over our eyes that we might not see the finished work of the cross and that God disarmed Satan’s power over our lives.

Hebrews 9:26—”for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Hebrews 9:28–so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

We eagerly wait for His return because He has already dealt with our sin once and for all.

Hebrews 10:8—”When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), Hebrews 10:10–And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

He is calling us to a life of faith and trust in His finished work.

Hebrews 2:14—”Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 2:15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

We have been delivered from a life of slavery to sin because He paid a debt He did not owe, our debt.  Lord, may You open our eyes that we might see and trust in Your finished work, the forgiveness of all of our trespasses.  

Heaven

Galatians 4:26—”But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”

Hebrews 11:16—”But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

Hebrews 12:22—”But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,”

Hebrews 13:14—”For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”

Revelation 21:2—”And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Revelation 21:4—”He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:10—”And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,”

Revelation 21:23—”And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

Revelation 21:27—”But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Revelation 22:4—”They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads”

Revelation 3:12—”The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”

John 14:3—”And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

The Holy Spirit is given to us as a down payment or guarantee of our inheritance which is the New Jerusalem or eternal life as His bride. 

The New Jerusalem—Heaven, a city prepared by God, it will come down out of heaven, the city is the bride of Jesus, no death or pain, no mourning or crying, no need for the sun or moon for God will be our light, only those written in His book of life may enter, His name will be on our foreheads, Jesus left to prepare a place for us.  Estimates are the city is 1,400 miles long, wide and tall, possibly a cube shape.

Thank you, Father, that we will be one with Your Son in our new Jerusalem. 

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Fellowship With God

1 John 1:3—”that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 1:9—”God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Fellowship—Intimacy, 

He leads us into many types of prayer for others and ourselves, each day.  He is also calling us to a place of intimacy with Him.  

“Your heavenly Father loves it when you talk to him. Whatever is on your mind, you can tell him all about it. 

Talk to him about your hurts and worries, your hopes and dreams. 

Tell him about your secret fears and struggles.”

From a blog by Paul Ellis

We can share our inner most thoughts and feelings with Him.  We can also just enjoy His presence.  He ministers to us in many ways during these quiet times.  

2 Corinthians 4:16—”So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

Renewed—New strength and vigor is given to one, a new kind of life.

Colossians 3:2—”Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Set—to be of the same mind, cherish the same views, be harmonious.  When we set our minds on Him, we are seeing ourselves as He sees us—one with Him.

Psalms 46:10–“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Be still—to relax, sink, withdraw, let go, be quiet.

We are renewed through our fellowship and intimacy with Him.  His arms are outstretched towards us as we set our minds on Him, letting go of the world around us, being quiet, enjoying His presence. 

Lord, may we recognize the times during our day that You are calling us to a time of intimate fellowship with You.

Thoughts on Ephesians 1

Ephesians 1:2—”Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

How could Paul send grace and peace from God to the Ephesians in a letter?

Ephesians 1 is a gospel chapter.  It highlights so many spiritual blessings we have through the gospel, through Jesus.

If Paul was going to write a letter sending grace and peace from God through his letter, then one has to conclude that God did indeed ask Paul to send grace and peace.  Paul would not say he was sending grace and peace from God unless it really was from God.  God was sending grace and peace to His sheep through His apostle.

Some other highlights of the gospel full of grace mentioned in Ephesians 1:

We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.

He predestined us to be adopted as sons/daughters through Jesus.

He has lavished glorious grace upon us.

In Him we have redemption and forgiveness of our trespasses.  

He revealed His mystery of Jesus and the gospel to us.

In Him we have an inheritance.

We who hope in Him might bring praise to His glory.

In Him we were sealed with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a down payment of our inheritance.

Paul prays that God would give them a Spirit of wisdom and revelation.

God raised Jesus far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion now and forever more.

Jesus in the head of the church.

He also prayed that they would know the wealth of His glorious inheritance.

Paul wanted his sheep to know the immeasurable greatness of His power.

As an apostle of the gospel, Paul deeply desired that Jesus be formed in his disciples.  He is formed in us as we begin to trust and comprehend the immeasurable greatness of His power in us.

“O Saviour, how unspeakable is Thy love!  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is high.  I cannot attain unto it.  I can only yield myself to Thy love with the prayer day by day. Thou wouldest unfold to me somewhat of its precious mysteries, and to encourage and strengthen Thy loving disciple to do what his heart longs to do indeed—ever, only, wholly to abide in Thee.”  Quote from “Abide in Christ” by Andrew Murray.

The Vine

John 15:4—”Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”

Abide—Not to depart, to continue to be present, to be held, kept continually, to remain as one to wait for.

John 15:5—”I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

“Abide in me.  These words are no law of Moses, demanding from the sinful what they cannot perform.  They are the command of love, which is ever only a promise in a different shape.  Think of this until all feeling of burden and fear and despair pass away, and the first thought that as you hear of abiding in Jesus be on of bright and joyous hope:  it is for me, I know I shall enjoy it.  You are not under the law, with its inexorable Do, but under grace with its blessed Believe what Christ will do for you.  And if the question be asked, ‘But surely there is something for us to do?’ the answer is, ‘Our doing and working are but the fruit of Christ’s work in us.’  It is when the soul becomes utterly passive, looking and resting on what Christ is to do, that its energies are stirred to their highest activity, that we work most effectually because we know that He works in us.  It is as we see in the word In Me the mighty energies of love reaching out after us to have us to hold us, that all the strength of our will is roused to abide in Him. Christ’s aim is to have me abiding in Him.”

The above quote from the book, “Abide in Christ” by Andrew Murray.

“To be held” is one of the definitions of abide.  He is calling us into His arms.  Not what we can do for Him rather what He wants to do through us.  Our days are full of many activities.  There are also times during each day when He is calling us to be still and know that we are in His presence.  

Lord, may You bring us to the place of being “utterly passive that Your energies may be stirred in us.”

Mystery Hidden

Colossians 1:26—”the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.”

What is this mystery?

Colossians 1:27—”To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

He kept the mystery of His Son hidden for ages.  It is God that reveals His mystery to us.  He makes it known.  Christ lives in us and He is our hope of glory.  The first-born Son of God lives in us.  In Him are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  And God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Stop for a minute and meditate on Christ in us.  He will meet all of our needs through His riches in glory in us.  

Colossians 2:2—”that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,”

Philippians 4:19—”And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

“God is not particularly concerned that we improve our lot here on earth, or that we undergo certain changes, or even that we become a bit holier here or a little more righteous there.  His purpose is to replace everything about us, to place Christ in us.  Christ is everything.  Your entire salvation is contained in the fact that you receive Him.

Churches do not need more love; they need more of Christ for Christ is love.  Rather, it is the fact that Christ is in you, is the fullness of what you require.  This Jesus who is in you, is limitless and inexhaustible.  Begin seeing Christ behind everything.  When you finally understand that Christ is everything you need, then you will have become truly Christocentric (sic).  Then you will share with the Father the most precious thing He has—His Son.

We desperately need revelation!  Turn yourself over to God, submit to His training and breaking, so that He can discard all that hinders you from seeing Christ as He is, in God’s eyes.  Our only hope for salvation from lesser things is Christ, a greater Christ than the one we have been content with until now.  May God give us grace.”

The above quotes from the book, The Mystery of God.  Christ is All in All–by Manfred R. Haller.

Lord, may You open our eyes that we might see the mystery hidden for ages, Christ in us, our hope of glory!

Law

Romans 8:2—”For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

There are two laws mentioned in this verse: the law of the Spirit and the law of sin and death.

The law of sin and death could not free us from sin because of our flesh.

Romans 8:3—”For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,”

Romans 8:8—”Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Flesh—denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God.

We cannot please Him through our human efforts, human nature, apart from His divine influence or His Spirit.

Romans 8:7—”For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

Romans 7:6—”But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”

We now serve in a new way, in and through the Spirit.  God created Adam and Eve in His image.  He spoke to us in the Old Testament through His prophets.  He led the Jews out of Egypt through Moses, but never in the history of mankind has God lived inside of people.  

Hebrews 10:14—”For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

1 John 4:13—”By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

On the day of Pentecost, God came to live in His children, those that believed in His Son.

Acts 2:4—”And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Two thousand years later, when we believe in Jesus, He also fills us with His Spirit.

Colossians 1:27—”To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Thank You, Lord, for living inside of us, for the new law of the Spirit which is our hope of glory.

Led

Romans 8:14—”For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

Led—to lead by laying hold of, to bring to a point of destination, to lead by accompanying, to bring, guide, direct, impel, influence the mind.

Galatians 5:18—”But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.’

Hebrews 13:9—”Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.”

How then are we to walk in the Spirit or in Jesus?

Colossians 2:6—”Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,”

How did we receive Him?  By faith.  How then do we follow the leading of the Spirit?  By faith.

He does not give us strength, He is our strength, He does not give us victory, He is our victory.  He is all we need.

Colossians 2:9—”For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 2:10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”

He will teach us to walk in Him by faith, to lean upon Him, to wait upon Him.  Lord may we be open to Your bringing us, directing us, influencing us and impelling us that You might lead us to Your destination by Your Spirit  in all area of our lives.      

He Paid A Debt

Colossians 2:13—”And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 2:14–by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

What is this record of debt?

A legal document or bond, something handwritten

A record was kept of all of our trespasses or sins.  We had so many trespasses that we were enslaved to them.  Each one of our recorded sins had a debt with legal demands in heaven against us.  How do we measure the cost of our sins and all of the sins of the world?

There was only one way to pay the debt for all of our sins.

2 Corinthians 5:21—”For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

The Son of God became our sin.  He who had no sin became sin. He paid a debt He did not owe.

Isaiah 53:5—”But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

He carried the weight of every sin in the world and was crushed for our sins.  He became like us in every respect that He might be our high priest.

Hebrews 2:17—”Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God.  Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.”

He became like us with one exception—He never sinned.  He was tempted but resisted.  

Who else has access to this record of debt that was kept against us?  The enemy. the accuser was and is still accusing us, but sin no longer rules over us.

Romans 4:7–“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,

and whose sins are covered; 4:8–blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Romans 6:14—”For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

Because He paid a debt He did not owe, and became our sin for us, we are now under grace and have become the righteousness of God. The accuser will try everything he can, every day to cover up this truth through guilt and condemnation— this is his M O (method of operation).

Lord, may we wake up each day thanking You for becoming our sin, for canceling the debt of our sin and for this new creation inside of us that is made in and from Your righteousness.    

Saving Life

Galatians 5:16—”But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

What is this walking by the Spirit?

“There are countless Christians fighting a battle that is already lost, trying in their own strength to overcome the subtleties of sin.  That is a battle you can fight all your days, but I tell you now, you cannot win!  It is a battle already lost in the first Adam, who was made a living soul, and died; but the last Adam, Jesus Christ, has already defeated sin and death and hell, and Satan himself!  Why not accept in Him the victory already won?  Victory over the flesh is not to be attained—it is to be received.”

Quote from Major W. Ian Thomas in his book, “The Saving Life of Christ.”

We tend to get Gal 5:16 backwards by creating strategies to fight or not gratify the flesh so we can then walk by the Spirit.  

Ephesians 3:16—”that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”

His power is given to us through His Spirit.

Galatians 5:17—”For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

Another quote from “The Saving Life of Christ”—“Now the Devil loves to invert truth and turn it into a lie, and probably what he has been saying to you is this: “Try not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and then you will walk in the Spirit,” as though the latter were a reward for the former.  He knows that in this way he will keep you preoccupied with yourself, instead of being preoccupied with Christ.  There is nothing quite so nauseating or pathetic as the flesh trying to be holy!  The flesh has a perverted bent for righteousness, but such righteousness is always self-righteousness.”

“Is this not what you have been trying to do?  You have been trying not to fulfill the lust of the flesh, in order to walk in the Spirit—fighting a battle already lost.  To walk in the Spirit is not a reward—it is the means!  It is to enjoy the Saving Life of Christ.”

Lead us Lord in letting go of our efforts to fight our own flesh that we might walk in the power of Your Spirit.