Inseparable

Romans 8:35—”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”

Separate—To divide, part, put asunder, to depart, divorce, go away.

Paul is making the point that there is basically nothing that can separate us from His love.  Who would want to separate us?  The enemy uses circumstances and doubts to bring a wedge between us and God’s love.

Romans 8:33—”Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”

Charge—brought by an accuser, to be accused

God’s love justifies us through the blood of His Son.  If condemnation thoughts are creeping in, we can say in full assurance, in faith, they are not from God.

Romans 8:34—”Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us.  How often does He intercede for Us?  Always!

Hebrews 7:25—”Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

Romans 5:10—”For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

It is difficult to imagine this kind of love.  God loved us when we were His enemy.  He did not love us because we were good and pure.  We enter His promised land of grace, forgiveness and love, when we cross the river accepting Jesus’ death for us.  We are born again, and this new creation becomes inseparable from the love of Jesus, as He is constantly interceding to the Father for us.  

He wants us to know His love, not just learn about it but to know it.

Know-get a knowledge of, perceive, feel, understand in a deep personal way that we may be filled with the fullness of God.  There is nothing, nothing, nothing that can separate us from His love. This love surpasses our human ability to understand so we pray, Lord:

Ephesians 3:18—”may we have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 3:19

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Romans 8:38—”For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 8:39

nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Seal of Our Inheritance

Ephesians 1:13—”In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,”

What is this seal?

A mark with a seal, to seal for security from Satan, angels are said to be sealed by God, to confirm authenticate, place beyond doubt.

2 Corinthians 1:22—”and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

His Spirit is a guarantee—an earnest money, which in purchases is given as a pledge or down payment that the full amount will be subsequently paid.

2 Corinthians 5:5—”He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”

Ephesians 1:14—(Holy Spirit)”who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

What is this inheritance?

Ephesians 1:18—”having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,”

Titus 3:7—”so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

The Spirit is given as a down payment for our inheritance which is eternal life.  We will live forever with Him in His glory.

1 Peter 1:3—”Born Again to a Living Hope– Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1:4–to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,”

Ephesians 2:7—”so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

The riches of our inheritance are immeasurable and will be lavished upon us in the coming ages of eternity.  

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.”

All of this is guaranteed by the down payment of His Holy Spirit which is His seal upon us.  We can have full confidence that God will honor His guarantee that we are born of imperishable seed.

Hebrews 9:15—”Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

May You enlighten and fix our eyes that we might see and know the seal of the Holy Spirit upon us guaranteeing our inheritance of eternal life with You.  We praise You Lord for our inheritance.

His Image

Ephesians 4:24—”and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

What is the likeness of God?

The second part of the verse above says this new self is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.   What was our old self?  

Ephesians 4:22—”to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,”

Paul describes some of the fruit produced by our old selves in the rest of Eph. 4: lying, anger, stealing, foul language, bitterness, wrath, shouting, slander and malice.  Compared to the fruit of the new self in verse 4:32—compassion and forgiveness.

God created Adam and Eve in His image.

Genesis 1:27—”So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  

But Adam and Eve sinned and fell from grace.  Instead of inheriting the image of God from Adam and Eve, we inherit a sin nature.

Romans 6:6—”We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

Our old selves were enslaved to sin.  The new creation inside of us is created in the likeness of God.  Instead of a sin nature, we now have a divine nature, God’s nature living in us, righteous and holy.

Hebrews 1:3—”He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”

This new self, new creation living in us is one with Christ.

Galatians 3:27—”For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Colossians 3:10—”and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

We thank You, Lord, for this new creation inside of us made in Your image.  

Boldness

Hebrews 4:16—”Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.”

What is this boldness?

Boldness—freedom in speaking, open, frank, free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage.

How can we dare draw near to His throne of grace?  For one, it is a throne of grace.  We do not earn our way to this throne rather it is a gift.  He is inviting us to draw near, to approach this throne of grace that we may receive mercy and grace especially in time of need.  Our degree of need may vary from day to day or year to year, but it seems we always wake up each morning to a time of need.

Hebrews 9:24—”For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 26…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.”

What is the foundation for this boldness?  It is based on our faith in His sacrifice for us.

Hebrews 10:14—”For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 17–Hebrews 10:17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Hebrews 10:19—”Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20–by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21–and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22–

let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Our boldness and confidence to enter into His presence, His throne of grace, is derived from His blood.  He has made us white as snow, remembering our sins no more.  He has perfected us for all time.  There is no place for guilt or condemnation as we approach His throne of grace.  

Thank You, Lord, that we can approach Your throne of grace by the blood of Your Son, and in Your presence with full confidence and even boldness in Your acceptance of us.  May we draw near each day to receive Your grace and mercy.  

Lord

Luke 6:46–“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

What does it mean that He is Lord?

Lord—he to whom a person belongs, about which he has power of deciding: master, the owner, one who has control of the person. Sovereign.  Supreme in authority.  

Matthew 7:21–“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

We have a will, a free will that God gave us.  Adam had a free will and decided to eat the forbidden fruit.  When we accept Jesus as our savior, we are also accepting Him as our Lord.  When we accept Him as our Lord, we are freely giving up our will for His in our daily lives.

Luke 14:33—”So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

Disciple—learner, pupil, one who follows one’s teaching

Renounce—give up

When we give up our will for His, we are giving up all we have, we are laying down our lives for Him and thus become His disciple.  He is teaching us to follow Him through the power of His Spirit rather than our will power.  As we learn to hear Him and understand the difference between His leading and ours, we are experiencing Him as our Lord.  

Acts 2:3—”Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Romans 10:9—”because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

When we follow the leading of the Spirit we are saying, “You are Lord.”  When we follow the Spirit, we are giving up our will for His.

Lord we thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit in our hearts.  May You continue to teach us to follow You, giving up our will, thus confessing You are our Lord, and we are Your disciples.  

Self-Control

Galatians 5:22—”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 5:23

meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.”

What does fruit mean?

The fruit of trees, vines, that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result, work, act or deed.

When we think of self-control, we usually rely on our strength or self-discipline to control ourselves.  However, self-control is mentioned as a fruit of the Spirit not a fruit of our strength to control ourselves.

Jesus said He did nothing on His own initiatives but relied on His Father for everything.

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.  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.”

Apart from Him we cannot produce the fruit of self-control.  Oh, we often try to muster up the inner strength to control our selves.  When we abide in Him, we will see the fruit of His Spirit, the fruit of self-control. 

Abide—to remain as one, not to become another or different, dwell.

To abide in Him is to trust Him, to trust He lives in us and that we are one with Him.  Rather than developing a rehab plan for our lack of self-control, He is calling us into oneness with Him.  We can produce a lot of human initiative fruit that may look shiny and even healthy but will eventually wither.  

When we start searching ourselves, we will shine a light on many weaknesses resulting in well intentioned strategies to fix or convert those weaknesses into strengths and more self-control.  This becomes a fruit of our labor rather than a fruit of the Spirit.  He spoke a word to me many years ago, “Stop searching yourself.”  This remains one of my weaknesses.  In writing this blog He is reminding me, again, to abide in Him and He will produce the fruit of His Spirit which includes self-control.  Sit, in the back seat and let Him do the driving.  Let go and let God.  

Lord, draw us unto You, teach us to abide in You and let You live through us.  We trust You for the fruit of self-control.

Rivers

John 7:38—”Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

What are these rivers of living water?

Jesus answered this question in the next verse.

John 7:39—”Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

The Spirit is the living water that will flow through us as a river.  When I was baptized, the church I attended, did not believe the Holy Spirit was needed for today.  The bible has taken the place of the Spirit.  I was never taught about the Spirit.  

Peter and John were sent to pray for some believers because they had not yet received this Spirit.

Acts 8:15—”who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 8:16–for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

I was one of those believers who had not yet received the Spirit.  Despite the lack of teaching on the Holy Spirit, I began my own search and study sans the internet since it had not been invented.  God had planted an insatiable hunger in me to learn more about the Spirit.  After several months of searching scripture through the old-fashioned concordance, I asked a stranger in a Christian coffee house to pray for me.  He did and the Spirit indeed fell on me.

The rivers of living waters and the Spirit are one in the same.  When we follow the Spirit His living waters are flowing through us.  

Galatians 5:25—”If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.”

What is in the living water that flows through us?    

Galatians 5:22—”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 5:23

meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.”

Lord, may we follow the leading of Your Spirit that the rivers of love, joy, peace… may flow through us.  

Crucified

Romans 6:6—”We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

What does it mean that we were crucified with Him?

The last blog talked about our new DNA, being born again, holy and acceptable to Him.    

Romans 6:7—”For one who has died has been set free from sin.”

We are not able to defeat sin through or by keeping the law.  In fact, the law revealed how weak we are regarding sin.  We inherit a sin nature from Adam.  There is only one way to gain freedom from this sin nature—death.

It is difficult to comprehend our death on the cross with Jesus since He died 2,000 years ago.  Were we freed from sin 2,000 years ago or are we set free when we accept Him as our savior?  Yes to both.

Romans 6:6—”We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

Our sin nature was enslaved to sin.  Somehow God allowed our sin nature or old man, to be crucified with His Son.  He knew this was the only way to deliver us from sin.  

Romans 6:5—”For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

We were one in death with Him on the cross and one with Him in His resurrection.  

Romans 6:8—”Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”

Romans 6:11—”So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Consider—To reckon, take into account, This word deals with reality.  If I reckon my bank account has $25 in it, it has $25 in it.  Reckon refers to a fact not supposition.  

The fact is we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.

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

The enemy wants to hide the entire chapter of Romans 6 from us.  He wants to lure us into a cage fight with sin so that we fall back into dealing with sin through laws, religion and legalism as the Galatians did.

Galatians 3:1—”O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Galatians 2:21—”I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

Lord, thank you for freeing us from our old sin nature through Your grace.

New DNA

Ephesians 4:24—”and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

What is this new self?

2 Corinthians 5:17—”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Many of us have researched our family tree and even sent samples to get our DNA history.  We can then trace our DNA/family tree back in time often to other countries, sometimes to famous or even infamous people in history.  

When we receive Christ as our savior, we are given a new nature or spiritual DNA comprised of His righteousness and holiness.  

Righteousness—acceptable to God, integrity, virtue, purity of life,

Romans 3:26—”It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

This new self reflects God’s righteousness.  We are justified through the blood of His Son.

Romans 4:5—”And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,”

It is sometimes difficult to see through the fog of our human DNA, through our old self.  Our natural, carnal minds can drag us down into the mire of who we used to be.  Is it even possible that God has given us a new self, that is righteous in His sight?  It is there in His word but beyond my human ability to comprehend.  

In his book, “The Saving Life of Christ”, Major W. Ian Thomas said:

“So long as I maintain by faith that position of total dependence, I do not have to try to be free from the law of gravity—I am being set free by the operation of a new and higher law.  The moment I discard my position of faith in the new and higher law that is setting me free, I discover that the old down—drag is still fully in operation, and I am caught again by the law of gravity and plunged into the water.  I must maintain my attitude of dependence if I am to remain airborne.”

Our new DNA is righteous and holy, after His likeness.  We are born with our human DNA.  When we accept Jesus as our savior, we are born again with the gift of His DNA.  It is only through faith and trust in Him and the reality of the new creation in us that we can soar like an eagle.  He set us free from the law of gravity and our old sin nature.

Lord, we need You to take us beyond our human DNA that we might understand the new life in us, that we can see us as you see us, righteous in Your sight.

Dependence

Ephesians 4:3—”eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

What is this unity of the Spirit?

Unity—unanimity, agreement, oneness.

Paul was urging the Ephesians to maintain their unity in the bond of peace. 

Bond—of ligaments by which members of the human body are united together. 

Bond of peace—exemption from rage and havoc of war, peace between individuals, harmony, concord, tranquility of the soul. 

The body of Christ is held together by the Head which is Christ.  There is one body as we are bonded together through the unity of the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:4—”There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—”

Jesus lived in unbroken dependence upon the Father, living in unity and oneness with God.  He did nothing on His own initiative.  He is leading us to a place of total dependence on Him and unity with each other.

“Jesus lived His life in absolute dependence upon His Father. If Jesus was that dependent on the Father, then you and I should realize how ludicrous it is for us to set out on our own without any direction or guidance from the Father.” ― Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God 

I wish there was a list of five simple ways to depend on him. But no– we are dependent on Him to teach us to be dependent on Him.  He is our GPS making a path for a life in unity with His Spirit.  

Proverbs 3:5—”Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:6–In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Psalms 73:26—”My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Proverbs 19:21—”Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

Isaiah 40:29—”He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”

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.”  

Lord, we lean on You, not our understanding, on Your strength, for we are faint; we trust in Your purpose, not ours; we are but a branch dependent on You for fruit that we may live in unity with Your Spirit and with each other.  Bring us to a place of absolute dependence on You each day.