Jesus willingly gave His life for each of us. He gave it for those who cursed and persecuted Him as well as for those who followed Him. He did it because of His great love for humanity of all religions and nationalities. It is His desire that everyone be saved. Will everyone accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord? No, but that does not change what Jesus did for us. Once any person accepts Jesus as their Savior and Lord, should they decide to do that, the Holy Spirit indwells that person. As we progress in following the example of Jesus there is a change in our hearts’ desires and our actions. We are to attempt to live at peace with everyone around us, even with those who curse and persecute us. Is this possible? Yes, or Jesus would not have asked us to do it. When we are mistreated for the sake of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, our response is to love and pray for those that commit the acts. Praying for our persecutors pleases God because we are following the example that Jesus set for us. How they respond to that love and our prayers for them is not in our control. It is ultimately between them and God. If revenge of any sort is necessary, God says that is His responsibility, not ours. So pray for everyone, family, friends, neighbors, cults, religious people, anyone in authority over you in any situation. You can be assured that your flesh is not going to want to pray for some of these people, but God’s Holy Spirit will draw you, teach you, and even do the praying for you if you choose to be obedient.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.— 2 Cor. 5:3-5 NLT
When God first made man in His image, He looked at what He had made and said “it is very good” (Gen 1:31). Decay and death were not known at this time. Then sin came into the world and things were no longer “very good”. Our bodies, along with all creation, started to deteriorate and eventually die. Jesus came into the world as a man to redeem the fallen creation and restore it to the order that had been in the garden. Jesus brought hope to a dying world. He came that we might be made “new creations”. Newness requires that we get rid of the old. We are saved when we accept Jesus and our Spirits are renewed but we remain in a fleshly body in a sinful world. The Spirit is being renewed day by day but the flesh is decaying day by day.
16 So we have no reason to despair. Despite the fact that our outer humanity is falling apart and decaying, our inner humanity is breathing in new life every day. — 2 Cor.4:16 The Voice
Our hope, the thing that makes Christianity different from anything else, is that we will one day leave these rotting, fleshly bodies and live in those heavenly bodies that God has created for each of us. Bodies that do not suffer pain and will not decay or die. God has prepared and continues to prepare us for this transition. We have a guarantee of this that lives inside of us so that we are never alone or without hope. Until the process is complete and Jesus comes again, we live hopefully and joyfully “looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith”.
1 Remind believers to willingly place themselves under the authority of government officials. Believers should obey them and be ready to help them with every good thing they do. 2 Believers shouldn’t curse anyone or be quarrelsome, but they should be gentle and show courtesy to everyone. 3 Indeed, we, too, were once stupid, disobedient, and misled. We were slaves to many kinds of lusts and pleasures. We were mean and jealous. We were hated, and we hated each other. 4 However, when God our Savior made his kindness and love for humanity appear, 5 he saved us, but not because of anything we had done to gain his approval. Instead, because of his mercy he saved us through the washing in which the Holy Spirit gives us new birth and renewal.–Titus 3:1-5 (GW)
Repentance is feeling remorse for our wrong actions, But, in a Biblical sense, it goes much deeper than that. It requires not only feeling remorse and turning away from our old lifestyle but it requires us to turn to something new and different. That something new is a holy lifestyle. We place ourselves under a new authority. We turn from being led by our flesh to being led by God’s Holy Spirit. His leading will cause us to submit to those put in authority over us in the home, the church, the workplace, school. and society. We should no longer use foul language or be quarrelsome. Remember that we were once slaves to all kinds of lust and pleasures. We were mean-spirited and jealous. Lovers of ourselves and haters of everyone else. Sometimes we might think, “Oh, I was never that way”. If we truly believe that then we would also have to believe that Jesus died in vain. But we know that God gave His only Son to save us. Not because we deserve it, but just because He loves us. We walk in the Spirit, but sometimes we need to be reminded of where we once were.