19 I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.— Isaiah 45:19 NKJV
Isaiah 45:18-22 NKJV Have you ever had one of those conversations or listened to a speech or a sermon and felt like something was missing? You know, the ones where we trust the person speaking and believe that what he/she said is the truth but it still felt like we were missing something. Sometimes the things that are not said can be as important and truthful as the things that are said. In this verse when we put it in context we see that God is reassuring the Jews that if they seek Him, it will not be in vain. He is using the negative to confirm that the times they found Him was when they sought Him with all of their hearts. Before and after this, He used the positive. Over and over, we are told of the blessings of seeking God with all of our hearts both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. We can be assured that if we seek Him diligently, believing that we will find Him, there are blessings and rewards for doing so.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him,for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. — Hebrews 11:9 NKJV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
The finite human mind finds it impossible to understand the infinite love, mercy and grace of the heavenly Father. If someone tells us facts about earthly things and we refuse to believe, how is it possible for that person to tell us about heavenly things? Without the Holy Spirit, it would be impossible. But, because of His great love for the creatures He created, God has made the salvation plan free and simple. He gave us His Son to redeem us from all our sins, past, present and future. Jesus is the perfect, eternal gift. When God looks at us, He sees us through the Perfect blood of Jesus, even though, in our flesh, we are not perfect, that is how He sees us. To those who have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, there is no condemnation nor can there be. Jesus came that we might be redeemed and have an abundant life here and hereafter. Start enjoying the freedom and liberty that we have now in Christ Jesus.
According to the latest polls and surveys, the percentage of people attending church on a regular basis is still declining year after year. “So, what has that got to do with me?”, you ask. Well, let’s continue Paul’s comparison of the body of Christ to the human body. Let’s say that in the church you attend, the thumbs don’t show up when they should. Let’s further say that we have a lot of things that need to be picked up and moved to a different spot in the building. Not having thumbs makes this job a lot more difficult, if not impossible. Let’s say that we plan a Wednesday night visitation program, but the feet don’t show up, going door to door is still possible but much more difficult. The head of the church wants to do an outreach program but the arms don’t show up. How can we reach out without our arms? The head of the church wants to start an elderly care program but the heart is missing. Because the heart is missing, no one cares enough to help each other or anyone else. A human body can’t survive without a heart beat and neither can the body of Christ. Are we willing to take the chance that we are not each a part of the heart?
God, because of His great love, mercy and grace made the plan of salvation so simple that a child can understand it. Because of the simplicity of the plan, it often brings the question, “Is that really all I need to do to be saved?’. And the simple answer is yes. So, we can just keep doing what we were doing? No! and again No! But now we are talking about sanctification which is a lifelong process. The good works we do are not to gain a greater salvation. If we could do enough good works to be saved then Jesus died in vain. We might as well still be living under the law and all of its impossible requirements. But Jesus did not die in vain. His death and resurrection fulfilled the law and opened the gate to heaven so that all that chose Him in faith could come in. When Paul tells the Philippians to “work out your own salvation”, he is not telling them to look for another way to be saved. He is telling them to do good works to show the world the results of their salvation. Phil, 2:12-15 NLT Jesus “went about doing good”. He is our example of how we are to live our lives as His brothers and sisters. As Christians, our response to certain things should be so different from the response of the worldly that it gets their attention. Our good works not only attract others to Jesus but they are also how we “lay up rewards in heaven”.
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. – Philippians 3:12 NLT
God created a perfect earth. When Adam and Eve were tempted by satan and chose to disobey God, the earth was no longer perfect. Then the earth, along with humankind, started to age and decay. God became the perfect man to redeem earth and all mankind from that fallen state. When Jesus ascended, there was no longer anything left on this earth that was perfect. Then God came as the Holy Spirit to abide within us. Since that time, those of us who accept Christ as our Savior and Lord have been given both the command and the desire to strive for perfection. Though we understand that as long as we live in this fleshly tent, it is impossible for us to achieve perfection, nevertheless, as Paul says we “press on to possess that perfection”. Why would we or Paul strive to achieve a seemingly impossible goal? If this temporal dwelling and life were the end, then we would be foolish. But we, who believe in Jesus, have a knowledge and a hope of eternity. That knowledge and hope will not be perfected while we participate in the activities of the Kingdom of God here on earth. We press on because we know that when the Perfect One comes to reign again, we will be like Him. It is then that our hope will be fulfilled and we will reach the goal of perfection. We press on for a few years to win the prize of eternal perfection, fully synced with the One who has always been, now is and will always be Perfection. Impossible in this lifetime? Yes. Impossible in eternity? No!
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. — 2 Peter 1:1-4 NIV
How are we supposed to live a holy lifestyle in today’s world? We are bombarded by filth and violence continuously. How do we find grace and peace in abundance in our world today? By accessing the Divine power that raised Jesus from the dead and now gives us everything we need for a Godly life here and now. The word translated “life” here in verse three is the Greek word “zoe” and it means life that is real and genuine, a life full and complete, devoted to God, blessed, even in this world when we put our trust in Christ, and it will be consummated after the resurrection into a more perfect body that will last forever. God has given us “very great and precious” promises so that we can participate in the Divine nature because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We have been redeemed and cleansed from the corruption of this world and the evil desires of our flesh. In and of ourselves, we can do nothing, but we can do all things through Jesus Christ.
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. — Phil. 4:13 NIV