If you have been keeping an eye on the Middle East, you can see that God’s clock is ticking down the minutes until Jesus returns. All over the world and especially here in our great country, we can see the signs of the “last times”. We hear people more and more saying that there is no God, scoffing at Biblical principles and the words spoken by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Atheists are becoming more outspoken and militant with their comments. When people say there is no God, what they are really saying is they don’t accept the truth of the God of the Bible. Their pride is saying “I will not accept any god that I have to be accountable to. Everyone has a “god”, someone or something that they are devoted to, even if it is their self. False prophets will rise up with such convincing truths that even the most devout Christian can be deceived unless we are “rooted and grounded” in the truths of the Bible. We must spend more time with our God. If you are having trouble finding answers, do not dig a wider hole or forsake your first Love, just dig deeper into the Holy Scriptures and meditate on them. The answer is there and God is waiting to reveal it to you.
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. 17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.—Gal. 6:11-18 (NIV)
Paul is still troubled by the religious leaders trying to get the new converts circumcised. They are only trying to impress others by an outward physical manifestation of their obedience to the law. If the people know they have been circumcised then they will assume that they still adhere to the tenets of the Old Testament law. This will keep the leaders and other non-believers from persecuting them. Since they didn’t keep the other points of the law, it really wasn’t about keeping the law at all. It was just something for the flesh to boast about.
Under the new covenant of grace, circumcision has no meaning. The only thing that matters is that now we are new creations. We must die daily and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our outward appearance is temporary and decaying daily. Once we shed this old tent, we will be like Jesus! 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.—1 John 3:2,3 (NIV)
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.” 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord,and that He had spoken these things to her.–John 20:16-18 (NIV) (you need to read all of John, Chapter 20)
Resurrection morning! Ain’t no grave could hold Him down!! The cross is a necessary step for Jesus to get back to His glory. He carried His cross, died to Himself for us and now He is alive forevermore! Do you see the example here? The cross Jesus asks us to bear is a necessary step for us to get to glory. We carry the cross, we die to ourselves for Jesus and we have life everlasting!! As Paul tells us we must be willing to share in the sufferings of Jesus. But wait, read the next verse. There is good news! 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.–2 Cor. 4:16-18 (NIV)
When we die to ourselves and bury the flesh, we can sing along with Jesus, “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold Me Down”!!
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.—Hebrews 12:5-8 (NLT)
We must understand that God disciplines us because He loves us. Just as we discipline our children for their benefit. If we don’t discipline our children then they grow up to be disobedient. An undisciplined lifestyle brings trouble and chaos to their lives as well as ours. The problem is that our human discipline is imperfect and doesn’t always bring about the desired results. Sometimes that is true because proper discipline takes a lot of time and must be reinforced over and over. As humans we sometimes fail at this, But God is not restricted by time and He loves us perfectly, so His discipline is perfect. He is patient and continues to discipline until we get it right. As Joyce Meyer says; “You can choose to obey or you can go around the mountain one more time.” No matter how God chooses to discipline us or how often, we can be assured that is the proper amount and the right kind. It will bring about the desired results. God is “the author and the finisher” of our faith. And He won’t stop until we are a finished product. That doesn’t mean that we will reach perfection here on earth but it does mean that we must stay on the path to spiritual maturity.