14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith. — Galatians 3:14 NLT
God blessed Abram with abundant natural blessings and changed his name to Abraham. What did Abraham do to deserve these blessings? He did nothing to earn them. Blessings are gifts from God, they are not rewards for good works. We can never do enough or be good enough to earn blessings from God. The greatest blessing we receive is salvation. That gift is free and cannot be earned. Since the greatest gift of all was freely given, why do we feel that we have to earn the lesser gifts? The blessings come because of God’s great love for us and His covenant promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his seed (or child), not seeds or children. It is singular meaning only one and that one is Jesus Christ. So, all of our blessings come through Jesus Christ and because He gave His life for us at Calvary. The debt was paid in full for all the blessings we receive. If good works can earn salvation or any blessing then Jesus Christ died in vain. The good works are to lay up rewards in heaven and to earn crowns that we can lay at the feet of Jesus. Good works are a part of our worship here on earth. The rewards we receive for those good works are laid up in heaven and will be used to worship Jesus there. The blessings we receive here are a taste of what is to come and to encourage us to continue and never turn back.
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist,fulfill your ministry.—2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NLT)
We should always be ready to tell others about Jesus Christ. God puts people in our paths every day that need to hear the good news of salvation. Wherever we go and whatever we do, our lifestyle is sending a message. What is our lifestyle telling people? When people watch us, can they tell that we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ? Do our friends know that we are Christians by our actions or would they have to ask to be sure? Check everything you hear and compare its validity to the scriptures. There are false prophets that have slipped in among us and teach false doctrines, “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. If what you are listening to does not validate your salvation and encourage you to live a holy lifestyle, then you need to turn and run from it. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.–1 Timothy 6:11 (KJV)
Do the work of an evangelist. Remember, the mission field starts in our homes and goes out from there.
4 When the Lord your God expels these people in front of you, don’t say to yourselves, “Because we’ve been living right, the Lord brought us here to take possession of this land.” No, it’s because these nations are so wicked that the Lord is forcing them out of your way. 5 It’s not because you’ve been living right or because you’re so honest that you’re entering to take possession of their land. It’s because these people are so wicked that the Lord your God is forcing them out of your way.–Deuteronomy 4:4-5 (God’s Word)
We are blessed to live in a beautiful country where we are free to travel from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast without having to stop at any border stations. We are also free to work, play, and worship without police or military interruption. We are free to accomplish most anything we have the ability and the desire to do. But, just as the children of Israel became full and fat in the land of Canaan and forgot Who it was that gave them the land, we are guilty of the same sin. We have done absolutely nothing to merit being born and raised in a country established on Judeo-Christian principles. God established this nation and has maintained it because we have been a nation “under God”. When we, as a nation, depart from those ways and turn to wickedness, God will discipline us just as surely as He disciplined the Jewish people when they disobeyed. We have been blessed because we have always blessed Israel. If that doesn’t remain true, we will be a cursed nation. God’s Word is true and He will not be mocked.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Matthew 5:38-41 (NSRV)
As Christians, how do we respond when we are deliberately mistreated? Are we to be negative or positive in our responses? We should always strive to be positive and let God show His love through us. Jesus forgave His persecutors and we are to do the same. Was that forgiveness a show of weakness or was it unbelievable strength? Who was the actual winner at the Cross? If we respond in the same manner as Jesus, it is really a show of our strength and our faith in Jesus Christ. In the times of the early church, being struck on the right cheek with the back of the right hand was something that a superior did to someone of less stature as an insult. That gesture was acceptable, but that was the most he could legally do. So, if someone at that time, turned his left cheek to the offender, the offender would not be able to strike the person in the same way again. If the offender struck him in any other way, it would be an escalation of violence and totally unacceptable in that society. By “turning the other cheek”, the person offended has now taken control of the situation and the offender must either walk away or escalate. So, the expression really means to find a peaceful, loving solution to the mistreatment. We are promised that we will be offended, it is our duty to find a way to lower the level of violence and show the love of Jesus through our actions.