“Not An External Act” (John 17: 17, ESV) by Carley Evans


Jesus prays, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.”

The Word transforms. Knowing the Word, knowing truth is not an intellectual undertaking — rather knowing the Word is a day to day transformation. We are being made holy by the Word of God as we remain in the presence of God via His Word. God’s Word gives us access to the truth of God — who He is, what He plans, how He accomplishes His goal to unite all things under one authority, Jesus Christ.

Holiness or sanctification is not an external act. Rather, becoming sacred is a setting aside. God sets us aside; He calls us His own. He reveals Himself fully in His Word. His Word is truth. Jesus is the truth.

Jesus proclaims, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me…I Am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14: 1, 6)

Take off your shoes; this ground is sacred — set aside, made holy by the presence of the Lord God Almighty.

“The Promise Rests On The Gift of Faith” (John 3: 17, ESV) by Carley Evans


“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

God’s intention is not to condemn the world, but to save it. God saves the world not through adherence to the law but through faith in His Son.

“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring.” (Romans 4: 13 – 16)

God’s promise to save the world is guaranteed by grace and depends on faith in His Son. While wrath comes through the law; righteousness comes through faith.

“If a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3: 21 – 22)

How are we to believe? We believe in Jesus Christ by the power of God in the gospel.

“The gospel…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ (Romans 1: 16 – 17)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2: 8)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16)

“Pride Fails” (Ezekiel 28: 2, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god–“

 

James warns us, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?…Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that He has made to dwell in us?’ But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4: 4, 5, 6, 10)

Solomon warns, “The Lord tears down the house of the proud;” (Proverbs 15: 25) and tells us that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16: 18)

Jesus preaches, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5: 5) “I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5: 39 – 44)

Humble yourselves; and God will exalt you.

“Hold Fast To The Word” (Psalm 119: 105, ESV) by Carley Evans


What is a lamp to my feet? What is a light to my path? The Word of God, sings the psalmist.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 1 – 5)

The Word shines in the darkness, and darkness is unable to overcome it.

Paul exhorts us to “hold fast to the Word.” (1 Corinthians 15: 2) He tells us that we “shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life.” (Philippians 2: 15, 16)

And James commands us to “be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving [ourselves.]” (James 1: 22) He writes, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1: 25)

“The righteousness based on faith says…’The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.’ ” (Romans 10: 6, 8) The Word is a lamp to our feet, a light to our path. Hold fast to the Word of God.

“Open My Eyes, O Lord” (Psalm 119: 18, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.”

Unless You open my eyes, my ears, my heart, my mind; I will not understand Your law, O Lord. I will hide from Your ways, O Lord unless You draw me to You. Unless You grant me Your help, I will not know and understand Your truth.

“Yes,” Solomon writes, “if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2: 3 – 6)

Unless You give me wisdom, O Lord; I will own no knowledge and gain no understanding. Unless You teach me to search for truth as for silver, I will remain in ignorance, darkness, and foolishness.

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16: 2 – 3)

Unless You plant Your Word in my heart, in my mind; I will not follow you with my whole heart, O Lord.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes!” (Psalm 119: 9 – 12)

“You Will Find Rest” (Psalm 119: 143, ESV) by Carley Evans


What has found me out, discovered me after a long hunt? Turns out that “trouble and anguish have found me out.” And this pain is the common ground of all men and women, boys and girls.

 

“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. And I say, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” (Psalm 55: 4 – 6)

The difference is that, in the midst of this terror, Christians find delight in God’s commands.

“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” says Jesus. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I Am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28 – 30)

“Accomplished Only Once” (1 Peter 3: 18, ESV) by Carley Evans


Christ suffers once, put to death in the flesh for our sins. He is the Righteous One. We are the unrighteous. Christ never suffers again, but remains alive in the Spirit.

Note who suffers: Christ. Note how many times He suffers: Once. Note: Though He dies in the flesh, He lives in the Spirit. Note the location of the Spirit: In us. Note the location of Christ: At the right hand of God the Father where He always lives to intercede for us. Note the One who dies: Christ is the righteous. Note those for whom He dies: We are the unrighteous. Note: We do not die for Him; He dies for us.

Note: We have no need to add to Christ’s work. Jesus, on the Cross, proclaims: “It is accomplished.”

“Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.”

“Not To Be Served, But To Serve” (1 Peter 2: 15 – 16) by Carley Evans


“Put to silence the ignorance of foolish people,” writes Peter. And how is this accomplished? “By doing good,” responds Peter. He tells us to “live as people who are free.” At the same time, we are not to use our “freedom as a cover-up for evil.”

Our freedom is made perfect as we live “as servants of God.”

Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13: 16 – 17)

And He tells His disciples, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 26 – 28)

Jesus sets us His example. “He made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant.” (Philippians 2: 7)

Therefore, if the Son of God emptied Himself of His glory to the point of death on a cross; then we must empty ourselves, “know Him and the power of His resurrection, and share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.” (Philippians 3: 10)

“For freedom Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5: 1)

And “only faith working through love” “counts for anything.” (Galatians 5: 6)

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone.” (Galatians 6: 10)

“Renewal Of Your Mind” (Romans 12: 2, ESV) by Carley Evans


Paul says that we are saved by faith. James says faith without works is dead. Together faith and works make up our salvation.

The work we do emerges naturally from the renewing of our minds. If our minds are right, then our works will be right. We must have a correct understanding of God, of who He is, what His plan is, and what small parts we play in this event called the universe.

This is not to say that we have to be smart as smart is understood by the world. Rather, we must know the Word of God. The Word must permeate us completely so that in any situation God will bring to mind the exact verse or parable or person of the scriptures to help us in that situation.

Without the Word embedded, we are vulnerable to the world and to our enemy, who hates us because it hates God.

Renewing your mind with the Word of God is a major portion of your armor against evil — your own and that of other people.

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” (Ephesians 6: 16 – 18)

“A Walk Worthy Of The Lord” (Colossians 1: 9, ESV) by Carley Evans


Paul and Timothy tell the saints at Colossae, “We heard of your faith in Christ Jesus.” They also tell them they are aware “of the love that [they] have for all the saints;” (Colossians 1: 4) then promise to pray continually “that [they] may be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (Colossians 1: 9)

The faith of the Colossians comes “through the Word of truth, the gospel;” and gives a “hope laid up for [them] in heaven.” (Colossians 1: 5) From understanding God’s grace, the Colossians are able to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” (Colossians 1: 10)

Faith comes through hearing of the Word of God, the gospel. Understanding of the Word is granted by God’s grace. The Holy Spirit fills us with the knowledge of God’s will, giving us “spiritual wisdom.” All this results in a “walk…worthy of the Lord.” With a walk worthy of God, love for the saints and hope in heaven become daily companions.

Paul and Timothy pray, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might.” (Colossians 1: 11)