“[God] rescues us from the domain of darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.”
We are permanently transferred into the kingdom of the Son of God. This transfer originates not in us but in God, who rescues us. We are in a place so dark, we can not see the way out. For some of us, that darkness looks like light. We don’t even know we are in “the domain of darkness.” God reaches us and miraculously moves us from that prison “into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” We become the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
“For in bringing many sons to glory, it is entirely appropriate that God — all things exist for Him and through Him — should make the source of [our] salvation perfect through sufferings. For the One who sanctifies and [we] who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers, saying: ‘ I proclaim Your Name to My brothers; I sing hymns to You in the congregation.’ Again, ‘I trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Here I Am with the children God gives Me.’ ” (Hebrews 2: 10 – 13)
Having been transferred (literally adopted) into the family of God; we obtain a room in God’s house. Jesus prays to the Father, “Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, for You give Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You give Him. This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You send — Jesus Christ.” (John 17: 1 – 3) And Jesus tells us, “I Am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I Am you may be also.” (John 14: 2 – 3)
“Who among you is wise or clever? Let his right conduct give practical proof of it, with the modesty that comes of wisdom.” If you are wise, says James, you will be modest as you prove your cleverness by your right conduct. You will not be puffed up, but will remain humble. You will not do your good deeds before men in order to be thought of more highly than others. You will not “harbor bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart,” but will show the “wisdom from above” which “is in the first place pure; and then peace-loving, considerate, and open to reason; it is straightforward and sincere, rich in mercy and in the kindly deeds that are its fruit.” (James 3: 17 – 18)
The fruit of wisdom is “kindly deeds” which are its “practical proof.” Wisdom is “open to reason.” Wisdom loves peace, understands mercy. Wisdom is considerate and sincere. Wisdom is pure.
James reminds, “If any of you falls short in wisdom, [you] should ask God for it and it will be given [you], for God is a generous giver who neither refuses nor reproaches anyone.” (James 1: 5)
“All of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult, but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you are called for this, so you can inherit a blessing.” ( 1 Peter 3: 8 – 9 )
Peter calls us to hold to sound doctrine and so be “like-minded;” but he also calls us to be “sympathetic,” recognizing that on some less critical matters, we may disagree with one another yet with understanding. We decide to be “sympathetic.” Peter calls us to “be compassionate and humble.” Often pride is what separates us from one another. We claim to be closer to Christ than another, and so build a wall — our spiritual pride destroying Christian fellowship.
Sometimes, we even go so far as to insult one another. And, we often pretend that it is because we have a special knowledge to which another Christian is not privy. Sometimes, we go so far as to call another Christian “evil.” In doing so, we “pay back evil for evil.”
Peter calls us to “love believers” and to “give a blessing”: actions which are completely contrary to pride and revenge. As we give blessings, Peter reminds us that we then “can inherit a blessing.”
As Greg Surratt, senior pastor of Seacoast Church, said in a recent sermon, “Blessing follows obedience.”
“The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything.” (Philippians 4: 5 – 6) Because the Lord is with you, you need not worry. He knows you thoroughly; He knows your need before you know your need. And, because the Lord is love, He is ready to help you. Because He is there and ready to help, “the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, guards your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 7) Therefore, Paul calls upon you to “rejoice in the Lord always.” He says it twice! “Rejoice!”
Jesus gives you His joy. He tells you that you “are not of the world anymore than [He] is of the world.” (John 17: 13 – 14) You are a stranger here. Jesus is a stranger here. As Jesus is sanctified, so are you.
God gives you His Word. He gives you His Holy Spirit, the Helper. Paul tells you, therefore, to “rejoice in the Lord always.” He says it twice! “Rejoice!” “Rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but…also rejoice in [your] afflictions, because [you] know affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope does not disappoint [you], because God’s love is poured out in [your] heart through the Holy Spirit who is given to [you].” (Romans 5: 2 – 5)
God promises, “I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and save you.”
God tells us He is never-changing. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. As He is here for us now, so shall He be there for us then; as He was there for us at our births, so He will be there with us at our physical deaths. As He loves us now, so will He love us then.
He “will bear [us] up when [we] turn gray.” He “will carry [us].” He will “save [us].”
“Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.”
When I think of a “level headed” man, I think of a person of utter calm — one who, even in moments of genuine anger does not rant and rage. Certainly this type of man does not scream, does not hit. This calmness in the face of difficulties is what makes a man “worthy of respect.” How many fathers exasperate their children? How many fathers are irritational rather than “sensible?” How many boyfriends and husbands exasperate their women, showing them disrespect?
A good man is “sound in faith, love, and endurance.” Paul tells Titus to instruct “older men” to be good men.
Be good men! Set the example for your mothers, your sisters, your wives, your children, your girl friends.
I look off into the distance to where the horizon blends into the sky — the tops of the mountains shimmer in the sun. “Where does my help come from?” I ask. And as usual, I answer my own question. “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
The mountains whisper to me that they are made by God — that a perfect mind conceived and created them out of nothing through the Word, who is Jesus Christ.
My help does not come from the created, but from the Creator.
“If the Lord is not on [my] side, when men attack [me], then they swallow [me] alive in their burning anger against [me]. Then the waters engulf [me]; the torrent sweeps over [me]; the raging waters sweep over [me]. Praise the Lord, who does not let [me] be ripped apart by their teeth. [I] escape like a bird from the hunter’s net; the net is torn, and [I] escape. [My] help is in the Name of Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124: 2 – 8)
“My very bones say, ‘Lord, who is like You, rescuing the poor from one too strong for [her], the poor or the needy from the one who robs [her]?’ ” (Psalm 35: 10)
“No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
“This is the message of faith we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you are saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10: 8 – 10)
God the Holy Spirit draws us to Christ; and Christ reconciles us to God the Father. So, our salvation is the work of the Lord — through a gift of faith. “For [we] are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from [ourselves;] it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2: 8 – 10)
Being created in Christ Jesus, we are God’s children. And “this is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He gives assurance to us from His Spirit… Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God — God remains in him and he in God. And we come to know and to believe the love that God has for us, God is love.” (1 John 4: 13, 15 – 16)
God is love; He loves us like a father loves, cares for, protects his children. “There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4: 18)