“Whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV)
Jesus tells us the works we do we do “in God.” Paul tells us the good work God begins in us He sees through to its completion. And Paul warns, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus is persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12, NIV) Many people walk in “a form of godliness but deny its power,” (2 Timothy 3:5) “loaded down with sins and swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:6) “Their folly is clear to everyone.” (2 Timothy 3:9)
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and are convinced of.” (2 Timothy 3:14) “You know the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-16)
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
“For the spirit that God gives us is no craven [despicably fainthearted] spirit, but one to inspire strength, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8)
We can not be ashamed for “it is [God] who brings us salvation and calls us to a dedicated life, not for any merit of ours but of His own purpose and His own grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” (2 Timothy 1:9-10) Therefore, we are not to be weak-willed or fainthearted, steeped in worrisome anxiety. Instead we recognize who we are in Christ Jesus, knowing that God chose us before time to be holy and blameless in His sight. Our spirit is a gift of God, enabling us to be strong, loving and self-controlled. We “claim [God’s] protection by grasping the hope set before us. That hope we hold. It is like an anchor for our lives, an anchor safe and sure.” (Hebrews 6:18-19)
As we hold onto that “anchor safe and sure,” “let us stop discussing the rudiments of Christianity. We ought not to be laying over again the foundations of faith in God and of repentance from the deadness of our former ways.” (Hebrews 6:1-2) “Instead, let us advance towards maturity; and so we shall, if God permits.” (Hebrews 6:3)
Friday, December 24, 2010 at 10:12am
“There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”
His appearing is described many times in the old covenant as a day of retribution and judgment. “The great day of the Lord is near — near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.” (Zephaniah 1:14-15, NIV) “In the fire of His jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for He will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.” (Zephaniah 1:18)
“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:3)
Who are these who “will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger?” “Those who have loved His appearing,” says Paul.
Jesus says, “This then is the judgment: The light has come into the world, but people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” (John 3:19-21, HCSB)
“Every inspired Scripture has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind.”
The Word of God enables us to “be efficient and equipped for good work.” The Word teaches us the Truth and shows us error; it reforms and disciplines us. “The Word of God is alive and active. It cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the place where life and spirit, joints and marrow, divide. It sifts the purposes and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
The Word is not just written information on pages in a book; it is the very breath of God. The Word enters us through sight and hearing and changes us through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who enables us to comprehend its truth and amend our lives.
Stay in the Word of God. Don’t rely on your memory of sermons, of commentaries, of secondhand exposure to it. Rather, read it for yourself. Study the Word; allowing God to transform you from the inside out.