The Apostle Paul was called of Jesus Christ to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ to both Jew and Gentile. When called, Jesus told him that he was sending him to them “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Ac. 26:16-18). And, this is the essence of the gospel message.
Ephesians 3:12-13 NASB
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
Paul taught the true gospel of salvation from sin. He opened spiritually blinded eyes to the truth, and he turned them from darkness (slavery to sin) to light (truth and righteousness). He turned them away from the power Satan had over their lives to God, to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to His Truth (His Word). And, this is because he taught a faith in Jesus Christ that included both repentance (turning from sin to God) and obedience to Christ and His Word.
He understood that faith in Jesus Christ was not just some emotional experience, or some intellectual assent to who Jesus Christ was and is. He understood that faith in Jesus Christ was divine persuasion as to God’s holiness and righteousness, and as to the will of God for our lives.
Thus, if persuaded by God, we then submit to him and to his will. So, true faith in Jesus Christ dies with Christ to sin, and is resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 2:20).
When we have this kind of faith in Jesus Christ, we can approach the throne of God with freedom and confidence, because we have been set free from sin’s hold on our lives, and thus the guilt of our sin has been removed, and we are now confident in our freedom in Christ, i.e. in our freedom from our slavery to sin.
That barrier of sin which stood between us and God is gone, and now, in his power and strength, we can walk in his Spirit in holiness, purity, righteousness and godliness, one day and one moment at a time.
But, because Paul taught the truth of the gospel – because he loved the Lord, because he believed the gospel message himself, and because he loved the people and he wanted them to be free of sin – he was persecuted, abused, mistreated, beaten, falsely accused and wrongfully imprisoned. He suffered greatly for the name of Jesus, and for the sake of his gospel, but also for the freedom from sin of his fellow humans and for their walks of faith in Jesus Christ.
Yet, he did not want his suffering to bring discouragement to the believers in Jesus, for he suffered in order to bring them the message of hope, healing, deliverance and victory over sin and Satan. Amen! So, it was for their good.
Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
For those of us who have believed in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, and who have given our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, sometimes we grow weak and tired, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually, too. And, we need to be strengthened in our inner being.
We may need strengthened because we have been beaten down by others who are persecuting us for our faith and for our testimonies for Jesus Christ and for his gospel. Paul even talked about how one time he and the other apostles felt the sentence of death within themselves, but that was to teach them not to rely on themselves, but on God.
Or, we may need strengthened within because of the sins of others committed against us which have crushed us in spirit, and we may need our Lord to heal our wounded hearts.
Or, we may need to be strengthened within, in our inner being, because of sins in our own lives which have caused us to lose that confidence and freedom we had in approaching God. We, too, may have lost some of our spiritual insight, discernment, and wisdom, because of giving into sin, and our spiritual vision may have become cloudy and in need of repair.
The Lord gave me a picture of this as something like cataract surgery. Cataracts in our eyes make our vision cloudy. I know, for I have them in both eyes, and my physical vision is definitely impaired by them.
Well, continued and willful sins in our lives works in our inner being kind of like cataracts, and they end up clouding our spiritual vision so that we no longer have the wisdom, discernment and insight that we ought to have, as believers in Christ. And, so that cloudy lens needs to be broken down into pieces and removed from our spiritual eyes and replaced with a new lens so that it lets in the light and it restores our spiritual vision so that we can see more clearly how our lives have gotten all messed up by our wrong choices.
We can go through this process willingly, which is called “revival,” or the Lord may take us through some hardships in order to push us that direction, i.e. to force the issue, kind of like surgery to remove cataracts in order to let in the light of truth and of righteousness, and to improve our spiritual vision so that we do see more clearly, and so we do walk in the light of truth instead of continuing on a sinful course.
So many people teach God’s love as though it is some mushy-gushy feeling he has for us, or as though it is permission to keep on sinning without guilt. But, it was God’s love which sent Jesus Christ to the cross to die for our sins, so that we would be liberated from our addictions to sin, and it is still his love at work when he disciplines us in order to continue to liberate us from our addictions to sin (See: Heb. 12:1-13).
His grace to us does not look the other way when we sin against him, either. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14).
Far More Abundantly!
Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Many Christians or professing Christians are struggling with sinful addictions, feeling helpless to overcome them, and regularly are giving in to them. And, one of the reasons for that is that they are addicted, and they do not want to be free, truly, and so they make excuses for their sins, blame others, and or they dilute the gospel message to make it fit their chosen lifestyles.
There are some people who are battling addiction, but they are defeated regularly because they have spiritually cloudy vision which keeps them from seeing (understanding and applying) the truths of God’s Word.
They truly don’t see that our God is all powerful and he is truly able to deliver any of us from any addictions, for that is why Jesus died, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
Jesus already defeated Satan, in other words, and he already conquered sin, so none of us has to remain addicted to any sin, for our God is able to do far exceedingly above anything we ask or imagine. Amen!
And, He can heal our diseases, heal our broken hearts, deliver us from our fears, strengthen us when we are emotionally weak, and give us the courage and the endurance that we need to make it through every persecution, every opposition which comes against us, and any mistreatment that we may face from other humans. Amen!
Believe today that He is God, and that He is able to meet you in whatever your situation is, and He is able to deliver and to bring healing and to bring complete freedom, if you just believe him and put your life in his hands, and let him have control.
This I Believe (The Creed)
I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus
Our Judge and our Defender
Suffered and crucified
Forgiveness is in You
I believe in You
I believe You rose again
I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord
For I believe in the name of Jesus
We believe in love, Jesus
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 – Thank you, Lord, that You are able to meet us in all of our needs and to set us free from anything and everything which is weighing in on us and is hindering us in any way from walking with You in complete victory.