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Posts Tagged ‘redemption’

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins– Ephesians 2:1(NASB)

“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.”- Jonathan Edwards

Sin had us in a state of deadness.  Our trespasses and iniquities held us captive.  As Paul wrote in the New Testament, we were “slaves to sin.” Sin prohibited any ability to truly live.  We could see any way out of the grasp of sin.  Its stronghold had us blinded.  It blocked any sign of light from penetrating into our dark dwelling place.

God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins

– Colossians 2:13 (NIV)

Set Free

God set us free.  He freed us from guilt by grace.  He freed us from shame with salvation.  He freed us from pressure with perfection.

He set us free.

He set us free without condemnation.  He set us free with forgiveness.  He set us free through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

No Longer Dead But Alive with Christ

By freeing us from sin, He made us “alive with Christ” (Col. 2:13).  He took us from one state of being (dead) and led us to another state of being (alive).  He freed us that we might have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10).  We have that abundant life in and with Christ Jesus.  He’s the reason we are free, but He’s also our Redeemer.

Suffer No More

He freed us, but He wants us to live like Christ.  He saved us, but He desires us to follow the example of His Son.  He set us free so that we might not suffer any longer.

Live today fully liberated by the might work of the Lord’s saving power.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. – Romans 6:11 (ESV)

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Unless the LORD of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah. – Isaiah 1:9

God rebukes us for good reason.

Rebellion.

Disobedience.

Idolatry.

We could go on for a while, you know.

The point is not that we are rebuked or the reasons for our rebuke.  The point is that we can respond to the rebuke rightly.

Reminder

Our rebuke should remind us that God is a righteous judge.  We are reminded that our purpose here on earth is to please God.  His rebuke reminds us to get our lives in line with His purpose for us.

Reflection

Usually, rebuke from God is based on His supreme authority.  Such rebuke should help us reflect on who God is and how He is to us.

Relationship

Focus on your relationship with God.  God redeemed us for us to have a relationship with Him.  Above all else, we need to maintain that relationship with God through constant communication and continual communion with God.

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And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.- Luke 2:7 (KJV)

What we know about Joseph and Mary is that they went way out of their way to bring Jesus into this world.  Other couples may not have gone to such lengths.  Long distance travel would have been enough of a problem in and of itself.  Yet, these folks took everything in stride, even the pregnant woman after the long trip on a donkey.

I can imagine how some of would reach for our AAA card or hit up Expedia or Travelocity.  The earthly parents of Jesus accepted his birth in a manger.  Most of us would have a problem if it had been at a HoJo’s or IHOP.

Let’s  consider the trouble that they went through for this to occur as we celebrate.  Joseph could have said let’s turn back.  Mary could have said this just won’t do.  They never balked or flipped out.  Let’s celebrate His coming and how His coming came about.

Merry Christmas!

I need a new t-shirt design, but for the meantime check out what I have done on Zazzle in the past.

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But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. – Galatians 4:4-5 (KJV)

Most of us  who believe in Jesus as our personal Savior understand that we all were saved by the Savior’s singular sacrifice.  We accept the fact that it took His shed blood and substitution for us to allow us to experience the joy of redemption and salvation into a right relationship with God the Father.  Yet, we may not fully embrace how such a sacrifice came about long before He was hung high from a cross for us.

Sent for the Sake of Sinners

He was sent when the fullness of the time was come and by God the Father under the earthly rules of man.  He was born of a woman and under the Law.  Check the gospel  records of Matthew and Luke.  Joseph, Mary and Jesus Himself did as was custom and according to the Law.  All of this was done to redeem those of us who were under the Law and who would then receive the adoption of sons.

Sacrificed for the Salvation of Sinners

The sacrifice of Jesus was about our redemption.  An innocent man hung and bled for the transgressions of the world.  As Isaiah so eloquently spoke of the Man of Sorrows, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5,KJV).” 

Shared with Sinners who Become Sons

Christ Jesus died and did not simply leave it as that.  Paul tries to drive the point home in this letter to the Galatian believers in verses 4 and 5.  In verse 4, Paul makes it certain to the brothers and sisters that God sent forth his Son, leaving no doubt about the deity and dichotomy of Jesus Christ.  Then, in verse 5, Paul assures the brothers and sisters that God’s plan for us was that we might receive the adoption of sons.  You see the resource = Jesus Christ, while reason = the adoption of sons, no longer called sinners.

 

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Image 

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. – Song of Solomon 2:1 (NIV)

Rare beauty can emerge under unlikely conditions.  Picture the beauty of a flower growing to full bloom in the midst of the lifelessness of the desert.  Let the image of a blossom come forth out of the den of death like a desert.

The death of Jesus stands out as a similar image.  He stood out as a jewel of what God had to offer the entire world as the worldliness of many people led Him to court, then the cross at Calvary.  He is the rose which gave His own life so that others might have eternal life.

This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge;

and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross

– Acts 2:23

 

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Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” – Exodus 24:8 (NIV)

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. – Matthew 26:28 (NIV)

When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.  He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” – Hebrews 9:19-20 (NIV)

Blood dripped down from the cross.  Droplets of shed blood hit the soil.  Many had bled there before.  Countless slain criminals had hung above the earth and died there, soaking the ground with blood.  However, something appeared different that day. 

The man hanging among the thieves was innocent.  He had been tried in a religious court that had refused to accept His message.  He had put up little defense against their accusations.  Even when they handed Him over to the Romans, He stood in silence as He faced His inevitable death sentence.  He said little as He endured the cruel beatings from the Roman soldiers.  He had offered no resistance when they forced Him to march with His cross through the streets.  Even as He hung upon the cross, the few words that He offered were mumbled as he neared death.

He had been called Rabbi.  John the Baptist had called Him the Lamb of God.  Some had said that He was the Christ (the Anointed One).  He was even called the Messiah by others.  Yet, some mistook Him for one of the prophets like Elijah or Jeremiah.

No matter what He was called.  He hung high above the ground and shed His blood for the salvation of the world.  Nothing would ever be the same once His blood was shed.  No one who called on His name and believed His message would not have the new covenant presented through His shed blood and slain body.

And that day was the preparation,
and the sabbath drew on.
– Luke 23:54 (KJV)

What Moses had offered in the wilderness was hardly anything close to what Jesus offered on Calvary’s cross.  Jesus bore all of our grief and sorrow for our sake.  Jesus offered a covenant that Moses could only imitate at that point.  Moses could only offer a ceremonial sprinkling of the blood for the covenant.  Jesus offered a prophetic and redemptive covenant that showed the power of God through His shed blood.  Souls are saved continually through what Jesus offered as a supreme sacrifice on that day.

Do not believe the naysayers.  Do not accept the lies and the misunderstandings.  The blood of Jesus still saves.  The blood of the Lord paid the price for our sins for our salvation.  He stood in and paid the penalty for our wrongdoing, for our transgressions and infirmities.

Let the covering of the blood continue to work on you.  Let the blood remind you of His sacrificial love.  Never forget that the blood of the slain Savior who suffered for sakes soak into your soul like it once soaked into the soil of Golgotha.  Let the image of that blood settle into your spirit and keep you close to Him in this new covenant.  Hold dear to Him as your Lord and savior, for His blood still has power.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer
sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead
works to serve the living God?
– Hebrews 9:13 (NASB)

But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God.
– Hebrews 10:12 (NIV)

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Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
 – Isaiah 53:10 (NKJV)

God’s people are to live in such a way that their lives please God.  God’s people are to live to please God.

It doesn’t sound like the Christianity that many of us signed up for when we walked down the aisle of our home church and accepted Christ as Lord and Savior in our lives.  It does not resemble the only-believe sermons that echoed in tent revivals throughout Middle America during the times of Progressives prior to the Industrial Revolution of America.  No, it does not even seem to resemble any of the tenets of religious righteousness that seem to make the headlines as the Religious Right.  That doesn’t sound like the normal Christian life that many pastors, evangelists and others have spread throughout the nation and the world about prosperity, being born again, and serving to be saved. No, it doesn’t sound like any of that at all.

However, that is what the Word says.  We are to live in a way that pleases God.  We are to model our lives after the service, sacrifice and suffrage of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah’s “Suffering Savior,”  the “man of sorrows,” presents us with a humble manner of submission that we can see and reflect in our own daily lives.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. . .

Sadly, we often interpret God’s pleasure as an image of the Heavenly Father looking down and smiling upon Jesus on the cross.  That sounds far from the accurate interpretation of the matter.  God’s pleasure in the situation is the satisfied debt of sins.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the debt of sin through the Lamb of God who was “without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19, NKJV).  Therefore, Jesus submitted to God and offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  As John says, He serves as “the propitiation of our sins.” Read Hebrews 2:17 and 1 John 4:10 about His sacrifice for our sins.

He paid a debt that we could never repay on our own.  He had to serve as the propitiation of our sins in order to satisfy the debt that we could never repay ourselves.  As Paul wrote, salvation is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).  He stepped up and stood in for us, only to sacrifice all and suffer for our sakes.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

1 John 5:2-4 (NKJV)

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. – Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

We need to reflect Christ’s sacrificial living.  Paul stated that we should have the mind of Christ.  Peter said that we should suffer just as Christ suffered.  James, the brother of the Lord, said that we should embrace being tested and tried.  We are to live in a manner that satisfies God.  We are to please God.

Our daily lives are to please God.  Let not Christ’s suffering and sacrifice appear to be in vain.  Do not disregard the cost of salvation.  God did not hold back.  He offered His best.  We, too, are called to offer our best.  God offered His best in Jesus Christ.  God expects us to offer our best by following the example of Jesus Christ.

Live to please God.  Live a repentant and revived life.  Live a renewed life as a new creation in Christ Jesus.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. – Psalm 147:11 (KJV)

“It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.”
-Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi quotes)

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2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
   For the LORD has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
   but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its master,
   the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
   my people do not understand.”
– Isaiah 1:1-3 (NIV)

 

The prophet is a messenger from God.  He shares the Lord’s message for the Lord’s people.  He echoes the words of God for His people.  He embodies the message.  He spreads the message.  He pleads with the people to turn back to God and make things right with God.

The prophet’s assignment may be for a season or a lifetime.  The prophet may see the people undergo countless tests and trials that can bring him to tears.  Or, he can pronounce the coming of judgment on the horizon.  The prophet might remind or rebuke.  He might offer hope or damnation.  It’s not up to the prophet.  It’s all in the hands of God.

The prophet stands before the people, but He is God’s man.  He calls upon the people to live holy lives dedicated and devoted to God.  He is heard by some, but he surely is hated and despised by many.

Ask Jeremiah.  Check with Isaiah.  See what Ezekiel or Joel would say.  Go to Haggai or Zephaniah.  Each one of these and others will share the challenge of being the prophet of God.  Obviously, there is nothing minor about being a prophet in biblical times or nowadays.

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In 1967, our vision was to reach Los Angeles. This vision broadened to include California, then all of America, then the entire world.  – from The History of Victory Outreach International

As Christians, we are to be in a position of ambassadors of Christ to others.  We can be a bridge between people and the Savior.  We need to be messengers who share the message of the Good News about the victory that is complete in Christ.

Victory Outreach started with a novel concept.  They sought to reach the city of Los Angeles with the gospel.  That grew and expanded since 1967. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (ESV)

What if you simply set your focus on reaching a city or region for Christ, spreading the news about the victory that is available through Him? It is possible.  It is doable.  It provides us with a focal point for the work of the ministry.  We can do more for the Lord with a focus that can help us grow from there.  We can be voices of His victory on the street corners of metropolitans like Los Angeles or we can speak loudly about His victory in a rustic church out in a rural area.  Location matters as a starting point.  Location should not stifle us from doing the work of the ministry.

Where is your Jerusalem? What serves as your home base or headquarters? Start right there.

What is your Judea or Samaria? Identify surrounding areas near your locale to spread the news of Christ’s victory.  Use these as key points on your map of ministry.  These will serve as the points where you have identified the need for both the presence and preaching of gospel-believing people.

. . . and to the end of the earth

God will send you where He has for you to serve Him.  He may start you out in one place, but He may send you further and further away from “home.” He wants to use you.  He start you out right where you are and grow you right before the eyes of your family and friends.  He could also send you away to develop you far away from all that you have known.  He just wants you to serve as a voice of His victory and the victory that you have in this life through Him.

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Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? – 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV)

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; – 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. – Ephesians 2:21-22 (NIV)

You ought to know who you are in Christ Jesus.  The Word should give you an indication of who you are as His chosen and elect people.  He offers us so much as Christians that we should be immersed in knowledge of what He has prepared for us, not intimidated by what others think we are or how we should act.

The Bible provides us with the visible temple in the Old Testament.  Even throughout the Gospels and Acts, we see the temple as a meeting place where the people of God still came together and united in worship and prayer.  However, we learn that the temple is just a shadow of what and who we are in Christ Jesus. The temple provides imagery of what all should occur within and among us as believers.  We get a glimpse at what the Lord intends for us when we study of the ark, the tent of meeting and the holy of holies.

Jesus offers us a new identity.  He gives us new life as well as eternal life.  He shares with us through the Holy Spirit of God.  We have been bestowed the gift of God through grace and by faith.  We did not work for it.  He gave us this precious gift so that we may live just as He intended for us to live; in Him, for Him, and with Him.

We are Christ’s body.  We are His holy house.  We are His church.  We are bound together by His saving grace and covered by His shed blood for our salvation.  We are who we are because of the sacrifice of the suffering Lord and Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

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