Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Our Position in Christ

A friend and I were studying Ephesians 2 this evening and discussing the joy our position in Christ in comparison to what our position was outside of Him. Take a look at verses 1-3 in contrast to 4-10.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
We were lifeless. We were slaves to sin and to the pattern of the world. We obeyed satan. We lived for ourselves indulging every sinful desire. The wrath of God was being stored up for us.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
The Christ entered the scene and poured out the riches of His mercy and love on us when we were completely undeserving. We were dead and lifeless. He had no reason to love us. In fact, He had every reason to pour out judgement upon us, but He chose to make us alive with Christ when He died on our behalf to take the full wrath of God and rose again to conquer death. He did this so that we could have the hope of eternal life right now and so that He might actually show us the infinite riches of His grace toward us in Christ.

You know... we hardly understand what He did for us on the cross. We won't fully get it until we see Him face to face and recognize the fullness of His grace and kindness toward us. But while we are still stuck with our finite minds here on earth, we can and ought to take so much joy in what we do know about His goodness to us in Christ and accept His free gift with gratitude and humility knowing that we could not do anything on our own to save ourselves. We had to be saved by a sinless Savior. Not only has He saved us, but He has ordained His perfect plan for us. He has prepared the way of righteousness for us to walk in. He has created us for good works, not to glory in ourselves, but to glory in the goodness of God and live for Him out of the strength that He provides through our joy in Him.

May God grant us the humility to recognize the greatness of His grace and may that recognition fill our hearts with overwhelming joy so that we desire nothing other than to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Object of Our Trust

God has been so good and gracious to me, far beyond all that I could ask or think.  I am finding myself more and more aware of all the ways that I must place all my hope and all my trust in the Lord.  I was reading this evening from Proverbs 28 and verses 25 and 26 jumped to me.
An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.
God is against the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Arrogance and trusting the Lord cannot exist together. Either we believe that our way is best, or we believe that God's way is best. This foundational belief (not with the mouth, but with the heart) drives every one of our actions. This has been life changing for me over the last several years especially, but it has again come to my attention lately as the Lord works these truths into my heart again so that all my faith and hope are in God. Who has proven himself as more worthy of trust than our completely faithful God? What security do we have outside of Christ? Are we guarenteed even the next breath? Is not everything that we are dependent on the grace of God?

There is a pattern throughout the history of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve and continues today--God pours out His amazing blessings, we take those blessings and start trusting in the blessing that was provided rather than the Provider of those blessings, and we turn our hearts away from the Lord until He humbles us again to the point of having no choice but to trust in Him. I think of the Israelites in the wilderness after leaving Egypt... they had nothing to eat or drink even, but God provided both of those things. They had to be dependent on Him.

I feel that I am at that time of experiencing the blessings of God. He has been so infinitely good to me. You know, if all we had was Christ, that would be enough, yet He blesses us with so much above and beyond even that. I am so aware these days of my need to trust Him in the midst of His blessings. I must love and serve the Giver of every good and perfect thing with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Trusting Him doesn't always seem pleasant at the time. Being completely honest reagardless of the consequences... putting others as more important than ourselves... being a peace maker... humility... etc. It is not always easy, but if we truly believe that He is worth trusting, we would obey Him fully without even considering an alternative. May God give us His grace and help to trust Him more. It is a sweet thing to trust in the Almighty God.