Category Archives: love
Our universe is broken. There is sin, pain, disease, and suffering in our world. But one day sin will be fixed. God, through Jesus’ death on the cross, will ressurrect true believers in him to live perfectly sinless eternal lives. This is the day when God’s true children, those who believe in Jesus and have repented of their sins will be revealed. Indeed, it is as if our damaged universe is waiting for this moment with great expectation:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:18-19 NIV)
I am a child of God because of what Jesus did on the cross for my sins. Are you a child of God too, or are you still rejecting His gift of eternal life?
Repent and believe!
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16)
God has our best interests in mind. He did not purchase our salvation by the blood of Christ just to make us His slaves, although if He had that would have been much better than remaining slaves of sin. But rather God chooses to adopt us as sons. And He gives us the Holy Spirit to assure us that we have nothing to fear, since the God of the universe is our caring father.
If you have believed in Jesus Christ and have repented of your sins, you can be assured that you ARE a child of God, even when you do not feel it. The Holy Spirit reminds us through the promises we read in the Bible that we are God’s children, and He causes us to cry out to God as “Abba” or “Papa” in our hearts. We are God’s helpless little children, but we have nothing to fear, because the Master of the universe is our Father.
What is the main driving force of your life? Is it the Holy Spirit? The Apostle Paul says:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God (Romans 8:14 NIV).
Those who are not led by the spirit of God are not children of God. One way to tell if you are led by the Spirit of God is to identify the main driving force in your life. Be honest. What is most important to you?
If one of these are the most important thing in your life, then you are not a Christian:
Quality of life/ comfortable lifestyle.
Power. Being in charge.
On the other hand, if Jesus Christ is truly at the top of your list, you are a Christian. Here are a few goals, motivations, and lifestyle choices that are common in those who regard Jesus Christ as the greatest thing in their life.
Self denial. Giving up their career and lifestyle and dreams for the sake of others and for Jesus (Matthew 16:24).
Obscurity. Doing your best work where it’s needed, especially when no one will notice it or congratulate you for it. (Matthew 6:4)
Absurdity. Being willing to be thought of as a fool in order to do what is right (I Corinthians 1:18).
Perserverence. Doing what is right even when it seems boring and difficult (.
Ugliness. Preferring our physical imperfections to be publicly seen rather than cultivating a facade for the purpose of seducing others (Isaiah 53:2).
Loneliness. Giving up the company of the wicked in order to do what is right, and to serve God (Matthew 10:37).
Bondage. Preferring to be the slave to others rather than to impose cruelty on others. Swallowing our pride and serving others (Phillipians 2:3-4, 7-8).
In my last post we read about how God resurrects both the spirit and the bodies of true believers.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e]his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
Thus true believers know this. They know that they are obliged to serve the spirit and not the flesh, and indeed we do this willingly and gladly:
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:12-13 NIV)
True believers do not live according to the flesh. We may stumble in the flesh (Romans 7:19) but our primary focus and purpose is always to serve God (Romans 7:22). If you are living in the flesh, that means if money, sex, popularity, or pleasure are the primary driving forces behind the everything you do, then you are not a Christian. As Paul says “you will die.” But if your focus in life is to obey the Spirit, which causes you to “put to death the misdeeds of the body” then “you will live.”
Notice that the Apostle Paul does not expect us to “put to death the misdeeds of the body” by our own power. That is impossible. We cannot count on our own inherent goodness to conquer sin. But we can defeat sin in our body, that is resist temptation, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The act of putting to death the misdeeds of the body must be done “by the Spirit” so that we cannot exalt in our own power.
You are going to die. That is a fact. Your body is growing old. It is harder and harder for you to find happiness as you get older because you realize that life is all vanity. Money, sex, popularity, none of it truly satisfies. But you are addicted to it and worship it all the same.
If that describes you–and indeed it describes all of us at some point in our lives–then you need to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus. Stop living for yourself and your foolish lusts. Admit your wickedness, stop praising yourself, and start praising God who loves you so much that He created a way for you to become His child.
Death is awful. It is the horrible, complete destruction of what once was a beautiful person. But death does not have to win, because if you believe in the one who raised Jesus from the dead, you too will be raised from the dead with an incorruptible body. Your mortal flesh will become immortal. This isn’t just poetry. This is real.
But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:10-11)
The only people in this world who are true Christians are those who have the Holy Spirit in them:
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9 NIV)
How do you know if you have the Holy Spirit inside you? The answer is found in your desires. If your life revolves around pleasuring yourself, then you do not have the Spirit of Christ in you. You are in the realm of flesh and are headed towards destruction.
But if you have the mind of Christ, that means that your primary desire is to Serve God and others before yourself, then you are living by the Spirit.
If you want to become a true Christian you need to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ who died for you. You can only have the Holy Spirit if God gives it to you, and God has said that He will only give it to those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Listen to what the Apostle Peter said about Jesus:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NIV)
Stop living for the flesh. Repent of your wickedness and believe in Jesus Christ, who has the power to change you from a selfish person into a selfless, loving, and sacrificing one.
Calvinist Christians are genuinely concerned that human beings not be wrongly given credit for the goodness of God. Arminian Christians are genuinely concerned that God is not wrongly given credit for the wickedness of man.
So keep this in mind the next time you debate with your brother in Christ about the doctrine of election. Do not accuse him of impure motives without reason. He and you may both have pure motives even though you might reason things somewhat differently in your minds.
The main concern of many people is their “quality of life.” This is usually just a euphemism for “fleshly desires.” When people says “My quality of life is what is most important to me,” they say that my personal happiness is more important than other people’s happiness. They mean that they will not be content unless they have the career, income, sexual partner, etc. that is most attractive to them.
But such people cannot please God. You must humble yourself and put Jesus first. You must honor JESUS, first of all, then OTHERS, and finally do what is spiritually best for YOURSELF. This is how you spell the acronym JOY. You must often reject your quality of life desires in order to put other people first.
You need to make all people more important than yourself in your mind, including your enemies. You must love those who hate you and believe in the death of Jesus on the cross in order to be saved. You and me are all horrible wicked sinners, but we are saved by the blood of Jesus if we repent of our sins and believe in Him.
The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:7-8 NIV)
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
If your primary motivation in life is fleshly desires, then you have a mind of death. That is to say that your life’s focus is on things that will pass away, reflecting that your soul itself is headed to eternal damnation. What is your primary motivation in life. Is it money? Is it sex? Is it fame. If these are your primary motivations, then you are spiritually dead.
In order to be spiritually alive you need to deny your fleshly lusts and live for God. This is something you cannot do by yourself. You can only do this if God’s Spirit indwells you. You must be born again. You must repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. He alone has the power to save you from an existence of death to experiencing true life.
There is no way that a sinner like me can defeat sin in my own power. There is no set of rules that I can follow that can make me good, since I am incapable of following any perfect set of rules. So the “law” does not help me, it exposes me as a sinner and condemns me.
But Jesus Christ loved me and died to save me. It is His perfect sacrifice: Holy, loving, completely without sin, that is powerful enough to defeat the death in me. Jesus Christ has done what I can never do. He has conquered sin for me on my behalf.
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.And so he condemned sin in the flesh,4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4 NIV)