The Amazing Grace of Being “In Christ”

In today’s devotional reading from MyDailyBible app, DailyPlan : one-year-tract : 2020-02-06 #Bible https://www.mydailybible.org/dp/esv/one-year-tract/2020-02-06.htm the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 9 quotes some verses from the prophet Hosea,

Romans 9:23-26 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

In yesterdays reading from Romans chapter 8 the Apostle Paul tells us about how we can know we are “sons of the living God.”

Romans 8:14-17 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

The entire concept of being adopted by God that Hosea and Paul speak of hinges on one very important thing, God’s GRACE at work in us through His Holy Spirit at Work in us.

The first thing we have to settle in our mind is that God’s GRACE is NOT at work in everyone. If we truly understand that, it should cause us to place a very great appreciation on God’s Amazing GRACE at work in us through His Holy Spirit. Jesus continually confronted the Pharisees for relying on being physical descendents of Abraham and observing the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law as their evidence of relationship to Almighty God.

John 8:37-44 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”

39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”

Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

The Apostle Paul speaks of the “mystery” of God’s election and predestination of those who are adopted by Him and become His children.

Romans 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 9:8-13 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Just as the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ being the lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world (Rev.13:8), Paul is stating that our Dear Heavenly Father “foreknew, predestined, called” from the very foundation of the world as well those who would be His adopted children. It is the GRACE of God that comes to an individual, not a family or nation, and waits for a response.

Hebrews 3:7-15 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

The Holy Spirit of God doesn’t “call” on an individual one time and then leave that person alone after they cooperate to become an adopted child of Almighty God. Thats only the initial step of regeneration and of sanctification in that person. We NEVER attain the holiness God requires of us through our own merits or strength. It takes us listening to the Holy Spirit of God at work in us every day to remain “In Christ.”

The Apostle Paul spends much effort in Romans chapter 8 emphasizing the need to remain “In Christ.” He starts and ends this chapter with the same thought, being “in Christ.”

Romans 8:1-2, 38-39 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In Paul telling us that nothing will be able to separate us from “the love of God” it should make us aware that things will try to separate us. Sometimes in our growth of sanctification, we ourselves do some separating on our own of the obvious things. By God’s GRACE and Mercy, He doesn’t make us aware of all our shortcomings at one time. We should have a desire to do some “house cleaning” in our lives when we become “Born Again with God’s Spirit” Christians. A genuine cry of “Abba Father” will produce that fruit of the Spirit in us. In our humanity, we will however overlook or willfully try to avoid some areas.

There’s a Bible tract that approaches the work of God’s Grace in us through the Holy Spirit of Christ. Being “led by the Spirit” and remaining “in Christ Jesus” is portrayed as Jesus being a guess in our home. The entire tract is a quick read at only 4 pages long and can be found here, http://ashfieldpresbyterian.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/My-Heart-Christs-Home.pdf

The last portion describes the places of our heart “home” that we try to avoid dealing with and the solution to future maintenance of the place we desire the Grace of God through the Spirit of God to “remain” in us and we to remain “In Christ.”

The Hall Closet
There is just one more matter that I might share with you. One day I found Him waiting for me at the door. An arresting look was in His eye. As I entered, He said to me, “There is a peculiar odor in the house. There is something dead around here. It’s upstairs. I think it is in the hall closet.” As soon as He said this, I knew what He was talking about. Yes, there was a small closet up there on the landing, just a few feet square, and in that closet, behind lock and key, I had one or two little personal things that I did not want anyone to know about and certainly I did not want Christ to see them. I knew they were dead and rotting things left over from the old life. And yet I loved them, and I wanted them so for myself that I was afraid to admit they were there.  Reluctantly, I went up with Him, and as we mounted the stairs the odor became stronger and stronger. He pointed at the door. “It’s in there! Some dead thing!” I was angry. That’s the only way I can put it. I had given Him access to the library, the dining room, the living room, the workroom, the playroom, and now He was asking me about a little two-by-four closet. I said to myself, “This is too much. I am not going to give Him the key.” “Well,” He said, reading my thoughts, “if you think I’m going to stay up here on the second floor with this odor, you are mistaken. I will take my bed out on the back porch. I’m certainly not going to put up with that.” Then I saw Him start down the stairs. When you have come to know and love Christ, the worst thing that can happen is to sense His fellowship retreating from you. I had to surrender. “I’ll give You the key,” I said sadly, “but You’ll have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven’t the strength to do it.” “I know,” He said. “I know you haven’t. Just give me the key. Just authorize me to take care of that closet and I will.” So with trembling fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it from my hand, walked over to the door, opened it, entered it, took out all the putrefying stuff that was rotting there, and threw it away. The He cleaned the closet and painted it, fixed it up, doing it all in a moment’s time. Oh, what victory and release to have that dead thing out of my life!

Transferring the Title
Then a thought came to me. I said to myself, “I have been trying to keep this heart of mine clear for Christ. I start on one room and no sooner have I cleaned that then another room is dirty. I begin on the second room and the first room becomes dusty again. I am so tired and weary trying to maintain a clean heart and an obedient life. I am just not up to it!” So I ventured a question: “Lord, is there any chance that You would take over the responsibility of the whole house and operate it for me and with me just as You did that closet? Would You take the responsibility to keep my heart what it ought to be and my life where it ought to be?” I could see His face light up as He replied, “Certainly, that is what I came to do. You cannot be a victorious Christian in your own strength. That is impossible. Let me do it through you and for you. That is the way. But,” He added slowly, “I am not owner of this house. I am just a guest. I have no authority to proceed, since the property is not mine.” I saw it in a minute and dropping to my knees, I said, “Lord, You have been a guest and I have been the host. From now on I am going to be the servant. You are going to be the owner and Master and Lord.” Running as fast as I could to the strongbox, I took out the title deed to the house describing its assets and liabilities, location and situation and condition. I eagerly signed it over to belong to Him alone for time and eternity. “Here,” I said. “Here it is, all that I am and have forever. Now You run the house. I’ll just remain with You as a servant and friend.” He took my life that day and I can give you my word, there is no better way to live the Christian life. He knows how to keep it in shape and deep peace settles down on the soul. May Christ settle down and be at home in your heart as Lord of all!

Jesus Is The Aleph & The Tav, The Alpha & The Omega, The First & The Last

א ת  Jesus Α Ω  א ת Jesus Α Ω  א ת Jesus Α Ω  א ת Jesus Α Ω  א ת Jesus Α Ω  א ת Jesus Α Ω

Sometimes I become so overwhelmed by the Love of God as I witness the GRACE of God at work in me through His Holy Spirit. For a moment it may feel uncomfortable, or embarrassing and even have the sting of discipline from a Loving Father but I truly welcome those moments and cherish them. They are the evidence of “being in Christ” and Christ “being in me.”

Colossians 1:24-27 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

NO self righteousness will even please our Dear Heavenly Father but our submission to the Righteousness of Christ at work in us is ever pleasing to Him.

Zechariah 3:1-5 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.

4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”

5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”

So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.

Isaiah 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Think for a moment that God has known you from the very foundation of His creation, even before Genesis 1:1. Since eternity, God has been aware of our existence, prepared for it and will throughout all eternity. The day we were born didn’t surprise God, He awaited it. What a thought!!! God’s GRACE Still Overwhelms and Amazes Me!!!

Like Father, Like Son

Jesus too has prepared a place for those who have been “called and chosen.”

John 14:1-4 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

So friend, how is it with you. Do you set up appointments with Jesus Christ and His Spirit once or twice a week? Is your relationship with God compartmentalized into zones where He is and isn’t welcomed? Is the Holy Spirit of Almighty God a guest that visits from time to time or have you asked Him to be in control and LORD of your “skin tent” and tabernacle with Him? Isaiah tells us the attitude we should have to welcome and keep God’s Holy Spirit near us,

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

These posts address those subjects, https://intheword.blog/2019/11/26/david-pitched-a-tent-as-did-jesus/

https://intheword.blog/2019/02/20/are-you-sorry-or-contrite-theres-a-big-difference/

In the book of Ephesians we are told again about “predestination, being in Christ and God’s work of Grace”

Ephesians 2:4-10  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His 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 of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The Apostle Paul isn’t alone in the New Testament in expressing Father God’s plan of “election and predestination.” Jesus teaches it as well,

Matthew 22:14  For many are called, but few are chosen.

In Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast a Father gives for His Son the word “called” is mentioned many times.

Hebrews 3:14-15  For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

The Holy Spirit of God through the Grace of God will teach us how to remain clothed in Christ’s Righteousness if we (shema) listen and obey, to the end.

The short devotional reading for today, Feb. 11th in my Tecarta Bible app continues this train of thought also, https://tecartabible.com/share/2003/289/1041

“Holy Are You Lord,” Faith Cathedral New Ibreia LA

 

 

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