The Opposition of the Natural

Old Lady Walking
Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. —Galatians 5:24

The natural life itself is not sinful. But we must abandon sin, having nothing to do with it in any way whatsoever. Sin belongs to hell and to the devil. I, as a child of God, belong to heaven and to God. It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence, and my self-will. This is where the battle has to be fought. The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best. Once we come to understand that natural moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God, we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us would debate over what is filthy, evil, and wrong, but we do debate over what is good.

It is the good that opposes the best. The higher up the scale of moral excellence a person goes, the more intense the opposition to Jesus Christ. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh….” The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things, but everything. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24). That is, he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.

The natural life is not spiritual, and it can be made spiritual only through sacrifice. If we do not purposely sacrifice the natural, the supernatural can never become natural to us. There is no high or easy road. Each of us has the means to accomplish it entirely in his own hands. It is not a question of praying, but of sacrificing, and thereby performing His will.

by Oswald Chambers

The Right to Enter Paradise

Revelation 21:22-22:7

Death is inevitable. The thief on the cross knew when his would occur, but most of us can’t predict our own. Following his death, the crucified criminal went to live in paradise with Jesus. Some of us will also live eternally in God’s presence, but others will experience everlasting torment, forever separated from Him.

If we trust Jesus as Savior, our penalty for sin is paid, we are adopted into God’s family, and heaven is our eternal home. But if we reject Jesus, we remain alienated from the Lord and under condemnation for our sin, destined to face eternal judgment. God will not listen to any excuses, as there is no acceptable defense for unbelief (Acts 4:12).

Become part of God’s family today by acknowledging your sinfulness and expressing your faith in words similar to these: “God, I have sinned against You—I’ve followed my own way and refused to give You the right to rule in my life (Rom. 3:10-12, 23). I recognize that I am separated from You and cannot rescue myself. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I accept that His death on the cross paid my sin debt in full, and I ask You to forgive me of my sins (1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 John 1:9). By faith, I receive Jesus as my personal Savior from this moment on.” If you just spoke to God this way, then, like the thief on the cross, you have received salvation, a gift of God’s grace.

The heavenly Father welcomes every person who comes to Him through His Son, regardless of background, age, or current situation. Through Jesus, the right to enter paradise is yours!

God Gave Them Up

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” (Romans 1:28)

This is a terrifying verse, climaxing the awful indictment (in Romans 1:18-32) of God against a world in rebellion against its maker. This burning passage begins with Paul’s declaration that God’s wrath has been revealed against all those who “hold the truth”—or, more explicitly, “hold down or suppress the truth” in unrighteousness.

Then, in a rising crescendo of testimonies of wickedness and resulting condemnation, one fearful clause appears no less than three times: “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts. . . . For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections. . . . God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (vv. 24, 26, 28).

As terrible as such judgments seem, the provocations were infinitely worse. They “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God” into idols depicting His creatures (v. 23). They “changed the truth of God into a lie” and rejected Him as Creator (v. 25). They subjected Him to critical philosophical scrutiny and chose not “to retain God in their knowledge” at all (implied in the Greek “did not like”) (v. 28). Thus it was that our God of all grace finally had to give them up!

But the frightening thing is that this dark scene describes more than ancient paganism. Every verse is also a precise indictment of this present, evil “post-Christian” world, as we almost seem to be reading therein a documentary of the present age. What a picture it draws of modern evolutionary humanism in practice!

Yet the apostle Paul was still preparing to go to Rome, “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” for that gospel was then—and still is—“the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). HMM

If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.— 1 John 4:11.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.—John 13:35.

DO I find love so full in my nature, God’s ultimate gift, That I doubt His own
love can compete with it? Here, the parts shift?
Here, the creature surpass the Creator,—the end, what Began?
Would I fain in my impotent yearning do all for this man, And dare doubt He
alone shall not help him, who yet alone can?

COME unto me,” says the holy Jesus, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” Beg of Him to be the light and life of your soul; love the sound of His name; for Jesus is the love, the sweetness, the compassionate goodness of the Deity itself; which became man, that so men might have the power to become the sons of God. Love, and pity, and wish well to every soul in the world; dwell in love and then you dwell in God. WILLIAM LAW.

The Lord’s love is the love of communicating all that He has to all His creatures; for He desires the happiness of all; and a similar love prevails in those who love Him, because the Lord is in them. EMANUEL SWEDENBORG.

The spirit shall return unto God who gave it

The spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7

The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. — There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. — The first man Adam was made a living soul. — The spirit of man that goeth upward.

Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. We are confident, … and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. —

With Christ; which is far better. — I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Genesis 2:7. Job 32:8. 1 Corinthians 15:45. Ecclesiastes 3:21. 2 Corinthians 5:6,8. Philippians 1:23. 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14. John 14:2,3.

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? — Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. —To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. — Mary … sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Micah 6:8. 1 Samuel 15:22. Matthew 12:33. Hosea 12:6. Luke 10:39,42. Philippians 2:13.