Everything We Need

For I am persuaded that [nothing] . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

When current Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, was sworn into office, he told an assembled crowd, “If we truly love one another . . . if we have each other’s back . . . then the greatest days of the commonwealth of Kentucky are indeed yet to come.” That sentiment echoes what lovers have told each other for centuries: “Love is all we need.”

While love may not be a bullet-proof shield for politicians or lovers, it definitely is for members of God’s family. If we lose all else in this world we will never lose the love of God. Therefore, we never will lose God, for God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). When he was suffering, the apostle Paul wrote that God’s grace was sufficient for him (2 Corinthians 12:9). He is the same apostle who lost everything in his service for Christ through shipwrecks, imprisonments, beatings, hunger, stoning, and more (2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 11:23-28). He lost everything he didn’t need and kept everything he did need. Most important, he kept the love of God in Christ Jesus.

The same is true for you. Nothing can separate you from God and His love through Christ. He is everything we need.

A piece of bread with God’s love is angels’ food. Thomas Watson, Puritan

The Heart of Our Faith

Galatians 2:15-16

Paul believed nothing merited his boasting more than the cross (Gal. 6:14). He had good reason to think so: God’s entire plan of salvation hangs upon two beams of rough-hewn wood. It is through Jesus’ sacrificial death that we are reconciled to the Father. And we are justified by Christ’s blood—freed from the guilt and penalty of sin.

Galatians 2:16 says, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” That is, clean living cannot earn God’s acceptance. Even so, many people choose to put confidence in some sort of cosmic “scale”—they believe their good deeds will outweigh their bad deeds, and as a result, the gate of heaven will be open to them.

However, if this scale philosophy were true, Jesus’ death would be senseless. A Father who accepted multiple paths to salvation but still sacrificed His Son couldn’t be called good or loving. Yet so many overlook the obvious logic of such reasoning and cling to their vision of a God who ignores personal sin.

The problem is pride. Since it is natural to desire acceptance, people want to believe something within them is worth loving. But the cross requires kneeling before God empty-handed. When we humbly admit we’re powerless to settle our own sin debt, we must accept the payment Jesus made for us.

We have nothing to offer God, but the fact is, He expects nothing. Instead, the Father created a salvation plan that cleansed the stain of our sin and reconciled us to Him. The cross is a symbol of His love—a love that deserves our boasting.

Sojourners

“For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.” (1 Chronicles 29:15)

All of God’s people, whether ancient Israelites or latter-day Christians, need to recognize that we are mere “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13). This world is not our home, as the old gospel song puts it, and we must not let our roots get down too deep in this materialistic world.

The words of our text are in David’s last recorded prayer before his death. He was a great king and very wealthy in material things, but he still recognized that his real home was not in the earthly Jerusalem but in heaven.

So should we. The apostle Paul wrote, “For our conversation [the Greek word here literally means ‘citizenship’] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). We are merely serving in this world as “ambassadors for Christ,” and our business here, representing the court of heaven, is to urge men, “in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Why should we spend time and money beautifying a home on Earth when Christ has gone to prepare a mansion for us in heaven (John 14:2)? Remember Abraham, who by faith “sojourned . . . in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles” (Hebrews 11:9). “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16).

Also remember Paul, who had “no certain dwellingplace” (1 Corinthians 4:11), not to mention the Lord Jesus Himself, who had “not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). We do well, therefore, to “pass the time of [our] sojourning here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17)—that is, reverential fear of God (never fear of man), as good citizens of our heavenly country. HMM

Divine Indwelling

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. —Ephesians 2:22

The doctrine of the divine indwelling is one of the most important in the New Testament, and its meaning for the individual Christian is precious beyond all description. To neglect it is to suffer serious loss. The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith. Surely it takes faith of a more than average vitality to grasp the full implications of this great truth….

Without question, the teaching of the New Testament is that the very God Himself inhabits the nature of His true children. How this can be I do not know, but neither do I know how my soul inhabits my body. Paul called this wonder of the indwelling God a rich mystery: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). And if the doctrine involved a contradiction or even an impossibility we must still believe what the mouth of the Lord has spoken. “Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4)….

And what kind of habitation pleases God? What must our natures be like before He can feel at home within us? He asks nothing but a pure heart and a single mind. He asks no rich paneling, no rugs from the Orient, no art treasures from afar. He desires but sincerity, transparency, humility and love. He will see to the rest. TIC041-042, 044

Lord, give me the purity, integrity and focus to be the kind of vessel You would desire. Amen.

A Lower Level of Christianity

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. (Psalm 71:17)

There are leaders and there are churches within the Christianity of our day who will surely answer for their failure to apply the disciplines of the New Testament to the present generation of young people.

Much of Christianity today does not hold to the necessity for disciplines in the Christian life. If we have any of God’s concerns in our hearts, we must grieve over the lack of spirituality in the lives of great segments of professing Christian young people.

It is not my calling to assess blame. It is part of my Christian calling to proclaim the fact that no one, young or old, has the right to come to Jesus Christ and stake out their own conditions and terms.

Segments of Christianity have made every possible concession in efforts to win young people to Christ; but instead of converting them to Christ they have “converted” Christianity to them. Too often they have come down to the modern level—playing, teasing, coaxing and entertaining. In essence, they have been saying to them, “We will do everything as you want it,” instead of giving them Christ’s insistent word, “Take up your cross!”

Prove the sincerity of your prayer

Hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Let not your prayers be all concerning your own sins, your own wants, your own imperfections, your own trials, but let them climb the starry ladder, and get up to Christ himself, and then, as you draw nigh to the blood-besprinkled mercy-seat, offer this prayer continually, “Lord, extend the kingdom of thy dear Son.” Such a petition, fervently presented, will elevate the spirit of all your devotions. Mind that you prove the sincerity of your prayer by laboring to promote the Lord’s glory.