“Eyes fixed where the Son reigns. Color them great cloud of witnesses now crowned, now reigning, dancing where the Son stay. They stayed, they stood, they praised and prayed, endured for the sake of the gospel. . . . Be not afraid to light up the dance floor, and dance more.”
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
“I can’t.” We hear it all the time—and sometimes for good reason. Children say “I can’t” because they lack knowledge or skill. They literally can’t! And sometimes adults say “I can’t” for the same reason. “I can’t be an astronaut.” “I can’t be a professional athlete.” In most cases, those are honest and accurate statements. No problem. But there is a problem when we don’t think we can because we don’t think God can.
There are numerous instances in Scripture that describe God being able. And there are no examples of God not being able to do something because of limitations on His power. One of the most encompassing statements that connects God’s ability to our ability is 2 Corinthians 9:8: “God is able to make all grace abound” toward us so we will have “all sufficiency in all things.” Because God is able, we are able. When we say, “I can’t give, love, forgive, reconcile, repent, be kind, be compassionate, be content . . .” we are saying, “God isn’t able to make that grace abound to me.”
Don’t limit yourself by limiting God. Let His grace abound to you.
The sinner, apart from grace, is unable to be willing and unwilling to be able. W. E. Best
The apostle Paul wrote extensively about the character and conduct of believers. He said that as Christians, we are to “walk in a manner worthy of [our] calling” (Eph. 4:1) and to “be imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1). In his letter to the church at Ephesus, he explained what it meant to live a godly life.
First of all, we must curtail some of our old habits and behaviors and replace them with new ones that are acceptable to God. The acts of the flesh are no longer to be a part of us—we now have a new nature and must conduct ourselves accordingly. Galatians 5:19-21 lists 15 specific behaviors that have to cease. These include enmities, strife, outbursts of anger, disputes, and dissensions. Notice the role anger plays in each of these. It fuels disagreements and inflames antagonism. And second, if we get angry, we need to apologize quickly (Eph. 4:26).
The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) should replace ungodly thoughts and actions. If we have been quick-tempered, then we need to gain patience. If our anger runs hot, then we are to become peaceful people. Foolishness in speech must give way to the wisdom of Christ. Change is possible because sin’s power over us has been permanently broken. We have been set free to live in a way pleasing to God.
We all struggle with some form of ungodly behavior, but happily, we need not continue in it. As new creations, we no longer have to be defined by who we were before salvation (2 Cor. 5:17). To exhibit the righteousness that is yours, cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s transforming work.
“They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.” (Job 24:13)
One of the most common objections to the Christian gospel is our insistence that belief in Christ is necessary for salvation. What about those who never hear of Christ—are they lost as well as those who willfully reject Him?
Because of this problem, a number of evangelicals are now saying that people in other religions can be saved if they live up to whatever light they have, whether in nature or conscience or religion. The problem is that they do not live up to the light they have. “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
There is, indeed, much light in the creation. In fact, Romans 1:20 says these evidences “from the creation of the world are clearly seen”—in fact, so clearly seen that men are “without excuse” when they reject this light. But reject it they have. They “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (v. 23). In fact, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and thus are lost without Christ.
But are there some who accept and follow whatever light they have, and will God save them? Consider Cornelius. He was “a devout man, and one that feared God” (Acts 10:2), and Peter was sent to him by God to tell him about Christ. “In every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him,” Peter said (v. 35). Cornelius was not actually saved, however, until he personally believed on Christ. The implication may be that God will send more light by some “Peter” to those few who do believe and obey what light they already have. Once they finally hear of Christ and His great salvation, they will gladly receive Him and be saved—but not before. HMM
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for
righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. —James 2:23
Ultimately Abraham discovered that only God matters. He discovered in that revelation the greatest concept in the world….
It is as if Abraham laid hold of God’s favor and promise with rejoicing, saying to himself, “When I have God, I need nothing more!”
Abraham was completely satisfied with God’s friendship. He becomes to us a faithful example in his willingness to put God first. With Abraham, only God mattered….
In Abraham’s encounter with God he learned why he was here upon earth. He was to glorify God in all things and to continually worship….
Abraham heard from God. Abraham met with God. Abraham listened to God. Abraham responded to God. He knew the meaning of an altar of worship and praise. Our altar of devotion and worship within our hearts should be as real.
These truths concerning Abraham and his wholehearted response to God cause me to wonder. How can we bring our lukewarm Christians into a realization that nothing in the world is as important to them as God’s love and God’s will?
Lord, teach me today what Abraham learned over the course of a lifetime—that only God matters. Amen.
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, but unto the Greeks foolishness. (1 Corinthians 1:23)
The Greek philosopher Pythagoras divided men into three classes:
1. Seekers after knowledge;
2. Seekers after honor;
3. Seekers after gain.
I wonder why he failed to notice two other classes: those who are not seeking anything and those who are seekers after God.
Let us add them to his list:
4. Seekers after nothing. These are the human vegetables who live by their glands and their instincts. I refer to the millions of normal persons who have allowed their magnificent intellectual equipment to wither away from lack of exercise. Their reading matter is the sports page and the comic section; their music is whatever is popular and handy—and loud!
5. Seekers after God. I am thinking of men and women who are God-hungry souls though their numbers may not be large. By nature they are no better than the rest of mankind, and by practice they have sometimes been worse. The one sign of their divine election is their insatiable thirst after the Source of their being. Thank the Lord for seekers after God and their destiny lies in the hand of the One who gave His only begotten Son to die for the life of the world!
How blessed to feel assured that the Lord is with us in all our ways, and condescends to go down into our humiliations and banishments with us! Even beyond the ocean our Father’s love beams like the sun in its strength. We cannot hesitate to go where Jehovah promises his presence. “Fear not,” is the Lord’s command and his divine encouragement to those who at his bidding are launching upon new seas; the divine presence and preservation forbid so much as one unbelieving fear. Without our God we should fear to move; but when he bids us go it would be dangerous to tarry. Reader, go forward, and fear not.