It's a cool wintry day in Oceanside. The cloud formations are beautiful. It's trying to be spring. There are flowers in bloom everywhere and our climbing roses, so recently cut back, are already trying to scramble up the fence outside my office window. That which looked dead begins to show new life. So shall it be for those of us who claim Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Life and death are binary....we are either alive or we are dead. There's no 'in between'. It's the same spiritually. We are either alive spiritually, or we are dead spiritually. Those who are alive can understand spiritual truth, those who are not, can't. Simple, isn't it? God did not lay out a big complicated plan for us to follow.
We don't have the option of making ourselves 'alive', God does it. He's the one who gives us the faith to believe. I think the verses In Ephesians 2: 8-9 show this very clearly......
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
This verse says that we received the gift of faith from God by grace, ie. we didn't 'earn' it. He simply chose us to be a recipient. Our salvation comes through faith, but we can't conjure up our own faith, therefore God gave it to us as a gift. Keep that in mind, it's a gift. He then goes on to explain that it wasn't given to us because of our 'work'. Not because we were 'good', or because we did good things.....give to the poor, attend church, pray for others, go to Bible studies, teach Sunday School, etc., not because of any of the 'worldly' things that come to mind. If God gave us His gift of faith because of those things we'd think we deserved it, and the temptation would be to 'boast'. We'd probably even think we were better, or smarter, than others who don't have faith, so He didn't do it that way. He wants us to know that HE, not WE, did the work and He gets the glory!
Maybe we should define faith as it is defined in the Bible.
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".
So, how do we get faith?
"Hebrew 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scornig its shame....."
We hear so much about being called, answering the call, choosing Christ, etc., we come to think that this whole business of eternal life is on our shoulders. Well, guess what, our shoulders aren't big enough, so God became a man, paid the price for our 'mess', and allows those He has chosen to see and hear spiritual truth. I was always a little intrigued by how many times Jesus said,
"He who has ears, let him hear". Matthew 11:15
Most everybody has physical ears, but not everybody 'hears' God's truth. Therefore....this must refer to 'spiritual ears'. Let's look at a passage in John 8 for some understanding as to why some don't believe.
"If God were your Father, you would love me.......Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.......He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." vs. 42-44, 47
Painful, uncomfortable, but very straightforward. Our Lord just tells it the way it is. When someone points out an uncomfortable truth, we tend to want to argue with them.....don't, go to the source, the Scripture, ask the Lord to show you truth, not anyone else. The Bible interprets the Bible, keep reading, keep studying.
None of us are able to know who is spiritually alive and who is spiritually dead. Things aren't always what they seem and God is in control of the timing of 'revelation'. You might be very surprised who you're sitting next to at the glorious wedding banquet with the King!
So, what do we do, how do we act toward others? We are told to share the 'good news' with all those who God puts in our lives. There are no coincidences! God has a plan and in His plan are people who belong to Him and you may be used to bring someone out of spiritual darkness. We share, God makes alive. We are to love others. If the love is not there, ask the Holy Spirit to put God's love in your heart for others. And, most of all, trust God with the results. As smart as you are, YOU are not going to make it happen!
Next blog I'll share from the last book of the Bible - Revelation.
Thank you Lord that we can trust whatever you are doing.
Bobbe Van Hise
- Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.