Free to be me in Christ!

romans 6 22Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been made free from sin.  By nature of birth, I am a sinner and will always be a sinner until I go to heaven.  Knowing Jesus as my Savior allows me to be free from the power of sin over my life.  When I go to heaven, I will be freed from the power and presence of sin, but until then I need to walk humbly with God and keep short accounts, meaning repent of my sins and not allow Satan a foot hold into my life.

There are many verses that assure us that we are freed from sin’s power through faith in Christ.  Here are a few:

Romans 6:6-7 “We know that our old self  was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free  from sin.”  Through faith our old nature, the person within that desires to do sinful things, is dead and made powerless so that we are free in Jesus.

Romans 6: 17-18 “Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” (NLT)   Since we are free in Christ, we can live for Him doing and thinking right things.

Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”   Freedom in Christ allows the Holy Spirit to grow us up in Christ making us more and more like Jesus.

romans 6 17Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”  We are free in Jesus no longer condemned to eternal death by sin!

Revelation 1:5b “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”   John opens his revelation about end times with this prayer.  He knew that Jesus was the one responsible for our freedom from sin and our status in God’s eyes.  Thank you Jesus.

freedom in christEnjoy your freedom in Christ today!

Linda

Suggestion: reflect on your life-  How are you thinking, talking or doing things differently since having Jesus in your life?  Thank Jesus for that change.  What are you still doing, thinking or saying that you want to stop so you can be more like Jesus?  Ask Jesus to change that within you and free you from that sin.  He will!

My entrance ticket is valid and being used daily, is yours?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have entrance into His kingdom.  The gospels refer to the kingdom of God frequently.  Jesus said that one needs child like faith in God to gain entrance.  Mark 10:15  “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Jesus said that entrance would be harder for the wealthy as laying aside their wealth to pursue God’s kingdom is tough.  Mark 10:25 “ It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  Jesus was sent to proclaim the good news of His kingdom and He sent the disciples out to proclaim it too.  Luke 9:2 “and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”  Jesus used parables to describe His kingdom with the mustard seed and leaven in Luke 13:18-19,21 “He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” 21 “It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three God's kingdommeasures of flour, until it was all leavened.”  All of these examples tell us that to see the kingdom of God we must have faith, as a child, set aside our worldly goals in pursuit of His kingdom,  be dedicated to telling others about Jesus and growing continually in our love for Jesus.

John tells us straight out how we can gain entrance into God’s kingdom.  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3    Paul explains in Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Entrance into God’s kingdom comes through faith in Jesus and the power of the romans 14 17indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to live in and for His kingdom day by day.   Because of Jesus and His work on the cross, I can gain entrance into God’s kingdom now and forever through faith in Him.  Christ alone is the answer!

Linda

Suggestion:  Take inventory of your kingdom benefits- do you feel you have right standing with God because of Christ?  Do you have peace and joy from the inside out provided by the Holy Spirit?  Look to Jesus and ask Him with a repentant heart to clean your heart and mind and give you indwelling joy and peace.  He is faithful and will provide what you need to be whole.

Given by Christ, Righteousness. Thank you Jesus.

christ my righteousnessBecause Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have Christ’s righteousness.  Christ was a man while on earth, pure, holy, without sin, filled with integrity, virtuous in behavior, humble and the list could continue.  Most importantly He was sinless and therefore in right standing with God the Father.  God cannot look upon sin so unless we are pure and holy we cannot be in a relationship with Him.  By saying, “I have Christ’s righteousness” I am proclaiming that I am in right standing with God.  I can know and communicate with Holy God.  Romans 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 explain how this happened for us through Christ’s work on the cross. Romans 5:19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners (that was Adam), so also through the obedience of the one man (Christ) the many will be made righteous.”  2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Through faith in Christ, I can have His Righteousness and come into a relationship with Almighty God.  Without Christ, we have no way get rid of our sin. We can never do enough good works.  We can never clean ourselves up enough to come before God.  Ephesians 2:8-9 puts it this way,For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  What a precious gift Christ’s righteousness is to me!

How do we process this for Lent?  Recognizing that our position before God is totally dependent upon Jesus and His redeeming work on the cross and resurrection from the dead should give us pause and create in us a sense of gratitude and humility.

Prayer:  Thank you Jesus that through faith in  your work on the cross I am able to come before You in prayer, study Your word with understanding and be indwelt by your Holy Spirit.  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf.  Amen.

Linda

the-willing-spirit-can-do-good-deeds-by-grace-quote-1Suggestion for today: Pray David’s prayer from Psalm 51: 10,12               Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.                                                   Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Sometime today, instead of taking credit for something good you are doing or did – give the praise to God.  Have a willing spirit that desires to please Him. Acknowledge Him with your thoughts- He knows your heart and spirit.

Are you Seeing blessings in your life? Take a look!

Being a blessed believer I’ve discovered has many layers.  I began weeks ago with a definition of what blessing is in man’s eyes: a gift of divine favor, good wishes or approval, anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.  Then I looked at scripture to see what God calls blessedness.  All of God’s examples show divine favor towards us and His divine ways of having His blessings in our lives.   Which ones have you seen, are seeing or hope to see in your life?  When you do- you can count yourself blessed!

Blessed is the believer who:  walks in His ways.  Psalm 1                                                            *whose’s sins are forgiven.  Psalm 32:1-2                                                                                          *who takes refuge in Him.  Psalm 34:8                                                                                               *who trusts in the Lord.  Psalm 40:4                                                                                                   *who wisely listens, obeys and accepts the Father’s discipline and instruction  Psalm                      94:12                                                                                                                                            *who fears (reveres) the Lord and delights in His Commandments.   Psalm 112:1                 *who is blessed through his children (physical or spiritual).  Psalm 127:5                               *who fears God and walks in His ways.  Psalm 128:1-2                                                                 *who does what is right based in His righteousness. Isaiah 56:1-2                                             *who is deep rooted in Him, standing firm in all seasons of life.  Jeremiah 17:4                      *whose sins are forgiven, dependent upon God for His righteousness in Christ.  Romans              4:6-8                                                                                                                                               *who is steadfast, persevering and awaiting reward.  James 1:12                                               *who is humble, sorrows over his sin and dependent upon God for forgiveness, hungers             after God’s Word, merciful, has a clean heart before God,  is a peacemaker, is                        persecuted  for His sake.   Matthew 5:3-10

blessed gratefulWhat a list to take to heart and meditate uponIf you are not seeing some of the blessings God provides for believers, take that to heart, pray about it, search scripture and ask God what He would have you do so that you might partake in His divine blessings!

Linda

All we like sheep

This scripture passage was also included in Sunday’s Poignant Gratitude blog, but Handel’s Messiah has a separate chorus for this verse that is very beautiful. Let’s look at this today in the Amplified Translation.

Isaiah 53.6Isaiah 53:6  “All of us like sheep have gone astray,
We have turned, each one, to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]  To fall on Him [instead of us].

Believers or followers of Christ were often referred to by Jesus as ‘sheep’.  It was an image that the people of His time could relate to as most towns and villages had herds of sheep.  They were familiar with the idiosyncrasies of sheep and how much care they required.  They knew sheep were prone to wander and get lost if the shepherd did not guide, protect and lead them.  Jesus called himself the good shepherd and states His willingness to die for His sheep.  A good shepherd would want to protect his sheep from predators and would fight to defend them even if it caused his own death.  John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  In verse 14, Jesus tell about the sheep and how those who believe in Him will know Him.  “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”   In verses 27-28, Jesus assures us we will recognize Him, follow Him and be protected by Him.   “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  In Luke 15 Jesus gives the parable of the ‘lost sheep’ and how as the good shepherd he pursues any and all that are lost that they might know Him and be saved.

Not only is Jesus the good shepherd but in His death He took on the sins of the world so that mankind could be reconciled with God.  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”  Colossians 1:21-22  He took all sins upon Himself and paid the price for sin which is death.  Hebrews 10:10 “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Jesus took the penalty for my sins and yours so that we might be freed from having to pay sin’s price, which is death.  Romans 6:22-23 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

savedPrayer:   Lord Jesus, thank you for being my good shepherd and dying for me on the cross.  You took the punishment for my sins and gave me life, hope and freedom from the bondage of sin.  Thank you that through your blood I am covered and when God looks upon me He sees your righteous covering instead of my sin.  You promise that my sins are gone and buried in the depths of the sea and this gives me hope.  He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”  Micah 7:19  Amen.

Blessings to you as you ponder the power of His reconciliation and the hope of His righteousness imparted to you.

Linda

The Righteous King Arrives

The next prophecy used by Handel in the Messiah was in Zechariah 9:9-10.  He only uses a portion of these verses in the script.

Zechariah 9 9“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
    and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
    and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

These words point to Jesus’ coming at a special time.  This is just before the cross and Jesus enters Jerusalem mounted on a donkey.  The people praised Him that Palm Sunday waving branches as they sang His praises.  Matthew 21:7-9 “They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,  “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  Zechariah’s words were given hundreds of years before and Jesus fulfilled them exactly!  Zechariah also says that He will be righteous, coming to save and bringing peace to all nations that seek Him.  We see those completely fulfilled in Jesus’ life.   He came as the righteous Lord, Psalm 145:17 “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.”.   He came to bring righteousness to us, 1 Corinthians 1:30 “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”  He came to bring peace.  John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  Those that seek Him do not go away empty handed nor empty hearted.

Rejoice today in the righteousness of God, His Peace and  Jesus’ righteousness imparted to you and me to save us from our sins.

Linda

I AM your Righteousness

Lord RighteousnessOne of the most important Messianic prophesies in the Bible appears in Jeremiah 23.  Jeremiah wrote about the King who would come to reign in wisdom and justice with the power to save.  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’”  This prophecy was partially fulfilled when Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and died on the cross and rose from the dead.  There is also a future portion yet to be realized where Jesus will reign with wisdom and justice here in the land.  In the meantime, He is here reigning in our hearts with love, wisdom and justice indwelling us with His Holy Spirit.  His return and reign are still future to us.

God desires for us to be righteous in character through His Son, Jesus.   But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”  Romans 3:21-24   The Lord can be our righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead imputed His righteousness into our account and gave us life and victory over death when we believe in Him.  Titus 2:13-14 reminds us of our wait for Jesus’ return and what He accomplished when He came, Titus 2 14waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”   We are a people He saved for Himself to do His good works and spread the good news of redemption that is available through faith in Jesus.  Jesus is our Righteousness now and foreverHe covers our sins and makes us righteous before our Holy God.  

I am praising and thanking God that He is my Righteousness today.

Linda

 

The reality of my righteousness and God’s Righteousness

Psalm 119:137-144 focuses on God’s Righteousness as the psalmist says he sees God’s character in His Word.  137 Righteous are you, O Lordand right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness  and in all faithfulness.   Later in verse 147 he points to the righteousness of God and His Word that is eternal.  Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true.

Why is it important to know that God and His Word are righteous?  Righteous is by definition being morally right, just, virtuous, and upright.  If we do not have  a holy and righteous God, we are lost without hope.  In our sinful state, fallen and alienated by sin, there is no way for us to be made righteous.  God, in His mercy, had a plan to redeem us and make us right with Him.  Jesus was His answer to our sinfulness and through Him He made a way for us to put on God’s righteousness.  Romans 3-22 RighteousnessRomans 3:22-23 ” 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”   1 Corinthians 1:30 “30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  These are just a few of the many verses that speak of Jesus’ work on the cross that imputed God’s righteousness to us.  

The psalmist knew that he was not righteous.  He knew he was sinful and in verse 141 he says “Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts.”   He knew the truth of God’s righteousness and the truth of God’s Word as he ends this portion with verse 142, “Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.”   He knew that believing that he himself was righteous would lead to wrong thinking, pride, arrogance and self-boasting.  Knowing we can rely upon the rightness of God’s Word, we can depend upon the direction and guidance we receive as we read and study His Word.

Today as you reflect on these verses, think about your own attitude towards righteousness.  Do you assume you are a good person, righteous and worthy of praise from men?  When I begin thinking like that, I am reminded in humility of Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 64:6 ” We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.  Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,  and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

Praise be to Jesus, the one who saves and presents us in right standing before God!  Praise be to God that His Word is eternally true and guides us to live as He desires.

Linda

 

I am holy and I share in God’s heavenly calling.

Because I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am holy and I share in God’s heavenly calling.   This claim of faith comes from Hebrews 3:1 “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.”   Our holiness and our heavenly calling both come from and through Jesus.  Scripture teaches that our holiness, purity, cleanness comes through Jesus and His death on the cross.  Romans 3:22 in the Amplified Bible makes it very clear, “This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction,”   God is impartial and He desires that all receive His righteous through faith in Jesus.  Our heavenly calling comes through faith in Jesus.  In the gospel’s Jesus’ invitation to follow Him was referred to as a calling.  Matthew 9:9 “The Calling of MatthewAs Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.”  Paul, in speaking to the Ephesians, wrote in 4:1 “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”   Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”  

holinessSo what does this mean that you are holy and called by Jesus?  The state of being holy before God is life changing.  Because of our imputed holiness, we are spared the wrath of God because of our sin.  When God looks at us He sees the blood of Christ covering us, forgiving us of our sins.  The call to faith that we accepted when we made Christ our Savior and Lord is a life long journey with Jesus.  He transforms us in body and mind to be more and more like Him through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit.  That heavenly calling sets a path towards eternity with Him.   Are you feeling holy?  Perhaps you need to spend time in prayer and confession for those sins of omission and commission we commit each day.  Are you feeling called?  If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, YOU ARE CALLED.  Spend some time in prayer and Bible study to see what it is that God Jesus lovewants you to do as you follow Him.  We know for sure we are to tell others of Jesus and show Him to the world by our love.   Remember the author of Hebrews tells us to “fix our thoughts on Jesus”.  He is the source of our power and hope transforming our lives.

JesusFixing my thoughts on Jesus,

Linda