Archive for January, 2015

Daily Devotional Salvation: Are You Saved?

 

Daily Devotional Salvation:  Are You Saved?

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Are You Saved?

Have you been saved? Have you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? It is a question that is almost exclusive to Christianity.

The word saved in the Bible had three tenses. We were saved from the penalty of sin the very moment we put our trust in Christ Jesus as our savior. We are now being saved from the power of sin by the process of progressive sanctification. Moreover, we shall be saved from the presence of sin at the coming of our Lord in His glory.

We were justified by faith in Christ, we are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit and we shall be glorified when Christ returns for us.

The word salvation is related to the good news of the atoning death of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

God has delivered us from the penalty and power of sin and has preserved us with His gift of eternal life. It is the sum of all blessings bestowed by God through Jesus Christ.

It is only by the name of Jesus Christ that we can ever be saved. Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” “For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

In salvation God deals with the whole person: spirit, mind and body. The gospel of salvation includes justification, sanctification and glorification.

In the context of this great verse, the apostle Paul reminds his readers, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Romans 1:18-19).

Therefore, we are all without excuse. “And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things” (Romans 2:2). What “things”? Paul tells us in vivid detail in 1:18-3:20.

The Jews were guilty of breaking God’s revealed law. “For it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified” (Romans 2:13). The only problem is no one, but Jesus Christ ever lived up to the Law. All stand guilty before God. “There is none righteous, not even one” (3:10). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v. 23).

In vivid contrast Jesus Christ revealed the perfect righteousness of God.

However, not only have the Jewish people broken the written Law of God, but “When Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:14-16).

What was the problem? Again all stand guilty before God. “For there is no partiality with God. For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves” (Romans 2:11-14).

What is the solution since we are all depraved sinners? Jesus Christ is our only hope. Salvation is a gift of God by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:22-25; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 5:6-8, 10:9-10, 13:8-11).

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17, NASB 1995).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Are You One of the Elect of God?

Daily Devotional: Are You One of the Elect of God?

 

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Are You One of the Elect of God?

Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me shall come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

The answer to the question, are you one of the elect of God, is answered by another question: Have you believed on Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If you have responded to His free grace, and have believed on Him alone for salvation, you should know that you are one who was given to Jesus before the foundation of the world.

When Jesus was praying to the Father the night before His sacrificial death on the cross He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life” (John 17:1-2).

Jesus is referring to the covenant between God the Father and God the Son when God gave to Jesus in salvation that great company for whom He would go to the cross and die.

His death provided the objective and judicial basis whereby the elect would be saved.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of that day in his poem of the Suffering Servant. “But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:10-11).

Jesus went to the cross the next day knowing that His death would secure the salvation of all whom God had given Him (Jn. 17:2, 6, 8, 11, 12). He had the satisfaction that night of knowing that His substitutionary death would secure our salvation.

Jesus, as our Sovereign Savior, has authority over all mankind to give salvation to all whom God has given Him. Thank God, because we were dead in our trespasses and sins and unable to come to Christ unless He first gives eternal life to us (Eph. 2:1-5). If the Holy Spirit is pleading with you, please respond to Him now and receive God’s free gift of eternal life. This is the very evidence you are longing for because of His dealings with you. He raises the spiritually dead and gives life.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. He did not have to save anyone. It is His sovereign grace that reaches down to us and draws us to Himself. Will you not respond to His pleading even now? He has the authority and power to break our rebellious will, and quicken our dead spirit so that we will respond to Him in faith.

Jesus Christ gives eternal life to everyone the Father has given Him. He is just in following His eternal plan of redemption whether you and I agree or not. He is the Sovereign King. He shows mercy to whom He will. God is showing mercy to you now. Will you respond to His pleas?

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

How do you know you are one of the elect of God? Have you believed on Jesus?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Are You in Adam or in Christ?

Daily Devotional: Are You in Adam or in Christ?

 

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

Are You in Adam or in Christ?

Charles Hodge asked a crucial question: “If God requires one thing, and we present another, how can we be saved? If He has revealed a method in which He can be just and yet justify the sinner, and if we reject that method and insist upon pursuing a different way, how can we hope to be accepted?”

The safest answer, of course, is in the Scriptures. What has God revealed?

The first man sinned, but not just once; Adam sinned many times. Before he sinned the first time he was righteous. His righteousness was of his own doing, as a created being. It was the righteousness of a man. However, Adam never had the righteousness of Jesus Christ upon him. What he lost was his own self righteousness.

When you and I put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior we are not merely given back a human righteousness that Adam had before the fall. We are given the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. God gives us “much more” in abundance, a superabundance of grace. He gives us the full weight of His perfect righteousness.

Adam did not stand in his own righteousness. He fell. If we attempt to stand in our own righteousness we, too, shall fall.

The gift of God in Christ far surpasses the effects of Adam’s sin and all other transgressions we have committed.

The humbling fact is we were all in Adam once, and we fell in him. He brought sin and death to the human race by his own sin.

How can you and I escape the effects of the fall of Adam on us?

We can stand in a divine righteousness provided by our divine substitute that will never be taken from us. It is God’s gift to us in His grace. The poet expressed it beautifully:

Jesus thy Blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress.

The apostle Paul wrote that we have received, “God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

We “reign in life” even now through Jesus Christ. We have been elevated to a position far above what Adam had before his fall. We not only have been “recovered from the fall, but made to reign through Jesus Christ.”

The righteousness of Jesus Christ has been put to our account, put upon us and it is a righteousness in abundance, ever superabundance.

Because it is of divine grace, all of the glory belongs to God alone. Adam stood at the head of the human race and brought death upon all, so our Lord Jesus stood for man and brings life to all who believe on Him.

Every one of us is in Adam. However, the most important question is, are you in Christ? We have Christ only through faith.

We are under grace because we stand before God as justified men. Grace is the state of justification. Because we have been justified, we remain justified and we can never be condemned.

We have been justified by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. There is no other way to have a right standing with a just and holy God. “Oh to grace how great a debtor.”

God was under no duress or compulsion to save us. Nothing made Jesus Christ die for our sins on the cross. Nothing made God credit the perfect righteousness of Christ to our account. God did it because He chose to do so out of grace.

If you are objecting to God’s revealed word saying how can I be saved by something someone else has done fore me, it is probably because you are not saved.

The good news for all in Adam is that a righteous God by a judicial act declares sinful men to be in a right standing before Him, not on the basis of their own merits because they have none as sinners, but only on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done by dying in our place on the cross. Jesus took the penalty of death for our sins upon Himself and died on our behalf. Now those sins have been punished and God imputes the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to our account.

You are in Adam, but are you in Christ?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Are You a Saint?

Daily Devotional: Are You a Saint?

 

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Are You a Saint?

In His great priestly prayer Jesus was praying for His disciples, present and future. He said to His Father, “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” (John 17:19).

Did Jesus mean that He wished to become holier? Was He praying for sinless perfection? Of course, not, that would have been impossible for the infinitely holy One to become holier. He was already perfectly holy.

Jesus was using the correct definition of the word saint. Jesus was setting Himself apart to the task of making atonement for our sins on the cross so we could become set apart for God. A saint is one who is “set apart” for God’s unique possession and purposes. The setting apart as a saint is something God does apart from human endeavor.

The person who believes on Jesus Christ is set apart when God reaches down in His grace and mercy through the person and work of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him spiritually and sets him apart for His own possession.

One of the great truths of the reformation is, “Every Christian is a saint, and every saint is a Christian.”

Every born again believer in Christ is set apart from the world system and no longer belongs to its way of life. The believer has a new principle, new nature, new kingdom, new master, new loyalties, new purpose and new agenda in life.

“All Christians are saints, and all saints must increasingly be saintly.” Because of this new principle in life, the saint will become progressively more and more like His Lord and Master Jesus Christ. The new nature will produce a new kind of life.

Moreover, because you are a “saint” you will continue to grow in your steadfast commitment to Christ. You will persevere in the Christian life. You will persevere because of the perseverance of God with His saints. You will be able to stand firm to the end because God is faithful to His saints to the end. Because He perseveres with us we must persevere. We must be faithful because He is faithful.

How is all this possible? How can we who are weak and feeble spiritually be saintly?

It is because you are “in Christ” and He is “in you.” Christ cannot dwell in someone who is not set apart to Him. The saint has been joined to Christ in one spiritual body so that what is true of Christ is also true of the saint.

We now live and walk and have our being in a whole new spiritual environment. The apostle Paul says Christ has “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). That is what it means to be a saint. He has set us apart to be with Himself in His holy presence.

We have this vital union with Christ that is unchanging. It is the very essence of our salvation.

Apart from Christ our spiritual condition is absolutely hopeless. However, in Him our spiritual life is glorious to the extreme.

Our sainthood gets eternity into the picture. It changes our attitude toward our current circumstances in life.

God gives us grace and power each day to be the kind of people He wants us to be. There is no other means of living the life of a saint. The source of our new life is in the election of God the Father before the foundation of the world. Moreover, the fruit of this new life is the glorification as the full-grown child of God.

Are you enjoying your sainthood?

How is your practice as a saint of God?

From whence do you draw your strength to live like a saint?

How then shall we live since God has set us apart to Himself?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

 

Daily Devotional: Are You the Christ, the Son of God?

 

Daily Devotional:  Are You the Christ, the Son of God?

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

Are You the Christ,
the Son of God?

At the Jewish trial of Jesus, the high priest Caiaphas found himself in a dilemma. He was losing his case before the Roman governor Pilate. The evidence did not add up. The false witnesses did not agree with one another (Mark 14:59; Matt. 26:59-62).

The star witness did not show. According to Jewish law, Judas who arranged for the arrest of the offender had to be the person to make the formal legal accusation. Because Judas realized he had betrayed innocent blood he did not arrive at the hastily arranged trials and the Sanhedrine lost valuable time trying to come up with witnesses to sustain their accusations. By not being at the trial Judas was actually testifying the opposite that Jesus was innocent.

Pilate, knowing Jesus was innocent tried to set Him free.

Jesus had remained silent before His accusers, and this astonished Pilate, and frustrated the high priest.

Suddenly in desperation Caiaphas turned on Jesus and demanded, “I charge You under oath by the living God that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63).

The form of the question put to Jesus was brilliant. If Caiaphas had asked if Jesus were the Messiah, it would not have been a capital offense.

Furthermore, concerning the question of being the Son of God Jesus earlier had quoted Psalm 82:6, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.” In the context God was calling the Jewish judges “gods,” therefore they could not accuse Him of blasphemy for calling Himself God’s Son. God was not speaking of a divine nature in man when He called them “gods” (Ex. 21:6; 22:8). Moreover, they called themselves “gods” because they were created in the image and likeness of God, and were His representatives. The point Jesus was making was if God calls human judges “gods” then why should they stone Him? He proved to the Jews that when He calls Himself the Son of God, He did not blaspheme God (Jn. 10:34-36). His whole life is done in the perfect will of the Father. Jesus uses the Psalm to contrast His divine sonship, prior to time, with theirs which began only in the present time.

However, the high priest so phrased his calculating question in such a way that He would have to respond to it. “I adjure You by the living God,” he asked Jesus, “that you tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

How did he know to ask that question? Judas had instructed him.

Now if Jesus answered, “Yes” to the statement it would be blasphemy to His accusers.

Jesus spoke up for the first time in the proceedings saying, “You have said it yourself” (Matt. 26:64). This is an affirmative reply in the original language. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied (NIV). “Plainly, I am” (Mk. 14:62).

Then Jesus quoted the Old Testament prophet Daniel to give evidence to the declaration. “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heavens” (Matt. 26:64).

Jesus clarified for His judges the kind of Messiah and Son of God He was by quoting Daniel 7:13-14. “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”

Caiaphas got more than he wanted. He got a conviction from the lips of the accused, but he also got the powerful evidence that will one day convict Him before God’s great throne of justice. The day will come when Jesus will be the Judge of Caiaphas.

Jesus quoted a passage that will be fulfilled at His Second Coming (Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Rev. 11:15; Psa. 2:6-9; Phil. 2:11). The Son of Man will establish “an everlasting dominion.” His kingdom will never be conquered and will never come to an end. He will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords for all eternity (Matt. 24:30; Mk. 13:26; 14:62; Lk. 21:27; Rev. 1:7, 13; 14:14).

“The high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ ‘He is worthy of death,’ they answered” (Matt. 26:65-55).

The judges came to the right conclusion, but the wrong judgment. According to the testimony of the Jewish Scriptures Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God.” But the judges refused to personally believe the evidence before them. They remained in their stubborn, willful unbelief. They were blind spiritually and dead in their trespasses and sins. A dark veil remained over their minds.

Jesus is the only legitimate Jewish Messiah. He is the King of righteousness (Isa. 32:1-10; Jer. 23:5-8; 30:8-9; 33:14-18); the Divine servant of Yahweh (Isa. 52:13-15); born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Lk. 1:26-30; Matt. 1:24-25); in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Lk. 2:1-7); from the royal line of King David (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Isa. 11:1-23; Matt. 1:1-16; Lk. 3:23-37); performed the works of righteousness (Isa. 61:1-2; Lk. 4:16-21; Matt. 11:1-6); the coming Messiah Prince (Dan. 2, 7, 9, 12); entered Jerusalem as a king (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:1-11); betrayed by a friend (Psa. 41:9; Matt. 26:14-15; 27:3-8); the precious fountain opened (Zech. 13:1-7); the Messenger of the Covenant (Mal. 3:1); the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:1), etc.

Jesus Christ is the only unique Son of God (Psa. 2:7; Isa. 9:6; 7:14; John 3:16). He is God with us (Isa. 7:14; John 1:14, 18; Lk. 1:35; Rev. 21:3; John 20:31). He is the child with many names (Isa. 9:1-6), and our blessed hope (11:1-12).

“Why do we need any more witnesses? . . . What do you think?” We, too, are in the same position as Caiaphas and his friends. What will you decide to do with Jesus based upon the facts from God’s Word? Just like Caiaphas your decision will determine your eternal destiny.

For a more detailed study of these great evidences in Scriptures, please go to our studies on Christ in the Old Testament.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Appropriating Christ Daily

Daily Devotional: Appropriating Christ Daily

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

Appropriating Christ Daily

Just as it was the supreme mission of Jesus to give eternal life, so it is the supreme responsibility of the believer to appropriate that life.

God contemplates the believer even now in the image of Christ. We can rejoice as those who are already justified.

Our pardon is full and it is secure. God put the terms of salvation so high that we could never measure up to them, and therefore has saved us by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Therefore, the “title-deed” to our salvation is so high that we can never void it because “we are hidden with Christ in God.” God keeps the original copy of His eternal covenant with us in heaven with Himself. The Lord Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is our only reason for acceptance with God. Nothing can remove us from our standing with Him because the righteousness of Christ is upon us by our vital union with Him.

Our imputed righteousness is still in Christ, and not in us, even when we are made partakers of the benefit of it.

When we are in Christ we can look back upon our lives and see that everything in time past of our unregenerate lives ended at the cross. Moreover, we look at our lives since we believed on Christ as our Savior and see it in the risen Christ in a fresh new perfect blessing in eternal life.

All that we are and all that we need to live the Christian life are found in Christ and His perfect provision for us.

In Christ our perfect righteousness we see all that we shall become when He is finished with us. Being in Christ is the greatest motive for living a pure life. When we realize who we are in Christ we want to become that in practice.

Our justification pledges a holy life just as truly as it pledges eternal life on the part of Him who gives it to us. The apostle Paul wrote, “He also did predestinate us to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).

Low views of both justification and sanctification will produce low advancement in the likeness of Christ, whereas high views of justification and sanctification will produce a high level of motivation to grow in His image and likeness.

Evidence of a vital union with the Lord is found in the constant flowing into us of the life that is in Him and the death which He died.

How is that possible? Communion with Christ in our daily life ought to make us holy in practice. There is no escaping the words of Jesus, “Abide in Me, and I in you.” We die to sin and are alive to the new life in Christ.

Our faith rests upon Christ. With every assault upon the soul we hear the Spirit of God whispering the words of the Father into our spiritual ear, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” The blood of Jesus Christ alone answers every accusation against us. My soul responds in faith saying, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

We appropriate God’s perfect provision for the present life in Christ and our eternal life in the future by trusting Him. In response to His love toward us we obey His word. “If you abide in Me you will keep My commandments.” Any obedience problem is truly a love problem.

Christ is received into the soul as we feed upon Him. There is a repeated partaking of the One who is and gives eternal life. We grow from life to life in the new person in Christ and we grow from death to death in the dying of the old self. We are to “put on” Christ, and “take off” the old self. Because we have been clothed in His righteousness we want to become like Him in our daily practice.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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