Archive for January, 2016

Daily Devotion: Living In The Spirit

Daily Devotion: Living In The Spirit

Message by Wil Pounds

Living in the Spirit
Living in the Spirit is living a transparent life. It is a life of obedience to the LORD God, and it is the very life of Jesus Christ Himself given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Has God found in you a person who is willing to obey Him completely? Can He trust you with the pearl of greatest price?

If I am going to live in the Spirit I must say no to self. There are plenty of would be followers of Christ who would follow Him halfway, but not all the way. The other half of the problem is self. Am I willing to die to self?

The normal Christian life is one that is willing to follow the Holy Spirit in complete obedience, without reservation, and disown self. It means to commit yourself literally, utterly, completely in unreserved obedience to Him.

Obedience to the Holy Spirit means freedom. There is great freedom in the spiritual life that comes as we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit. The reason it is so freeing is that it is cut loose from subtle selfishness.

“If you love Me; you will obey Me,” Jesus said. When we obey Him we are walking in perfect freedom. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). A little later the apostle Paul writes, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (v. 18).

“The requirement of the Law” is fulfilled in the believers, “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

The idea of “walking” is literally “to walk about,” meaning the habitual way a person conducts his life.

The apostle Paul speaks of this continual habitual action again in Galatians 5:16 when he says to “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

Who is habitually ordering my life? Do I seek complete obedience to my will, my desires, my ambitions, my goals, and my glory? When I am obeying my Lord I am enjoying perfect liberty because He is in control.

George Matheson said, “Make me captive, Lord, and then I shall be free.” When we are free in Christ we are bound to everything to which He is bound, i.e., righteousness, holiness, love, etc.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). When I am living in the Spirit I am living in freedom. Only then are we free to live the Christian life.

The result of this freedom to live in the Spirit is the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit reproduces the likeness of Christ in us. Here is a cluster of eight characteristics of Jesus Christ.

When we live in the Spirit we have an abundance of grace for daily living (2 Cor. 12:9). When we are living or “walking in the Spirit” we are living a Spirit-controlled life. We are constantly, moment by moment, filled with the Spirit.

Living in the Spirit is a life constantly, consciously, and definitely subjected to the Spirit. It is a life that has a consuming desire for the Holy Spirit to be in control over our every thought, word, and deed. When we live in the Spirit we live a life that is unceasingly controlled by the Holy Spirit.

We cannot live the normal Christian life unless the Holy Spirit is in constant control.

If I am not living in the Spirit, I am living under the control of my carnal flesh, which is opposed, to everything God is for.

The Holy Spirit is a divine Person who controls another person. As we yield ourselves to Him He uses us to accomplish God’s will in our lives and ministries. He produces His fruit in us. Are we allowing Him to be in constant control of our lives? Are we cooperating with Him in all things?

We have been given freedom to walk in the life of the Spirit. Let’s exercise that freedom.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: God is Able

Daily Devotion: God is Able

Message by Wil Pounds

God is Able

What is your favorite doxology in the Bible? Mine is found in Ephesians 3:20-21.

The context is a prayer for God’s high purposes for His redeemed people. Paul’s prayer is that every believer “be filled up to all the fullness of God” (v. 19).

No Christian ever has to worry about having inadequate resources to live the Christian life. God wants us to experience His fullness. The means of this fullness is the Holy Spirit.

His prayer is that every believer may be strengthened internally through the Holy Spirit every day and in every circumstance (v. 16). He is our Comforter, Helper or Encourager, who is called along side to help in time of need. He helps us to do the right thing at the right time under all circumstances. He is our competence to live the Christian life.

He also prays that believers will be growing in their availability to Christ (v. 17a). We are Christians because we have Christ indwelling us, but Paul’s prayer is that Christ will take fuller possession of every aspect of the believer’s life. It is the idea of Jesus Christ settling down in our hearts and making Himself at home and controlling us as the rightful owner of the home. The same word (katoikeo) is used of the fullness of the Godhead abiding in Christ and of Christ abiding in the believer’s life. The verb denotes a permanent habitation as opposed to an occasional visit.

Moreover, Paul prays that we will be firmly rooted or fixed, and grounded in love (vv. 17b-18). God’s love nourishes the believer because it is on a solid foundation. Paul prays that the believer will grow up in the soil of rich love.

He prays that believers will comprehend the greatness of God’s love for us (v. 19). We can never exhaust the love of Christ by our knowledge of it. What Paul is praying for is a true knowledge of God’s love for us. We can know that what we perceive is the true love of Christ. His prayer is that we grow in our awareness of that love for us.

The apostle Paul tells us that the believer is already “made full in Christ” (Col. 2:9–10). We are “complete” meaning “filled full.” This pictures our eternal position in Christ Jesus. We are complete in Him, however in practice we enjoy only the grace that we appropriate by faith. We have all the resources we need from God to live the Christian life. By the presence of the Holy Spirit we can appropriate them.

The desire of Paul’s heart is that we fully experience the love of Christ which surpasses human knowledge (v. 19). His prayer reaches a crescendo in his petition that we may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God. The petition is staggering. The fullness is God’s own fullness, that which fills Himself. He prays that we may be filled up to or unto all the fullness that is in God Himself. God wants us to experience His fullness. A more accurate translation is, “Filled unto all the fullness of God.” The measure of our fullness is God Himself (Eph. 4:11-16). We will reach the limit only when we have reached His fullness.

The staggering thought is that God will fill us with all His fullness. That is an infinite thing that will take place through all eternity. Paul is praying that we will be continuously filled forever as God out of His infinite resources continually pours Himself into His redeemed people.

As His great prayer is expressed he breaks forth in a great doxology of praise to the Lord God. He stands on the edge of the infinite. That we should “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” who “is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us.” He is able to do “exceeding abundantly beyond.” What God is doing is immeasurable. It is superabundantly, quite beyond all measure. Paul uses the highest form of comparison imaginable. He is involved in something that will be worthwhile a million years from now. God will keep on doing in eternity what He is doing for us in this life.

Paul’s prayer and doxology run together with the plea that we be filled forever to the measure of all the fullness of God, which is immeasurable. God is always doing what is “exceeding abundantly beyond” what we ask or imagine because it is His power that is at work within us to accomplish His will.

Now unto Him
Who is able above all things to do
Exceedingly abundantly above
Beyond all that we ask or think
Abundantly above all that we ask or think
Superabundantly, over, above and beyond all that we ask or think
According to the power that works in us
To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily devotion: The Problem of Evil and Suffering

Daily devotion: The Problem of Evil and Suffering

Message by Wil Pounds

The Problem of Evil and Suffering

The greatest theological challenge Christians face is the problem of evil and suffering. Never have we had a greater demand to think biblically. We must speak the truth with integrity when people are desperate to hear it and no one else seems to know where to look for honest answers.

There is not a day that goes by that we are constantly called upon to minister at senseless accidents, terrible disasters, crimes against innocence, or someone suffering from a devastating disease. People demand some enlightenment. Perhaps the most difficult situations are those when the innocent suffer at the sinful hands of others.

In times of tragedy and crisis pastors are called upon to speak words of comfort and encouragement when no one else has any idea what to say. We are supposed to know what to say when nothing seems appropriate to say. Where do you go for such wisdom and guidance?

Jesus had a way of saying exactly what needed to be said in every situation. In Luke 13:1-8, Jesus was informed of a tragic event. Pontius Pilate perpetuated an atrocity in which innocent Galileans were killed in the Temple precincts in Jerusalem. The blood of the Galileans was mingled with the sacrifices in the Temple and therefore desecrated the Temple. A greater horror cannot be imagined in Jerusalem.

Jesus asked, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all the Galileans because they suffered this fate?”

What was the thinking of those who came with the horrible news? They assumed that these Galilean victims died because they were greater sinners. Perhaps they thought that they were more righteous because they were alive.

To make His point even clearer Jesus reminded His listeners of the tower that had fallen in Siloam, killing 18 men. Were they greater sinners than those who lived in Jerusalem? Jesus made it very clear, “No.” He said to them, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

In this passage, Jesus dealt with both moral and natural evil. The murder of the innocent Galileans was clearly a moral evil of terrorism by cruel Roman soldiers.

On the other hand, natural evil comes without a moral agent. It happens when a tornado, hurricane, or earthquake wrecks havoc in a city or nation.

Superficial answers to the problem of evil won’t cut it. How could a morally good God allow this tragedy to happen? How can a God of love permit nature’s destruction?

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah said long ago that we will submit our thinking to a sovereign God, or we will try to invent a god of our own imagination. The ancient Romans and Greeks thought God can be good, or He can be all-powerful, but He cannot be good and all-powerful. Modern man seems to think God is somehow limited in His knowledge and power.

However, the Word of God fully declares that God is both omnipotent and omniscient. He is not limited in His knowledge and power. The sovereign Creator rules over all His creation. Not even one atom or molecule of the universe is outside His active rule. The modern humanist wants to do away with the sovereignty of God. But a limited sovereignty is no sovereignty at all. They seem to think you can do away with God and have it any way you want it.

The moral attributes of God make it clear that He is not the author of evil. God is absolutely righteous and good. God defines all good, not man. The Bible does not tell us why God has allowed sin, but we do know that God has demonstrated victory over sin at the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

To allow evil does not deny the sovereignty of God and His active will. God is sovereign, and He is good. He always has the last word in our lives.

Our problem with good and evil is basically a problem of human sin and depravity. Sin is an attack upon God’s personhood and character. Man is not basically good; he is a sinner. That is not a compliment (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:23). It is a statement of fact. Evil is real and it is deadly (Rom. 6:23).

Our sin problem can be solved only by the power of God. We will all stand before the judgment seat of God and give an account of our lives. Unless we are found in Christ, we will spend an eternity in hell separated from the Lord God.

The problem of sin and evil becomes personal because we have all sinned in God’s eyes. Jesus used the news of the falling tower and the tragic murder of the Galileans to call men to repentance. In His grace He calls us to humble ourselves and repent when we suddenly face the tragic events in life.

“Unless you repent, you will likewise perish” is just as true in our day. We, too, are in immediate danger of God’s judgment, but for the grace of God.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: How Can I Know God’s Will for My Life?

Daily Devotion: How Can I Know God’s Will for My Life?

Message by Wil Pounds

How Can I Know God’s Will for My Life?

“I am convinced that nothing in this world happens outside the will of God—literally nothing. There are no failures, and there are no loose ends in the ultimate plan of God.” Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Why?

Someone correctly said, “God is too kind to do anything cruel . . . Too wise to make a mistake, . . . too deep to explain Himself. When we know the Who we can stop asking, ‘Why?’”

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:27-28, “He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Those who “love God” are “those who are called according to His purposes.” God causes everything to work for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes. That is Paul’s deep personal conviction. Mere “things” do not work together for good or evil. “And we know” in all our suffering and pain God is working out His great eternal purpose. No matter what the circumstances in our lives that purpose will not be overthrown, and it culminates in final glory to God.

Paul’s focus is on our eternal sovereign God at work, not some “evolutionary optimism.”

Let’s be quite honest all things from our limited human perspective do not always seem in the moment of crisis to be turning out for our good. At least, we don’t in the pain and emotion feel that way. From our limited knowledge bad things do happen to Christians, and at times it seems that evil is winning.

However, when we get God into the picture the “final good,” or “true good,” is “good” for those who “love God and are called according to His purposes.”

Those who have responded to the “effectual call” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can look back over events leading to their putting their faith in Christ and see God’s hand in it all.

Often we go into the presence of God to pay and we do not have the slightest idea what to pay for, but we do know that we will grow in His grace and the knowledge of Him as the Holy Spirit works in us to accomplish His will. The Holy Spirit is interceding on our behalf that God’s perfect will be done.

In discovering and doing the will of God it is most important that we seek to become Christlike in all that we do. Our ultimate goal is to be conformed to the image and likeness of Christ.

I am convinced that is the perfect will of God. We do not need to know all the details, but to walk by faith in Christ knowing the Holy Spirit is guiding and leading us that God’s will is done. Is that not the thrust of what Paul is saying in the context of these verses? In the face of difficult circumstances ask God for wisdom (Jas. 1:5) because “God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” We have the assurance, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of light, with whom there is no variation, or shifting of shadow” (v. 17).

The Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” He knows what the will of God is, and “He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes” (v. 26-28).

The Holy Spirit is praying for you and me right now in these areas according to the sovereign and efficacious will of God. I can be quite confident of that, and even quite bold, knowing that His sovereign will and purposes will be accomplished in my life. “And we know” says the apostle.

He gives us wisdom and He is praying for us that we will obey Him. We need to make wise decisions based on His leading. Make yourself available to Him.

God orders the events in our lives according to His sovereign plan to conform us to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Every choice we make in life should be around that central purpose in our lives. Is the person you are dating causing you to become more like Jesus Christ in your thinking, behavior and attitudes? Does your vocation or profession open doors for you to share Jesus Christ with lost sinners?

I am often asked, “Does God want me to marry this person?” My response is will that person be used of God to conform you to the likeness of Jesus Christ? God does have a perfect plan for your life, and He will keep bringing people and circumstances into your life to knock off the rough edges of your personality and fashion and shape you into His likeness. I am convinced that in the sovereign love and wisdom of God He causes all things to “converge upon and contribute to that goal.” Even many of the evil things that come into our lives He uses in His wisdom and grace to work for our good and His glory. God will not allow even one single thing to work evil to the people of God (Romans 8:28-37). Do I have my mind and heart set on God’s determinate and eternal purpose? Then I can not go wrong because I am involved in something that will still be worthwhile a million years from now.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Our One Supreme Passion

Daily Devotion: Our One Supreme Passion

Message by Wil Pounds

Our One Supreme Passion

Authentic Christianity is God-centered because it loves the Lord God with all the heart, mind soul and strength. Evidence of a true knowledge of God is an obsession with the glory of God manifest in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The one consuming passion of the believer is the glory of God because he has witnessed the grandeur, majesty and excellence of the Lord God through the eyes of the Lord Jesus and he can never remain the same thereafter.

The glory of God is the sum weight of all the attributes of God. It sums up all that He is in the awesome beauty of His divine perfections. He is perfectly and infinitely glorious.

The grace of God frees us and enables us to live for His glory. Apart from His enabling grace we can do nothing that will honor and please a righteous and holy God. What we do in our abilities will only dishonor His glorious Name. If I touch it with my hands I ruin it for I am sinful. Only if what I do is covered by His atoning sacrifice will it be acceptable to a holy God.

It is our responsibility to ascribe the glory that is due to His wonderful person. We cannot add to His already perfect glory. We glory in His Name when we worship Him and live with the conviction that His perfections are characteristic of His person.

We live in a way that can mirror His glory. To sin is to bring dishonor and fall short of His glory. The passion of the Christian is to live a life-style that is to the praise of His glory. If that is our supreme passion it will redefine our daily life, and we will not be able to separate our personal lives from our worship of the living God.

It is tragic to see a self-centered, man-centered, humanistic pseudo-christianity in our churches.

If our supreme passion is to bring glory to the LORD God it will redefine our manner of life, our goals, methods and purposes in ministry. It means we will live every moment of our lives to the praise of His glory. The focus is on Him alone. He will share His glory with no one.

An authentic, vital Christianity results in a consecration of the whole person to the Lord Jesus Christ. It takes seriously God’s purpose in our sanctification as to transform us in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. God’s mystery in bringing glory to Himself is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Our responsibility in ministry is to “proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ” (v. 28).

We are being transformed as we behold Christ with our spiritual eyes. The apostle Paul said, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Our responsibility is to “behold” Him in the glory of His divine character with our spiritual eyes. The nearer we keep to Christ the more rapid the change in us. We become like those with whom we associate. “When He shall appear we will be like Him” (1 John 3:2). Our character will be conformed to Christ. If we are to become like Christ we must live closer and closer to Him. We must know Him and see life through His eyes.

As we are being transformed into the image of Christ men will see a glimpse of Him also. Our lives are transformed. It will become evident by the way we conduct our businesses, and our personal lives that we have been with Jesus. Christ is patient, kind, not jealous, does not brag, is not arrogant, etc. That is what it means to be conformed to the image of Christ. Righteousness that is Christ-like bears evidence of His righteousness and therefore the Father is glorified.

Moreover, the transforming secret is “Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). If Christ is living in me I cannot fail to be changed from glory to glory in His image. If we abide in Him, and He in us, it is impossible not to bear fruit in His likeness (John 15:5). By faith we put on Christ. We must let Him live in us and work in us to be and to do His good pleasure.

It is our responsibility to abandon ourselves entirely to Him. Jesus Christ comes to abide in us, and is Himself our life. It begins with a commitment to Christ and a daily commitment of our whole lives to Christ. We hand over to Him our thoughts, our words, our walk, etc. Lord Jesus, I give myself to You, and I move in with Him. We abide in Him. He abides in us. By faith we take off the old person and put on the new in the likeness of Christ. By faith we reckon ourselves dead unto sin, and alive unto God. We are just as dead as we are alive. By faith we realize that our every day life is Christ living in us. By faith we allow the living, loving, glorious, risen Christ to become our dwelling place. The bond with Christ is so powerful that it is described and our being in Christ and His dwelling in us. We are His new dwelling place! We are continually transformed as we allow Him to reign and rule within us. He subdues all things unto Himself (2 Cor. 5:17). It is the living Christ working in us that transforms and conforms us to Christ.

Has Jesus Christ become the one consuming supreme passion of your life? It liberates the soul and frees you to be all that God wants you to be in Christ Jesus. I invite you to join me in this love affair with such a wonderful glorious Lord and Savior. There is none other like Him. This supreme passion to glorify God defines the Christian’s way of life, including our witness and our worship.

There is no greater passion of the soul than to live in expectation for that glory to be manifest through all eternity by redeemed people from every tribe and nation before His throne. We will join in that glorious redeemed body singing:

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” . . . And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Revelation 4:8, 11; 5:9, 12).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

Daily Devotion: Who Is Jesus Christ?

Daily Devotion: Who Is Jesus Christ?

Message by Wil Pounds

 

Who is Jesus Christ?

In a hot debate with a group of hostile religious leaders Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56).

In their rush to react in emotional excitement they weren’t paying attention to what Jesus said so they concluded, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” (v. 57).

In response to their question Jesus made one of the most profound statements about His deity. “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM” (v. 58).

Who is this man? Is He God? Who is this “I AM”? Who is Jesus Christ?

Make no mistake Jesus was claiming to have existed before the Jewish patriarch Abraham was born. He was claiming an eternal preexistence—“Before Abraham was born, I am.”

When Jesus used the name “I AM” He was actually using the divine name by which the God of Israel had revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:13-14). God revealed Himself to Moses as “I am who I am.” “I AM” is the name for God that Jesus takes to Himself. With this name for deity He claimed to be Yahweh which is the very word for Jehovah or LORD.

The Jews listening to Jesus immediately recognized His claim to be God. The Jewish leaders knew what Jesus was saying. They clearly understood His speech. Because they were so inferioritied, they picked up stones to kill Him for blasphemy.

This was not the only time Jesus directly or indirectly claimed to be God’s equal.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). Everything Jesus taught when referring to the Old Testament related indirectly to His claim to deity. Luke 24:25-27, 45-47 makes this claim of Jesus quite clear.

When Jesus forgave sins, He was well aware that He was claiming to do what only Jehovah can do. As God, He claimed to be able to send the Holy Spirit of God to indwell His followers.

But Jesus even claimed a unique relationship with the heavenly Father. No Jew in Jesus’ day ever spoke of God directly as “my Father.” Jesus clearly was the exception. He claimed an exclusive relationship to the Father.

“I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:30). Because of His unique relationship with the Father, He taught His disciples to refer to the Father as “our Father who art in heaven.”

Moreover, Jesus equated a person’s attitude toward Himself as His attitude to God. To known Him was to know God the Father (Jn. 8:19; 14:9, 16-17). To look into the face of Jesus was to see God (Jn. 12:45; 14:9). To trust in Him was to believe in God (Jn. 12:44; 14:1). To reject Him is to reject God and His offer of eternal life (Jn. 15:23; 1 Jn. 4:15). To worship Him was to honor and worship God the Father (Jn. 5:23; 1 Jn. 4:2-3).

Ultimately your response to the question “Who is Jesus Christ?” determines where you will spend eternity.

If Jesus is God, He has a right to my allegiance. If not I can well afford to pay no attention to Him. But what if Jesus really is God? Then you cannot afford to be indifferent. He did not leave us with that option.

Will it be God in the flesh, or your own god?

If it is self you may gain the whole world, but you will lose your own soul in hell.

Have you responded, “My Lord and my God!”? Is He your Adonai! Elohim! Yahweh! Jehovah! LORD?

What do you choose to do with Jesus?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Do You See What I See?

Daily Devotion: Do You See What I See?

Message by Wil Pounds

Do You See What I See?

“Christ in you the hope of glory,” wrote the apostle Paul. It is one of the greatest blessings of the Christian life that we share the image of Jesus Christ and go “from glory to glory.”

“We all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NET).

Every believer has the privilege of entering into the holy of holies and enjoying an intimate communion with God.

“Glory” as used in the Bible is a quality belonging to God. The word “glory” suggests something which radiates from the one who has it, leaving an indelible impression behind.

In the Old Testament “glory” is seldom used for the honor shown to men, but it is frequently used for the honor brought or given to God. His glory and power is manifest or shown forth.

“Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalm 24:7-10).

We are constantly reminded in the Scriptures that the LORD God will not share His glory with another (Isa. 42:8; 48:11).

The Hebrew word kabod brings out the luminous, manifestation of God’s person, and His glorious revelation of Himself (Isa. 6:3; Ex. 33:17-23; 34:29-35; Num. 14:10, 21ff; Hab. 2:14; Psa. 72:18-19).

The Lord Jesus Christ shares in this same glory that the Father enjoys. Jesus said, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). It appears above all in His work of salvation on the cross, His resurrection and ascension into glory. Jesus possessed the glory continually, but not in open demonstration except on various occasions (Matt. 17:1ff; John 1:1-3, 14, 18, 2:11, etc). Jesus will be revealed in His glory and power for all men to see at His Second Coming (Matt. 19:28; Lk. 22:30; 24:30; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). We will see Him as He is now (Rev. 21:22-23; 4:8-14; 5:9-17; Phil. 3:21; 1 Thess. 2:12; Heb. 2:10; 1 Pet. 5:1, 4, 10; 1 Cor. 15:48-53; Rom. 8:17, 29; Col. 3:4; 1 Jn. 3:2).

Moreover, Christians are to be like mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of God wherever and in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves.

The glory of God with its transforming power is operative even now among believers through the risen Christ and our fellowship with Him (Rom. 8:29-30). The believer shares this divine glory now as it is reflected in the person of Jesus Christ and will in complete perfect manifestation of that glory in the great consummation when Christ returns. The Christian’s confidence is in “the hope of glory” in Christ (Col. 1:27; Eph. 1:18; 2 Thess. 2:14; 2 Tim. 2:10).

The highest obligation of man is to glorify and praise the LORD God in worship. The only way this can happen is through an intimate personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s power is demonstrated and operates in “salvation history.” The supreme manifestation of the power and glory of God appears in His work of salvation (Matt. 17:2-5; Jn. 1:14; 2:11; 2 Cor. 4:4, 6, etc).

Jesus gives His glory to those who believe in Him (Jn. 17:15, 22). The veil of unbelief is removed in Christ. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The mirror is God’s Word (James 1:22-25). As we look into God’s Word and see the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of God. It is important in this process of sanctification that we be honest, open and transparent with God and do not wear a veil. We are changed on the outside because of the change that comes about on the inside. We radiate the glory of God because He has placed it within us through the new birth, justification and sanctification. We meditate on God’s Word and look into the face of Jesus and the Holy Spirit transforms us. As we grow in the knowledge of Him and His grace, we continually grow from glory to glory in His likeness. The glory of God’s grace continues to increase in the yielded believer. Only the grace of God can make us like Jesus.

The glory of the Christian does not fade away like Moses’ did, but is an ever-increasing glory, i.e., from one stage of glory to another. A believer’s glory is eternal because of God’s abiding presence through the Holy Spirit. This glory is the work of the Holy Spirit in our regeneration and sanctification. We are being progressively transformed into the likeness of Christ. Christ-likeness is the goal of the Christian life (Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:10).

The veil of unbelief was lifted, and remains lifted, as we behold the glorious face of the Lord Jesus. It is like looking into a mirror or contemplating something glorious. We reflect in our person that same glory of the Lord. We are being continuously transformed. Our inward reality is being changed because we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Christians seeing in Jesus the image of God, are not deified, but are transformed into the same image. The glory that we share with Christ ever increases from one stage of glory to a higher stage of glory. This is our grand inheritance now in Christ. Can you find a better picture of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures?

The veils, once lifted, remain lifted. All of us Christians without any veils over our faces continuously reflect like mirrors the glorious splendor of the Lord if we keep on beholding Him in the Word of God. We are being transformed into the same likeness of Him, in an ever increasing splendor from one degree of His splendor to another, since this change of outward experience comes from the Lord who is the Spirit working in our hearts (Pounds’ Paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily devotion: The Purpose of the Scriptures

Daily devotion: The Purpose of the Scriptures

Message by Wil Pounds

The Purpose of the Scriptures

The primary purpose of the Scriptures is to point people to Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27, 32, 44-48).

“The Father who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me . . . . These are the Scriptures that testify about Me . . .” (John 5:37-39).

We can trust the Bible as the Word of God because God is the divine author. Yes, men wrote, but God stood behind the written word. Men used their own vocabulary and style of writing, but God guided over them in their choice of words. Men wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Peter expressed this clearly, “No prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21). It was not thought up by the prophets, but rather inspired by God.

The word Peter uses for “moved” is used for “blown by a violent wind” (Acts 2:2), and a ship that is carried along by a wind (27:15, 17). The metaphor Peter uses here is that of the prophets raised their sails and the Holy Spirit filled them and carried their craft along in the direction He wished. The Holy Spirit carried them along and they spoke His message.

The Holy Spirit “moved” the writers of the Bible along in their writing to produce the words that God intended them to write. They wrote as men moved by the Holy Spirit. They were “being borne along” by the Spirit. The New English Bible translates, “Men they were, but, impelled by the Holy Spirit, they spoke the words of God.” The result is the divinely inspired and inerrant Word of God in the original manuscripts.

Jesus believed in the full inspiration and divine authority of the Old Testament Scriptures. I, too, fully accept the plenary verbal inspiration of the Bible. It is fully inspired of God. God gave us His Word and since it is His Word it is without error.

Because we have a fully trustworthy Bible we can accept its message without reservation. The message of the Scriptures is the good news in Jesus Christ. Its purpose is to reveal Christ and His atoning work of salvation of sinners. The Scriptures, Jesus said, “bear witness of Me” (John 5:39).

The two men on the road to Emmaus discovered this great truth as they walked with Jesus on the day of His resurrection (Luke 24:32). Jesus opened their hearts and their eyes to see that He was the fulfillment of all the Scriptures. He listened to them discuss the events of His own crucifixion and the rumors of His resurrection and then He said, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (v. 25). He admonished them to “believe in all that the prophets have spoken” because it is God’s word and it is fully inspired. What was it He wanted them to accept? It was the teaching about His suffering and His entering into His glory. What did He teach as they walked down the road? “And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (v. 27). Jesus explained, opened up completely, thoroughly and intensively the Scriptures to them (v. 32). If you want to know more of what He taught them along the road go to Christ in the Old Testament. As Jesus spoke to them their minds were opened, and their hearts burned within them. That is what should happen to us as we look for Christ in both the Old and the New Testaments (vv. 44-45).

The Holy Spirit has to open the eyes of the mind so we can understand the great truths of the gospel (v. 45). When He opens our spiritual eyes we can recognize Him and worship Him. However, just like those two disciples, we cannot see Him spiritually until He opens our eyes to see Him.

God gave the scriptures so that you and I might come to Jesus Christ and receive eternal life. In the Son of God we have a true knowledge of the Father. God has spoken in His word about Christ so there is therefore now no excuse for not putting your faith in Christ as your Savior.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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