Daily Devotional: A Tender Compassionate High Priest
The second greatest truth in the Bible is God became flesh and dwelt among men. The greatest is that God became man because he loved us so much that he would go to the cross and personally die for our sins.
Jesus Christ became like you and me. He sanctified life by assuming a full human nature without sin by means of his incarnation. He was fully human and fully God. Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ is man. The Bible puts these two great truths of full deity and full humanity together. He was the God-man. When we look to Jesus we see God himself. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” What makes Jesus so unique is he is the only one in whom you and I may see God.
Jesus fully experienced what it means to be a man. He experienced all that we experience with the one exception that he never sinned in thought or deed. This is why he can be our great high priest and intercessor.
Jesus never experienced personal sin, but he was reckoned a sinner on our behalf and died as our substitute. The incarnation made it possible for Jesus to die. God cannot die. However, a human body made it possible for Jesus Christ to die on the cross and pay our penalty for sin. Three days later he was resurrected in his physical body and later ascended into heaven. A person’s eternal destiny depends upon his relationship to the eternal truth in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the writer of Hebrews says, “For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help” (Hebrews 4:15-16 NET).
Because he is the God-man, Jesus is full of tender compassion. We may come to him expecting full, tender, deep sympathy and compassion. Our great high priest is ever ready to strengthen and comfort, to heal and restore the wounded believer. He is ever ready and prepared to receive all who call upon him at the throne of grace. As with the apostle Paul, Christ says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
We have a wondrous provision of God’s grace in our time of testing. It is always available to us. Our exalted high priest is the Son of God. Because he is man as well as God he has already entered heaven and is at the right hand of the Father. “Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession” (v. 14 NET). Therefore, it is impossible for those who are really the people of God to miss the perfect and eternal rest.
We have a high priest of supreme dignity, excellency and divine sufficiency to meet our every spiritual need (v. 15). Yet, he can “sympathize with our weaknesses” because he “has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Only the God-man could accomplish that!
The invitation is always open to “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help” (v. 16 NET).
The only thing required to come to the throne of grace is to understand that we are sinners, and that he is our High Priest. We come in faith as sinners and saints. There is a washing of our feet, binding of our wounds, and sustaining grace in our time of need. In his grace he causes all things to work together for our good and for His glory.
All believers, young and old, weak and strong, rich and poor, have been “brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ,” and therefore have freedom of access to the very presence of God. Why should we ever draw back in cowardice or impatience?
The circumstances in our daily lives cause us to call upon him and when he delivers us we glorify him.
Let us take full advantage of every opportunity and come to the throne moment by moment every day with honesty, openness and frankness. Here is the one person we can pour our heart out to in confidentiality. We can come as we are, say what we feel, confess all our sins, and ask what we need in confidence. We need not be ashamed before him because it is his blood that cleanses and his Spirit that refreshes us spiritually.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: A New Standard of Living
The world is not our standard for Christian living.
The apostle Paul stressed, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .” (Rom. 12:2). Again he writes, “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:24). In the verses that follow he gives five specific examples of the higher standard of Christian conduct.
We are to put off lying and speak the truth in love (v. 25). It is a habitual action that is to characterize the Christian life. Literally the believer is to put off “the lie” (v.25), and speak the truth. This is the same word the apostle John uses for the antichrist in 1 John 2:20-23. When a person puts his faith in Jesus Christ he is rejecting the lie, and embracing the Truth (Jn. 14:6).
What a profound significance this is for the person in Christ. “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (v. 25). Let it be a habitual action to tell the truth. Let it characterize your lifestyle.
Make a commitment to yourself and God to speak the whole truth without mixture of error in your family, business and life relationships. How much easier life is when you live an honest, open, transparent life style. Cultivate truthfulness in your life everyday. Don’t be careless with your words.
Put off anger (vv. 26-27). One of the best ways to give the devil an opportunity to gain a place in your life is to be an angry person. Paul does not give an opposite behavior in this example. In one aspect anger is not sin. It is an emotion. He stresses, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity (lit. a place).” Paul is emphasizing a controlled or righteous anger as opposed to and uncontrolled, selfish, or sinful anger.
Paul uses two different words for “anger” in v. 26. There are times when we should be angry, and there are times when we sin with our anger. “Be angry and do not sin” is the word for wrath, indignation, suggesting a more settled or abiding condition of mind, frequently with a view of taking revenge. It is an anger that has an abiding and settled habit of mind that is aroused under certain conditions. When this kind of anger is guided by reason, it can be a right emotion as in righteous indignation. When we cherish it, it becomes sin. It must never become just an expression of personal provocation or wounded pride. We must guard against sinful motives (1 Jn. 1:19).
“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” It can take the form of an angry mood, a violent irritation, harmful words or eyes of fire. Paul admonishes us to deal with anger quickly before the day is over. Unresolved anger leads to other sins.
Put off stealing and have something to share with the needy (v. 28).
The motive for working Paul says is “in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.” That statement alone clarifies a lot of modern values. The winner is not the one who walks away with the most toys in life.
Have you ever counted the many ways you can steal in life? You do not have to go to prison, and few people do.
Work hard so you will have something to share with a world with true needs.
Put off rotten words and put on speaking with edification that it may give grace to the hearer (v. 29).
“Unwholesome” literally means, “corrupt,” or “corrupting.” It is the word for rotting fruit. Some people’s words corrupt themselves and everyone who hears them. It rots them away. It makes you feel corrupted days after you have been around them. On the other hand, the believer should use words that will build up and encourage people (James 3:5-6).
How do you control your tongue? By allowing the Holy Spirit to control your mind (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:30).
Put off bitterness, wrath and anger (indignation), and put on love (vv. 30-32).
What is the best way to grieve the Holy Spirit? Bitterness, wrath and a settled indignation toward someone always grieves the Spirit.
The only way to put on the high standard of Christian conduct Paul is describing here is to walk in the Spirit.
Daily Devotional: A New Creation, Not Yet Perfect
“The believer is a new man, a new creation, but he is a new man not yet made perfect,” observes John Murray.
The born again believer still has to deal with indwelling sin. He still sins even though he is growing in Christ likeness and is the subject of the progressive sanctification of the Holy Spirit.
The believer is being transfigured into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).
The emphasis the apostle Paul makes in Romans 6:14, 17, 18-20 is there has been a radical change in the believer’s relationship to sin. It is true that the believer still sins, but he is no longer a slave to sin. Sin no longer reigns as in the condition of the old man, the unregenerate person. Romans 7:14-25 teaches us that sin still remains in the believer’s mind, affections, and will. Slavery to sin is broken. But as Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:20-24, and Colossians 3:9-10 brings out the struggle in the heart of the very believer.
Herman Bavink said, “The spiritual struggle which the believers must conduct is between the flesh and the spirit, between the old and the new man, between the sin which continues to dwell in the believers and the spiritual principle of life which has been planted in their hearts.”
If the old nature has been “crucified” and “laid aside,” how can one say the believer still has an old nature?
Christ’s death took the form of a Roman crucifixion. The apostle Paul says the believer is “crucified with Christ” and is “dead” as a result of this action just as Christ after His crucifixion. Just as Christ was definitely dead so is the believer in his vital union with Christ is dead to sin. “For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God” (Romans 6:10 NET).
But the finality of death is not the only thing Paul stresses about our relationship with Christ. Drawing on the symbolism of baptism by immersion in water Paul says, “Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4 NET). It is not a physical death and burial in regard to the believer, but forensic and positional. Paul has in mind our new position in a vital union with Christ. This is an act of God. We have a new relationship with Him. We have been placed in a new unchanging position. This is the way we exist in God’s sight. We are no figment in His imagination. This is the greatest of spiritual realities.
Believers are to “consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” because this is the great reality of our spiritual lives (6:10).
This status or position before God has vital significance and power in our daily life. We draw power and resources from this unchanging position.
Paul is describing the whole man and the change in our relationship. We have a new position. The contrast Paul is bringing out in these passages is not a change in our nature, but a change in relationship. Our old man is the old unregenerate self. The new person is the new regenerate self.
Because of this spiritual regeneration brought about by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we are new creatures in Christ. As a result we have a new relationship with Christ and a new position before God the Father.
It is the believer’s responsibility to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in obeying the Word of God and overcoming temptation.
The true believer knows he needs Christ everyday. He knows he must guard and keep his heart everyday until he sees Christ is glory. When he sins he flees to Christ, His advocate. God had begun a new work in the believer, but that work is not yet perfect.
The Christian lives in both Romans chapters seven and eight. The Christian life is an increasing dynamic repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Everyday we increasingly depend upon the blood and the righteousness of Jesus Christ to cover all our sins. We love Him more and more everyday.
Our sense of repentance deepens as we discover more sins that need to be put to death. Like the apostle Paul, we cry out daily in our mourning, “I am carnal.” But daily we also rejoice in the great truth, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We die to sin daily, and we live to righteousness daily. By the inner working of the Holy Spirit, we “put to death the deeds of the body that we might live.” This is daily responsibility. Daily the inner man or “self” is being renewed day by day.
Romans 7:14-8:4 is the inner battle against remaining sin and imperfect obedience to God’s Word. It is the work of the Holy Spirit leading the believer into deeper repentance, increased holiness, and a greater dependence upon the finished work of Jesus Christ.
There will be a day when repentance will be no more, but that day has not arrived. Until that day arrives, we need to deepen our repentance and increase our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: “A Life Worthy of the Gospel”
The Bible always stresses a balance between the content of one’s beliefs and the resulting conduct in one’s life. A good example is found in Ephesians 4:1-3. “I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (NET).
Paul admonishes us to “live worthily of the calling with which you have been called.” He means that we must live a life worthy of our high calling in Christ Jesus. Our practice should equal the teachings of our doctrine. We should take great pains to see that our lives are lived in perfect balance.
The Biblical principle for living the Christian life is quite simply stated: The believer puts into daily practice the principles of the Word of God by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
In order to live a balanced Christian life there must be good sound Biblical teaching. I have never seen any mature Christian who did not have a good understanding of the teaching of the Word of God. Practice without sound Bible teaching will go off in any and every direction. We can never attach too much importance to solid Biblical doctrine. How can a Christian live a life worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ if he does not know what the Christian life is all about? At the same time we must never detach the importance of putting into practice what we understand to be true.
How then do we live a life worthy of our calling? The Christian life is not the same thing as the culturally accepted norms of the local community in which we live. The world is antagonistic to the Christian life (1 John 2:15-17). God has called us “out of the darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9b NET). How tragic when you can’t tell the difference between the standards of the culture and the local church.
We were spiritually bankrupt, emotionally in bondage, and morally corrupt. However, when we were saved God awakened us to a new life and gave us the power to live that new life. We are now spiritually alive. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved!” (Eph. 2:5 NET)
The apostle Paul wrote, “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17 NET)
Therefore, the apostle Paul admonishes us to, “Be completely humble.” That is the opposite of arrogance and self-assertion. The world tells us to stand up for your rights. Be assertive. Demand respect. The Bible says, “Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself” (Phil. 2:3 NET). The world philosophy pulls in one direction, the Holy Spirit insists on another. Do you put other people’s needs and interests before your own? Are you out for number one?
We need to be gentle with people. The word Paul uses for “gentle” is power under control. “Meek” doesn’t quite give the sense of the original. The gentle person is a strong person under God’s control. This is what it means to be a Spirit filled. The Spirit filled believer is a Spirit-controlled person. Jesus was this kind of a person, and he set the example for us. “Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29 NET). “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5 NET). That will be true because all who are not will kill themselves off in power struggles.
We must be patient. Literally it means “long-tempered.” It is the attitude that will never give in when the going gets tough. It sticks with it and reaps the rewards. It is the attitude that never admits defeat in disappointments and discouragement, but persists to the end. It is the attitude that refuses to retaliate, bears insults and injury without bitterness and complaint.
Patience comes over a long time of suffering. I doubt if anyone is patient who has never suffered physically, emotionally or spiritually in life. We learn patience through the things we suffer (Rom. 5:3). God is very patient with us and we need to become like him.
“Bearing with one another in love” is how we respond to the unloving behavior of other Christians toward us. How do we “put up with one another”? What is our typical response when other people do us evil? What is my attitude when I see two Christians having problems in their relationships? What is my attitude toward problems in a church? Do I do as Paul suggests here, “making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”? (v. 3 NET)
Paul is saying the Holy Spirit has already given us this unity when we put our faith in Christ. We are not called upon to create this unity, but to “keep the unity.” Pride destroys this unity in the Spirit. Over powering self-assertion destroys vital relationships with other believers. Being short-tempered, rude and non-extending our love to those who act ugly to us destroys all effort at keeping this “unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Churches grieve the Holy Spirit just as individuals do (4:30-31). Let’s be determined to “walk in the Spirit” and keep ourselves under his control.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
A Good And Perfect Father: Daily Devotional
God the Father loves us just as much as He loves His Son, Jesus Christ.
Since that is a true statement can we ever have another anxious thought or rebellious attitude toward Him? Because our heavenly Father loves us with such love as He has for His Son He will not let us want for anything good in His divine will. He will take care of us in the very best possible manner (Psa. 23:1; Eph. 1:3). It is absolutely safe to put our trust in a perfect Father.
“Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:13-14).
Jesus came to reveal the LORD God as a loving and kind Father (John 14:7-9; Matt. 11:27). It is only in the revelation of God by the Lord Jesus Christ that the idea of God the Father is fully developed. The title “Father” is a distinguishing feature in the New Testament in the teaching of Jesus, especially in the Gospel of John. He reveals Jehovah God as Father. He is not the Father of all men, but only those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. “No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). There is a distinction between God as our Creator and as Father to the believer.
God is a good and perfect Father (1 John 3:1-2; John 10:15; 14:2; Eph. 3:14; Phil. 2:11).
We have been adopted and placed as His full-grown children in His family. He chose us to be His children; therefore we must allow Him to take care of the responsibilities as a caring Father.
Are we not worth more than many sparrows? As a loving Father He always takes a greater care of His children (Matt. 6:24-26, 30-33).
God has revealed Himself as a true Father, full of love and mercy. Do I respond to Him as His child?
The Father gives His very best to His children (Matt. 7:11; Lk. 11:13). He even gives us His kingdom (Lk. 12:28-32). The context like Matthew chapter six speaks of all our needs. Our heavenly Father wants to give far more than we are able to receive.
Since this is true of our Father why should we fear coming to Him boldly and asking? Why should we fear that He will fail to give us His very best? If He failed to meet these needs of His children then His very integrity would be at stake. He will protect His Name because it reveals His perfect character. He will always give in such a manner that His Name will be glorified.
Will I do anything to cause others to doubt the integrity and trustworthness of my heavenly Father? Our doubting attitudes cast suspicion upon the faithfulness of our God. Why would we dare libel our heavenly Father when we would never cast any suspicion on our earthly father?
Our responsibility is to trust a loving Father. We go through life as His children acting as if we were left orphans with no Father who cares about us. He is worthy of our confidence and absolute trust.
Have you taken time to acquaint yourself with your heavenly Father? Do you know the “spirit of adoption” that cries out “Abba, Father”? How tragic that many children are trapped by a “spirit of bondage.”
Am I willing to trust all my cares to my heavenly Father? Why should I want to hold on to my fears, anxiety, and selfish cares when He is fully aware of all my most profound needs? He is ready to meet them in the very best way possible.
One of the great needs we have is for security. The believer in Jesus Christ is eternally secure because there is a divine double grip around the believer (John 10:28-30). Jesus teaches us that no one can pluck us out of His secure hands, and “no one is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand: I and the Father are one.”
Have you come to know our great God and Savior as your Father?
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: A Good Clear Conscience
One of the greatest blessings for the born again Christian is the deep sense of peace with God (Phil. 4:7, 9; Col. 3:15; John 14:27).
The apostle Paul wrote, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing joint-testimony with me in the Holy Spirit . . .” (Romans 9:1).
Paul takes a triple oath here because of deep convictions regarding the salvation of the Jewish people. He makes a strong, positive affirmation in Christ, a negative statement that he is not lying, and the appeal to his conscience as a co-witness “in the Holy Spirit.” Paul looked to Christ and rejoiced; he looked at the Jewish people lost in sin and wept. Paul was willing to go to hell for the sake of his lost Jewish friends.
The conscience is that faculty of man that evaluates our actions, along with our thoughts that either accuse or excuse us of sin. Our conscience is an important part of human nature the world over. It is not an absolutely trustworthy indicator of what is right and wrong. We can have a “good” conscience (Acts 23:1); 1 Tim. 1:5, 19), a “clear” conscience (Acts 24:16; 1 Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3; Heb. 13:18), or a “guilty” conscience (Heb. 10:22), a “corrupted” conscience (Titus 1:15), a “weak” conscience (1 Cor. 8:7, 10, 12), or a “seared” conscience (1 Tim. 4:2).
The marvelous thing about the gospel is that “the blood of Christ” cleanses the conscience. The writer of Hebrews says, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14).
The conscience is the remains of God’s image in man after the fall of Adam. The universal fact of this inner voice is important. It is a divine law. Because we are sinners obedience to the voice of conscience must always be tested with an acceptance of the revealed will of God in the Scriptures (John 8:7-9; Rom. 2:15-16; 9:1; Titus 1:13-15).
The apostle Paul warned, “Nothing is wholesome to those who are themselves unwholesome and who have no faith in God—their very minds and consciences are diseased” (Tit. 1:15, Phillips). The conscience is defiled because the light from both it and the Holy Spirit are refused.
The conscience in the born again believer is restored to its high position as the Christian studies and meditates on God’s revealed will in the Bible. For the mature Christian the witness of the conscience will be met by the witness of the Holy Spirit as to what pleases God (Rom. 9:1). We should seek to continually have “a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16).
May the Holy Spirit cleanse the deepest recesses of our hearts by the infinite purification that God alone can accomplish by means of the blood of Jesus Christ. May He make us sensitive to the slightest whisper of His Holy Spirit. His Spirit gives us a sense of disquiet when we are tempted. He makes us hate anything that will separate us from abiding fellowship with God.
To maintain a good, clear conscience that is sensitive to the Spirit of God we must confess every sin that we are conscious of and walk in the light of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit always uses God’s Word to reveal sin to us. When the conscience reproves listen to it, and confess the sin to God, claim His forgiveness based on the atoning death of Christ. The blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin. Pray that the witness of your conscience and the witness of the Holy Spirit and the abiding presence of being “in Christ” becomes one. Hold “to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience” (1 Tim. 3:9).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: A Christian Witness To All The World
I am involved in something that will still be worthwhile a million years from now because God has not revoked the great commission.
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come” (Matthew 24:14).
Today the kingdom of God is realized as we proclaim the crucified, risen, and returning Lord Jesus Christ.
The gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God that has come in the person and work of Jesus Christ. How do we enter into the kingdom of God? There is only one way. “Repent of your sins and believe on Jesus Christ.” That is the message we preach.
Our message is the gospel of free grace. It is what God has accomplished for us in the sacrificial substitutionary atoning death of Jesus Christ for our sins. We offer the gospel freely “without money and without cost” (Isa. 55:1).
John Ryle once said, “Men are apt to forget that it does not require great open sins to be sinned in order to ruin a soul forever. They have only to give hearing without believing, listening without repenting, going to church without going to Christ, and by and by they will find themselves in hell.”
It is imperative that we make the message of salvation crystal clear in our presentations. Salvation is the gift of God and it is “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.” God has provided everything we need in order to be saved. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). But also be assured, “Reject Jesus Christ, and you will perish forever.”
Every time we share that message we are personally involved in what God is doing in building His eternal kingdom.
What can we expect as we take the gospel out of self-edification and share it with others? We can prepare for and accept hostility from some listeners (Matthew 10:16-18, 21-25). There will be men who “will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in their synagogues, and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles (v. 17). The history of Christianity is the history of persecution and martyrdom for the cause of Christ. More people have been persecuted and died for Christ during the last hundred years than in the previous two thousand years.
We can expect God’s power and sustaining grace to meet all of our necessities as we take the good news to a lost world. Jesus said, “When they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak” (v. 19). Those are instructions for martyrs and Christians under persecution, not preachers getting ready for Sunday morning without doing their homework. The Holy Spirit gives boldness to testify under all circumstances for Christ. “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (v. 20). Success in personal witnessing is simply sharing Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and then leaving the results up to God.
Our job is to be faithful to Christ under all circumstances (vv. 26-27). The only person we are to fear is the LORD God “who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (v. 28). The worst thing a man can do to us is to kill the body. But “for me to live is Christ and to die is better yet” (Phil. 1:21).
The Lord is sovereign in His kingdom (vv. 30-33). There is nothing that can happen to His faithful servant who is not fully known to Him. Whatever we experience as His servants is fully known to Him and happens ultimately for our good and His eternal glory. The responsibilities are great for all believers (vv. 34-39).
However, the rewards of being faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ are eternal (vv. 40-42). “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. . . . And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward” (vv. 40, 42).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional updated weekly on this site. Thank you http://www.abideinchrist.com for letting me use your material.
Daily Devotional: Adopted Child Of God
The term “Son of God” refers preeminently to Jesus Christ’s deity (Matt. 11:25-27; 16:16-17). He alone is one in substance and glory with God the Father. Believers in Christ, although “adopted” are never on a par with the uncreated, divine Son of God.
“Adoption” is the term the apostle Paul uses to describe the act of the Holy Spirit whereby the believing sinner becomes a member of God’s family, with all the privileges and obligations of family members.
We were “children of wrath” by nature (Eph. 2:3). However, those upon whom God bestows His saving grace become the “children of God.”
The word adoption in the New Testament means to place as an adult son. It was a term used in the Roman legal practice in the apostle Paul’s day referring to a legal action by which a person takes into his family a child not his own, with the purpose of treating him as and giving him all the privileges of an own son. An adopted child was legally entitled to all rights and privileges of a natural-born child. Paul uses it as an illustration of the act of God giving a believing sinner, who is not His natural child, a position as His adult son in His family. The emphasis is on the legal position of the child of God.
It is the Holy Spirit who is called “the Spirit of adoption” who performs the act of placing the believing sinner as an adult into the family of God. “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rom. 8:15)
The adopted child lost all rights and privileges in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family. He got a new father, and he became the heir to his new father’s estate. He became co-heir with the other sons. In the eyes of the law the old life was completely wiped out. All debts were completely cancelled. He was absolutely the son of his new father. It was carried out in the presence of seven witnesses.
What a glorious privilege is ours to be the absolute possession of the Father! We have already as believers in Christ been placed in the family of God and are led by the Holy Spirit as the adult sons of God. The apostle John describes our experience as God’s children who have been born into His family by the new birth (Jn. 1:12; 1 Jn. 3:1-2).
Moreover, Romans 8:23 tells us “we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” At the Second Coming of Christ our resurrected bodies will be glorified and will then possess all our inheritance that the sonship involves.
Galatians 4:4-6 and Ephesians 1:5 make it clear that we cannot lose our adoption. Because Jesus Christ paid the penalty of our sin debt in full, nothing stands in the way of a just God regenerating a believing sinner and placing him as His child in His family. The Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of adoption” also places a saved sinner in a legal standing in God’s family. The adopted son has all the rights and privileges of God’s only begotten Son. God the Father loves the adopted child just as much as He loves His only begotten Son.
“We are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). As a result of God’s adopting us we are just as eternal and secure in our relationship with Him as His only-begotten Son. All the security and loveliness of God’s Son is ours as His adopted sons. The Holy Spirit imparts to us the divine nature and places us in the family of God in accordance to His unchanging laws.
This is our new standing before the LORD God. He accepts us into His family, who by nature do not belong to it, and places those who are not His sons originally into a right relationship with Him with all the privileges of that new family relationship.
Jesus Christ alone is the Son of God by nature. We can never have the same relationship He has as the unique Son of God. The word “adoption” distinguishes those who are made sons of God from the only-begotten Son of God. The Holy Spirit, however, creates in the believing sinner a new nature. We have not only the new status as sons, but also the heart of true sons. Our adoption is the act of God’s pure goodness and grace of His will to the praise of His glory.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Accepted in the Beloved – daily devotional
There is always the tension in the Christian life between the “now” and the “yet to be.” However, what we are now in the eyes of God is what we shall be in practice when we stand before Him in complete, perfect sanctification in glory.
Even now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). He has made us acceptable in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). In deed, we are complete in Him (Col. 2:10).
How do we explain this tension in our daily lives between our practical sanctification and our eternal position and standing before God?
The believer’s positional standing before God never ever changes. No believer is less justified than another. You are either acquitted by God or you stand condemned. You are either a child of God by adoption or you are an enemy. You either have eternal life, or you are dead in trespasses and sins.
Our standing before God, once we are His child, does not change. Our sonship does not depend upon our fellowship with Him. It is the other way around. Our fellowship with God depends upon our sonship.
There are degrees in our fellowship, but there can be none in our justification before God. Sometimes we are warm and sometimes we are cold in our fellowship, but our sonship never changes since we were adopted as His children.
Our justification is entirely above the fluctuations of Christian experience. It knows nothing of degrees or the rise and fall of our emotions. You are either justified by faith or you are condemned. We are “in Christ” and He is “the same, yesterday, today and forever.”
Christ alone is our righteousness and results in our right relationship with God. Christ is of God “made unto us righteousness.”
If a right standing depended upon our faith or our faithfulness we would be eternally condemned. It depends upon Christ’s righteousness accepted as His gift by faith. It does not depend upon our endeavors, but upon the finished work of Christ. “You are complete in Christ.”
How can this be true? We know ourselves all too well. We are imperfect and we fail. Yet God’s word says that we are complete in Christ.
Regarding the Christian’s acceptance and standing before a righteous God is concerned, God sees nothing from His throne but Christ Jesus alone and Him crucified. And since the believer is in Him and one with Him, he shares Christ’s place in the Father’s heart. No matter how unworthy the believer is in himself, he may know without a doubt that he is “accepted in the Beloved.”
You cannot be condemned if you are in Christ. Christ is without sin and for us to be in Christ means to be accepted in the Beloved.
Jesus Christ presents us to the Father clothed in the garments of His own righteousness.
Jesus represents us to God. We see God in Christ. God sees us in Christ. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. We in Christ are reconciled to God.
The Christian can never pray, “O Lord, look how pure and holy I am; look at me and preserve my soul, for I am holy.” That would be utter nonsense. We can only come into His presence and with humble gratitude accept His grace saying, “Lord, be merciful to me the sinner.”
Moreover, the steadfastness of our joy and the stability of our spiritual growth depends upon our keeping our gaze fixed immovably upon the one Blessed Object upon which the Father’s gaze is always fixed (Heb. 12:2).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Acceptable to God
How can a sinful person ever be acceptable to a holy God?
God takes sin seriously; it will be severely punished unless atonement is acceptable according to God’s standard.
Sin is a barrier that separates a person from God. In the Old Testament God dealt with man’s sin by substitution (Lev. 1:4; 4:20; 7:7; Lev. 16).
In the New Testament sin is still a serious problem because everyone has sinned and come short of God’s expectation (Rom. 3:23). Moreover, an eternal hell awaits all who sin (Mk. 9:43; Lk. 12:5; Rom. 6:23).
It is the will of God that everyone come to repentance and be saved from the wrath of God (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 2 Pet. 3:9-10). Salvation is accomplished by what God has done in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). This reconciliation was accomplished by the death of Christ. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life?” (Rom. 5:10 NET). The death of Christ is absolutely essential to our salvation. Only the death of Christ can save us from our sins and the eternal punishment we deserve.
Jesus gave His life as “a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45) because “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NET).
The sacrifice of animals could not “take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). However, the sacrifice of Jesus did what was impossible for animal sacrifices to accomplish. “By his will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (v. 10 NET). “But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice” (9:26b NET).
By His death Jesus Christ paid the sinner’s debt in full and that death turns away the wrath of God (Rom. 3:25). Because Jesus paid sin’s due penalty God can be both a just and holy God, and at the same time justify the person who has faith in Him (v.26). “For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23 NET).
How did Christ redeem us? “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)” (Gal. 3:13 NET). It was as a sacrificial substitute “having become a curse for us” that he redeems us. Therefore, we can stamp across our sin debt: “PAID IN FULL!”
Jesus bought us while we were in the slave market of sin, paid the price in full, and set us free to live the Christian life (Eph. 1:7; 1 Cor. 6:20; Gal. 5:1). He purchased us with His own blood (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). Because our sin has been dealt with completely we are now free to serve the LORD God. We no longer have to be preoccupied with sin, guilt and punishment. It has been dealt with in the blood of Jesus and we can focus on serving him with a clear conscience.
We have entered into a new covenant with God in Christ (Heb. 9:11-15). Jesus entered “the greater and more perfect tabernacle . . . through His own blood . . . once and for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:11-12). The effect is it cleanses our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (v. 14).
We are now irrevocably the children of God, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:15-17, 29-39; Gal. 4:6; Phil. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:12; Jn. 5:24; 1 Jn. 5:13; 4:13; 5:10).
“All these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18 NET). We share with others what God has done in reconciling us to Himself.
We have a right relationship with God, the forgiveness of our sins, and eternal life because Christ has taken our place, doing what we could never do for ourselves.
Christ paid our debt in full; our part is simply to accept that great salvation by faith. It is God’s free gift to the believing sinner.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006