The Beauty Of God: A Quote From Sam Storms

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​”God’s revelatory manifestation of Himself in creation, in providence, in Scripture, and pre-eminently in the face of His Son, Jesus Christ, is designed to evoke within the breathtaking delight and incomparable joy of which God alone is worthy. Beauty is that in God which makes Him eminently desirable and attractive and quickens in the soul a realization that it was made for a different world.” – Sam Storms

Between The Times

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 “Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:10 (ESV)

We are living between the times. The time of the already and the not yet. A time of great sorrow and joy. John Wesley said, “A high degree of spiritual sorrow and spiritual joy may consist together.” The Kingdom came with Jesus, but will not be fully manifest until he returns to the earth to live with his people forever. He will destroy (burn up) this present world system. Until then we must pursue justice in the earth on behalf of the weak, poor, and the oppressed. And offer the hope of the Gospel of the Kingdom to all. We must oppose and expose the works of darkness in the earth, as we seek to live out the reality of the Kingdom in our own personal lives, now.

Anytime we pray and see a sick person healed or someone delivered from demonic oppression, the Kingdom of God has broke through. Everyone we pray for will not be saved – everyone is not healed – everyone is not delivered. So in this life, as we wait for the end of this present evil age, we must do the work of the Kingdom that Jesus has called us to do, and leave the results to Him. Some today seek to do the works Jesus did, and that is good, but we must remember that God is sovereign and our power comes from Him. We, as New Covenant believers have the privilege of walking in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit right now. But that doesn’t guarantee a pain free life, while we live between the times.

Discipleship 101

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“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself,unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. – (John 15:1-6 ESV)

There is much confusion today about what it means to be a Christian. The Bible doesn’t teach a difference between becoming a Christian or being a disciple. Being a Christian is more than just believing, even demons believe (James 2:19). The indwelling Spirit begins a process of changing our character at conversion, and this is a sign that we are being discipled by Jesus. There are many in Catholic and Protestant churches that are not experiencing transformation of the inner man, nor are they following Jesus.

A true disciple is learning to abide in Jesus who is the Vine, and that Jesus is our life and source of power. The disciples devotional life produces Christ-likeness. Meditating on Scripture and then seeking to obey it by the power of the indwelling Christ, produces fruit in due season. And everything has a season. If you are expecting instant maturity you will be setting yourself up for failure.

As the life of Christ is formed in us, we discover sin and brokenness from past experiences that the Holy Spirit is seeking to bring healing to. We must allow God to do this work so that we can move forward in our “apprenticeship with Jesus.”  Our need to be forgiven, and to forgive others is an ongoing process. As we embrace the teachings of Jesus we are confronted with the impossibility of living this life apart from His empowering grace. A disciple never walks alone. He walks with Jesus and other disciples on the journey

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. – ( Luke 14:26 NLT )

The call to follow Jesus is a call of total commitment. As we embrace loving Jesus more than our own family, we will ultimately love them more than those who don’t follow him. God expands our hearts and teaches us about self-sacrificial love.

I believe it is possible to feed the poor, fight for the rights of the oppressed, and go to the mission field while avoiding intimacy with Jesus. In our zeal for ministry and serving God, it is possible to be distracted from His presence. We can work for God while grieving the Holy Spirit who wants to do a deep work of exposing the motives of our hearts. If we seek God for the truth about ourselves, we can become uncomfortable with what He shows us. God is not condemning us, He is trying to free us from our personal idols.

Disciples are first and foremost called to be with Jesus. Many of us at the time of our conversion were never taught to count the cost of following Jesus, and that He requires complete ownership of our lives. We “accepted” Him as our Savior who forgives us of our sin, but did not understand that He requires more than Church attendance and just “cleaning up our act.” He can’t be Savior without being Lord.

Recently I have refocused my attention on discipleship and the kingdom of God. I have been pondering this question: What is a disciple? I believe a disciple is always looking for and seeking to walk in the rule of God. A disciple of Jesus has found the pearl of great price and loves Him more than anything else. While a disciple seeks to be a part of fulfilling the great commission, his inner life is being transformed by the Holy Spirit and meditation on Scripture. His ministry is fueled by prayer.

While the disciple is a learner, he is also called to be a doer. Therefore we read the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles and seek to walk in them. The true follower of Jesus makes other disciples as he travels through life, and teaches others the path of freedom and wholeness in Christ. They pray for the sick and use their spiritual gifting and spiritual authority to confront evil, build up the Church and advance His kingdom.

The Way Of Jesus: A Quote From Eugene Peterson

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“The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped — it requires an active participation in following Jesus as he leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him.”
― Eugene H. Peterson

God Is Not A Theory

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“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” – (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT)

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – (James 4:6 ESV)

Spiritual wisdom, insight, knowledge and understanding can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit. The great theologians of the past such as;  Augustine, Edwards, Luther, Calvin and  Arminius  were gifted with high IQ’s. But when dealing with spiritual matters, those with average intelligence and hearts in tune to the Spirit, can fathom deep truths. Even those giants of the faith had blind spots. They each had certain truths that God revealed to them, but in some areas of the faith, they were simply wrong.

When you think about some of the greatest intellectuals  who ever lived, you have to wonder, how could any of them be an atheist? How could an intelligent person not believe in intelligent design? Spiritual IQ’s and mental IQ’s are not always the same. Those that cannot see their Creator’s hand in creation, have been blinded by “the god of this world”, Satan. This blindness is spiritual in nature and can only be removed by the Holy Spirit. God is not just a theory, he is a creative, relational being. And He opposes the proud and arrogant.

He Inhabits Eternity: A Quote By C. S. Lewis

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“He is not the soul of Nature, nor any part of Nature. He inhabits eternity: He dwells in a high and holy place: heaven is His throne, not his vehicle, earth is his footstool, not his vesture. One day he will dismantle both and make a new heaven and earth. He is not to be identified even with the ‘divine spark’ in man. He is ‘God and not man.”
― C.S. Lewis, Miracles

Resistance And Transformation

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If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3 ESV)

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  (1 Timothy 4:8 NIV)

A key to spiritual growth and transformation is to just show up every morning. What I mean by that is, the act of coming to God every morning in prayer, regardless of how we feel.  Half the battle is won by just showing up. Spiritual practices like Bible reading, worship, and prayer are much like physical exercise. Sometimes we just don’t feel like going to the gym, but when we do, we always get something out of it. Muscle growth form weight lifting and spiritual growth both require resistance. We face resistance from unseen spiritual forces from the dark side, everyday.  In prayer, the more we “show up” the stronger we get spiritually. And spiritually strong people have the strength to help others in need.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.”  (James 3:13-15 ESV)

Distractions hinder our pursuit of the knowledge of God and his overcoming power in our lives. Too much entertainment leads us into what is “earthly” in us. It causes us to lose focus on God and to stumble. It exposes us to the wisdom from below, and not to the wisdom from above. Our inner person must feed on things from above. If we feed our fleshly nature with worthless activities, we will grow docile, and spiritually weak.

The path to holy living or spiritual transformation is not the path of least resistance. It’s a path of seeking first the Kingdom of God and the spiritual warfare that goes with it. We live in a spiritually deceptive culture. Many look good on the outside but at some point we come to a place of being publicly exposed to one degree or another. If you are a high profile person your exposure is seen by all. When God allows a believer to be exposed for moral failure, it’s actually a gift to that person, and a warning to us all.  It can be an opportunity to repent and allow the Holy Spirit to deal with the root sin issues in our lives. God desires his children to be transformed into the image of his Son. And if we belong to Him, we can expect to be disciplined for the purpose of spiritual transformation and growth.

The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ

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When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
(Mark 16:1-8 ESV)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a real problem for many in the contemporary western world. We are ‘enlightened’ people, aren’t we?  It is a fact of history that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was a problem for those who lived in his time also. C.S. Lewis called our modern western view of ancient cultures, “chronological snobbery.” The Greco-Roman world of that time considered a bodily resurrection from the dead impossible. Although the Jews did believe in a coming resurrection and renewal of the earth, they did not believe, as Tim Keller says, “The idea of an individual being resurrected, in the middle of history, while the rest of the world continued on burdened by sickness, decay, and death, was inconceivable.”

Some have pointed to ancient mystery religions and assumed that the story of the resurrection of Jesus was borrowed from them. But the fact is that these accounts did not precede Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Those pagan deities that supposedly rose from the dead, were not historical people, they were mythical characters. The fact that Jesus was a real historical person is indisputable.  As historian Gary Habermas writes,”there is no known case of a mythical deity in the mystery religions where we have both clear and early evidence that a resurrection was taught prior to the late second century AD, obviously much later than the Christian message.”

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 ESV

“For indeed the Lord remained on the tree almost until evening, and they buried Him at eventide; then on the third day He rose again.” – Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, XCII, (AD 100 – 165.)

“Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth; who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe on Him.” – Ignatius, (written around AD 110-115.)

The early disciples had a life changing encounter with Jesus. As I have studied the life of Jesus, I have found that many ancient non-Christian historians believe Jesus’ early disciples were convinced of his resurrection from the dead. And the immediate and rapid growth of Christianity is hard to explain apart from Jesus’ resurrection. I’ve found ancient non-biblical accounts of the earthquake and darkness that covered the land at the time of the crucifixion. Many tried to explain the events of this time from a natural perspective, but they were clearly supernatural. I, like many of you have had a spiritual encounter with the resurrected Christ, just as the early Church Fathers that I quoted above had. These men did not give up their lives to follow a lunatic.

I believe in the resurrection of Jesus because of my personal life changing experience, and the confidence I have in the authority of Scripture. The gospels are full of details about Jesus and eyewitness accounts and were written as history, and they were written no more than forty to sixty years after Jesus’ death. Paul wrote his letters about fifteen to twenty-five years after Jesus’ resurrection, and they confirm the gospel accounts of Jesus. The Jews of the first century were well trained in the art of memorization and the disciples of teachers during that time committed their teaching to memory. They communicated events, that took place verbally. As most of the eye witnesses were dying off, there was a need to write these accounts down for future generations. The death of Jesus was the most recorded event, not only by Christians but also by non-Christians in ancient history.

Here is one example that Tim Keller gives of details that point to the authenticity of the eyewitness accounts, “Mark for example, says that the man who helped Jesus carry his cross to Calvary “was the father of Alexander and Rufus” (Mark 15:21). There is no reason for the author to include such names unless the readers know or could have access to them. Mark is also saying, “Alexander and Rufus vouch for the truth of what I am telling you, if you want to ask them.” –  (Tim Keller, The Reason For God, page 101.)

                                       Jesus, Women, And the Resurrection 

If someone wanted to start a new religion in the first century the last thing they would ever do is have women play such a crucial role in its beginnings. But that is the case with Christianity. Jesus refused to be governed by the fear of man or cultural norms. He only did what he saw his Father doing, such as approaching the woman at the well and ministering to her, which was unacceptable in that culture. She left the presence of Jesus as a transformed woman and immediately evangelized her community. The fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day despised the Samaritans and that it was unacceptable for a Jewish teacher to talk to a woman in public did not deter his ministry. (John 4)

One of the reasons to believe the gospels is the honesty in which they were written. As Richard Bauckham says in his book Jesus A Very Short Introduction, ” He taught women as well as men, not something one may take for granted in that society.”  Women were the first to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If Jesus’ disciples wanted to spread a lie about their founder rising from the dead, they would have never used the testimony of women.

Here is another quote from Bauckham, “But these eyewitnesses were women! As almost every scholar notes, in that society women were not trusted to give evidence. They were thought to be more emotional than men, and especially in religious matters apt to be credulous, too easily swayed by emotion. Celsus, a 2nd-century intellectual despiser of Christianity, dismissed the alleged testimony of Mary Magdalene by calling her ‘a hysterical female.’ Luke’s Gospel candidly admits that at first even the male disciples did not believe these women’s report. Not only were women unreliable; it was unsuitable that women should be the first recipients of what was, in effect, a divine revelation. If Jesus had risen from death, the men ought to have been the first to know.”  Richard Bauckham, Jesus A Very Short Introduction, pages 105-106. I believe the men got over it!

Jesus The God – Man

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For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. – (Colossians 2: 9-12, NIV)

The Bible teaches that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Our God is one in essence but three individual persons. All three person equally divine make up the one true God. They form a perfect community of love and relationship in eternity past and for the eternal future. These three are know as the Godhead (Deity) in the old King James version of the Bible. God the Father was pleased to make all of the fullness of the Godhead to be known in his son Jesus. The Holy Spirit was given to mankind to reveal Jesus Christ and to empower his church. The incarnation of the Son of God clearly shows God’s compassion for his creation. He sent his Son to rescue us from sin and to live life among us, so that he could experience the pain of mankind while living a sinless life. Jesus was anointed (empowered) by the Holy Spirit to carry out the Fathers plan to redeem mankind from this fallen, sin-sick world. And to bring us back into the family of God. All humans are image bearers of God. But after the fall of mankind, through the sin of Adam and Eve, we became separated from God. The New Testament is clear that trusting in Jesus is the only way back into a right relationship with God. We see the Trinitarian God at work in the following verse:

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – “the Son of God. – Luke 1:35

Jesus is God’s only Son, born of a virgin, impregnated by the Holy Spirit. The verse above clearly shows Jesus as both human and Divine. Most of the time when the word for God (Theos) is used in the New Testament, it refers to God the Father. But, it is also used for Jesus Christ. John 1:1;1:18; Romans 9:5; Titus 2;13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:1,14

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” – John 1:18

“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:27-28

“To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:5

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” – Phil. 2:5-7

“….waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” – Titus 2:13

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and h the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” – Heb. 1:3-4

” But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

And,

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands” – Heb. 1:8,10

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” – 2 Pet.1:1

The Apostles clearly presents Jesus as “our God and Savior.”

“Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet’?

If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. – Matt. 22:41 – 46

Jesus clearly proclaimed his Deity to the Pharisees in the verses above.  Wayne Grudem explains,” Jesus also identifies himself as the sovereign Lord of the Old Testament when he ask the Pharisees about Psalm 110:1, “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet” (Matt. 22:44). The force of this statement is that “God the Father said to God the Son [David’s Lord], ‘Sit at my right hand….” The Pharisees know he is talking about himself and identifying himself as one worthy of the Old Testament title kyrios, “Lord.” (1)

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.” – Heb. 1:10-12

Wayne Grudem says, “Here Christ is explicitly spoken of as the eternal Lord of heaven and earth who created all things and will remain the same forever. Such strong usage of the term “Lord” to refer to Christ culminates in Revelation 19:16, where we see Christ returning as conquering King, and “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.” (2)

The Pharisees said to Jesus:

“Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, a I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. – John 8:53 – 59

Occasionally I talk with people who attend Church or are of another religion who don’t believe that Jesus is God. Jesus clearly claimed to be God. The Jews killed him because of his claim of Deity. The bottom line is that we have no Christianity if Jesus is not fully God and fully man. You can’t say Jesus is just a good man, prophet or great teacher: He’s either God or a liar. I believe he’s God.

I like the following description of Jesus from Richard Bauckham:

“Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ (as Christians call him), is undoubtedly the best known and influential human person in world history. Two billion people today identify themselves as Christians, with the implication that Jesus is the focus of their relationship to God and of their way of living in the world. Such followers of Jesus are now more numerous and make up a greater proportion of the world’s population than ever before. It is estimated that they are increasing by some 70,000 persons every day. This growth of Christianity is talking place despite its decline in the West, especially in Western Europe, and those who think the figure of Jesus Christ is of fading significance need to reckon with the astonishingly rapid increase in numbers of Christian believers in other parts of the world, such as Africa and (who would have expected it?) China. Jesus is plainly no longer an icon purely of Western culture, but in fact he never was. He lived in the Middle East, and in the first few centuries of Christianity the faith spread in all directions – not only to Greece and Rome, France and Spain, but also Egypt, North Africa, and Ethiopia, to Turkey and Armenia, to Iraq, Persia, and India. Christianity was a world religion long before it was a European one.” (3)

Sources:

(1) Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, page 545.)
(2) ibid.
(3) Richard Bauckham, Jesus A Very Short Introduction, Page 1

The Radical Gospel

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For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

(Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. –  (Philippians 2: 12-13 ESV)

Nothing good that you could ever do can add anything to what God has done in Jesus Christ on your behalf. Human effort cannot produce the life of God in our lives, it’s all a gift of grace. Salvation is a free gift from our Creator. The radical gospel frees us from seeking to appease God with our religious good works. The very essence of man-made religion is an attempt to keep a set of rules and regulations to earn favor with God.Those who seek to live moral lives in an effort to earn favor with God are missing the point of the Gospel. The Gospel is a declaration of Jesus’ sinless life, death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. This is really good news for mankind!

By placing our trust in Him and turning from our own sin as well as our good works, or attempts to please God with good moral behavior – we enter into the life of God. Jesus took our sins on the cross and gave those that trust him as Lord and Savior, his righteousness. This is called the “great exchange.” Our moral transformation is called sanctification. This is the process of working out our salvation (deliverance from sin) with fear and trembling. The transformation of our moral lives involves active participation with the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The proclamation of the Gospel when believed and received in the heart, brings us into the family of God. Religion produces fear and an orphan mentality but the Gospel produces, sons and daughters. We become the family of a loving Father that leads us in paths of right living. Simple trust in Jesus leads us away from fear based religion into a place of peace. Does your religion give you peace? If not, place your trust in Jesus and follow him for he is the Prince of peace.