Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
The secret to the spiritual life is not in and of itself warfare, but rather in the Spirit Himself. Yes, we can learn the principles of warfare, and learn to bind and loose forces, yet if the reason that they are there, if there is some, is not dealt with, they will simply return, and often larger.
Consider for a moment Jesus’ life and ministry. He did have to confront satan in the wilderness, but, finding nothing in him, the devil left him for a more opportune time (Luke 4:13). The next time we read about the adversary directly opposing Jesus was at the end of his ministry, first speaking through Peter and then at the crucifixion, three and a half some years later.
What does this mean? It means that, unless there were other times in Jesus’ ministry where the enemy came to Him to test Him, Jesus spent most of ministry with the enemy driven back, not in open conflict with Jesus during His ministry.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1
You see, it is, at least in part, up to us, how we will walk this Christian walk. Verse after verse, command after command, the writers of the New Testament, in the shadow of the cross, call, exhort, and train us to live godly, after our example and High Priest of the faith, Jesus Christ.
Not one moment may we forget that it is the pure in heart that shall see God. Nor, let us falter into the way of unbelief and die in the wilderness. But, in the same way, let us not make this journey of our own effort, or of the devices of the flesh, but by the power of the Spirit, we do put to death the misdeeds of the flesh, and so live unto God!
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And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
We understand that it is by God’s grace that we are saved. It is not our own efforts, but is His efforts. It is only by coming with no merit of our own, but as sinners who sin, with no excuse or righteousness of our own merit, and by coming to the bloody cross with our own souls, that we enter into Christ’s life within. It is only in the fullness of that finished work that we have any life whatsoever. Paul called any efforts besides simple faith in the cross to be “dead works” (Hebrews 6:1).
On the other side of this is Jesus’ Words, saying, that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and Sadducees, we will in no way ever enter the Kingdom. He said that the gate was small, and the the road to life was hard and narrow. Only a few find it.
Between these two places on either side, which we could call ditches, we find the road. Narrow as it is, it is still the road, and it must be traveled.
When we learn to preach the fullness of His Grace hand in hand with the narrowness of the road, we will have begun to understand the finished works of the cross.
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Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
All of my desire is in this one thing, to see His Face (Psalm 27:4). If we truly have this hope in ourselves, we will purify ourselves (1 John 3:3).
The New Testament is replete with examples that underscore the fact that the God of the Old Testament hasn’t changed His desire for purity and holiness as a lifestyle for those who are of His house.
Hebrews 12:14 says without holiness no one will see Him. 2 Corinthians 7:1 indicates that we should do it out of reverence. It was because of His reverence that Jesus was heard of His Father when He prayed (Hebrews 5:7). Ephesians 5:6 indicates strongly, lest we give way to being deceived with empty words, that God’s wrath is coming upon the disobedient. Even Jesus Himself, in Matthew 5:48, commanded us to be perfect, even as the Father is perfect.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
God wants us free. He wants you free, He wants me free. He wants me to point you to His freedom, and you to point me there. He wants each of us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
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Now, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Substance is “hypo-stasis” in the Greek. Hypo meaning “beneath”, and stasis meaning “the state, status, or structure of a thing”. That is, the underlying, inherent nature of an object, its foundation, its unseen, non-physical yet spiritual essence. Whether it is an apple, a thought, or a person, to have faith in or for something is to have it for real, whether or not you see it manifested in the natural. For example, if you say, “I believe such and such will happen”, that is hope. If you have the substance of the thing hoped for, the very reality of that thing, though yet unseen, that is what Faith is.