For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”  Galatians 2:17-21

The apostle Paul understood the grace of God.  The reason he understood the grace of God is because he knew the man he was before he came to Christ.  Before he came to Christ the apostle Paul was a pharisee.  He zealously followed the law of God, but understood it was impossible to keep the law.

Before he came to Christ he thought that Jesus was actually trying to destroy the law.  He zealously tried to destroy the early church seeking out directives from the religious leaders to hunt early Christians down and throw them in prison.  Paul even stood with approval as Stephen was being stoned to death.

But on the road to Damascus the apostle Paul had an encounter with Jesus Christ in which Paul’s life was turned upside down.  He committed his life to Christ and God used him mightily to write a majority of the new testament and to begin to plant churches and advance God’s kingdom.  The apostle Paul was sent as an apostle to the gentiles.

He understood that righteousness was through faith alone.  The purpose of God’s law was to govern the nation of Israel because it was a theocracy through a covenant established with God.  But the law was never meant to lead to righteousness.  The law reveals the righteousness of God and reveals man’s need for a savior.  For when one tries to keep the law perfectly it is impossible.

There is only one who was able to perfectly keep the law of God and that was Christ Jesus.  This is why He claimed He did not come to destroy the law, He came to fulfill it.  In fulfilling the law of God it makes it possible that anyone who would placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ would have the righteousness of Christ applied to them.  It is only the precious blood of Christ that is perfect and is only able to wash away our sins.

This is why it is no longer us who live, but we live by faith in the Son of God.  Daily we die to ourselves, decreasing that He may increase.  May we daily fix our eyes upon Jesus Christ and desire and seek to know Him in a deeper way.  He has made the way of salvation possible through the cross and it is through Jesus that we are able to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence.

Advertisements

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10 NIV

Salvation is a result of declaring with one’s mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in one’s heart.  Salvation is a gift from God and is to be received.  It is not based upon works and it is not earned.  But works are a result of true faith in Jesus Christ.  Because if we have come to truly place our faith and trust in Jesus the Holy Spirit has come to live within us.  It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.

As the Holy Spirit continually transforms our lives it impacts the way we live our lives.  We begin to see the world around us as God sees it and we see the brokenness of humanity.  We are surrounded daily by those who are broken and lost and as we have opportunity we must be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Through faith in Christ we are justified before God.  Our sin debt was paid by Jesus as the cross and He took our sin upon Himself.  The wrath and punishment that we deserved was poured out upon Jesus.  Today we are free because what Christ has done at Calvary.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8 NIV

We are told time and time again in God’s word to love one another.  Jesus exemplified this in the way He lived His life and the way He laid down His life for us.  He didn’t have to go to the cross, but He chose to because of His love for us.  We are created in His image and the offer of salvation goes out to all people.  Those who receive what Jesus has done and placed their faith and trust in Him will spend all eternity in God’s kingdom.

The apostle Paul had to defend the gospel throughout his ministry.  Many tried to distort the grace of God; either treating it as a license to sin or falsely teaching that the gentiles had to keep the law.  The grace of God does not divorce us from walking in obedience to the Lord.  For before we come to Christ we are slaves of this world and the desires of the sinful nature.  But when we come to Christ we have been bought at a precious price and become slaves of the Lord and His righteousness.  Our lives no longer belong to us.  They belong to the Lord.

In loving others we fulfill the law.  When you examine the law it is God’s righteous standard and it is impossible for anyone except Jesus to keep the whole law.  But through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to walk in love.  For when we come to Christ it is the Holy Spirit who comes to live in our hearts and transforms us from the inside out.  May everything we do on this earth be done in God’s love and done to glorify His name.  For we are called to love God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Colossians 3:12-14

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Colossians 3:12-14

We are called to forgive each other as the Lord has forgiven us.  We have no reason to hold bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts.  The Lord chose to forgive us and He saved us by His grace.  If we are truly in relationship with the Lord then the character of Christ should be produce in our hearts and lives and if this is true then we should be willing to forgive without question.

Everything the apostle Paul mentions in verse twelve is simply a description of the character and nature of Christ.  As we walk with the Lord each day we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are not transformed by our own power or strength, but we are transformed supernaturally by the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

But above all else we must do all things in love.  For when we do all things in love we will experience the unity and agreement that can only be found when God holds all things together.  We are told in 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen that these three remain faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.  True love is only possible through Jesus Christ.  As we grow in Him and come to know Him in greater ways, His love and His grace fill every area of our lives.

Galatians 5:22-26

Image result for galatians 5 22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.  Galatians 5:22-26

The apostle Paul writes about the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  When we examine the fruit of the Holy Spirit we see that it is simply the character and nature of Christ.  It is produced in our lives as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit each day.  As we study God’s word and spend time in prayer it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.

When we belong to Christ we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  In our Christian journey we are continually led by the Holy Spirit and we put to death the desires of the sinful nature.  Early in our walk with Christ it seems these desires still dominate our lives.  But as we grow with Christ progressively the strength of the lust of the flesh diminish and we simply walk in obedience to the Lord.  It is a progressive process throughout our lives.

It is important for us to keep in step with the Spirit each day.  The more time we spend with the Lord in intimate fellowship the more the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit becomes clear.  For us to walk in step with the Holy Spirit requires deep intimacy with the Lord.

We are called not to become conceited.  Being conceited is simply a result of pride.  The greatest thing that will guard our hearts from pride is walking in step with the Holy Spirit.  Pride will always blind us.  When we become conceited it will negatively affect our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.  May we walk in love and humility and continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Image result for 2 corinthians 1 3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

The Lord will comfort us in the most difficult moments of our lives.  He does this to strengthen and sustain us for the journey.  He does it to develop compassion within us for those who are also suffering so that the same comfort we have received from the Lord, we will pour out upon them.

Many times when we are going through something hard we can feel overwhelmed.  But we must remember where our strength comes from.  It is the Lord who sustains us and His grace is sufficient for all things.  He has given His word to sustain us and transform us.  He is faithful 100 percent of the time.

Too many times we allow the discouragement of the enemy to creep into our hearts and minds.  But we must recognize it for what it is and where it comes from.  God is faithful.  Today if you are suffering or going through a difficult time simply draw near to the Lord.  Allow Him to minister to your heart and strengthen you for the journey.  He has created you with destiny and purpose.  By His mighty power and grace He will bring all things to pass.

Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good

Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—

When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.[a] He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees[b] or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. 10 If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11 For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.  Titus 3:1-11

The apostle Paul declares that we are to submit to those in governing authority.  It is God who raises up kings and tears them down.  We are called to be gentle and do all things in love.  We are called to pray for those in leadership.  This world is not our home and because of this we are only here for a very short period of time.  Our focus must be upon the Lord and His kingdom.  We shall rule and reign with Him someday.

All of us at one time were steeped and wickedness and sin.  All of us are born into sin and we must never forget that we are saved and redeemed simply because of the grace and mercy of Almighty God.  He chose to save us because of His love for us.  He chose to lavish His grace upon us.  This truth alone should guard our hearts from arrogance and pride.

Our lives should be impacted by the truth of God’s word.  When our lives are built upon sound doctrines the decisions we make and the way we live our lives will bring glory and honor to the Lord.  When we come to Christ our lives no longer belong to us.  They belong to Him and should simply be lived for His glory and His honor.

We are to guard against false teaching and those who merely desire to cause division in the body of Christ.  Sometimes there are those who have wicked intentions and we must discern through the Holy Spirit the motives of a person.  As we walk closely with the Lord through His word and prayer we will become sensitive to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The greatest of these is love

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

These three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.  This is an incredible and power scripture and statement.  There is nothing that compares to the love of God.  It is God’s love that led Him to create humanity and it is God’s love that led him to put in place the plan of salvation because He knew that Adam and Eve would choose to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

It was His love that led Him to come to this earth and it was His love that held Him to the cross.  As we grow in Him we come to know His love and it transforms our lives.  So many in the world today desire to know what true love is.  They seek after the emptiness of this world and the entire time they are placing themselves in greater bondage as they partake of the wickedness and deception of the enemy.

But in Christ we find true love.  In Christ we find who we truly are.  In Christ we find the destiny and plan that God has for our lives and it changes everything.  We learn to rest in His love for us.  We learn to let go of this world and its desires.  Every desire of the world is simply a road to destruction.  But as we set aside the things of sin and wickedness for the glory of God we come to find true love that is only found in Jesus Christ.

Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, [a]called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a [b]descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power [c]by the resurrection from the dead, according to the [d]Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship [e]to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as [f]saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 1:1-7

This is quite the introduction to the book of Romans.  The apostle Paul begins by listing himself and refers to himself as a bond servant.  The apostle Paul more than anyone understood that his salvation was simply a result of the grace of God.  Paul didn’t deserve salvation like all of us, but the Lord chose and set him a part for God’s plans and His purposes.  The apostle Paul was chosen by the Lord to establish the foundation and begin to take the gospel to the uttermost.

Throughout the old testament we are given prophecies that point to the messiah who is to come.  The nation of Israel thought their messiah would be a conquering king like king David and failed to understand that Jesus had to come and give His life so that they could be set free from the slavery of sin.  But when we examine many of the prophecies that speak about the coming Messiah and we look and examine the life of Jesus Christ we see that He fulfilled every prophecy that concerned His first coming and will one day finish the rest when He returns to establish His kingdom.

Through the linage established in Matthew and Luke we see that Jesus was indeed a descendant of King David.  God established a covenant with King David that he would always have a descendant to rule upon the throne and this was fulfilled through Jesus Christ.  For there is coming a day when Jesus shall return and established His kingdom upon the earth.  The linage of Jesus in Matthew follows the line through Joseph, while the linage in Luke follows the linage through Mary.  God so orchestrated all things to fulfill His sovereign will and His purposes.

It was the resurrection that once and for all truly proved that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.  Yes when Jesus walked the earth He did many miracles and John even writes that if everything Jesus did was written down there would be enough books to contain the accounts.  But through the resurrection Jesus demonstrated His Lordship and authority over death and the grave.  Because of the resurrection we know that Jesus lives forevermore and that because of the resurrection that nothing is impossible.  It is the resurrection and Calvary that is foundational and central to the truth of the gospel message.

Paul knew that it was only by grace that he was called to be an apostle.  He didn’t choose to be an apostle and he hadn’t done anything to earn it.  But because of God’s grace and mercy Paul was given the high calling of taking the gospel to the gentiles.  Before Paul every came to know Christ, he was a man driving to destroy Christianity.  But on that day on the Damascus road his life would be changed for an eternity and he would be used to write a majority of the New Testament and establish the foundation of Christianity.

We who are in Christ today and for every believer throughout history who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ are only saved by the grace and mercy of Almighty God.  None of us have done anything to earn our salvation.  No of us have been deserving of salvation.  We are simply saved by the grace of God and when we remember and understand this truth we will always walk in humility throughout our life on this earth.

Those who come to faith in Jesus Christ is the definition of a saint.  Being referred to as a saint is not something earned.  A saint is simply a sinner saved by grace.  Some have distorted this and made it seem the church determines who are saints and that some how it is by merit.  But this is simply a distortion of the truth.  Anyone who comes to Christ and receives Him as Lord and Savior are a saint.  Our righteousness is not established by our works or the way we live our lives, but it is simply found in the perfection of who Jesus is.  As we grow in Christ the nature and character of Christ is established within us and we develop and outward righteousness.

Bearing with one another in love

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2 NIV

We are called to bear with one another in love.  All of us are broken and being progressively transformed by the Lord.  Because we are all human and the body of Christ is made up of people there are going to be times when people make mistakes and people offend on another.

But for us to truly walk in unity and agreement with one another we must be gentle and humble.  The greatest thing that causes division in the body of Christ is pride and arrogance.  When we walk in pride and arrogance we are blinded to the deceptions of the enemy.  Satan time and again has invaded the body of Christ and brought division.  But God is calling us to be the sons and daughters He has destined us to be.  To be a people filled with His love, grace, and mercy.

An essential component of this is patience.  Again because all of us are human and all of us are broken, mistakes will be made.  Too many times we have this lofty ideal that the body of Christ is some how going to be perfect.  But the body of Christ is filled with people from all different backgrounds and at different places in their spiritual growth.  We must focus our hearts and minds daily upon the Lord and His kingdom if we desire to walk in unity and love.  For when our lives are fixed on Jesus and we are abiding in Him, we will walk in His love and His grace.  We will be able to forgive one another and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.  May we seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.  May we be simply willing to love one another.