Meditations for the Soul

~ Monday September 12, 2016 ~

Our True Identity

“And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” – Romans 6:18

          The New Testament commands believers to submit to Christ completely, and not just as hired servants or spiritual employees – but as those who belong wholly to Him. Jesus Christ is our Master – a fact we acknowledge every time we call Him “Lord.” We are His slaves, called to humbly and wholeheartedly obey and honour Him.

          We don’t hear about that concept much in churches today. In contemporary Christianity the language is anything but slave terminology. It is about success, health, wealth, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness. We often hear that God loves people unconditionally and wants them to be all they want to be. He wants to fulfill every desire, hope, and dream. Personal ambition, personal fulfillment, personal gratification – these have all become a part of the language of evangelical Christianity – and part of what it means to a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Instead of teaching the New Testament gospel – where sinners are called to submit to Christ – the contemporary message is exactly the opposite: Jesus is here to fulfill all your wishes. Likening Him to a personal assistant or a personal trainer, many churchgoers speak of a personal Saviour who is eager to do their bidding and help them in the their quest for self-satisfaction or individual accomplishment.

The New Testament understanding of the believer’s relationship to Christ could not be more opposite. He is the Master and Owner. We are His possession. He is the King, the Lord, and the Son of God. We are His subjects and His subordinates.

In a Word, we are His slaves.”

John MacArthur: Moments of Truth, Pg. 267 (Taken from Slave 14-15)

~ Monday September 19, 2016 ~

Identified or Simply Interested?

“I have been crucified with Christ…” – Galatians 2:20

“The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my tight to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ…” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or “I will really make an effort to follow Him” – but – “I have been identified with Him in His death.” Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ. “…it is no longer I who live…” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.

“…and the life which I now live in the flesh.” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh – the life which other can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God…” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son of God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits – a faith that comes only from the Son of God.”

Oswald Chambers; My Utmost for His Highest, (March 21)

~ Monday September 26, 2016 ~

Almighty God, I am loved with everlasting love, clothed in eternal righteousness, my peace flowing like a river, my comforts many and large, my joy and triumph unutterable, my soul lively with a knowledge of salvation, my sense of justification unclouded. I have scarce anything to pray for; Jesus smiles upon my soul as a ray of heaven and my supplications are swallowed up in praise.

How sweet is the glorious doctrine of election when based upon thy Word and wrought inwardly within the soul! I bless thee that thou wilt keep the sinner thou hast loved, and hast engaged that he will not forsake thee, else I would never get to heaven. I wrong the work of grace in my heart if I deny my new nature and my eternal life. If Jesus were not my righteousness and redemption, I would sink into nethermost hell by my misdoings, shortcomings, unbelief, unlove; If Jesus were not by the power of his Spirit my sanctification, there is not sin I should not commit.

O when shall I have his mind! When shall I be conformed to His image? All the good things of life are less than nothing when compared with his love, and with one glimpse of thy electing favour. All the treasures of a million worlds could not make me richer, happier, more contented, for his unsearchable riches are mine. One moment of communion with him, one view of his grace, is ineffable, inestimable. But O God, I could not long after thy presence if I did not know the sweetness of it; and such I could not know except by thy Spirit in my heart, nor love thee at all unless thou didst elect me, call me, adopt me, save me. I bless they for the covenant of grace.

The Valley of Vision: Assurance; Pg. 92-93

~ Monday October 3, 2016 ~

Our Substitute

“He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.” – 1 Peter 1:24 The substitutionary death of Jesus Christ is an essential truth of the Christian faith. Redemption, justification, reconciliation, removal of sin, and propitiation are all corollaries of Christ’s substitutionary work. The apostle Paul also emphasized this work when He said that God, “…made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21), and that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.” (Gal. 3:13).

Some claim it’s immoral to teach that God would take on human flesh and bear the sins of men and women in their stead. They say it’s unfair to transfer the penalty of sin from a guilty person to an innocent person. But that’s not what happened. Christ willingly took on our sin and bore its penalty. If He had not willed to take our sin and accept its punishment, as sinners we would have borne the punishment of sin in hell forever. Christ’s work on the cross wasn’t unfair – is was God’s love in action!

Truth for Today, Our Substitute, Pg. 110\

~ Monday October 17, 2016 ~

Stand Firm – Philippians 4:1

“Today’s verse calls to mind a picture of a soldier standing his ground in the midst of battle. Paul used the same metaphor in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Standing fast or firm spiritually means not compromising your Christian testimony in allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by trials or temptation. It saddens me that many believers don’t take God and His commands seriously enough. Instead of wanting to know God, many prefer to be entertained. That kind of apathy regards His commands as mere suggestions. But our sovereign Lord commands us to stand firm. Inherent in that command is the capacity to obey.”

John MacArthur; Truth for Today, Pg. 331.

~ Monday October 24, 2016 ~

The Light that Never Fails

“A servant of God must stand so very much alone that he never realizes he is alone. In the early stages of the Christian life, disappointments will come- people who used to be lights will flicker out, and those who used to stand with us will turn away. We have to get so used to it that we will not even realize we are standing alone. Paul said, “…no one stood with me but all forsook me….But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…” (2 Timothy 4:16-17). We must build our faith not on fading lights but on the Light that never fails. When “important” individuals go away we are sad, until we see that they are meant to go, so that only one thing is left for us to do – to look into the face of God for ourselves.”

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 22

~ Monday October 31, 2016 ~

“True godliness engages our affections and awakes within us a desire to enjoy God’s presence and fellowship. It produces a longing for God Himself. The writer of Psalm 42 vividly expressed this longing when he exclaimed, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” What could be more intense than a hunted deer’s thirst for water? The psalmist does not hesitate to use this picture to illustrate the intensity of his own desire for God’s presence and fellowship.”…”The apostle Paul also experienced this longing for God: “I want to know Christ” (Philippians 3:10). The Amplified Bible forcefully catches the intensity of Paul’s desire in this passage: “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him – that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding [the wonders of His person] more strongly and more clearly.” This is the heartbeat of the godly person. As he contemplates God in the awesomeness of His infinite majesty, power, and holiness, and then as he dwells upon the riches of His mercy and grace poured out at Calvary, his heart is captivated by this One who could love him so. He is satisfied with God alone, but he is never satisfied with his present experience of God. He always yearns for more.”

Jerry Bridges, The Practice of Godliness, Pg. 30-31

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