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28 September, 2013

Faith - Part 6

This morning I was reading Hebrews 13 I noticed the benediction that ends this book is both unusual and beautiful and is found in Hebrews 13:20-25 “ Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,  equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you quite briefly. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you. Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings. Grace be with you all.”
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Justification is just our standing with God.  Yes, through justification salvation enters our lives, but it is a salvation according to God’s plan. It does not matter whether you agree with me or not, but know this, when I understood that, it made a world of a difference in my walk with Him and I would rather die than giving up this piece of truth that I became acquainted with through His grace. The Christian life we found throughout the Bible, suddenly made sense to me and in my walk with Him. If you can get that, you will no longer look at salvation through the peephole, but you are granted the whole view.
 When I could not understand what God was trying to say about justification, He then drew a line for me, the line seemed to start on earth but the earth was completely dark as if we did not have days, just nights. He showed me my life and how I was living completely unaware of the darkness that I was in and also unaware that there was another world or country out there that I needed to be. But, He showed me this spiritual darkness all of us without exception have it in us because of the guilty verdict of Adam and Eve we inherited. Christ’s death bridged the gap. But it was not a bridge that He showed me but rather the line that started from the earth, kept going straight and slanted until it became an oblique line.
Strangely, the left side of the oblique line was earth and the right side was heaven. The left side was about life down here and the right side was up in heaven. He showed me that He not only grabbed my attention while I was completely unaware of Him, but He also picked me up (apprehended) from the kingdom of darkness and brought me to the light. What was stranger was the fact that it was my home now, at the same time, nothing that concerned heaven was divulged to me. I was aware of the two worlds now, I knew the triune God lives up there and I knew there was something called light. I could see the contrast between light and darkness.  I remember standing up there, kind of scratching my head and saying so, what now? Then the lesson ended along with the vision.
Since then God took me back several times there to answer my question “what now?” But, the idea was for Him to make me understand with a graphic, what justification meant in His sight and why there needs to be more. Throughout my walk with Him I find the “what now” means that I have to work in partnership with Him. A partnership that looks like a 95/5 % ratio and this 5% ratio is so big to us puny being and demands so much of us, because it involved our will to stop being what we are accustomed to. In reality, we are so good at being sinners and so good at being God’s enemy we do not know how to leave it behind. This is why it is so easy to let Satan leads us because we identify with him so well. Throughout the years God has allowed me to keep looking back to where I was and how He apprehended me and the gratitude keeps growing and growing. When I look back, I realize the light that I have seen at the beginning when He justified me, cannot even be compared to the light that I know and have now. But, when I was in the state of justification alone, this light was marvellous because of where I was before (darkness) and I did not even know the light could be drastically better.
The first 8 chapters of Romans are about doctrinal faith. Chapter 1-5 talk about the state of the sinner and the life God showed me on the left side of the oblique separation bar. Chapter 6 to 8 is about those that He saved. Look at the beauty of it please, first thing that Paul did was to establish the beauty and privilege we have of being those elected to receive His Salvation and grace. Then, all of the sudden he tells us in chapter 6:13 what our reaction to what we have received should be which is a “surrender” after we have received His grace. I already shared with you in a post that God told me to surrender and since I did not understand God’s word well and I only knew what I was taught in the Church and by my mentor who was a major pillar of the Church, when I shared what God asked me to do, I was treated like the biggest idiot ever existed and was told that was foolishness since there wasn’t any need to surrender because it is done when we accept Christ
On a side note I understand the reaction of my mentor. Imagine living almost a hundred years a life where you are admired and well respected by others for who they think you are. You borrowed from the Pharisees and immerse yourself in your role so well you buy into your own propaganda, and then suddenly a little squirt comes along and tell you that God said to surrender. First of all you would start wondering why is it God did not talk to you instead of a divorced and reject of society. So, of course, in your mind this little twerp which is yours truly, (LOL) must be mistaken.
Anyway before I digress too far, as I learned to read the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s guidance I found that Paul’s word contradict my mentor. And the more I learn to master living a life in the Spirit I also learned that we  not only have different level of surrendering to God but this life is a life that can only be lived if we learn to surrender daily and moment by moment. In Romans 6:13 Paul was saying, if indeed you have received Salvation, and you are grateful to Him, then the way you can show Him you are truly grateful is through the sacrifice of presenting yourself to Him. This is nothing short of a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving at the same time is it a sacrifice that comes from learning to live a life of faith
In our partnership, He wants you and I, to stand up and make the decision to walk with Him. Look at verse 21 closely “equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.” Through justification we are enlightened and justified which means He no longer consider you and me as His enemies, and we have been acquitted of the sin of Adam and Eve that was in our bank account as a debt to Him. The debt is cancelled, we make peace with Him and we are reconciled. But, all that is possible because of the sacrifice Christ did on the cross.  Keep in mind that, sin originated in heaven and it was amongst people God loved so dearly and they were dealing with Him face to face like Lucifer the most beautiful angel and Adam & Eve who walked with Him. If you can live out your justification through an experience with Him, you find that, like Lucifer or Adam & Eve before they fell from grace you are part of this entire story now, as if you are no longer banned from paradise, but “What now?”
 It is His grace that gets you there and His grace that keeps you going. Remember, our justification gets us up there with Him so it is big stuff. But, even though we are up there with Him, He has a plan in His mind of what each our life will be upon completion of the work He is doing in us. So, when He looks at us He sees us through Christ, like the finished product (by the way this is a picture He shares with my son to help him understand why he needed to continue.)
 Yes, we have been acquitted and we made it up there, but we do not know how to live any other way than the sinner and the enemy of God that we are. By default we have a need to destroy ourselves and it feels good too. Furthermore, we have no idea what we need to do, to work out on the inside the life that God has in mind for us. So, He needs to help us slowly change on the inside while we are learning to get acquainted with Christ’s character and learn to weave them out step by step in and through us to make His criteria, ours. I remember when God showed me that as one of the answers to my “what now question.” I said to Him, “but we are becoming a little Christ.” Don’t get spooked here I am not saying we are little gods, but this is the goal God has in mind to bring us to a place where when we die, we will be like Christ
 It is a major work to get us to leave behind what we have been, to reach the place where we become what He wants us to be. I could go on for days about how this life takes place in us, but I have to stop myself because the post is getting way too long. So, I urge you like the writer of Hebrews to graciously live out your faith in Him with gratitude and a heart full of praises for who He is. You and I have the capacity to do that because when He justified us, He took us to the light and made a new covenant with us, He signed up to provide and to always equip us with what we need to live a life pleasing to Him and as we live out this life. He is also working His salvation in us for His good pleasure. Note that it is still His grace at work because you and I we do not have the capacity within us and the only thing we are good at, is being His enemy. But, through His grace even the little 5% of this partnership that is ours, He equips us for it. “equip you with everything good for doing his will…”   This is beautiful stuff