Tag: saved by grace
Scripture reading for May 4th: 1st Samuel 21-22, 1st Chronicles 5, Psalm 52, Acts 15
Acts 15: 7-11 “And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the Word of the Gospel and believe. And God, Who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us, and He made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.””
Old religious habits and rituals die hard. The Jewish believers had a hard time with Gentiles now being saved. Some of them insisted that the Gentiles become circumcised. This matter was discussed in a meeting of the Apostles and church leaders in Jerusalem. Peter had listened to the testimonies of Paul and Barnabas and the arguments of those advocating circumcision. He stood up and spoke from his experience with God directing him to go to Cornelius’ home and preach the Gospel. The Holy Spirit was poured out even as he spoke. God made no distinction between Jew or Gentile, but He had saved all who believed through the grace of the Lord Jesus! Amen! God grants equal opportunity to all through grace.
Psalm 52:8-9 “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank You forever because You have done it. I will wait for Your Name, for It is good, in the presence of the godly.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your simple Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, Your Son! Help me to keep it simple and straight-forward. Alert me to any attempt by men or religion to add tradition or works as a condition. I trust in Your steadfast love demonstrated in Jesus Christ’s shed blood to keep me safe forever and ever!
1st Samuel 22:5, 23 “Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.”.. . . “Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”
Scripture reading for May 24th: 1st Chr. 28-29, 2nd Chr. 1, Acts 15
Key Scriptures: Acts 15:8-11 “And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us, and He made no distinction between us and then, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
At the Jerusalem Council, Jewish believers began to argue that circumcision must be added to all Gentiles who had come to believe in Jesus. Peter, a Jew himself, stood up and gave apostolic guidance. God gave the Holy Spirit and tongues as evidence to both Jew and Gentile. God alone knows the heart and He shows no favoritism.
1st Chronicles 28:9 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.”
Prayer: Lord, search my heart today, and help me to depend only on Your grace for salvation. Fill me with the Holy Spirit empowering me to live fully for You. Amen.
Scripture reading for July 17th: Romans 4:1-13
“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about–but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”” (Romans 4:1-3) (Genesis 15:6) Paul began to explain to the recipients of his letter that Abraham was not justified by works of the law. He lived over 400 years before Moses and God simply credited righteous to Abraham for his faith. When someone works, they earn wages that are not a gift but what is due them. God owed Abraham nothing and Abraham did nothing to get the credit except believe!
Paul then cited David who said the same thing in Psalm 32:1-2. “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Many commentators think that David wrote this Psalm to explain the righteousness that was granted to him in forgiving his sin against God through the incident with Bathsheba. When he confessed his sin, God forgave him and covered his transgression. It was a gift and the wages that were due David through the law was death! David was thankful for the faith credit!
Abraham received the promise that he would be heir of the world and through his offspring all nations on the earth would be blessed. Abraham had no children at the time and God told him to look at the stars and count them. His offspring would be as numerous as the stars! (Genesis 15:5) It was this promise that Abraham believed.
You might say that our simple trust in God’s promises through Abraham’s offspring–Jesus Christ, guarantees our inheritance as well. It is our faith in Jesus Christ that causes us to be born again in to the family of God. It is through our faith that God credits righteousness to us as well. (2nd Corinthians 5:21) The righteous inherit the promises! Isn’t it wonderful to have faith credits deposited in our heavenly account! Thieves won’t break in and steal it. We have true riches which we will enjoy for eternity! Praise the Lord for His glorious grace!
Scripture reading for October 28th: Titus 3:1-15
Paul concluded his short letter to Titus with an encouragement to preach and live out the word of God. Jesus Christ, our blessed Hope, would suddenly appear for those who were working and watching. ” These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility to all men.” (Titus 2:15-3:2)
Jesus was Paul’s example of true humility. Jesus left the glories of heaven to take human form, even being born as a baby! He lived a normal human life as God in the flesh in order to serve all mankind by revealing the Father. He humbled Himself by completely obeying His Father and offering His body and blood as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God exhalted Him back to the highest place, giving Him the Name above all names! (Philippians 2:3-11)
Paul exhorted Titus to teach Jesus’ followers to show true humility to all men as Jesus did. As Jesus gave up the glories of heaven, Jesus’ followers were to give up the glories of man ruling his own life on earth. They were to submit to all rulers and authorities and be completely obedient. They were to be ready to give aide to those in need and do good deeds with their talents and possessions. They were to live in peace, being considerate of the needs of others. This demonstration of true humility was to be a way of life marking true followers of Christ! The reward of true humility is sharing in Christ’s glory for eternity!
Paul instructed Titus to avoid foolish controversies and arguments about the law. “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful, he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11) Those not living in true humility and claiming to be part of the church needed to be dealt with. Pastoral ministry must humbly confront those dividing the body. Christ Jesus is coming to reward those living in the grace of true humility!
Scripture reading for September 23rd: Ephesians 2:1-22
God does everything with a purpose in mind. God knew His plans for us before creation. (Ephesians 1:4) God knew how these plans would be accomplished and is still active in bringing them to completion. One of His stated desires was to dwell intimately with His people and be their God. (Jeremiah 31:33-34) He chose to accomplish this through sending His Son, Jesus Christ to provide redemption and forgiveness of sins. His further plan was to send the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Father, to dwell within each believer. (Ephesians 1:13-14) The Holy Spirit is a guarantee of our full redemption when God’s plan is fully completed to bring all things in heaven and earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:9-10)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10) God’s grace is at work through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. He has made us into a new creation. He is the Master Craftsman working on us from within to work in us God’s grace. He leads us into the things of God and reveals Christ to us. He prepares us for the good works God wants us to do and shows us what they are. We must chose to walk in them.
God is taking both Jew and Gentile into this plan through the blood of Christ. The two are no longer separate, but by faith in Christ they are now one! Both have access to God by the Spirit and both have become children in God’s house. This house included the apostles and Old Testament prophets and Jesus Christ Himself the chief cornerstone! (Ephesians 2:20) “In Him the building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:21-22)
God’s plan included all nations, not just the Jews. God’s plan was outlined in former times before Christ by the prophets and now is being preached by the apostles. We who know Christ and believe are joined with those of faith to become a dwelling place for God–the new temple!