The Footsteps of Faith

A life of faith is not something we learn overnight. It’s a journey where we learn to love God and cling to Him each step of the way. As our faith develops, we come into the assurance that what God has promised He is also able to perform, regardless of how long it takes. We can see an example of this amazing journey in the life of Abraham.

Abraham is often called the father of faith. As Abram, which was his original name, his journey started in the Ur of the Chaldeans with his father, Terah. It was after they settled in Haran that God spoke to him:

“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ ” (Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV)

Abram’s first act of faith was to obey God’s voice. For Abram it was a great leap into the unknown, where he would have to trust God for every step of the way. It was through his intimacy with the One who led him to the distant land of Canaan that Abram became known as the friend of God.

Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he started on his journey with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. He stepped out in faith with God’s promise that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed. That promise must have seemed absolutely astonishing to Abram!

In time, both Abram and Lot accumulated large herds of livestock and their herdsmen began to argue with one another over the land. It was then that they decided to go their separate ways. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan and Lot moved south to the fertile fields of the plain.

“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.’ ” (Genesis 13:14-17 NKJV)

God wanted Abram to use the eyes of faith to see the land He had promised him. The reason is: Whatever we can see by faith belongs to us already. Then God told Abram to put his faith into action and claim the land by walking through the length and breadth of it. As Abram’s vision grew, so did his faith.

“But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” (Genesis 15:2 NKJV)

The wonderful promise that his descendants would be too numerous to count made no sense to Abram since he had no children!

“And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ ” (Genesis 15:4-5 NKJV)

Abram became the father of faith by his response to these words:

“And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6 NKJV)

Abram was declared righteous because of his faith. Today everyone can be blessed through this principle: that righteousness comes through faith alone.

As Abram continued on this journey, his faith grew as he treasured each promise God gave him. There was still one problem: ten years had slipped by and he and Sarai remained childless. It was at this point that Sarah suggested that they could have a child by using her maid, Hagar, as a surrogate mother. Abram agreed and Ishmael was born.

Abram and Sarah made a mistake that we still make today. They wavered in their faith and tried to use their own solution to help God answer their prayers. However, God did not need their help. He could answer their prayers all by Himself! They had to trust Him until the promise was fulfilled. In spite of their misstep, God was still rich in mercy toward them.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘I am Almighty God (Hebrew: El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One); walk before me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1 NKJV, emphasis and words in parentheses added.)

Then He said:

“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.” (Genesis 17:4 NKJV)

By changing Abram’s name to Abraham, God changed the confession of his mouth. From that moment on Abraham called himself “the father of many nations” every time he used that name. It was this final revelation that caused Abraham to lock his faith in for the son God that had promised him. For this reason, the Apostle Paul was able to write:

“And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” (Romans 4:19-21 NKJV)

What an extraordinary journey of faith! God led Abram every step of the way, enlarging his faith by giving him increasing revelation of the promise. Even when Abram stumbled in his walk with God, he was not forsaken. God gave him the strength to persevere in his faith for twenty-five years until Isaac was born.

Even if the answer may take a long time to arrive, we can enjoy the journey because God is walking by our side. He will guide our steps and keep us from falling until we receive the answer to our prayers!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you been able to overcome discouragement and keep pressing ahead until you got the answer to your prayers? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

 

 

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You Are a Member of the Ekklesia

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are a member of the Ekklesia – the assembly of those who have been called out to represent Christ on the earth!

The word “Ekklesia” is the Greek word from which we get the word “Church.” The Church is not a beautiful edifice with a spire, cross or stained glass windows. The Church is the people of God. It is a living organism that the Apostle Paul mystically called the Body of Christ.

As the Body of Christ, we have become His face, His mouth, His hands and feet to those who do not know Him, and to one another. When people see us, they should see Jesus! Everything we do should demonstrate who He is, His love and compassion for the world we live in.

As the Ekklesia, we are the assembly of called out ones who have been set apart from the world. We have been brought out of death into life and out of darkness into light.

Jesus said:

“You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14 NKJV)

Then He explained:

“A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15 NKJV)

Finally, He said:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NKJV)

God has transformed our lives so that we will no longer be like the rest of the people who are in the world. Therefore we should not think, talk or act like them. We have been set apart from the world so that even though we in the world, we are no longer of it.

Jesus explained it this way:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses it flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)   

If we think, talk and act like those who are in the world, then we would be the same flavor as they are. God wants us to be like salt so that we would taste different from everyone else who is living outside of Christ. Does that make sense to you?

When God set us apart from the world for Himself, He made us holy. The word “holy” means “set apart.” We are God’s holy people. We have been cleansed from all sin, washed by the Word of God and made clean by the blood of Jesus. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way to the saints in Ephesus:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church (the ekklesia) and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27 NKJV, words in parentheses added.)

As the Ekklesia, we have been called out from the world for God. He has sanctified us and cleansed us from all sin. We are God’s holy people, called to be saints in this world. We keep ourselves free from sin, by shaking off the deeds of the world and by being quick to confess any sin the moment we are aware of doing it. We are a glorious company of believers who shine with the glory of God!

To many of us, it may seem incredible that we as believers could be included in such a group of people. When we look at our own faults and failings, we may feel unqualified to be members of that company of saints. God doesn’t want us to look at ourselves and what we have done. He wants us to focus our eyes on Jesus and what He has done for us. He is the One who has lifted us out of death and darkness and placed us in His heavenly Kingdom!

The Apostle Peter expressed our amazing position in Christ this way:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV)

This is who we are in Christ! No longer should we hang our heads down in guilt and shame. God wants us to lift our heads up high as His special people who shine as lights in this world.

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Do you see yourself as one of God’s holy people that He has called out from the world? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

God Wants to Give You Beauty for Ashes

Have you become so accustomed to feeling the guilt and shame of past sins that you now think it’s normal?

Sometimes we think that we are not being spiritual enough unless we are filled with guilt and shame over our failures. We cling to it as though it’s evidence that we are still following the Lord. To us, it may seem like the cross we have to bear if we want to be spiritual.

There are some of us who try to cover up those feelings by doing everything we can to appear righteous, but deep inside we still feel the same. We go to church, read our Bible, and pray and yet we sense that we are not good enough. Then there are those who are quick to point out the failures of others to deflect attention away from their own.

If you see yourself as any one of these people, then God has good news for you. He does not want you to feel that way at all! The precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, not only cleanses you from all sin but also the regret, grief, and sorrow that goes with it.

The Prophet Isaiah painted a beautiful picture of what God does for us. He sent Jesus to be our Savior:

To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV, emphases added.)

All the things we may do to appear righteous are only filthy rags. That is how we appear to God when we try to be religious. The Prophet Isaiah wrote:

“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6 NKJV, emphasis added.)

There is nothing we can do on our own to make ourselves righteous and cover our guilt and shame. Only the blood of Jesus can accomplish that. His blood cleanses us from all sin so that we stand before God pure, clean and glistening white. That is the amazing power of the blood of Jesus! If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then that is how God sees us right now. And that is also how we should see ourselves every day.

Instead of being clothed with the filthy rags of our attempts to become righteous, God has clothed us with a brand new robe that is dazzling white – as dazzling as a bride on her wedding day. The Prophet Isaiah referred to this when he wrote:

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10 NKJV, emphases added.)

When we were saved, we were not only clothed with the garments of salvation, but we were also covered with the robe of righteousness. Jesus became our covering! The Apostle Paul expressed it this way:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV, emphasis added.)

If we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then in Him we have become the righteousness of God. This is why we must clearly understand who we are in Christ! Instead of being always conscious of our past sins, Jesus wants us to be conscious of His righteousness. Every sin and failure that we have done in the past is now under the blood of Jesus. We have been cleansed from all unrighteousness. This is why the Apostle John wrote:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV, emphasis added.)

These words should fill us with great joy, knowing that we stand before God cleansed from all sin and shame. We must be quick to confess any sin that we may do so that we will always remain pure and clean in His sight. God wants us to live completely free from sin so that we will no longer be burdened down by the weight of guilt and shame, and the grief and sorrow that comes with it.

In Christ, we are covered with His beauty and clothed with His righteousness. All the old things of the past are under the blood of Jesus and everything has become brand new. We can live in the reality of that every day!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Can you see yourself clothed in the beauty of Christ’s righteousness? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

Angels Are Watching Over You

Did you know that you have a guardian angel?

In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in the ministry of angels. Many of us believe that we have a personal angel who watches over us. Some people have believed that angels have protected them in dangerous situations. When it comes to understanding angels, we must go to the Bible to see what God has to say about these powerful beings that He has sent to help us.

It was Jesus who indicated that each one of us has a personal angel:

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 

“Then Jesus called a little child to Him, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ ” (Matthew 18:1-4 NKJV)

Then Jesus had something amazing to say about this little child:

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Jesus indicated by this that each child has an angel. This means that from the time we were born each of us had an angel assigned to watch over us!

The writer of Hebrews wrote about the role that these angels have in our lives:

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Clearly, we don’t lose our angel, even though we may be full-grown adults. They have been sent to minister on our behalf to help us and assist us in everything we do. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to know?

Even Jesus had angels assigned to Him when He was a baby. We need to realize that once Jesus took on the form of a human child, He also needed angels to watch over Him. Who can forget all the accounts of angels announcing His birth and protecting Him from King Herod in the Christmas Story? Jesus also needed angels to minister to Him as an adult. One account occurred when Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness after He had gone without food for forty days:

“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” (Matthew 4:11 NKJV)

What most people don’t realize is that angels also ministered to Him the entire time He was on earth. Jesus indicated this when He told Nathaniel:

Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:51 NKJV)

What were the angels doing when they were ascending and descending upon Jesus?  They were ministering to Him, with Him, and for Him. They were actively involved in every aspect of His ministry!

Even at the end of Jesus’ ministry, after He agonized in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, an angel came to minister to Him:

“Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”  (Luke 22:43 NKJV)

If Jesus needed an angel to minister to Him while He was on earth, how much more do we need God’s angels to minister to us? Angels are with us all the time to keep us wherever we go. The Psalmist wrote:

For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all of your ways.” (Psalm 91:11 NKJV, emphasis added.)

The King James Version reads: “to guard you in all of your ways.” That is where we get the term “guardian angel.” God’s angels watch over us, to keep us and guard us. However, if we are not actively trusting God to help us and protect us, our angels are hindered from doing their work. If you read Psalm 91, you will get a better picture of everything they have been sent to do.

The Psalmist also wrote:

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7 NKJV, emphasis added.)

The hosts of Heaven, God’s mighty angelic army, surround us at all times to deliver us from every form of evil. This is why one of the names of God is: Jehovah Sabaoth, “The Lord of hosts!” 

King David wrote:

Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” (Psalm 103:20-21 NKJV, emphasis added.)

You may be amazed to know that every time God protected you in a dangerous situation, He did it through one of His angels. In fact, we may have had an angel help us in some difficult situation and not even realize it.

The writer of Hebrews warned us that angels often appear to us in human form:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2 NKJV)

It is very likely we have interacted with angels without realizing it. That shouldn’t surprise us because God’s Word clearly shows us that angels are all around us.

Now that you know more about your guardian angel, pray this prayer every day: “Father, I thank You that You have given Your angels charge over me and my family to guard us in all of our ways!”

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you had an experience where you knew an angel had protected you? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing Jesus in Others

An intense ball of light, brighter than the noonday sun struck Saul of Tarsus to the ground. He had been on the way to persecute the followers of Christ in Damascus when he was suddenly confronted by a person who was now speaking to him out of this blinding light.

“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

“Who are You, Lord?” he asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (see Acts 9:1-5). Saul had been persecuting the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem. What made Jesus think that Saul was persecuting Him?

This is where we begin to learn that whatever we do to a member of the Body of Christ we do it to Jesus! Later, Saul would understand this more fully after he became known as the Apostle Paul. He wrote:

Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NKJV)

We are the Body of Christ because He dwells in each one of us. When we were saved, we became one with Him. Paul wrote:

“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV)

Before we can ever see Jesus in others, we need to see Him dwelling in us. We are the dwelling place of Christ through the Holy Spirit. The very Spirit of Christ lives in us!

In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Jesus painted a very vivid picture of Judgment Day. He said:

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, then He will separate them one from the other, as a shepherd divides his sheep from his goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:31-33 NKJV)

The sheep represent those who are righteous. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are the sheep of His pasture. We belong to Him and we will be among the righteous on that day. For us, it will be a day of great rejoicing!

The goats, on the other hand, represent the unrighteous: those who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior. However, today we will focus on what the Lord said to the sheep:

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” (Matthew 25:34-36 NKJV)

In the parable, the righteous were astonished. They could not remember their Lord and King ever being in such a place of need.

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ” (Matthew 25:40 NKJV, emphasis added.)

This is why we must always be careful what we say and what we do toward our fellow believers in Christ. Everything we say and do, we should do it as though we are doing it to the Lord because He dwells in each one of His people. Everything we do to one of His members, we are doing it to Him. Jesus wants us to always walk in love and compassion with one another.

When we see a fellow believer in need, we should ask ourselves, “What would I do if Jesus were that person?” When we find ourselves confronted by a believer who might be unpleasant, we should ask ourselves, “How would I treat that person if he was Jesus?” Whether the person is rich or poor, male or female, a child or an older person, we need to recognize that Jesus is in every child of God. He will take it personally, and one day He will also reward us for all the things we have done for Him.

The writer of Hebrews wrote:

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do (continue to) minister.” (Hebrews 6:10 NKJV, words in parentheses added.)

Jesus will remember every little thing we have done toward one of His saints and we will be rewarded for it. That should fill us with great joy and anticipation!

While ministering in the region of Galatia, the Apostle Paul experienced a great trial in his body, probably from the physical hardship he had gone through. They treated him with such compassion and kindness, that he wrote:

And my trial which was in my body you did not despise or reject, but you received me as the angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 4:14 NKJV, emphasis added.) 

The believers in those churches had the right attitude. They saw Jesus in Paul and treated him as they would have treated the Lord Himself. That is how the Father wants us to treat one another, not only in our church but also in other churches and ministries. He wants us to start seeing Jesus in one another!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Do you treat other believers differently because you see Jesus in them? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

The Judgment Seat of Christ

For those of us who remain faithful to the Lord Jesus until we pass on to Glory, the Day of Judgment will be one of great joy. On that day we will be rewarded for all the things we have done for His glory.

Jesus said:

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12 NKJV, emphasis added.)

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned that many would come to Him on that day and seek to enter the Kingdom of Heaven on the basis of the works they had done. He said:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (or, iniquity KJV).’ ” (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV, words in parentheses added.)

These people had served Christ at one time, even prophesying, casting out demons and performing wonders in His name. However, at some point, they turned away from the Lord and fell back into sin. Jesus referred to them as “you who practice lawlessness,” or “ye who work iniquity,” as it is worded in the King James Version. This is why it is so important to hold fast to our faith and not get lured back into a life of sin!

The Apostle James wrote:

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner (one who practices sin) from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20 NKJV, words in parentheses added.)

Simply put, if we turn our back on the Lord and die in our sins, our soul will perish. Therefore, if we repent and return to Him and die in righteousness, our soul will live. That is a very serious warning!

What did Jesus mean when He said that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, “but he who does the will of My Father in heaven?” (Matthew 7:21 NKJV, emphasis added.) Jesus gave us the answer when He said:

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40 NKJV, emphasis added.)

If we are not believing in the Son of God for everlasting life, then we are not doing the will of the Father. We must never stop believing in Him if we hope to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, none of us would try to justify ourselves by our works, regardless of how wonderful they may be. We would know that we are justified by our faith alone. The Apostle Paul wrote:

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 NKJV, emphasis added.)

He also wrote:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV, emphases added.)

We can clearly see that these workers of iniquity that Jesus referred to did not seek to be justified by faith but by their works. They had fallen back into a life of sin away from the Lord. As a result, all of the works they had done for Christ were forgotten. That is why Jesus said to them, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” 

When we accepted Christ, we were cleansed from all unrighteousness and all of our sins were remembered no more. It was as if we had never done them! The writer of Hebrews wrote these amazing words:

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Nonetheless, if we turn away from the Lord and fall back into sin, all of our righteous deeds will be forgotten. The Prophet Ezekiel wrote:

But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:24 NKJV , emphasis added.) 

Now that is also a very serious warning against falling away from the Lord! If we hold fast to our faith in Christ and die in our righteousness, then we will stand before Him with great joy and confidence on Judgment Day. The Apostle Jude wrote:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24 NKJV, emphases added.)

We will stand before Him faultless because we have been washed in the blood of Christ. This is why we will have great joy on that day! We will also give an account of the deeds we have done while in our bodies, not to justify ourselves but to receive a reward for what we have done.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV)

Those who have remained faithful to Him should never fear that day. When we stand before Christ, we will be standing before the One we love and adore, and He will reward us for all the good things we have done in His name.

Paul also wrote:

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels (or, motives) of the hearts.” (1 Corinthians 4:5 NKJV, words in parentheses added.)

This means that the Lord will reveal all the good things we have done for Him – even the hidden things that no one else knows about. He will also bring to light the motives of our hearts when we did something special for Him!

Paul added:

Then each one’s praise will come from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5 NKJV, emphasis added.)

That is what we are looking forward to on Judgment Day: those words from our Lord and Master when He lovingly smiles at us and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord!”

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

As a believer, do you look forward to Judgment Day with great joy and anticipation? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

You Are Sanctified!

If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you should already know that you are sanctified.

So many believers in the Church today struggle with living a holy life. We are constantly trying to become sanctified but never seem to achieve it. Our heavenly Father loves us and wants us to grasp the truth that has been revealed in His Word.

Jesus prayed this prayer for us:

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NKJV)

It is the truth of God’s Word that caused us to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is also His Word that reveals to us our sanctification.

Then He prayed:

“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” (John 17:19 NKJV)

The word “sanctify” means “set apart.” Jesus set Himself apart so that we might be sanctified through the work He was about to accomplish on the cross. This truth has set us apart from the rest of the world because we have come to believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Here are seven Scriptures that declare that we are sanctified because we are believers. The first one reveals that we are sanctified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In this passage, Jesus explained to Saul of Tarsus why He was sending him to preach the Gospel:

To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18 NKJV, emphasis added.)

As the Apostle Paul, he also declared this truth to the believers in Ephesus:

So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32 NKJV, emphasis added.)

In the following Scripture we see that we are sanctified because we are in Christ:

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” (1 Corinthians 1:2 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Christ is holy, therefore if we are in Christ we are also holy. We can see from this passage that this not only applied to those who were in Corinth but to all believers everywhere!

In the very same letter, Paul listed some of the various kinds of sinners that are in the world. Then he wrote:

And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 NKJV, emphasis added.)

When we were washed from our sinful life without Christ, we were sanctified. The Holy Spirit set us apart from the world so that we might be set apart for God!

The writer of Hebrews made it clear that we were sanctified by what Christ accomplished for us on the cross:

Then He said, ‘I have come to do Your will, O God.’ . . . By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:9-10 NKJV, emphasis added.)

The writer then warned the readers against rejecting Christ:

Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29 NKJV, emphasis added.)

Apart from these seven Scriptures, there are numerous others where each believer is called a saint – one of God’s holy people. We are sanctified because of who we are in Christ. No longer do we have to try to live a holy life in order to become sanctified. We live a holy life because we are sanctified!

If this were not enough to convince you that we are sanctified because we have accepted Christ, then let me share this one final verse:

“Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” (Jude 1-2 NKJV, emphasis added.)

The reason I did not include this verse in the original seven Scriptures is that it has a little bit of controversy. Some of the original Greek texts are worded slightly differently, so some versions do not add “sanctified by God the Father.” However, it is worded this way in the original King James Version and the New King James Version, as well as other versions of the New Testament. For us, it is still a reminder that we have been sanctified by God.

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have these Scriptures helped you realize that you are already sanctified as a believer? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]