Friday, October 11, 2019

Law(s) Part 6 - "Get Up!"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe… 


Part 6 -   "Get Up!"

"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).      

  Proportionally, the New Testament contains as many commands as the Old Testament, calling us to a life of devoted obedience to God no less than Israel under the law of Moses.  However, a profound difference between the Old and the New lies in the primary gift of grace bestowed upon all who trust the Lord Jesus Christ.

   "The Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:17).
    "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).

   Fleeing, frightened disciples became faithful, confident sons of God after the cross, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ.  What made the difference?  Christ Himself, dwelling in His followers through the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit.  The same truth graces all believers throughout the age of the church.  Our Lord lives in us so that we may live through Him (I Corinthians 3:16; I John 4:9).  In this blessed light of grace, obedience becomes privileged responsibility rather than onerous burden.

   "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.  And His commandments are not grievous, for whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.  And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (I John 5:3-4).

    Note the Apostle John's affirmation of victory: "even our faith."  We might suspect John would focus on victory in terms of God's grace in Christ.  However, he declares our trust to be the means of triumph.  The reason for this is simply that God's grace for living is already given in the indwelling Spirit of the Lord Jesus.  .  We must lift our hearts in faith to experience "this grace given" (Ephesians 3:8).  Faith affirms our Lord's involved and indwelling presence, leading to experience of the blessed truth.  Thus, we arise from our knees whereupon we acknowledge God's supply and our need to go forth in the expectation that He will lead and enable us.  "For by Thee I have run through a troop; by Thee I have leaped over a wall!" (Psalm 18:29).

   Find the most failed and fallen believer on the planet.  The truth applies to him no less than to the most faithful among us.  We conducted a service last night at a rescue mission, where broken men come to seek shelter, sustenance, and help.  Among such a large number of men, surely some are born again believers.  Christians are not exempt from the temptations and attacks of the world that can lead to such sad calamity.  For such ones, the call to repentance and renewed obedience through the power of God resounds through the Scriptures of God and Spirit of God.  "Get up, My son!  You do not have to remain in your fallen circumstance.  The Spirit of the Lord Jesus dwells in you to empower your overcoming of temptation and your joyful restoration of obedience that is the norm for every believer.  Arise in the truth, trusting Me for forgiveness, cleansing, and a renewed walk of faith and faithfulness.  Get up!"

   The risen Christ is among us.  The risen Christ is within us!  The law of the Spirit of life in the Lord Jesus constitutes devotion to God as the joy of our hearts.  "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22).  We all fall at times, perhaps not to the degree of finding ourselves in a rescue mission, but enough to tempt us to discouragement and spiritual lethargy.  The Scriptures and Spirit of God resound to us also.  "Get up!"  The tomb is empty.  The Heavenly throne is occupied.  Our hearts are full of the Spirit of the risen Christ.  This is truth.  This is reality.  This is the Gospel of grace that, rightly acknowledged and affirmed, leads to a life wherein obedience is viewed as joyful opportunity.  Indeed, the commands of the New Testament are all filled with the promise that the Giver of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus provides power to obey.  Get up!

"Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that steepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."
(Ephesians 5:14)

Weekly Memory Verse

    The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
 (Romans 8:2).      



Thursday, October 10, 2019

Law(s) Part 5 - "Righteousness: Root and Fruit"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe… 


Part 5 -   "Righteousness: Root and Fruit"

"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).      

  The law of Moses called Israel to try.  The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus calls all to trust.

   "Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine" (Exodus 19:5).
   "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

   The old law demanded human effort as the means whereby human beings become righteous with God.  It offered no hope of success because sinners already sinful entered into the covenant.  They were disqualified from the start.  God's spiritual and moral standard for human beings is absolute perfection, from conception and forevermore (II Samuel 22:31).  If we cannot achieve such pristine purity, no outward code could ever redeem us, including the "holy and  just and good" law of Moses (Romans 7:12).  Thus, God gave the law not to redeem, but to reveal in Israel's failed efforts our need for another hope, God's grace in His Son - "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."

   "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).

    "The gift of righteousness."  Only through the grace of the Lord Jesus can human beings become right and acceptable in God's sight.  When a condemned sinner trusts in the Lord Jesus, he becomes a converted saint by being spiritually enrobed with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus.  "Of Him are in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto… righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30).  The reception of such grace fundamentally changes who and what we are through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, freely given to all who believe.  Thereby, we bear "the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11).  The root of righteousness, however, always remains Christ Himself.  Our Heavenly Father sees and accepts us as righteous because we are united unto the perfectly righteous One, the Lord Jesus.  "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit… He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (I Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 1:6).

   "And lest the shadow of a spot should on my soul be found, He took the robe my Savior wrought, and cast it all around!" (From "Awake My Heart, Arise My Tongue," by Isaac Watts).

    Born again believers in the Lord Jesus expend a great deal of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical energy in walking with God.  None of it, however, makes or maintains our righteousness.  We rather join the  Apostle Paul, who testified, "I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily" (Colossians 1:29).  The fruits of righteousness hang heavily on our branches as we trust the Root of righteousness, the Lord Jesus.  The old law revealed our need for such grace; the new law, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," provides it.  Thereby we live for God by living from God.

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."
(II Corinthians 9:8)

Weekly Memory Verse

    The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
 (Romans 8:2).      



Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Dear Orange Moon Friends


   Those of you who have been with us through years may recall that I love McIntosh apples (God's favorite apple also).  Today I was blessed to consume the finest specimen of a McIntosh I have ever enjoyed.  I would attempt to describe the fragrance, texture, and flavor of this jewel of the Lord's creation and a New York farmer's cultivation.  The attempt would be pointless, however, so just trust me that of the hundreds of these apples I have eaten during my lifetime, today's edition was the best (trust me also that Mcintosh are the Lord's favorite.  It would be pointless to argue the obvious…).

    "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" (Psalm 23:6).

   As we get older, we can become jaded about life and expectation.  Nothing could be further from the Lord's will for His trusting children in the Lord Jesus Christ.  "Charity (love)… hopeth all things" (I Corinthians 13:7).  Surely we will all experience challenges of the aging process.  However, failure to know the Lord's goodness in the midst of all has nothing to do with circumstance, condition, or situation, but rather with anticipation.  Do we expect "goodness and mercy" during the entirety of our lives, as affirmed by the Psalmist?  Or will we surrender to the unbelief of despair because "the outward man perishes?" (II Corinthians 4:16).  A Biblical faith in the Lord Jesus commands and demands our confidence that no matter what, our best days lie ahead as we "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).

   I couldn't 't help but think of Jim Kelly, the one hundred year old brother in Christ who, before his passing, lived at a retirement community where we do services.  If I asked Jim how he was doing, his invariable response still rings in my ears:  "You know, Glen, I think this is the best day of my life!"  And Jim meant it!  He knew about love hoping all things, and he discovered that the goodness and mercy that followed him in every day also overtook him with the grace of every day.  I thought about that as I enjoyed the best McIntosh apple of my life this morning.  And it steeled my resolve to join King David and Jim in the expectation of faith that anticipates God's ongoing presence and blessing.  There are great days ahead in Christ, both in this life and forevermore.  Let us go forth to meet them!

"My expectation is from Him."
(Psalm 62:5)