Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Free... Serious"

     The freest gift ever given must be communicated and received as the most serious matter ever contemplated.

    "As by the offense of One judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men to justification of life" (Romans 5:18).
    "Ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).

    Trusting and submitting to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, whether in the new birth or in the life subsequently lived, involves the ongoing reception of freely given grace.  "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, we walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6).  We remain as dependent on our Lord in this day as we were in the hour of our salvation.  However, just as no supplicant genuinely receives God's grace in Christ who takes the matter lightly, we also realize that a life of faith and obedience comprises no frivolous matter.  The salvation God freely works in us through Christ, we "work out… with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12-13).  That is, we realize that our Lord's honor is always at stake, along with eternal significance in the lives of others and ourselves.  "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord" (Colossians 3:23).

    Such solemn awareness does not foster a dour, joyless relationship with God.  Just the opposite occurs as we devote ourselves to the singleness and seriousness for which God made us, thus opening our hearts and humanity to Him, to people, and a life lived in truth and reality.  We can never know genuine peace until through Christ we respond to the command of James, "Purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8).  This we accomplish by building an altar of the heart whereupon we sacrifice any notion that something or someone exists other than the Lord Jesus to whom we give our utmost devotion and allegiance.   "Yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Romans 6:13).  Great joy results as we fulfill this reason for being.  Of course, we do not always walk in accordance with our devotion, and as did Abraham, we will sometimes need to revisit the altar whereupon we sacrificed the idols that still tempt us (Genesis 12:7; 13:4).  There we will find forgiveness and cleansing in Christ, and the restored joy of a life lived "heartily, as to the Lord."  

    "To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Nothing else.   This is pure joy for the human heart, as realized through a faith possessed of both unfettered trust and unmitigated seriousness.  Indeed, we do well to consider how God views our salvation.  He gave His beloved Son to a cross of untold shame, torture, agony, forsakenness and death in order to provide to you and to me the freest gift ever given.  Might we suppose, therefore, that He takes our relationship with Him seriously?  The obvious answer beckons us to respond in kind.  The purest joy awaits us as we marvel in our Heavenly Father's freely given generosity, and as we solemnly embrace the truth that nothing else in our lives approaches the importance of such grace.  As is so often the case, the Apostle Paul best expressed the truth, and we close with his affirmation of joyous devotion…

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 3:13-14)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Every word of God is pure.  He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him."
(Proverbs 30:5)

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