The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe...
"The Freest Gift - Part 2"
In human experience, we can be easily spoiled by too much giving from others. Whether personally or corporately, we must help and provide for each other with discretion no less than generosity.
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment" (Philippians 1:9).
Whether in spoiling a child, or in enticing adults to irresponsibility, a danger lurks in the well meaning desire to benefit others. We should therefore proactively seek ways to help that result not only in aid, but also in encouraging personal responsibility. We must give in a manner that motivates the recipient to desire and do the same when possible. As the Lord Jesus told His disciples, "Freely ye have received, freely give"(Matthew 10:8).
In the light of this truth, how does God give us salvation as a completely free gift without fostering even more selfishness on our part? How does faith in Christ sanctify rather than spoil us? The answer lies in the truth that God's freely given grace not only pardons our sins, but changes the very nature of who and what we are.
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).
With salvation comes the Spirit. The Lord Jesus Himself enters into the innermost sanctum of our being through the indwelling Holy Spirit, birthing and empowering the "new creature" we become in Him (Galatians 4:6). Indeed, every true believer in the Lord Jesus bears within the desire to love God and others. "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). We may not always do so, and we may not always feel our devotion. We may even sometimes act in complete opposition to the unselfish love of Christ. However, nothing changes the fact of His love "shed abroad in our hearts." Pardon the crude metaphor, but boil a Christian down to his or her spiritual essence, and that which remains is a living temple of the love of God. "And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 1:14).
Thus, God can freely grant our salvation because with the Savior comes His indwelling and heart-changing love. "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6). Again, we may not always live accordingly, and we can certainly take advantage of God's favor even as believers. However, the Holy Spirit ever works in our hearts to fill us with joy as we unselfishly love, and discomfort when we succumb to temptations of selfishness. Our Heavenly Father also disciplines us when we wander down paths of "I, Me, and My." He can therefore safely grant salvation as a free gift because His grace changed our heart when we believed, and His grace progressive works in our hearts thereafter. "He which hath begun a good work will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
The more we know such blessed truth, the more we will live accordingly "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18). Yes, God freely gave us our redemption in Christ without spoiling us. On the contrary, He began the saving process whereby through Christ, we will ultimately reflect the perfection of His unselfish heart in glorious and eternal splendor…
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
(I John 3:2)
"He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in Him."
(I John 4:16)
Weekly Memory Verse
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever."