The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Treasure and the Vessel"
Both the reception and maintaining of our salvation involves the freely given grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
"By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, and not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
"You… are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Peter 1:4; 5).
"Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9).
Such wonderful grace not withstanding, it remains true that we bring something real and of value to God as we relate to Him in love, faith, submission, and devotion. The Holy Spirit's leadership, motivation, and enabling does not merely program us to do God's bidding as if we were mere machines. He rather supplies the necessary grace for believers to think, speak, act, and relate in freely chosen ways unique to who and what we are as individual sons and daughters of God in Christ.
"We have this Treasure in earthen vessels" (II Corinthians 4:7).
As a writer of old once said, "Christianity is not just the Treasure, nor is it the earthen vessel." Christianity is the Treasure in the earthen vessel." When we relate to God in love and faith, the Spirit of Christ most surely plays the vital role of moving within us to make our response possible. However, we bring something to the table in our response, something of our hearts God would not receive if we did not engage our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical faculties. Of course, God receives all the glory for such response. But we do respond in a love for Him that would mean absolutely nothing to our Lord if He merely punched the buttons of our hearts, as it were, to ensure our devotion. "I will love Thee, o Lord my strength" declared the Psalmist of such Divine/human relationship and fellowship, affirming both the necessary enabling of God, and the necessary "I will" of genuine devotion (Psalm 18:1).
When we trusted the Lord Jesus, God birthed a "new creature" capable of knowing, loving, trusting, and obeying Him, as empowered - but not programmed - by Him (II Corinthians 5:17). Certainly, much mystery accompanies the wonder of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). This we know, however: the indwelling Spirit of God makes possible a personal fellowship with our Heavenly Father in which we view ourselves as capable of blessing Him in a freely determined response of love. Few more motivating thoughts will encourage and challenge us to avail ourselves of grace, and then apply that grace to be who and what God redeemed us to be. Moreover, few thoughts will more enable us to please our Father and serve people than the realization of the glorious Treasure Christ is, as known by the functioning vessel we are.
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice."