The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
A Place of Grace
Rather than a deserted ghost town, as referenced in yesterday's message, the spirits of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ teem with the living presence of God.
"Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).
The purpose of such presence involves our being spiritually and morally conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29). This first involves our character, and then our capabilities. The sequence proceeds from God Himself, whose character forever directs and empowers His capabilities. "Thou art good, and doest good" (Psalm 119:68). His heart guides His hand. In our case, His heart dwelling within the new heart freely granted to at the time of our new birth serves to guide us as we trust and submit to God. "Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto Him" (Romans 6:13). Thereby, the Holy Spirit progressively changes us internally so that our thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds flow from the indwelling Christ, and who we are as spiritually united to Him. "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).
Of course, great challenge awaits us as we seek to live by and from God's presence within in us. Our flesh, inherited from fallen Adam, remains with us in its unredeemed state during our current lifetime. "The flesh lusteth against the spirit… if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin" (Galatians 5:17; Romans 8:10). Clearly, the presence of God that inhabits our spirits has not yet directly impacted our earthly members and faculties. "This corruptible must put on incorruption" wrote the Apostle Paul of a coming day when the entirety of our being will be immersed in our Lord (I Corinthians 15:53). Until then, we can, and sometimes do live as if God is not present with and within us. Like the Corinthians, we can carnally "walk as men," as opposed to the truth of being Christ-inhabited and empowered sons and daughters of God (I Corinthians 3:3).
The devil, the world, and the flesh can do nothing to hinder God's faithful work of conforming us to the image of His Son. If we allow them, however, they can hinder our response to such grace. Our enemies work incessantly, tempting us to forget or disbelieve "the hope of glory," that is, Christ's living and vital presence within us (Colossians 1:27). If successful, they lead us to live our lives as mere human beings, rather than as human beings inhabited by the living and true God. Recall Paul's counsel to Philemon, that he might receive his wayward servant Onesimus "not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved." The Apostle prayed for Philemon "that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus" (Philemon 1:16; 6). Paul did not call Philemon to make bricks without straw, as it were, but rather to receive his brother based on the Lord's presence and working in Philemon's heart. Philemon was to live for God by living from God.
As are we. Our Lord works even more incessantly than do our enemies to fulfill His glorious purpose whereby one day "we shall be like Him" (I John 3:2). Albeit limited compared to the day referred to by the Apostle John, we can be like our Lord in this day. The risen Christ dwells within every believer through the Holy Spirit, making possible and actual a life lived far beyond our human means. God never intended that we live by those means, or that we "walk as men." No, He has given His Son to dwell within us, and to walk in us as the very Life of our lives. "To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). Remembering and affirming the truth prepares this "hope of glory" to become actual glory as our present and active Lord lives in us, and we live through Him. This is the day for such a wonder to be known, the only day at hand whereby we can live not merely as a lonely ghost town, but rather as a place of grace inhabited by the Christ whose image shines in our character and ways as we believe the truth whereby we may "walk even as He walked" (I John 2:6).
"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
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.