Sunday, January 31, 2010

The fulfillment of the New Covenant

The following comment was made by my friend in Christ Mark [AKA Bluecollar] on the previous post. I think it captures the essence of sanctification by grace rather than a legalistic works sanctification that seems to be so pervasive in the American church today:

The fulfillment of the New Covenant is God the Holy Spirit living inside and moving us to walk in God's ways. Where man failed under the Old Covenant God takes up with the "I wills" of the New Covenant. Christians, both Jews and Gentiles, benefit from God's "I wills". Man failed under the Old, God triumphs in the New. I believe that the Church is now at the very appex of redemptive history this side of the eternal state.

The New Covenant is being experienced in an inaugural sense right now as men and women are now temples of God, indwelt by His Spirit, and walking (albeit faultingly) in His ways. He is now working in them both to will and to do for His good pleasure. His Spirit, working in concert with His word, is bearing fruit in lives. New desires arise from that heart of flesh spoken of in the New Cov. Christ-likeness is now the aim of the Christian life, thanks to the indwelling Holy Spirit.

That contrite heart God desires is now a reality. We are now to show forth the praises of Him Who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We are now His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. The drive to be more like Christ is the product of the Spirit's indwelling.

Living lives to the glory of Christ is what brings on the rewards. In short, we are saved to serve, the Father having crucified us with His Son, that our bodies of sin might be destroyed. We are no longer slaves of sin, but slaves to God, and led by His Spirit. Having been conveyed by the Father into His Son's kingdom, the Son now reigns over us His subjects by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We all will go on to rewards, some having yielded 100 fold, some 60, some 30 - yet ALL will be rewarded. It will be grace upon grace - God having been the One to have enabled, to have led and to have energized the saint all along; and that saint getting the rewards for what God had done through him or her.

Friday, January 29, 2010

111) Christians have these God given qualities

2 Peter 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Having been given hearts of flesh to replace hearts of stone, Christians are new creations in Christ. The old has gone and the new has come through their new birth and they have been given new internalized attributes by the power of the Holy Spirit. These qualities are gifts from God. As Christians grow in grace these qualities increase and keep believers from being ineffective and unfruitful. All Christians are different and have different gifts, but they all respond in varying degrees to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. While all Christians sometimes stumble and sin in their discipleship, they have the qualities that Peter lists in verses 5 through 7. When Christians are involved in sin they are anxious and remorseful until they repent. David points to this very condition in Psalm 32.

Focus on Christ #111

Monday, January 25, 2010


The following was a comment made by Mark [AKA Bluecollar] on the previous post that clearly explains the attitude and motivation of Christians:

Christ-likeness... Something that will never be attained this side of the grave, but is sought after by ALL regenerate folk due to their new nature. When we see Him we shall be like Him, yes; however this side of the grave our flesh gets in the way, yet it is still a prize to stretch yourself for, like a sprinter stretching for the finish line. Like what marks the grave of a certain mountain climber, "He died climbing". That will be said of ALL regenerate persons because their new nature longs for Christ-likeness... They all die while climbing towards Christ-likeness.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

110) Make every effort

2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (6) and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, (7) and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

These verses are an exhortation by Peter for believers to cooperate in their own sanctification. Grace through the indwelling Holy Spirit is the engine that drives sanctification, but believers are not mindless robots that are powerless to act on their own. They are new creations in Christ that are led by the Holy Spirit, but they are in control of their actions and behavior. Therefore, Peter tells believers to, “make every effort” and lists the desired attributes they should cultivate. Notice the list of attributes is not a legalistic do and don’t list, but are qualities that flow from the heart and are a reflection of internal ethical and spiritual character. They are an expression of the new covenant internal religion of the heart rather than the external religion of the Old Covenant. Peter points to the importance of knowledge. This Biblical knowledge enables believers to understand and follow the righteous leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Focus on Christ #110

Friday, January 22, 2010

109) New Covenant promises

2 Peter 1:4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

God has granted his precious and great promises through knowledge of Him. This knowledge leads to being partakers of the divine nature. Through being made new creatures in Christ by regeneration [knowledge], believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit [knowledge]. They are led by the Holy Spirit [knowledge] and this enables them to have the ability to escape from the corruption that is in the world [knowledge]. By being in Christ by faith New Covenant promises make it possible for believers to overcome sinful desires through the divine nature that is a part of their new nature. This is the grace that transforms sinners into believers and Disciples of Christ.

Focus on Christ #109

Monday, January 18, 2010

108) Sanctification through knowledge

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

The power of God is the source of all blessings. Believers are given all things that pertain to life and godliness from this divine source. How? ……Through knowledge of Him. Although believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and know God through a personal relationship, they should diligently seek knowledge by reading and studying the word of God. Jesus prayed that his sheep be sanctified by the truth and that God’s word is that truth. Christians are called to the glory of God and His excellence through knowledge. While all of Scripture is useful for knowledge in sanctification, the New Testament is particularly good for Christian sanctification through the Law of Christ, many exhortations on Godly living, and a greater revelation of grace through the much better new covenant of which Jesus Christ is the mediator. The law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Focus on Christ #108

Saturday, January 16, 2010

107) Knowledge multiplies grace and peace

2 Peter 1:2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

It has become very popular in America to discount, distort, minimize, and even ignore the facts about God and Jesus as revealed in Holy Scriptures. The bible reveals facts about our triune God that leads to understanding and truth. This truth is processed into knowledge of God and Jesus Christ that leads to grace and peace. It is a grace and peace that is not merely added, but multiplied. Obviously this grace and peace comes through knowledge of Scriptural truth and not the popular politically correct myths of the culture. Yet, we live in a time when even the clergy and leadership of entire denominations deny biblical truths including Jesus himself. When they affirm salvation apart from Christ through false religions, they deny Jesus Christ [John 14:6]. People can either be in saving relationship with Christ or they can be loved by the world, but they can’t be both. Look to the new covenant blessings in Christ and not to the world for grace and peace.

Focus on Christ #107

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

106) Faith is a gift of God

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Spiritual salvation is eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. The very faith to believe is a gift from God, and not of a person’s own doing. This faith comes after a person is made alive by the power of God as verse 5 states. Human works do not have any merit in the gift of eternal life, and no one can boast or claim any credit for receiving this gift because of their actions. Praise God that His grace replaces hearts of stone in spiritually dead men and gives them hearts of flesh. This is the new covenant in the blood of Christ and while salvation is offered to all, being in Christ by faith is the only one way to be in this covenant.

Focus on Christ #106

Thursday, January 7, 2010

105) The richness of grace

Ephesians 2:6-7 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

At the moment of faith regenerated believers are seated with Christ in heaven. This mercy and kindness will demonstrate in the coming ages the immeasurable riches of his grace toward those who are in Christ Jesus by faith. These early verses of Ephesians 2 point to the amazing power of God in salvation and to the total and complete assurance that those who have been touched by this power. While believers are not perfect or without sin, grace and the hand of God in both justification and sanctification have touched their very soul.

Focus on Christ #105

Sunday, January 3, 2010

104) But God

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, (5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

But God does take action with spiritually dead people and intervenes with grace through the work of the Holy Spirit. Because of his great love and mercy he quickens the hearts of sinners and transforms them from a state of spiritual death to spiritual life. Praise God that, through the new covenant mediated by Jesus Christ, grace upon grace is given to all that are in Christ Jesus through faith. Jesus Christ is the only way for human beings to receive the free gift of eternal life.

Focus on Christ #104