Thursday, January 19, 2017

His Anointing

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as He has taught you, abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.  1 John 2:26-29

Wow - this passage really has a lot packed into it, doesn't it?  It basically summarizes why I write devotionals. There is rampant deception not only in the world, but even within the church. False teachers are telling people that they themselves hear directly from God and that people need to listen to them (and send them money). People aren't reading their Bibles so that they can be taught for themselves, so they can recognize lies when they hear them.  People are confessing faith with empty words, with no intention to follow Jesus, and then wondering why their lives are the same as before.

"His anointing" is the Holy Spirit.  He abides in us and we in Him.  (John 14:15-21, Romans 8:10-11, 1Corinthians 3:16, 1Corinthians 6:17-20, 2Corinthians 1:21-22, 2Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 3:14-16, Galatians 4:6, Galatians 5:24-25, 2Timothy 1:14, James 4:4-5)  His Spirit teaches us to understand the Scriptures, helps us to remember what we have learned, gives us the desire to please and power to obey God and so much more.  (John 14:26, 1Corinthians 2:10-14, Philippians 2:12-13)  He even "translates" our inadequate prayers so they can be acceptable to God, saying what needs to be said when we don't know.  (Romans 8:26-27)

If we walk in the Spirit, then we will abide in Christ (and the result will be fruit of the Spirit).  (Luke 8:15, John 15:1-17, Romans 6:22, Colossians 1:9-10, Galatians 5:22-25, 1John 2:1-6)  If we don't, then we are walking in darkness not light (and our fruit will be bad).  (Matthew 7:13-27, Luke 6:43-49)  The Bible teaches that if we're content to walk in darkness, then we are not born of God. (Matthew 6:22-23, Luke 11:33-36, John 3:19-21, John 8:12, John 12:35-36, Romans 13:11-14, 2Corinthians 4:6, Ephesians 5:5-21, 1Thessalonians 5:4-8) Children of the living God love light, not darkness.  (Light is the truth of the Bible, not new age deception claiming to be light. 2Corinthians 11:12-15)

We need to always bear in mind that only those who are born again (and thus indwelt by the Holy Spirit, known to God, IN Christ) will enter the kingdom of God.  (John 3:3-8, 1Peter 1:23, John 1:12-13, Matthew 25:8-13)  It matters. Whoever teaches that it does not matter what we do after we are saved is deceiving people.  (2Peter 1:9-11)  We show who we are by what we practice, our deliberate deeds show what we are like--are we regenerated by the Holy Spirit or still enslaved to the sinful nature?  Do we reflect the nature of our heavenly Father or don't we?  (John 8:31-36, Romans 6:1-7, Romans 6:19-22, 1Corinthians 6:12, Galatians 6:7-9, Titus 3:1-11, 2Timothy 2:19-22, 1Peter 3:18-4:5, 2Peter 2:19)

Do we care or are we just looking for a future insurance policy against hell with the freedom to do as we please for now?  (Galatians 5:13, 1John 2:15-17)  Even demons believe in God, but it doesn't stop them from doing evil. (James 2:19) They can't be redeemed, nor can they be indwelt by God's Spirit as we can. Their fallen nature can't be restored and regenerated--so in a way they have an excuse that we don't have (if we claim to know God).  (1John 2:1-6)  Our salvation is nothing to take lightly or for granted. It needs to be treated as the profound miracle that it is. (Hebrews 2:1-3, Hebrews 10:26-39, Ephesians 2:19-22, 2Thessalonians 1:9-12)

Remember, justification (being declared innocent because Jesus lived the perfect life on our behalf and yet took the punishment for OUR sins on the cross) by faith is the first step.  Jesus fully completed it almost 2,000 years ago and we receive it for ourselves when we believe.  (John 19:30, Mark 16:16, John 1:12-13, John 3:16-18, 36, John 5:24, John 6:47, John 11:25-26, Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10, 1Corinthians 15:1-5, Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 1:3-4, 1John 2:23)  There are two more steps:  sanctification (being made holy - 1Thessalonians 4:2-8, Romans 6:19-22, 2Thessalonians 2:13-15, Hebrews 12:14) and glorification (the changing of the corruptible to the incorruptible, the perishable to the imperishable - 1Corinthians 15:50-55, Romans 8:16-17) occurs when our physical bodies are taken to be with the Lord.  (1Thessalonians 4:16-18, Philippians 3:20-21, John 14:2-3)

Like our salvation through faith, our sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit and will be fully complete when this life is over and we receive our glorified bodies. Through our cooperation with Him, progress will be made during our earthly lives, as time permits, toward our being more like Christ.  (Romans 8:29-30, Romans 12:2, 1John 2:1-6)  There should be continuing improvement.  (2Peter 1:5-11) Our sins should bother us, causing us to confess them and ask forgiveness so that we can be washed clean.  (1John 1:5-2:6)  If we have no concern whatsoever about pleasing God, and if He does not discipline us for our disobedience, that is not something to celebrate.  It means there is a problem.  (2Peter 2:20-22, Hebrews 12:5-11, Revelation 3:19)

People like to point to the "thief on the cross" to show how simple salvation is, but he would have been expected to follow Jesus and develop into a mature disciple if he had lived longer.  (Colossians 1:28, Luke 8:11-18, 1Corinthians 13:11, Ephesians 4:11-13, Philippians 3:7-19)  God sees inside our hearts and knows our thoughts, and thus, Jesus knew his change of heart was sincere.  He then assured him that he would be with Him in paradise that same day.  (Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32, Luke 23:39-43, 1Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:12, Revelation 2:23)  This gives us comfort about our loved ones who put off "getting right with God" until the last moment.  But for those of us who claim to know the Lord now, let's make sure that we work OUT our salvation so that it can be easily seen to be genuine. (Philippians 2:12-13)  There should be enough evidence to "convict us" of being a follower of Christ.  We may be able to fool others and even ourselves with empty words, but we can't fool God.

This should not scare anyone who is genuinely seeking to know and please God. If we really love God and care about pleasing Him, then He will help us.  (Hebrews 2:18, Hebrews 7:25, 1Corinthians 10:13, 2Peter 2:9-10, Luke 17:5)  If we are liars and only want excuses for our sin so we can continue in it, then He may just let us go our way.  If we behave like a child of the devil, then maybe we should examine ourselves in light of the Scriptures to be sure that's not exactly what we are! (2Corinthians 13:5, 1John 3:4-10, John 8:44)  If this has anyone worried, they should consider the following:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-10 

Don't quench the Spirit.  He is our only hope of overcoming this world.  (1Thessalonians 5:19-22)  We needn't have any reason to fear His return, but can look forward to that day with great anticipation if we just love Him enough to do as He says, with His help!  (1John 2:28-29)  Let's encourage one another to keep our lamps full of oil.  (Luke 12:35-40, Matthew 25:3-4)  Let's not listen to false teachers, but believe God's own words in the Bible.  Let's be wise, not foolish.  (Matthew 25:2, Luke 6:46-49, Ephesians 5:15-21)

(Expanded upon from Layout for Today, January 9, 2017)