Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Beautiful, Part Nine

Who will suffer God’s wrath?

The coming wrath is for the wicked, rebellious ones who would rather serve themselves (which is really serving Satan, the “ruler of this world”) than to humble themselves beneath the Lordship of God’s only Son, the only Savior and Way. They refuse to admit they are sinners in need of redemption. They love what God hates and hate what He loves. They prefer their own version of “truth” and will not acknowledge His sovereignty. Sadly, they are so arrogant that they think their opinion makes a difference—that by not bowing to Him, that He will cease to exist or have any power over them. That is a grave error with unbelievably horrific consequences.

There is coming a time when a great delusion will fall on the whole world and people will worship a being claiming to be “god,” taking a mark identifying themselves as belonging to him (in order to buy and sell, and thus, survive). For this they will receive eternal punishment from God, but before that sentence begins, they WILL bow to Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord of lords and King of kings. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. Revelation 19:15

“Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. ...So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:40-43, 39-50

For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: “the Lord said to my Lord, ‘sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified. Acts 2:34-36

How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10: 29-31

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" Revelation 6:15-17

What does it mean to be free?

God expects us who have been adopted as His dear children to be longsuffering and faithful, just as He is. He doesn’t change, ever, and His promises are all sure things—worth the cost of laying aside our old ways and following His instead. We are free of bondage to the Law, but we’re not meant to use that freedom to indulge ourselves. The Scriptures are like a mirror for us so that we can see how God wants us to behave and what our attitude should be. We’ve all heard the saying “it’s the thought that counts,” right? Well, many times there just isn’t any thought to count, is there? That’s sad. Let’s read our Bibles.

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:4-10

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:1, 13

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. James 1:22-24

Who is the Helper?

The disciples were very sad when Jesus said He was returning to the Father, but Jesus promised to send them the Helper. In John 14:20-26, Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit would come to indwell believers. The disciples knew and loved Jesus, having been with Him since the start of His ministry. “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:6-7

We can know Him, too, even though we have never seen Him. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we first come to salvation. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. ...And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 1;13-14, 4:40 

When Jesus was placed in the tomb with the huge stone rolled in front of it, the authorities sent soldiers to seal it so that the body couldn’t be stolen. This could be seen as a foreshadow of our being sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. Jesus rose again as the firstfruits of the dead and He will raise us who are sealed by the Holy Spirit as well. We (His Body) cannot be stolen, just as the body of Jesus was not stolen, but rose from the dead. ...who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:19-20

God gives us all good gifts, including faith, love, hope, wisdom, strength to persevere and to resist temptation, discernment, guidance, talents, physical blessings and more. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:17-18 

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. ...God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. ...And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:11, 18, 28

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. James 1:13

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.” John 15:4-10

This is Part Nine of a series.  You may download the entire devotional in a "pretty" format here or in a basic, small file size format with highlighting here.