We have been redeemed. We are no longer bound by sin. We in the practical sense however, live in a sinful world and still have a sinful nature until Christ returns. How do we repent and change?
~ Lisa Blair
It is comfortable to believe that we have been freed of all sin, but have we? Christ’s death freed us from the imprisonment of sin, we have been reclaimed, however, we live on a sinful earth with a sinful nature. Sin is all around us and in us. His death on the cross freed is from the imprisonment of sin and enabled us to repent and be forgiven, but woah, too many continue in their sin after repenting, thinking they got a pass. This is not a Monopoly game. This is our life in Christ. No passes, only forgiveness. This is the key, forgiveness brings responsibility, once forgiven it is our responsibility to stop the sinful practice. This may take time, however it must be done, otherwise we are still wallowing in the sin we were forgiven for committing.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Romans 3:23-24 NLT. bible.com
When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior the act established our faith in Christ. Through faith we can ask for and accept forgiveness. Our relationship rests on faith and builds on the foundation of faith.
When we are forgiven for our sin, it is an act of faith. Our faith is wed to our relationship with Christ. When we walk in faith, we are following God’s law. The law is His instruction about how we should live. It is not just the 10 Commandments, but all of the instructions written in the Bible. “ The Lord blessed Abraham because he obeyed Him, because he had faith that God’s commands were good and trustworthy…obedience follows genuine faith.” (Life Principles Bible, notation, Edition 2, page 1885).
Through faith we become the bearer of His Word. The Holy Spirit is nestled in us and it directs us, warns us, and guides us. It is the still small voice that says, do not go this way or that, stop-breathe-reconsider, danger, danger. He also nudges us to help others that we do not know or sometimes places a thought about a person you do not know on your heart and it drives you to pray for them – that is the Holy Spirit working through you. When we ask for His forgiveness, we are saying we will set this practice aside and replace it with your Word, we will no longer repeat the practice. Forgiveness ushers in our need to obey. We obey because of who God is in our life, the act is not the work that God seeks, it is His obedience because we truly believe He is our Savior and Lord.. In Galatians 5, the scripture shares,
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16-17, 19-22, 24-25 NKJV https://bible.com
So, what now? Now is the time to obey the Lord, claim faith as our operating practice, repent, receive and believe we are forgiven of our sins. The trick is to ignoreSatan’s doubts regarding our failures. They have been forgiven if we believe Christ is our Savior. Christ is the victor!
It’s a quiet riverside park on a Saturday afternoon. Joggers pass by, fishing rods whirl, seagulls fight over fish and chip wrappers, and my wife and I sit watching the couple. They are maybe in their late forties and are speaking a language unknown to us. She sits gazing into his eyes while he, without a hint of self-consciousness, sings to her a love song in his own tongue, carried on the breeze for us all to hear.
This delightful act got me thinking about the book of Zephaniah. At first you might wonder why. In Zephaniah’s day, God’s people had become corrupt by bowing to false gods (1:4–5), and Israel’s prophets and priests were now arrogant and profane (3:4). For much of the book, Zephaniah declares God’s coming judgment on not just Israel but all the nations of the earth (v. 8).
Yet Zephaniah foresees something else. Out of that dark day will emerge a people who wholeheartedly love God (vv. 9–13). To these people God will be like a bridegroom who delights in His beloved: “In his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (v. 17).
Creator, Father, Warrior, Judge. Scripture uses many titles for God. But how many of us see God as a Singer with a love song for us on His lips?
This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
What does that mean to you? To me, it means that no matter the circumstances in my life, I am God’s child and I am rejoicing in the Lord. My conditions, good or bad, do not define my relationship with my Father. He’s ‘Got me’, ‘He’s Got the thing, whatever the thing is’, I turn all things over to Him. He will lead me to still waters. He will make a way of escape from impending danger. He will heal me. He will meet my daily needs. He will speak to me when I feel lonely. He guides me. He cares for me and keeps me in all of His ways.
I rejoice in our Lord and am glad in it. The world does not shackle me. The Lord frees me. The Lord frees us!
The peace that is greater than our understanding is not a once in a lifetime experience. God supplied the Isrealites with daily manna, and He invites us to experience peace every day of our lives. We are blessed with daily renewal and all that it entails: peace, love, and joy.
~ Lisa Blair
Once Upon a Time, I was a complainer and envious. My parents provided and more than met my needs but that was not enough. I wanted what others had. I was never happy or content with what I had. I was not grateful for what my parents provided or God. I HAD NO PEACE.
It was not until I became much older and really focused on God”s Word that I began to I understand what He was conveying to all of His people, including me. The more I read about God’s peace, the more I wanted to experience it. Initially, I thought I deserved His peace just because. Later I wanted to experience it because I was tired of being envious and angry. As my prayer life grew stronger, I wanted to feel the gift of God’s presence in my life. His presence exudes peace. I wanted to bask in relationship His love, His peace, and His grace.
Finally, while praying in desperation one day, I began to feel a quiet that was not defined by the absence of sound, it was more a feeling in the middle of a melody. This quiet evolved into peace. It was peace greater than my understanding. God gave me an inkling of what I could experience every day if I chose. It was my responsibility to want it and to do so meant that I had to live the Word and become more like Christ. I had to learn to be grateful for everything He provides, including chastisement.
I’m not exactly certain when, but one day I noticed that I was praising and thanking God for everything that encompassed my day as it was happening. Praising and thanking God became a norm before I realized it was happening. It became an involuntary act. This brings me to the present, we had a few emergencies that interfered with our vacation savings. We are going on vacation next week. I was concerned about our disposal income, and rather than fretting and complaining, I found myself thanking God for the morning sounds, for His love and His mercy. I thanked Him for our vacation that was paid for, for our cousins who are vacationing with us this year, for my family, a roof over our heads, family members stepping out of the dark and into His light, for people overcoming addictions and carnal habits, for our leaders, my country (USA), and the world. During this time with God, I was suddenly filled with His peace. Things were not important. I was ensconced in His love and His peace. It was this day that I discovered that His peace can carry you throughout the day unmoved by worldly circumstances.
The peace that is greater than our understanding is not a once in a lifetime experience. Just like the manna God provided Moses’ people, the Israelites, and brought them out of Egypt, He offers His peace to us every day of our lives.
Moses said, This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you out of the land of Egypt. ~Exodus 16:32 ESV
God gave us His Word to align our thinking with Christ’s example of living. In Matthew 4:4 it is written that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Now, this may seem like a departure from peace, but follow my line of thinking.
The Manna represents physical food and spiritual sustenance. The manna is a food source for both needs. Manna was a type of bread that could only remain fresh for one day. It could not be saved. The Word is spiritual manna. The Word teaches us how to receive God”s peace. GotQuestions.org describes peace as a state of tranquility or quietness of spirit that transcends circumstances. It is not a continuous state, but also must be renewed daily.
Living in peace can be compared to the petals of a flower unfolding in the morning sunlight. The petals of peace in our lives unfold as we learn more about God. We discover that His character is always faithful. We experience His continual goodness. We read more of His promises (Psalm 100:5; 115:11; Isaiah 26:4). We learn to bask in His overwhelming love for us (Romans 8:38–39). We refuse to allow ever-changing circumstances to determine our level of contentment, relying instead upon the character of God that never changes (James 1:17; Malachi 3:6). (GotQuestions, Ibid)
We attempt to define PEACE, but our language does not have words to define it. We can only explain it in some fashion after we personally experience it, and the explanation is left wanting. The only legitimate explanation is penned in the Bible – God’s Peace transcends our understanding.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ. Philippians 4:7 NLT