Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Perfection Promised

Galatians 4:9
  • But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

At one time, we did not know God and followed the empty, worth-less idols of our hearts, and we still wage war against the idols that pop up in our hearts daily.

But Paul states we have come to know God. No, actually, rather we have come to be known by God. Of course, God knew us before we came to know Him, but the moment we came to know Jesus, we have come to know God personally, and that is a result of God revealing Himself to us through other people, books or other means through which God revealed Himself in Christ Jesus to us.

Paul's argument is that how can we turn back again to our worth-less self-efforts to curry favour with God, as if God saved us because we behaved well and did lots of good things to please Him. 

No. It would be absurd just like a child believing that unless he/she does lots of good things to please his/her parents, they would abandon/forsake him/her.  Yes, it would be just as absurd as a child who believes his/her sonship/daughtership depends on how much he/she worked for his/her parents.

If parents' love for their child does not depend on their child's performance of good works, how much more would God love us unconditionally. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for a life of sin doing whatever we want. Because as you know, if a child tries to play on a motorway, what parents would not protect her/him by establishing boundaries, and telling her/him that they can play on the playground freely, but not on a motorway. Are parents being intolerant because they would be restricting their child's freedom of choice, and expression of self-will to play however and wherever that child wants to play? Absolutely not!!

Then, how much more would God who is infinitely wise express His love in giving us guidelines and boundaries in His word to protect us from harm and danger?

Another point is that children grow to become like their parents. It is imperative and inevitable that if we have been truly saved and truly put our faith in Jesus, we would grow to become like our heavenly Father, namely our Lord Jesus, who showed to us who our heavenly Father is. This is God's promise in His word,  

Philippians 1:6
  • For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:22
  • He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

Jude 1:24
  • Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy

So, let us be like a child who thanks their parents for giving birth to them, and thank parents for their love and grace rather than being in fear and putting confidence on one's own self-efforts and works to keep their sonship/daughtership valid, which would be ludicrous. 

Let us thank God in whom we have been born again and let us follow Him just as a child would follow His parents and become like them (A child takes after their parents even when their parents are imperfect and sinful, how much more we would/should/must take after our heavenly Father who is perfect in grace, mercy and love.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Enslaved To Selfish Ambitions or God

Galatians 4:8
  • Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.

There was a point in our lives when we did not know God. Before Galatians came to know God, they believed there were many gods and served them as if they were real.

Galatians wasted money, resources, time and effort for things that did not exist. So why did they do that? Because they believed, as many of us still do, that serving these so-called gods would bring them salvation, wealth, favour of gods and happiness.

In reality, Galatians were enslaved to their own fears, desires and wishes and false gods were objects of their worship.

But now, what about us? Many of us who call ourselves Christians still fall into temptations of money, power and sex, and these temptations are rampant around us through the internet, media and street signs and advertisements.

We think that having stuff or having someone as a lover or friend would bring us salvation of our lives, lasting success and happiness.

Even the religious people have the similar, if not the same, aims and goals when they keep the rules, the law of Moses or the commands of Jesus. They believe by keeping these rules and commands of God, they could get God to do whatever they want and desire, namely, salvation, favour of God and success.

I'm not saying that these things are wrong, but what difference is there in worshipping God in this way from worshipping idols?

We have the same selfish ambition and motives in trying to please God so that we would get what we want. I am as convicted in this matter as anyone in this world.

I have the same selfish motives and desires, even when I ask God to make me more like Jesus in being faithful to God, and loving my neighbours as myself.

The truth is that none of us can become like God, because we are not gods. But we can become like God when God comes to reside in us.

We are mere mortals and dust of the earth, but when the Spirit of God comes to live in us, we receive immortality, even the eternal life that God promised us.

We are no longer enslaved to fake gods of this world and even our selfish ambitions and desires, when we realise and become convinced that Jesus saved me, the foremost sinner of all sinners, and that it is only by His grace that I get to know Him truly and live out the true life in God through Jesus. Amen.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Like Little Chidlren

Galatians 4:7
  • So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

We were once enslaved to the things of the world. We lived according to man-made rules and precepts rather than a father-son relationship we have with our God.

Each one of us is a child of God if the Spirit of God is in us. We no longer live according to our works to please God so that we would be accepted by Him. But rather, because He already accepted us on the basis of our faith in Jesus, we get to do works for Him as a child of God.

If we are indeed sons or daughters of our Father God, then we are truly heirs through God. We are heirs of everything that God prepared for us.

The eternal life, heaven, salvation, holiness, and rewards that God prepared for us are all ours since we are the children of God whom God adopted through our Lord and Saviour Jesus.

As we live this life, we still tend to follow the rules of this world to please God, rather than enjoying the finished work of Jesus on the cross for us as the basis for our acceptance and motivation to do good works that please God.

It is essential that we become like little children, and rely on God our Father for everything we are and do.

Matthew 18:3
  • “Truly, I say to you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

We are recipients of God's grace and all that we are and do are results of His grace that is poured out to little children who rely on their Dad.

Little children do not worry about performing lots of good works so that they would be accepted by their Dad. No, rather little children are already accepted by their Dad because of their relationship with Him, and they joyfully grow and do lots of good works because they take after their Dad who has already done lots of good works for us and still do through us, His little children.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Children of God, saved by God

Galatians 4:6
  • And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

We are sons and daughters of God and the Spirit of Jesus is in our hearts and we cry to God, "Abba! Father!"

Jesus, the Son of God, is in us and we are members of His body, His church.

We are also children of God, praising God in the Spirit of Jesus.

We have one Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, and one Spirit, even the Holy Spirit who is in us to reveal Jesus in us, and Jesus reveals to us who the Father is.

In the Spirit of the Son, Jesus, we cry out to God the Father, "Father!"

There is a relationship that is close between God and us.

If we know who our God is, we know who we are, even the children of God, who were saved by Jesus, the Son of God.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

We have only One True Father

Galatians 4:5
  • to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Jesus redeemed us who were under the law and under the condemnation of hell. We did not deserve the death of the Son of God, let alone the heaven.

Why did Jesus come and die for our sins when we were only fixated on ourselves for our own selfish ambitions and motives? And many times, we still do.

It is the love of God issuing from Himself to rescue us and to free us from sin and Satan.

Jesus willingly died on the cross for our sins and freed us from the condemnation of just penalty that fits the crime.

Not only that, God redeemed us so that we would be adopted to Him as His children.

The Lord's prayer begins with "our Father."

Yes, we have an earthly father, but our true and only father is our Father God.

There is only one Father and we are all His children, including our earthly fathers and mothers.

It is sometimes easier to not believe the truth that God is our Father. But He is!!

Therefore, we know that our prayer is heard.

Jesus told us that this is how we should pray,

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

(Matthew 6:9-13)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jesus, the Centre of our lives

Galatians 4:4
  • But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law

At the appointed time set by God, He sent His Son, Jesus into this world.

Jesus was born of woman just like the rest of us who are born into this world. Yet, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is both God and man. 100% God and 100% man.

However, Jesus lived like the rest of us and felt exhaustion, pain and suffering because He chose to empty Himself of all the privileges that God has.

  • but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:7)

He lived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And we, too, live by the power of the Holy Spirit in this world. Therefore Jesus said, we will do mighty works that are wrought by God in us.

  • Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)

Jesus also was born a Jew and lived under the law, and fulfilled all the requirements of the law of Moses and died as a lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Therefore, even the Gentiles (many of us) receive mercy and grace from God who took away our sins on the cross.

Jesus is now the centre of our lives because we died in Him on the cross and Jesus who was resurrected on the third day is with us in this life, and the life to come. Amen.

Friday, September 20, 2013

True Freedom as Children of God

Galatians 4:3
  • In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.

Paul, here, talks about our former life before we came to know Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

We lived this life without any input from God. We need revelation from God to be enlightened to the knowledge of God. 

Before we came to know God, we just followed the teachings that were handed down to us by our parents and the environment that we lived in.

Therefore, we followed the passions and desires that the world offered, rather than following the passions and desires of Christ.

The Bible says, "For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved." (2 Peter 2:19)

Therefore, when the teachings, wisdom and traditions of the world were bombarded to us, we accepted them as true, although many of them were blatant lies, upholstered by Satan himself.

Now, since we have come to Jesus Christ and entered into His kingdom, we are free from the bondage of the world and Satan.

We are rather in bondage to righteousness, which is true freedom. When we come to know Jesus and belong to Him, we are sons of God. We truly enjoy the freedom of Christ in God.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happiness within boundaries vs Danger and Death without limits

Galatians 4:2
  • but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.

We were once under the guardians and managers of the law of Moses. We once lived under the power and control of the law of Moses. We thought that we could reach adulthood by obeying the law of Moses.

But we were wrong, the reason we were not free was not because we could not keep the law perfectly or obey the guardians and managers perfectly as the above example illustrates.

But we were immature that is why the law had to restrain our madness and folly by showing us what is crazy and foolish thing to do. But once Jesus came to reveal what perfect righteousness is, we reached adulthood by understanding that Jesus is the righteous one who perfectly fulfilled the law of Moses by His own life, death, burial and resurrection.

Our motivation changes from that of the fear of a slave towards a master to please Him to the love of an adopted child towards their loving Father who adopted us in Jesus.

The way we live is no longer defined by the list of rules to follow, but by our desire to be in continuous, loving relationship with our loving Father in Jesus.

Father gave us commands to follow, not because He is mean, but because He cares about our happiness and joy.

He clearly said that if we, being a child, play around on a road, we'd get hurt or even killed. That is why he put boundaries around the front yard of our house so that we could be free within those boundaries and be just as happy and joyful, playing around on the lawn, safe and sound.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life Worth Living

Galatians 4:1
  • I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything,

Paul here talks about the issue of responsibility that is common to both children and slaves.

Children need guidance and direction from parents, guardians and tutors. Likewise, slaves need guidance and direction from masters, lords and kings.

However, there is a difference between a child and a slave. A child is actually the owner of everything under their parents' name whereas a slave does not have any ownership of anything under their master, lord or king.

Paul goes on to explain our sonship through Jesus, and that we are heirs to the promises of God through Jesus.

We can, therefore, call God, our Abba Father because the spirit of Jesus is in our hearts, and we have been adopted by God our Father.

Do you believe that you are the owner of everything including heaven and resurrected earth that is to come, eternal life, joy in the Holy Spirit, family of God in Jesus, and our eternal King, Lord, Saviour and God, Jesus Christ, to the glory of our Loving Father God.

We are no longer motivated by the dead, lifeless law but are enlivened by our Father and Jesus who lovingly instruct us to live a life that is holy, and righteous because the Holy Spirit is in us. Amen.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

God is good. Everything is working together for good to who?

Galatians 3:29
  • And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

If we belong to Christ, then we also belong to Abraham's Seed who is Jesus Christ Himself. 

We are the offspring of Abraham according to God's promise.

This means that all God's promises are fulfilled by God and it does not depend on our own effort for them to be fulfilled.

This should give us relief and humility that we are not the ones who make God's promises come true. It is God Himself doing His work in us and through us.

We need to believe that promise of God and that is faith.

Sometimes, it is difficult to figure out how our faith and God's promises work together.

We learn about God's sovereignty that He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28), and we hear that truth and actively believe that truth.

In the midst of doubts, we learn to hold onto God's promises that He is good to us in the end. Even though in the process called life seems to deal to us a bad hand. Everything is working together for good to those who love Jesus and are called according to His purpose. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Jesus' Presence in us

Galatians 3:28
  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The point of this verse is that we are not separate, lonely beings living separate lives, doing separate things, for our own separate goals, purposes and dreams.

Actually, we are all one in Jesus, united as one, for the same purpose, goals and dreams.

We are living together, loving one another, and Jesus is manifested to one another and to the world, through us, even through our daily lives.

The purpose of Jesus is clear in this verse. We are to know Christ and know His presence in us. We are to be one in a sense that we are in fact in Christ.

Jesus still walks on this earth because each of us is in Jesus. We get to see the world through Jesus' eyes.

Jesus' compassion for the world. God the Father gave us to Jesus.

There are many more sons and daughters to be found by Jesus.

Our purpose is to find them as Jesus is seeking the lost. 

Wherever we are, we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Or you might be wondering, "Am I lost? I want to be found by Jesus!"
I say this to you. I have found you. Jesus found you.

Know Him in you. He has found you. Your sins were nailed on the cross. Your ego with all its sins was crucified on the cross. Holy Spirit comes to you as you learn this message of Jesus and believe Him.

Holy Spirit reveals your sins and allows you to realise that you are crucified on the cross in Jesus. Your sins are gone on the cross.

Jesus says in the Bible, "I am in you, and you in me." speaking the truth to His believers. Know Jesus and His presence. Amen.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Clothed in Jesus Christ

Galatians 3:27
  • For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

When we are baptised into Christ, our sinful self dies with Him, just as all the wicked that lived in Noah's day died submerged in the water.

And we live because of Jesus.

Adam put on garments of skin prepared by God, after Adam fell and deserved to die.

We put on Jesus Christ sent by God to die on the cross for us, so that we who deserve to die may live by believing in Him.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A child of God in Jesus

Galatians 3:26
  • for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 

Am I really a son of God? It is easier to doubt that we are sons of God than to believe we are sons of God.

Based on our own past experiences, we may easily believe that we don't "feel" like we are sons/daughters of God.

However, that is why faith is required. If it was easier to believe than to doubt, there would be very little place for faith to work. However, in Christ Jesus, through faith, we choose to believe God's word and testimony about who we are in Jesus.

We live in this outside-in world where lies are bombarded at us through the internet, TV and advertising all around us, telling us we are someone or something other than the children of God in Jesus.

We need to live in the inside-out world where God is our Father and Jesus lives in us. Our true identity is in Jesus, and every other identity that the world tries to put on us is only secondary and temporary such as our jobs or work we do.

First and foremost, I am a son of God and I am in Jesus. Secondarily, I may be a student, labourer, teacher, lawyer, banker, mother, daughter, brother, sister, father and/or carpenter.

What identity do you cling onto?
What identity do you cherish the most and want other people to recognise that in you?

If it is not the identity of being a child of God in Jesus, let us examine ourselves to see if we put more reverence, fear, respect, honour and power on something else other than our true identity in Jesus.

I seek freedom from the fear of men and I need this message for myself.
Knowing and believing that I am truly a child of God in Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ego vs Jesus

If the lion of fear is chasing you, it's the grace of God chasing you to help you realise that you're not your ego. Ego died when Jesus died on the cross. Now you're that fearsome lion in Jesus, and scare the worldly lies of ungodly power, money and sex away from you, because they're scared of Jesus who fills us.

We died because our ego died when Jesus died. And our true self in Jesus is made manifest only through and in Jesus. Jesus is the Lion in us, courageous, without fear and fearsome.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Supplement your faith with virtue

Galatians 3:25
  • But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian

Faith vs Guardian (i.e. the law)

We are no longer under a guardian. That means we no longer live by the law. This doesn't mean we can sin. This means we live by faith in Jesus who died for our sins.

Therefore, we live to please Jesus by loving one another.

We once lived to try to please God so that He would approve of, accept and love us. That is not biblical.

But now that faith has come, God loves us first, and we obey Him because we love Him who gave Himself for us.

Some people think that since we are saved by faith in Jesus, we no longer have to watch ourselves whether we sin or not. That is not biblical.

Peter said in 2 Peter 1:5
  • For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue

Yes, virtue.

The word, translated as virtue in Greek is "arete." It means goodness, moral excellence, uprightness, a gracious act, modesty and purity.

We are heavenly citizens. We are partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cling to Jesus. Hold onto Him. That is faith.

Galatians 3:24
  • So then, the law was our tutor until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

 The law teaches us that we are sinners and that we need someone to save us.

The law only teaches us that we are inadequate. Jesus justifies us by our faith in Him.

The law condemns us. Jesus saves us.

Through the law, we are in despair. Through Jesus, we are full of hope.

Once we realise that the law has no power to save us, we hold onto the only person who saves us. Jesus.

We cling to Him. We hold onto Him. That is faith.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Praise the name of Jesus! Hallelujah!

Galatians 3:23
  • Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.

We were locked in the prison of the law, held captive under the law because we are born sinners and sin throughout our lives.

There is no escape from this imprisonment because we are all guilty and the only penalty that is awaiting us is death.

However, the faith (meaning: divine persuasion) has released us from that imprisonment.

Christ died in our place for our sins and He rose again on the third day. God persuades us to know and believe that historical event and bring it into our heart and hold onto it tight because that is our only escape from the imprisonment of damnation.

By believing and trusting in Jesus' works on the cross, we are released from the imprisonment of the law and death.

We can do all the good works we want in the prison but we'd still be guilty and only accumulate more sin and guilt upon ourselves. The only method of escape is to trust in Jesus who was imprisoned in the prison for us and died as a substitute sinner so that we would be released just as Jesus rose again on the third day for our justification.

We are justified in Jesus. We are delivered from the law and death in Jesus.

We are alive in Jesus. Praise His name! Hallelujah!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

By faith in Jesus, salvation is given to us who are under sin

Galatians 3:22
  • But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

The Bible locked everyone up under sin because we were born in sin, and in sin our mothers conceived us.

We sin because we are sinners. If we were righteous, we would do righteous acts. But the Bible says there is no one righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10).

And salvation is freely given to us who believe in Jesus.

Even that faith is grace because even that faith is given to us by the faithfulness of God to keep His promise given to Abraham.

God works all things for us so that we would be saved.

Although we lived in sin and were imprisoned under sin, God rescued us from sin so that we would hang on to Jesus who is our Redeemer, Rescuer and Saviour.

He is our way, truth and life! (John 14:6)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Jesus, our substitute

Galatians 3:21

  • Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

The law is not contrary to the promises of God. Th role of the law was different, however.

A law had been given but it could not give life because the law only condemns sinners, and we are those sinners.  

Righteousness is not by the law. No one is righteous because they keep the law because no one can keep the law perfectly.

So the law has its own role to make us realise that we need to rely on something other than the law. Yes, we rely on Jesus Christ for our salvation.

He condemns sin on the cross so that we may live.

Our righteousness comes from Jesus who is righteous.

We are righteous because our faith in Jesus who is our righteousness.

Thank God that we die as the law condemns us but we live because of Jesus who died as a substitute for us, and was resurrected, and we have been born again through Jesus.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Spirit of Jesus is in us

Galatians 3:20
  • Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

Jesus is our mediator between God and men. God accepts us because of Jesus in us. 

The mediator Himself is God, as Jesus is God. Therefore, God is both a mediator and one of two parties involved in this mediation, namely God and men.

Jesus is also a man. Therefore, he can mediate or represent for us to God. Jesus is the perfect person, pleasing in the sight of God. Likewise, we are completely pleasing to God because we are filled with the Spirit of Jesus in us. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our mediator, Jesus

Galatians 3:19
  • Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

The law exposed the sins of all people on the earth, and the law played its role well until the offspring (Jesus) came.

The law was put in place through angels who participated in the giving of the law when God gave it to Moses.

We know that God gave the law to Moses.

And we note here that the law was given by an intermediary, namely God.

An intermediary is a mediator, and the mediator between God and men is Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ intercedes for us to God, and we are delivered from the curse of the law because of Jesus' intercession for us on our behalf.

Jesus paid the penalty of the law and the promise still stands for those who put their faith in Jesus.

We live in Jesus, our mediator.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

We live by the Spirit of Christ

Galatians 3:19
  • Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions 

The law was given because of transgressions. The law clearly reveals our sins in us.

We see the darkness and filthiness that are prevalent in our hearts through the law.

Without the law, how do I know if coveting is sin?

But the law says, coveting is sin. Therefore, we know that coveting does not come from God but rather originates from evil or sin.

Just like Satan coveted God's supremacy and honour, and became exceedingly sinful, so we observe our own sinfulness because the law reveals our sins in us.

Because we have the problem of sin, we need someone to get rid of our sins for us.

That is what Jesus does for us. He dies on the cross for our sins so that we would not be condemned but rather He was condemned for us.

We have received eternal life in Jesus, and He confirmed His promise by His resurrection. He accomplished what He said He would.

We are born again in Christ and we live forever in Christ.

So, we now live no longer by the law, but by the spirit of Christ.

To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Monday, September 2, 2013

For from Jesus and through Jesus and for Jesus are all things

Galatians 3:18
  • For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

If the blessings of God came to us by the law, that means we can do something with our self-exerted effort to receive the blessings of God.

We can keep the law so as to receive the blessings of God. Therefore, if the blessings of God came to us by the law, there is a transaction that occurs between man and God. 

Man works hard to earn the blessings of God and receive what is due. We would boast in our own strength, moral purity and perseverance. We'd firmly believe that we deserve the blessings of God because we worked for them. 

We would be proud of ourselves because we would be "good" people. We are the ones who are morally upright and pure and those who don't keep the law are "bad" people. We'd firmly believe that we are the people who deserve the blessings of God while those who don't keep the law do not deserve the blessings of God.

But what does the Bible say? If we hate someone, we sin. If we lust after someone in our mind, we sin. If we steal something, we sin, and that includes those of us who download songs off the internet and watch movies on the internet without paying for them. 

If we dishonour our parents even in our heart, we sin. If we are jealous of other people's success, we sin. If we covet other people's spouses, houses, cars and money, we sin.

Those of us who give their time to serve others, we may easily think that we are "good" because we've done something "good." However, we get the respect and glory from other people and we are satisfied that we are highly esteemed by others (just like the Pharisees), we sin because we glorified ourselves rather than thanking God who truly serves us every second of our lives.

So, we sin. We sin because we are born in sin and in sin mother conceived us (Psalm 51:5).

The only thing that we ever deserved was death because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). 

But the same verse also says, "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

So, our salvation originates from God and depends on God. God's salvation is by promise. God's salvation is by unmerited grace. God's salvation is a gift.

We cannot boast in anything we think we have such as our own strength, wisdom, beauty, wealth and supposed "goodness". They all come from God and they are not the basis of our salvation at all. Because all our supposed "goodness" is inherently selfish. Everything is we do is inherently selfish. Even if we give our money away and serve with our time, there's always a nagging sense of our self demanding recompense from others such as their respect and good opinions, and foolishly believing that we deserve fame above others somehow someday if not now (completely forgetting and neglecting the fact that Jesus is to be respected and famous above all created beings. Remember Satan wanted to be more respected and famous than God, and that is idolatry).

Therefore, we need Jesus. We must be found in Jesus who precisely died for our ugly sins that cling to us so closely. That is why we need Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and actually spiritually we died with Jesus on the cross. In the unseen world, we have already died when Jesus died. 

We now live with the Holy Spirit in us to look at Jesus and follow Him by knowing that we are nothing and that Jesus is everything.

If we miss that truth, we miss everything.

If we get that truth, we gain everything because in Jesus we are complete. We are deficient and ugly, and worst sinner just as Paul said (1 Timothy 1:15).

Then we realise, there is a reason why we needed to know the truth that we are nothing and less than nothing, because then, and only then, do we realise "Yes, I get it now. Jesus is really, actually, truly everything."

Romans 11:36
  • For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

We are only truly blessed in Jesus only

Galatians 3:17
  • What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.

In this chapter of the letter to Galatians, what Paul means is that the promise that was made to Abraham stands until it is fulfilled, even though there came the law 430 years afterwards.

This means that the promise of God is not like the law at all. The promise was made by God and is kept by God alone, whereas the law was given to us so that we would live by them. 

Therefore, the promise of blessings of God came to us through the offspring of Abraham, i.e. Jesus Christ.

We have not worked for the blessings of God, nor can we work for the blessings of God. The blessings of God come to us because of the promise made to Abraham that his offspring will be the bringer of the blessings of God.

God said if the Israelites keep the law, there will be blessings but if the Israelites sin, there will be curses. No generation of the Israelites kept the law consistently, they failed again and again. Even the first generation fell in the wilderness because they sinned. The second generation did not completely obey God and did not conquer the land of Canaan completely. They were led astray and sinned. 

The curses of the law fell upon Israel down the centuries but God still had mercy on them and sent Judges to deliver them. God's patience and longsuffering were manifested in long rebellious years of Israel's history and the curses of God were also poured out upon Israel when the cup of the wrath of God was filled to the brim and overflowed.

However, the blessings of God that was promised to Abraham still stood. Therefore, Israel could be blessed through Jesus. However, only true Israel were blessed, even those who are in Jesus by faith.

None of us deserves the blessings of God. We have all failed to keep the law of God and sinned against Him, and according to the law of Moses, all of us are under the curse and wrath of God. But because of God's promise that those who are in the offspring of Abraham, i.e. Jesus Christ, will be blessed, we are blessed in Jesus. 

The curse of the law was done away on the cross of Jesus, and we are blessed in Jesus. In Jesus alone, we are blessed. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

All the promises of God find their "Yes" in Jesus.

Galatians 3:16
  • Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

God made promises to Abraham and to his offspring, namely, Jesus Christ.

God's promises find their yes in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Therefore, we who are in Christ receive the promises of God in Jesus.

Therefore, we must reside in Jesus. We must remain in Jesus.

We are in Jesus positionally. Therefore, we have God's promises.

We receive the promised land that is to come (Genesis 12:7). According to Revelation, the heaven will come down to meet the earth, and the kingdom of God will be established permanently. 

Revelation 21:2-4
  • I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 

  • And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 

  • ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

God is not just their God but He is our God. He is my God and your God (Genesis 17:7).

We are favoured by God in Jesus because God promised Abraham that all the nations of the earth will be blessed through his offspring, namely Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of lords (Genesis 22:18).

Yes, to summarise, You and I receive the promised land of the Kingdom of God, and God is your God and my God forever, and you and I are blessed blissfully by God, and all of these promises are completely and perfectly kept in Jesus, and in Him alone. Amen. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

We are blessed in Jesus

Galatians 3:15
  • To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.

Once the contract has been signed, no one cancels it or changes it. If even a man-made contract is honoured like this where no one cancels it or changes it because it has been signed, how much more will God's contract be more honoured and carried out exactly as God promised in His word?

Genesis 3:15
  • and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

"Your offspring" refers to Jesus. God's blessings come to us in Jesus.

We, who are in Jesus, are blessed along with Abraham because of God's promise already given to Abraham a long, long time ago.

How can I receive the blessings of God? By being in Jesus.

Once you believe in Jesus and trust in Jesus and follow Jesus and obey Jesus, you are in Jesus.

All the blessings of God come to you in Jesus.

In Jesus, we are blessed. Hallelujah!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guided by the Holy Spirit

Galatians 3:14

  • He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Jesus redeemed us so that all the blessings that were given to Abraham might come to us through Jesus Christ, so that by faith we might receive the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit came to us when we believed in Jesus by faith. The blessings of Abraham were transferred to us as well.

We are not guided by the impersonal law of Moses but rather by the person of the Holy Spirit.

Let us be guided by Him!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jesus was accursed so that we would be blessed by God

Galatians 3:13

  • Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”

The law brings us a curse, and we were accursed because of our breaking of the law. We had a big problem and needed a solution. However, we had no solution in ourselves because there has never been anything we could do to undo all the sins we have committed in the past, and additionally, we commit new sins every day.

To solve that problem, God Himself became a man, Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life by keeping the law perfectly as a Jew. He was the perfect lamb of God, a sacrificial lamb for the sins of all people. 

Jesus was sacrificed on the cross, and bore the curse of the law. Our curse was transferred to Jesus on the cross, and that is the redemption we have in Jesus.

We have been redeemed, i.e. freed from the bondage of the law and its curse by the sacrificial lamb of God who took away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

There is no more curse for everyone who is in Jesus.

We have been set free from the curse of the law. The law has no power over us but rather the Holy Spirit becomes the power for us and leads us to Jesus who is the founder and perfecter of our faith.

Blessed be the Lord who bore our curse so that we would be blessed, i.e. happy in Him. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

God is not a tame lion as C. S. Lewis put it.

Galatians 3:12
  • But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them."

The law is not of faith because by practising the law, we mistakenly believe that we deserve salvation of God.

One may think, "Of course, I should be saved because I do all these good things." That person is deluded, not regarding all the failures he has committed in his heart such as his evil, selfish thoughts, hidden motives and adulterous images of one's mind.

Yes, the law is of the external whereas faith is of the internal. Internal faith may produce external fruits whereas practising the external law may not produce any internal faith at all.

A robot can keep the law. However, a robot cannot have faith.

A person can keep the law but he may not have any faith at all.

The law and faith are very different. They are completely mutually exclusive.

God delights in faith of His people, His children. He does not delight in selfishly motivated people who keep His law to their own glory, honour and power.

Pharisees tried to keep the law of God with hidden motives of gaining glory out of the people of Israel. This practice was condemned by God.

Matthew 23:27, 28, 33

  • “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 

  • So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

  • "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

So it is about our hidden motives and the root of our hearts. Are they rooted in God's word and trust in the person and work of Jesus for us?

Or, do we have hidden motives? Are we using God for our own selfish ambition and motives? 

Are we regarding him as a Genie of the lamp?

Then, we have not come to know the God of the Bible.

I recommend the books of the Prophets. There, you shall see the God of the Bible. You'll find God who is not to be messed with by anyone including kings, emperors and presidents. He is truly not a tame lion as C. S. Lewis put it. 

But in the end, He wants the best for us. That is why he would allow suffering and pain in our paths to heaven. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

In this world we are like Jesus (1 John 4:17)

Galatians 3:11
  • Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Now it is evident that not a single person is found righteous in the sight of God by trying to keep the law with one's own exerted effort because a person who lives by trusting God's power, wisdom, grace, mercy, and love is declared righteous in the sight of God.

We see this principle played out in our own lives. For example, any person can work really hard for someone else's parents for their acceptance and love. However, that kind of hard work doesn't make one to become the child of someone else's parents. 

The only condition for a person to become a child of any parents is to be born into that family. Likewise, we need to be born again spiritually and we're born into God's family. We become children of God. 

Additionally, you can be adopted into a family to become a child of those parents. And that is also what happened to us who put their faith in Jesus. 

Ephesians 1:5 
  • God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 

So we weren't justified on the basis of our hard work and self-exerted effort. Rather, we were justified because we had faith in God, even His Son, Jesus Christ. 

By faith, we have been born again and adopted into God's family. 

It would be super ludicrous for a child to work really hard to please their parents in order to become their child, right? Because that child is already a child of their parents.

It is the same with us when we try to justify ourselves by working really hard to please God in order to be saved by God and become His child.

We become His child, solely by believing in Jesus that He took my sins away and trusting in His grace for my whole being.

Children take after their parents. Likewise, we, His children, take after Jesus Christ. 

1 Corinthians 1:8
  • He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 4:15, 16, 17
  • If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

  • God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 

  • This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Children of God who are led by the Spirit, and NOT by the law

Galatians 3:10
  • For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."

One of the easiest and fastest way to be under a curse is to rely on one's own works of the law. Yes, if I or you rely on our own works of the law, we are, by definition, already under a curse since anyone who does not continue to keep the whole law perfectly and completely is cursed.

Therefore, everyone is under a curse since no person can keep the law perfectly (except Jesus who actually kept the law perfectly). 

It is such a foolish thing to rely on our own works of the law since we cannot keep it perfectly. We'll always fail at some point of the law. 

Additionally, we need to get our curse to be taken care of, and Jesus took the curse for us on the cross. 

Now, we are free from the bondage of the law and we are led by the Holy Spirit. We now rely on the Holy Spirit for our salvation and sanctification.

The Holy Spirit leads and guides us in what we should do and how we should go about it.

The law has no place in leading us since the role of the law is ended with having led us to Christ. 

Galatians 3:24
  • So the law was our tutor until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.

This doesn't mean that we are now free to sin because we are not slaves of sin either. We are not the slaves of the law or sin. We're rather the slaves of Jesus Christ. We are the slaves of the Holy Spirit.

The definition of the slave in this sense is that we hear the word of God, and obey His word willingly and completely. 

The keeping of the law and obedience are different. The keeping of the law is done with our own works and we get the credit for it. However, obedience originates from faith in God and holding God's word above other people's word.

Galatians 5:16-18
  • So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 

  • For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 

  • But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Romans 8:14
  • For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Faith in Jesus heals the sick, casts out demons, silences the storm and raises the dead.

Galatians 3:9
  • So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

The letter to Galatians drives home the importance of faith for receiving specific divine blessings, i.e. salvation, sanctification, the gift of the Holy Spirit and eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

People tend to think in terms of the world system, i.e. "You gotta work hard to earn blessings." This is not true in God's system of blessings. Because it is not those who work hard to earn His blessings that are blessed, but it is those who believe His word and produce fruit in accordance to their faith that are blessed.

Just as Abraham believed God and received Isaac after many years of waiting on God, and later again offering his son to God and receiving him back.

Faith is not easy. Faith is costly. It does not take much faith to believe something we've already seen. For example, it is not hard to believe that a car exists because many of us already know that there are many cars on the road and some of us own one.

However, it'd be more difficult for someone who lived in the Amazon jungle all their life and have been told about a moving vehicle called a car to believe there is such a thing as a car.

Likewise, it is easy to trust in a doctor's word that he can cure the illness with right medications than to believe in a computer engineer's word that he can cure the same illness.

Therefore, we tend to easily believe in something we've already seen or trust in someone we already know to be trustworthy.

However, just because we haven't seen something doesn't mean that something does not exist, just as in the case of a person who lived in the Amazon jungle all their life and has never seen a car.

Also, just as a doctor is certified and trusted to diagnose and treat diseases, so we believe in someone who's got good credentials.

How about God? We haven't seen him with our own eyes. However, there are many who testify of His work and presence down the history. Historically, Jesus came to the earth 2000 years ago. And that is where we get our BC and AD. BC is "before Christ" and AD is "Anno Domini" which means "in the year of the Lord"

Therefore, 2013AD means in the 2013th year of the Lord Jesus. The history records the person and work of our Lord Jesus.

We haven't seen Jesus, yet we know from others' witnesses and testimony that He indeed came to the earth to save sinners, even us.

Secondly, Jesus' words are trustworthy. He spoke to us about God. Jesus only said things that His Father taught him to speak.

Jesus' words are powerful. He healed the sick, cast out demons, silenced the storm and raised the dead with His word.

Therefore, we know we have faith when we truly believe He is who He says He is and trust His word completely without wavering.

Hebrews 11:6

  • And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

James 1:5-8
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

God is bigger, wiser and much more powerful than Satan (setting the record straight)

Galatians 3:8
  • And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All nations will be blessed through you.”

All nations on the earth are blessed through Abraham, and especially through the likeness of his faith.

This is the good news that God will bless people on the basis of faith.

Don't get me wrong. There is the general grace which extends to all people. For example, the sun and the rain in its season. We've been given the gift of life and free will to live and think. 

However, there is the specific grace that only extends to those who have faith in Jesus.

These blessings include salvation, sanctification, the gift of the friendship of the Holy Spirit, kingdom of God, heaven, eternal life, and seating on the throne with Jesus in heaven.

It is very important for us to remember that these specific blessings extend only to those who have faith in Jesus. 

And how do we have faith? And how can our faith grow?
  • Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

And how do we become more like Jesus? How do we become holy?
  • Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)

What is our weapon against the devils?
  • Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:18)

So the centrality of the word of God cannot be overemphasized. The word of God is vital in our spiritual maturity and growth.

The word of God grows our faith, make us become holy and slays demons in our path of life.

Read the word, and be nourished, courageous and holy, and defend yourself against the devils, and actually slay them with your sword of the Spirit which is the word of God!!

I read about 30 chapters of Jeremiah today (not to boast, but to show the benefit of it). It was good. I feel spiritually satisfied. Satan seems scary but God is bigger and wiser and much more powerful than Satan. Amen.

Isaiah 40:21-23

  • Do you not know?
  • Have you not heard?

  • Has it not been told you from the beginning?
  • Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

  • He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
  • and its people are like grasshoppers.

  • He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
  • and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

  • HE brings princes to naught
  • and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

Take up the whole armour of God

Galatians 3:7
  • Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.

If we have faith, we are children of Abraham and we are blessed along with him.

He is the father of many nations including us, Gentiles. God justified him on the basis of his faith in God.

Likewise, we are justified in God's sight on the basis of our faith in God.

Therefore, we are, by faith, descendants (or children) of Abraham and the promises of God also apply to us because of our faith in God now.

Additionally, we know that we have entered the kingdom of Light in which righteousness dwells and our King is Jesus Christ.

We once were under the reign of Satan who is the prince of the kingdom of darkness who works in all people who have not yet been translated to the kingdom of light through faith by grace of Jesus Christ.

We are in the middle of a spiritual warfare and this is a warfare of faith. We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, principalities, powers of this dark world, and spiritual forces of evil in the spiritual realm.

God is our Lord in this spiritual war, and we fight with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God with the helmet of salvation and the belt of truth and the shield of faith which can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Ephesians 6:18
  • And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Friday, August 23, 2013

God delights in people who have faith in Him

Galatians 3:6
  • So also Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

It is an innate human desire to deserve things rather than receiving things for nothing.

We often say, "I deserve this and that." And we also say, "You deserve this and that."

And when it comes to the grace of God, we don't really understand it because pretty much nothing in this world is ever free.

We have a desire to work for things and earn them by our own effort. So, when we find that God bestows upon us His unconditional grace, and the only condition is to believe that it's unconditional, we find it hard to believe that.

Abraham believed what God said, and God declared Abraham was righteous, not because of anything good that he had done, but because he believed what God said to him.

Hmm.. So two things must happen. God must say something to us, and we must believe what he said to us. God has indeed declared to us his will and promises in the Bible, and it is our responsibility to believe what he said in the Bible. 

So, we believe God's will and promises, and the important aspect of this belief is that if we truly believe it, we would surely act on it.

For example, Abraham believed that God would surely bless him and make the number of his offspring as the number of the stars at night. Therefore, Abraham could even obey God's command to sacrifice Isaac among other reasons.

Hebrews 11:19
  • Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Therefore, faith is believing God is for me, not against me, and God's commands and promises are trustworthy, even when we don't quite understand his methods and timing.

Many people tend to think that keeping the law makes us righteous. Surprise, surprise, not necessarily. Actually, that is absolutely not true in God's kingdom. Merely, keeping the law with our own effort is dead works. Even someone who doesn't believe in God can obey the law but that doesn't ultimately make them righteous.

Righteousness comes from faith in God's character, commands and promises. Believing that God is good, and His will is perfect. God delights in people who have faith in him, just as Jesus marveled at the Centurion's faith in Matthew 8:10
  • When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those following him, "Truly I tell you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.

The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God

Galatians 3:5
  • So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith?

This is a rhetorical question from Paul to the Galatians. Of course, the answer is God gives us His Spirit and works miracles among us by hearing with faith.

By believing what he testified, we are saved and given His Spirit, and He works miracles among us.

It seems so easy. It seems easier to believe what He said than do something in the law. However, it can be indeed more difficult to completely trust what He said in the word than, for example, offering a sacrifice in the Old Testament.

Faith is unseen while a sacrifice is seen. You can offer a sacrifice while having evil thoughts and evil heart whereas in faith, you cannot have such attitude toward God. 

So, it is the matter of our heart and spirit aligning with the word of God, and believing his message.

Yes, Jesus has died for me on the cross and took away my sins so that the wrath of God does not abide on me any more but rather I have been translated from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of the Son of God, who is the Lord, Saviour, King and Christ.

Let us walk with the Spirit by being saturated with the word of God in our thought life.

Let us have the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Salvation is of the Lord

Galatians 3:4

  • Did you experience so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 

After coming to know Jesus Christ, and experiencing all the blessings of God, Galatians were about to make all these experiences void by becoming, once again, slaves of the law.

We need to make sure whether we are truly believing the gospel and follow Jesus only rather than following our own concept of righteousness that does not come from God, but comes from within ourselves.

It is such a dangerous thing to put confidence in one's own good works as a basis for one's salvation. Any confidence is in the flesh is, by definition, false sense of salvation. Salvation comes from the Lord only, and the basis for our salvation comes from Jesus and His work on the cross for our sins.

Therefore, all the blessings of God come to us freely without measure. We are saints by new birth. We have been seated with Christ in the heavenly places on the right hand of God. The Holy Spirit came to dwell in us.

We live because Jesus Christ lives in us and through us.

Therefore, we must not become slaves of the law again, to boast in our own flesh, our own good deeds. All our good deeds are like filthy menstrual rags before him (Isaiah 64:6). 

Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, and thank Him for His grace and mercy for us.

Patience of God in us by the grace of God

Galatians 3:3
  • Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

We started this Christian life by beginning with the work of the Spirit, not by our own work of righteous deeds.

We were sinners by birth and choice, and God saved us and made us into saints by new birth and the Holy Spirit.

We are forever under the grace of God, and not left on our own to figure out how to navigate around this life with our own feeble wisdom and inadequate power.

We must remember,

James 1:17
  • Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 

2 Corinthians 12:9, 10
  • But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
  • For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Personally, I don't like being weak, and I believe there'd be only a handful of people who may consider weakness as something desirable in oneself.

Yet, this is Jesus' testimony. When we are weak, then we are strong in Jesus because His grace is sufficient for us. His power is made perfect in our weaknesses.

Noah was ridiculed for building a ship in preparation for a worldwide flood. Abraham had to wait for many, many, many years for his first promised child, Isaac, and later had to undergo a trial of giving him up to God. David was chased around by Saul like Jerry is chased by Tom. Joseph was sold, and became a slave and got imprisoned later for attempted adultery he did not commit. Samson's eyes were gouged out and became a slave in a foreign land. Gideon was an ordinary boy. Jacob's thigh bone copped injury after a duel with God's messenger, and limped afterwards. Jeremiah was very sad, and even depressed, looking at the fate of his people, being taken away to a foreign land of Babylon. Job suffered a great deal.

But even in all these calamitous suffering and pain, God worked in their lives and through them, brought about deliverance and salvation and honoured them for their faith.

Noah was delivered with his family.

Abraham received Isaac back.

  • and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. (James 2:23)

David became the king of Israel.

  • After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; who will do all my will.’ (Acts 13:22)

Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt.

  • You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:40, 41)

The number of his enemies he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. (Judges 16:30)

Gideon defeated his enemies with 300. (Judges 7:7, 24, 25)

God restored the fortunes of Job. (Job 42:10, 12, 17)

  • The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold.
  • The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning
  • And Job died, an old man and full of days.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Perfected by the Spirit, not flesh!

Galatians 3:2
  • I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Paul asks us this one question. Have we received the Holy Spirit by working hard for it, or just by listening to the message of the gospel and believing it?

The answer is the latter. 

No, we haven't worked hard to receive the Holy Spirit. We did not earn the Holy Spirit's friendship, nor have we paid for His friendship. 

We've received the Holy Spirit by hearing and believing the message about Jesus. That was all we did. 

In the same way, we live this life by hearing and believing, not by working hard to keep our salvation valid. 

Our salvation started with the cross of Jesus, and we received salvation by believing the message of Jesus. 

In the next verse, Paul goes on to say, 
  • "Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3)

No, we began by means of the Spirit, so we'll finish by means of the Spirit as well.
  • looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)

We are holy in Jesus

Galatians 3:1
  • O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.

This is a strong statement from Paul to Galatians in regards to their current belief about the gospel. 

We may think what is the big deal? We still believe in Jesus and that he died for our sins. It's just that we still need to keep the law to be perfectly righteous.

Paul calls Galatians, "foolish," i.e. anoétos which means "without (proper) thinking." Galatians needed to think properly and believe the true gospel. 

Since Galatians were leaning towards the false gospel of works and essentially it is a system of works where one tries to prove they are Christians by their righteous works rather than by the righteous works (death) done for them by Jesus.

When we rely on our works, we elevate ourselves and glory in ourselves rather than relying on the true Saviour, Jesus, and glorify Him only.

Paul tells, it is as if Galatians had been spellbound by some evil magic. They were led astray into believing that they had to do something to become a Christian, and be saved.

Now the centre of the message of Paul here is to look at the cross of Jesus Christ. Why had he come to the earth 2000 years ago? Why did he die on the cross? Why did he suffer on the cross, dripping blood and water?

It was all for our justification, salvation and sanctification!

We have been justified, meaning being declared righteous in the sight of God, there is no more any fault found in us on the ground of Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross. We have been saved and we will rise again after our physical death and God proved that through the resurrection of Jesus. And lastly, we are sanctified or become holy through belief and faith in Jesus' presence in us whose whole life is to become manifest in us in this life.

We died, was buried and rose from death in Jesus. That is how we were justified, saved, and sanctified. We don't become holy because we obey the law. We've become holy through Jesus' crucifixion, and that is why we obey the commandments of Jesus.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We have been found in Jesus

Galatians 2:21
  • I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

We nullify the grace of God, if we try to attain righteousness through the law.

Some people think that the grace of God helps us to keep the law. I would still be nullifying the grace of God if I tried to attain righteousness through keeping of the law by the "supposed grace" of God.

No, Paul is adamant in this verse that we don't become righteous by keeping the law. We are righteous because Jesus died for our sins and raised back to life for us.

Jesus had to die because there is no other way for us to become righteous other than through his death.

Therefore, the reason we keep his commandments is not for us to become righteous. But since we are already righteous because of his sacrificial death on the cross, we love Jesus and we keep his commandments. Just as He said, "if you love me, you'll keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

Christ died for definite purpose. He wanted to make us become righteous, clean, spotless, and without blemish before Him.

And we are indeed altogether beautiful in his sight because of Jesus' redemptive death on the cross for us.

We were once slaves of sin but now we have been brought back to God through forgiveness achieved with His precious blood on the cross.

Grace is Jesus' love on the cross. That is the reality in us. That grace changes us because we have truly found who we are. We have been found in Jesus.

Jesus is truly in us. 

By Faith in the Son of God

Galatians 2:20
  • And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Jesus wants us to live the life in our flesh by faith in Him. Jesus desires to manifest Himself in us and through us to meet others and save them.

Jesus loved us and gave himself for us.

How do I know God loves me? Objectively, he willingly sacrificed himself on the cross to save us.

He gave away his life to save my life and entered into his death so that I wouldn't suffer my eternal death in hell.

Jesus is willing to manifest himself in us if we will let him. If we remind ourselves of the truth that He is in us and with us until the end of this age.

He can do much more when we hand over the rein on our lives to Him so that He can more freely guide us in the way we should go, and in turn blessings are sprinkled around our lives.

Let us also remember the sequence of events, Jesus loved us first and then died for us next. Jesus' love for us did not change before he suffered death on the cross. His love for us motivated him to die on the cross in our place for our sins so that we would no longer live for ourselves on our way to hell, but for Him on our way to heaven.

Monday, August 19, 2013

God is living in me and you.

Galatians 2:20
  • I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. 

If I'm still living in my flesh with my own effort and strength, I would still be a slave of sin and Christ would have nothing to do with me. 

I would not have the power to overcome sin and temptation because my flesh and my ego would operate with the lust of the world and flesh to drag me away from God and towards Satan who delights in destroying people in general, and children of God in particular.

Satan may destroy the body or flesh of the children of God, but since the children of God has the Spirit of God in them, Satan cannot destroy the spirit of the man who has been born again in Jesus.

Since, we have been crucified in Jesus and raised to life in Him, and now He lives in each and every one of us, we have the power to overcome sin and temptation, every one of them.

The power is Jesus. Jesus is the power. 

Jesus works in me and you to live out each day. May sufferings come our way, suffers Jesus with us in our dismay. 

So, if it is not I (or my ego) that lives, who is actually living in me? It is Jesus Himself who is actually living in me. The ego is done away with, and Jesus is present in me, and breathing, thinking, feeling, moving, interacting with people around me and you.

God Himself is living in each and every child of God. 

God Himself is living in me and you today, and will be doing so again tomorrow and the day after and so on.

Life Worth Living

Galatians 2:19
  • For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

Through the law, we die to the law. The wages of sin is death. All the demands of the law that have not been met required transgressors to pay for their sin with their death.

We paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross in Jesus. Therefore, the law has been done away with when died with Jesus in Him.

This is why the law has no power over us to guide us in this life any more because our motivation does not stem from keeping the law any longer, but our motivation comes from our desire to love God and love His people we belong to, and to serve our neighbours just as God served us and saved us.

Before the cross of Jesus was available to us, we may have lived to keep each and every precept of the law, in the hope that we may be acceptable in God's eyes. Additionally, even as an unbeliever, we may have lived in such a way that we tried to keep the law that we thought were right and meaningful to us.

Many of us would have been affected by our parent's method of upbringing and the demands of the society at large. So, we were slaves to the expectations and demands of the people around us.

God now freed us from all those human expectations and demands, and allowed us to live freely in Jesus.

We are no longer enslaved by sin because the Holy Spirit is in us to guide us and help us in our troubles and comfort us in our sufferings.

I no longer live to the law because I died to the law in Jesus. Now, I am living to God.

I belong to Jesus. I am only found in Jesus. I live this life in Him.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Grace, Freedom, Love and Holy Spirit

Galatians 2:18
  • For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.

If Paul tries to be justified by God through legalism again, he'd be deluding himself, as no person can be and will be justified by anything other than faith in Jesus by God's grace.

Paul preached grace rather than legalism for the salvation of all people.

Salvation by grace through faith alone is the teaching Jesus delivered to His disciples, including Paul. 

If anyone was to start keeping the law of Moses, it would be like rebuilding the old system of the law which was to bring everyone under the law to be condemned. The role of the law was to help everyone realise their inability to keep the whole law, and to convict us of our sins.

Paul tore down the teaching of legalism, and learned grace of God through faith in Jesus.

If Paul tried to continue keeping the law of Moses, he'd still be a trangressor, because no one can keep the law perfectly and completely.

Only Jesus did. Therefore, He is like one of us, human being, yet He's sinless and perfect in His holiness. The God-man Jesus died as a spotless lamb taking away our sins. 

So, let us not be laden with a heavy burden of keeping the law for the sake of keeping the law, but rather let us keep the law of love and the Spirit.

Let us love one another as we can. Let us follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

Let us ask Him for wisdom and knowledge to live each day to His glory and our joy. 

The Law of Moses vs. The Law of the Spirit and Love

Galatians 2:17
  • "But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? Absolutely not!

Paul was justified (declared righteous) in Christ. In seeking to be justified in Christ, Paul was no longer enslaved by the dietary restriction of the law, because it was God Himself who declared,

Mark 7:19
  • For it doesn't go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body, purifying all the food.

Acts 10:13
  • Then a voice told him, "Rise, Peter. Kill and eat."

Acts 10:15
  • Again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."

Therefore, if Judaisers (Jews who advocated that one needs to keep the law of Moses to be saved) were right, then Jesus would have been promoting sin by making his disciples to associate with the Gentiles and break the law of Moses by eating "unclean" foods.

Paul adamantly refutes such claim by using one of the strongest Greek negative, "Certainly not!"

It is important to remember that the external rites and ceremonies served their purpose in explaining the deeper spiritual meanings, i.e. the person and work of Jesus Christ.

God distinguished between clean and unclean foods when He was giving the law to Moses. This reveals the spiritual reality of the fact that there are people who are clean and unclean. 

We are all born unclean. David said in his psalm 51:5.
  • Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
  • and in sin did my mother conceive me.

If Jews by birth were clean, they would not need cleansing for sin to become clean.

However, every human being is unclean because of sin. It is only through the rebirth or washing of regeneration that we become truly spiritually clean in God.

John 3:5
  • Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Ezekiel 36:25-29
  • I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 
  • I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 
  • And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 
  • Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 
  • I will save you from all your uncleanness

The law is no longer binding on Christians but the Spirit is. We no longer live according the law of Moses, but the law of Spirit and love.

Romans 8:1-4
  • Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 
  • because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 
  • For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh
  • in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 13:10
  • Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Salvation is a gift of God from God for us who have been persuaded by Him.

Galatians 2:16
  • yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ
  • so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law
  • because by works of the law no one will be justified.

There is absolutely nothing we can do to merit salvation from God. We cannot make God in debt to us. 

"Works of the law" in the verse above means "I will do something for God, so that he will have to pay me back."

Therefore, if one endeavours to do a lot of things for God, so that He will bless him for all the things he's done for God, that man is utterly and completely deluded.

First of all, everything comes from the Lord, even our good works are wrought by God's grace. 

Romans 11:34-36
  • “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
  • “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
  • For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

James 1:17
  • Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from him. These good gifts come down from the Father of lights. With God, there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Secondly, God cannot be bribed. (Deuteronomy 10:17)
  • For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

Thirdly, God blesses us, not because we've done something good for Him, but rather because He is good in spite of our evil behaviour. (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)

  • After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, "The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness." NO, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you.
  • It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 
  • Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

Matthew 7:11
  • If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Fourthly, God loves us, not because we first loved Him, but rather God loved us first and saved us when we were utterly sinful and spiritually dead.

1 John 4:19
  • We love because He first loved us.

Romans 5:6-8
  • You see, at just the right time, when we were still weak and powerless, Christ died for the ungodly (us)
  • Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 
  • But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Colossians 2:13
  • And you, who were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins

Ephesians 2:5
  • even when we were dead in our trespasses, 
  • made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved

We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in Greek is pistis. It means "to be persuaded."

Therefore, "having faith in Jesus" means "having been persuaded by Jesus."

If we believe in Jesus at all, it means we have been persuaded by Jesus.

Remember the woman at the well? She had had five husbands, and there was a man she was living with whom she did not consider to be her husband. She was not the most morally exemplary person for us to follow. Yet, in our hearts, we may be just as sinful and spiritually dead as she was.

Let's listen to Jesus' words to her, and her response to Jesus' words.

John 4:17-19
  • The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband';
  • for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."
  • The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet."

The woman at the well recognised that something was special about the man she met at the well. He knew about her shameful past, yet he was not judgemental towards her, but rather he focused on the crucial matter of this whole conversation, i.e. salvation of her soul.

John 4:25, 26

  • The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 
  • Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Have you been persuaded by Jesus' words? The fact that you have been persuaded by Him means you have faith in Him.

You did nothing to earn that salvation. So, yes, it is a gift.

The woman at the well did nothing to earn that gift. She was a sinner. Even when she was speaking to Jesus, she had a sinful and shameful past. Yet Jesus talked to her, and persuaded her that He was the Christ, Messiah, Saviour of the whole world.

The moment she was persuaded by Jesus, she had faith in Him. She received a gift of knowing Jesus, and received Him as a gift.

We were once separated from God; but now we have been reconciled to God through Jesus

Galatians 2:15
  • We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 

Jews received the divine word of God written down for their instruction, starting with the 5 books of Moses, i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, and many prophets and other reciepients of the word of God who recorded them for the salvation of the Jews.

Therefore, the Gentiles were excluded in this covenant that God made with the Jews.

Ephesians 2:12
  • remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Yet you may say, God is biased. Why has God chosen Israel only and not other ethnicities, nations and tribes?

Remember that God did not choose Israel because they were special or more righteous than other nations. No, they were particularly stubborn and stiff-necked.

Deuteronomy 9:4-6
  • After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, "The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness." NO, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you.
  • It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 
  • Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

Deuteronomy 9:13
  • And the LORD said to me, "I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed!

But now after the cross of Jesus Christ, the Gentiles have been reconciled to God through the death and blood of Jesus on the cross.

Colossians 1:20, 21

  • and through Jesus to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
  • Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
  • he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
  •  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

We, both Jews and Gentiles, all now have access to the Father through Jesus in one Spirit.

Ephesians 2:17-19
  • And Jesus came and preached peace to you who were far off (Gentiles) and peace to those who were near (Jews). 
  • For through Jesus we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 
  • So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Romans 2:10, 11
  • but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then also for the Gentile. 
  • For God does not show favoritism.

Romans 2:29
  • No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

John 3:5, 6, 16
  • Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit
  • Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.