Friday, June 14, 2019

Where are you?

We have a whole lot of terms for the transition of life referred to in religious circles as 'salvation' - inviting Jesus into your heart, making him Lord of your life, being saved, finding new life. We need to keep in mind one thing - our "salvation experience" is a one-time experience that involves an "exchange" of our sinfully selfish nature for the holy nature of Christ. This happens both instantly and it takes time - while we 'receive' the exchanged life at that point of 'salvation', it can take us a lifetime to see it 'worked out' in every area of our lives!

Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind-hovering-over-the-water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can't see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit." (John 3:5-6)

Our life is supposed to change once we accept the awesome gift of Christ's death on the cross on our behalf. We could call that one time experience a "rebirth" process. It is where we get the term "born again". At that moment in time the exchange of character that takes shape within us is formed by something we cannot see or touch - we become alive within our spirit-realm. Never miss the fact that  it is by no action of our own that our spirit is reborn. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit within us. When we have a mindset and 'heart-set' change - believing that Jesus is the full and permanent provision for the forgiveness of our sins - God goes to work in us! The exchanged life is really the changing of our desires. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we develop a desire to love God. We don't possess that naturally. In fact, we don't possess the desire to love unconditionally at all! That is a learned thing - the closer we get to God, the more we understand love without strings attached. The Holy Spirit is also responsible for helping us to serve God with our whole being - body, soul, and spirit. It is that "help" that actually makes us act and appear "different" than we were prior to that rebirth. If we find we aren't acting the way we want to it may just be time to ask the Holy Spirit to help change our actions!

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (Ephesians 2:7-10)

God has us where he wants us - right next to his bosom - close to his heart. That is the direct result of the salvation experience. In that position, he is able to shower upon us his graces. SAVING is all his idea, and all his work. That means that we don't even desire to have an exchanged life until he places that desire there within us. It also means that we do absolutely nothing from start to finish to accomplish that exchange except say 'yes' - the exchange begins there, but in time, we will find we must recommit to it over and over again! If you have ever wondered who is more powerful - God or Satan - let me settle it - God is supreme - he is sovereign. Satan operates ONLY within the boundaries God allows for him. Sometimes we don't understand why God allows for Satan to have any "reign" at all - but we have to trust God's design. It is important to recognize that God will not allow Satan to do anything at all that could alter our position in Christ. It is impossible for Satan to "take us away" from God! We are his! He watches over us and he cares for us - each one in an intimate way. We do NOTHING to gain our salvation - it is a gift of God, plain and simple. We cannot be "stolen away" from God by a crafty act of Satan. We are secure in his care - although we may be a target of Satan's attacks, we are not subject to his winning those attacks! Just sayin!

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