Archive

Archive for June, 2017

Integrity

June 19th, 2017

Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than the one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool. (Proverbs 19:1 NKJV)

And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them… (Jeremiah 45:5 NKJV)

I have known many men and women to seek wealth, to seek great things for themselves, even if they have to lie and be dishonest to achieve them. “The end justifies the means” is the false credo of those who lack integrity. God warns us that any who seek to live this way will come to ruin.

It does not mean that we will not gain something worldly in the process, but the tragedy of such “gains” is that whatever we achieve dishonestly carries with it a personal spiritual and moral loss that is greater in the loss column. Scottish pastor George MacDonald (1824-1905) said, “In whatever a man does without God, he must fail miserably - or succeed even more miserably.”

We are certainly saved by grace and by grace alone, through our faith, but there is something gained when we stand in our integrity and we know that we have done the right thing and done it in the right way. Honesty and integrity do not mean rudeness, at least not necessarily. Some people imagine that they have the right to say all kinds of things to others, simply because these are their “honest” opinions. But the man of true integrity takes into account his own doubts, his own questions, and holds others in consideration.

Honest people are first honest with themselves. They are introspective in terms of their failures and freely admit these to God. They are also honest about the provision of God’s grace that comes through Christ. They honestly repent and honestly believe they are forgiven. They differentiate between convictions and opinions, between foundational truths - things that are immovable - and areas of life where honest men may have differences of opinion.

They do what Davy Crockett said to do, “First be sure you are right, then go ahead.” But they do it in a humility that leaves open the possibility of being mistaken on some minor points. At the end of the day they trust in God and work for His glory. They guard their hearts and their minds from damage and they respect the harm that sin and temptation can do to their soul.

Christ said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 10:26). “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).

Daily Devotions

The Uniqueness of Christ

June 15th, 2017

As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Cor. 1:18-20 ESV)

Here is a jewel of scriptural insight, a principle that should guide us to understand the Scripture more fully. The entire Bible points toward Christ - either in prophecy and in examples or “types” in the Old Testament or in retrospect, experience, and anticipation in the New Testament. He is the essential Person of our redemption and of our life, and the main character of the book. He is the One through whom God works in our lives today.

The unity of the Bible: There are some who view the Bible as a collection of the random thoughts of lesser deities, superstitious tidbits for reflection of varying levels of inspiration or usefulness. But here is proclaimed a principle that clearly refutes that: “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.” Everything that God did in the Old Testament pointed to Christ - “These testify of me” said Christ of the Old Testament (John 5:39).

Christ said that He was the “Truth” (John 14:6), not that He spoke the truth but that He was in His very nature Truth itself.

The singleness of the work of God: God has only one work of redemption. It is multi-faceted in its outworking, properly called the “manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10), but the Redeemer is One and only One. All the promises of God are channeled into our lives through Christ, and through our faith in Him. God has sent only one Savior. He establishes only one Church - the Church Invisible comprised of all true believers in Christ. And though there are redeemed through the ages who were people of faith before the gospel of Christ was preached, even their salvation is mediated by Christ.

The ‘Amen’ is in Him as well: The word “Amen” meant the affirmation of the promises of God, and, for Christ, the acceptance of His role in the Father’s plan for salvation. There is solemnness in this fact. Christ called Himself “the Amen” (Rev. 3:14), meaning that He has taken on the responsibility of our redemption. It does not say that he said “Amen” to the plans of God, as though He merely agreed to them. It says He was the Amen, meaning that He Himself worked his salvation.

Looking at the sin of the world, God’s heart was burdened.

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing… (Isaiah 59:15-17 ESV, See also Isaiah 63:5)

Fullness of Redemption Is in Christ! And here is, I believe, Paul’s main point he was making to the Corinthians - that because Christ is the Amen, because all of the promises of God are fulfilled in Him, this means that Christ offers full redemption. Every believer should be thrilled with this truth! All sin is forgiven in Him. Every soul, no matter how affected we may be from sin, can find full redemption in Christ. We have fullness in Him not only of life after death but of life in the Spirit today.

The secret of living abundantly and joyfully is knowing Christ, trusting Him, submitting to Him, worshiping Him, following Him. The Phillips Translation says it this way:

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom Silvanus, Timothy and I have preached to you, is himself no doubtful quantity, he is the divine “yes”. Every promise of God finds its affirmative in him, and through him can be said the final amen, to the glory of God.

We are helped in our understanding and spiritual growth by godly teachers of the Bible, but the basic experience of the believer is with Christ, and not with any other teacher. Simply taking His Word and listening to Him speak to our hearts, and meditating on its truth, and speaking to Him, opens for us the very doors of heaven. And God delights to bless people who trust in Christ with joy, wisdom, and abundance of life.

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