Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 10 September 21:
Hebrews 2:1, 3 — “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it…. how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? “
You must pay very close attention to God’s word, not just casually reading it but meditating upon it and applying it each day. We are always in danger of drifting away from Jesus’ side. Grace is not a license to be complacent; quite the contrary, grace should compel us to strive with all our might for holiness and unity with Christ. As the Greatest Commandment says, we must love the Lord our God not only with all our heart and soul, but also with all our mind and strength. (Luke 10:27) Loving as we are called to requires diligent mental and physical effort – study and practice.
- 2 Timothy 2:15 — Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
- 1 Timothy 4:15 — Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.
- Hebrews 5:14 — But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
- 2 Peter 1:10 — Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
- 1 John 3:7-10 — Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
The ‘casual Christian’ doesn’t really understand the value of grace. If you were gifted a $200,000 car, would you care for it differently than you would an old beater car? How much more valuable is the grace you have received through the blood of Jesus? How do you treat this magnificent gift from God? The Bible says that carelessly continuing in sin is trampling on the blood of Jesus, profaning His Name, and outraging the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 10:26-29)
- Hebrews 10:26-29 — For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
Saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, not by our deeds, we have been freed from the penalty of sin, are being freed from the power of sin in our lives, and will one day be freed from the presence of sin when Christ returns and makes all things new. As Paul pointed out, in this life, we will continue to struggle with sin – “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19; see all of Romans 7) However, as Paul also pointed out, we must struggle with all our might against sin – “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) The struggle against sin isn’t won halfheartedly; neither is genuine love halfhearted – “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
- Hebrews 12:3-4 — Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Finally, though we are called to struggle against sin and strive for holiness (despite being saved by faith and not works), we must do so relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and with complete confidence and joy that God will bring about our ultimate victory over sin despite our weakness and continual failures.
- Mark 10:27 — Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
- Romans 6:6 — We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
- Hebrews 9:14 — How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
- Hebrews 10:14 — For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
- Philippians 2:13 — For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
- Philippians 1:6 — And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
- Romans 8:28, 29 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 10 September 21: Today, show appropriate appreciation for the grace you have received in Jesus by observing all that He commanded (Matthew 28:20), and share your joy with others.