Written April 10, 2015
We know that although Christ died for all, not all will be saved, for not all will humble themselves, believe, and receive God’s abundant provision of grace (see Ro. 1:16-17, 20; 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Titus 2:11). Similarly, not many believers enjoy the abundant spiritual life available to us now in Christ, for not many desire to continue paying this price as of yet. Recall Jesus’ “count the cost” sermon in Luke 14:25-35, leading to this in v. 33: any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. May we all desire and behold Christ, not ourselves!
Extravagant grace is available to us to do even greater things now than what Jesus did then (see John 14:12), for everything that the Father demands of His dearly loved children He graciously provides for us through the Son and the Holy Spirit. Christ is our Righteousness, and the victory He obtained for us two thousand years ago is made real to us now on a moment-by-moment basis by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The progressive battle between our true self in Christ and what reappears of our old self is the Holy Spirit’s to fight, not ours.
Our fight is the good fight of faith, to simply stand firm in this realm of grace in which God has placed us. It is for us to dwell in the Shelter of the Most High so that this great lion and this serpent will be trampled; it is for us to remain in Christ our Vine so that His fruit is produced via our branches (Ro. 8:13; 1Tim. 6:12; Eph. 6:14; Ro. 5:2; Ps. 91:1, 13; John 15:5).
Most of our trials and tribulations occur because we choose to live a lie. Instead of knowing our true identity in Christ and living from our true born-again spiritual selves, we choose to live from our (already crucified!) fallen selves, which always preserve and promote themselves, possessing and controlling. Absurdly deceived, they don’t desire the Creator to express Himself in glory through them! Until they are broken down by circumstances, they work hard to preserve and provide for themselves; they are unable to receive God’s grace.
Note that the recorded temptations of Jesus in the wilderness all involved tempting Him to react of His own accord in order to preserve or promote His natural self, including His religious natural self. A man of flesh and blood made just like us in every way (Heb. 2:14, 17) and with the same anointing of the Holy Spirit offered us, our Lord Jesus resisted all temptations on our behalf by humbling Himself, trusting His Father, and receiving the lavish grace offered Him: grace to deny Himself, to trust God as His complete provision, to respond in the Spirit and not react, etc. [ Continued in Part II]
[Jesus was] tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:15b-16
Beholding and receiving the grace of Christ with you, your sister deanna