Romans 8:30a Predestined

And here is love: Romans 8:30a And those whom he predestined …

We have now established that God loved us not just for the sake of love by itself. It is a warm and sentiment notion to be sure but when it comes to God, it is not just simply His love as though he can be reduced to one feeling. Likewise, while his love remains supreme, it isn’t all that he is. When we speak of God and receive God and take him as our own, we get everything about him. And God is love but God is also holy, righteous, just, merciful, kind, gracious, patient, all-knowing (omniscient), present everywhere (omnipresent), and almighty (omnipotent) just to name a few. Not only that, God is unlike any other being ever in that he is one hundred percent of everything that he is. Furthermore, he doesn’t have to give up one part of himself in order to be the fullest in another. He is maxed-out love, righteousness, holiness, and merciful.

That is the glory of God.

And we know that God saved us because He is glorious. In other words, He didn’t have to give up something about what makes Him fully Him. It’s like getting into a relationship but giving up a part of your personality, a part of who you are, in order to be with someone you have affections for. “I like this dude but he only like quiet, mousy girls so I am going to suppress my boldness when I’m around him.” “Oh I really like this girl but she doesn’t like guys who are really into God so I am going to give that up.” It’s like a terrible romantic comedy. You laugh but it happens in real life more than I want.

God saved us because He simply saw us and He chose us to be with Him forever.

Ephesians 1:3-10 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Take a look at this passage: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…” Paul is exhorting us that God is blessed and God has definitely blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. However, for our sake and our thinking is contained within the element of time (while God is not), those blessings did not start with us, within the family we were born, the place in the world where we grew up, nor the people we know although we do know God purposely chooses all of that for us so that we “should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” 1.  And with the essence of time, it doesn’t necessarily even start with the cross of Christ—although all of God’s glorious aforementioned attributes definitely are on the fullest display at that cross. 2 It started before the foundations of the earth were laid and even before time and space were spoken into existence. It started before Genesis 1:1.

There is no doubt we grow up in a world that certainly celebrates self-accomplishments especially when you have come from nothing. We love the pull-up-from-our-bootstraps stories. Just be born, work hard, and surely good things will come your way. We sometimes think that God loves and adores us not because of everything He has done for us but rather what we have done for him lately. And that is how most of us understand our salvation in Christ. It has to be because of what I did first. Why else would he love me?

Or flip it the other way: I have done so well all of my life. I did the right things. I voted the right way. I am fighting for social justice. I am on the right side of history. See me! See that I am good. God loves me, saves me, and will bless me because I do good! Despite the fact that Romans 4 adamantly declares that we do not put God into our debt.

The argument of “From eternity past, God saw me and saw that I choose him.” We know that Romans 5:8 says otherwise.

Jesus said it distinctly, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” 3

We are saved for His glory. And this started with Him choosing us from a long, long time ago. Not because He predestined us to lest we believe that we are saved by election alone.

From eternity past, God saw me in my wickedness, my shame, my sin, and trespasses and just simply declared that I want him in my family. And I am willing to send my Son and my Spirit in order to get him.

Forgive the conjuncture but I always imagined it this way:

Father: I love you

Son: I love you

Spirit: I love you so much

Father: You know who else I love so much.

Son: Joseph

Spirit: I was just about to say that.

Father: Oh I see him now. Yikes, Joseph sins a lot. I mean. Look at him: he’s working in pornography while being married with a kid.

Son: I know. But I still want him with us.

Father: You know what it will take?

Son: Of course.

Father: You ready?

Son: Always. Spirit, you ready?

Spirit: exhales slowly I am ready!

Father: Let’s do this.

Son: Father, I love you.

Father: Son, I love you. Spirit, I love you.

Spirit: I know. I love you.

Father: Let’s do it.

BOOM!

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

And you know the rest of the story.

You might ask me, “How do we know that we are chosen? How do we know we are elected or predestined.” Old, white dead guys will tell you to knock it off! Stop trying to get a hold of salvation at the wrong end. Election, much like all of salvation, belongs to God alone for He alone is mighty to save.

I recall a conversation where this lady boldly declared, “I have two sons. And no matter what they do in this life, if one is predestined and the other is not, then only the one who is predestined will go to heaven.” Again, salvation is not because of predestination.

Recall the cry of the tax collector who cried out to God, “Have mercy on me, a sinner!”, whom Christ declared justified.

Lady, if both of your kids know and love God, if both of your kids walk with Him in their days and keep his commandments not because they are super trying hard but by the power and grace of His Almighty Spirit through the broken and blood drained body of the Son of God, then my friends, I can almost assure you that both of your kids are saved to God.

God’s maxed out love is so tremendous and wonderful that sin, death, hell, Satan, nor his demons would be able to stop Him from rescuing his people. That is the very best love.

Notes:

  1. Acts 17:26-28
  2. Psalm 85:10
  3. John 15:16

Here is Love: To Whom Are We Saved? – Romans 8:29e

Romans 8:29 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.

When we carefully walked through verse 29 of Romans 8, we saw that there was more than a few questions that rose to the top, namely:

What did God saw in us?  We now know that he didn’t see anything good, righteousness or lovely. What he saw was my traitorous sin and depraved wickedness. But in His power, goodness, and love, He saved me. Not by my own will, mind, or righteousness, but in his grace alone.

How did God save us? We now see that it was by the perfect life, sacrificial death, Spirit-powered resurrection, and glorious ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the right hand of the Father where He alone rules and reigns over heaven and earth is actually how we are saved.

By whom we are saved?  Again, from the sovereign grace of the Father, through the blood-drained and broken body of Christ upon the cross, by the power and might of the Spirit. In other words, God.

Why did God save us? Again, it was not because we were good or made the right decision or merely born into the right family, but for the glory of God which is the fullest, maximum infinite display of everything that God is—holiness, love, righteousness, just, mercy, and grace, just to name a few.

So by the term “firstborn among many brothers”, we can then ask this question:

To whom are we saved?

Not to Sunday School this and end it quickly, but the immediate and correct guess would be Jesus Christ. If God is our Father, Christ is His Son, and we are adopted by him into his family, that would no doubt make Christ, what older, dead white guys would rightfully call, our Elder brother.

Remember Romans 8:14–17 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

And just so we are clear: the term firstborn might be a weird adjective to describe the Word of God who has always been from eternally past. But remember that Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End 1—the creator, founder, begetter, and perfector of our faith.

And since he proceeds everything, in a strange, “outside-of-time” way, it is the firstborn, founder and perfector of all the faith of the saints, both in the New and in the Old Testament. 2

So, we see He is first and preeminent. But God did not just merely save us in order to be first. Let’s take a look at the promises of God:

More than just merely saved from Hell and sin but to the presence of God himself: Psalm 16:9–11 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.  For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

That we won’t simply die in sin, or stay the same but we will look like Him: Psalm 17:15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

That once belong to Him, no one can take us away from him: John 10:28–30 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”

Forever, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ 3 and no separation for those who are in Christ 4.

We are saved to God forever and ever. Amen.

But here is the real kicker: not only are we saved to Him, the one who is firstborn, forever but also to one another i.e. the brethren.

In a strange sense, the salvation plan of God was two-fold: to himself forever and to each other forever.

Now, if you grew up in church, you have heard this verse thrown out just in mere passing that is sometimes used as some sort of heavy-handed law of God. “Don’t you dare miss church OR ELSE!” And I am going to repeat it here just to get it out of the way but not in mere passing but within context. Let us look at the entire passage.

Hebrews 10:19–25 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,  by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,  and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

We are to meet together not to throw guilt, shame, and condemnation at one another but to build up each other in encouragement. (Sounds familiar? That’s why we have the gifts of the Spirit, particular with the gifts of encouragement and prophecy. 5)

Let us not neglect the meeting of the saints so that we can encourage and lift up one another and we do so not just by sincere encouragement, and prophesy that is tested by the word of God but primarily by the exposing of our sin by the law of God and the ocean of grace and love that awaits for us within the gospel of His blessed Son, Jesus Christ.

On the flipside of that: when the church fails to do that, in other words, when it fails to be a safe place for the saints, what are we to do? Then neglect meeting with one another.

Listen, we are the Bride. You are saved to the family of believers. You are not alone. I totally understand that if you need to depart and take it easy for a time but don’t totally close yourself off. Keep in touch. Let people know if you need help. Reach out. Allow those who you feel are safe to reach out and help and continue to encourage you.

I have seen too many people who just depart without saying a word to leaders or even to one another. And then they end up all alone. A sheep that stands alone in the world is the easiest prey for the wolves. They will come and devour you.

Maybe leaders are not safe either. God acknowledges this. In John 10, Jesus calls shepherds who turn and run at the first sight of danger not actual shepherds but just mere hired hands. But in Jeremiah 23, the Good Shepherd looks after his sheep and if those in charge of the sheep fail to do their job, he will remove them and set up new shepherds. I know that it seems as though those in power always remain in power and seem to be untouchable. But not in His church. And what we are witnessing in America with the cleaning out the house, we are seeing that in His church as well.

Ephesians 3:7–13 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.  To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things,  so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.  This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,  in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.  So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

Paul will elaborate on the church as a mystery that is similar to marriage with Christ and His Bride later on in chapter 5 starting at verse 20.

This all falls back on what Christ proclaimed to be the greatest and second greatest commandment:

Matthew 22:36–40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus Christ will one day return. Until then, He sits on the throne at the right hand of God. He didn’t leave us as orphans but sent His Spirit, who is God, to come dwell in our hearts forever in an unbreakable love.

But we are saved just to stand in this world cold and alone. God is so good and so loving to save us to one another. Sometimes, the church is not perfect. Sometimes, it incredibly messy and painful. I have seen terrible pain and abuse in the church. But only by God’s grace, I cannot quit His Bride. For me to leave Her would be like me giving up on her. And I cannot. She is the bride of Christ, who, and as crazy as this might seem, will be adorned in splendor, beauty, and perfection for Her Bridegroom.

We are saved to Him and to each other. That is all-incredible love.

Series: Intrigued by the postmodern oft-used answer of “God is love”, by just by digging a little deeper, what I have learned is that people usually mean, “Love is God”. So we then have to ask, what is love? This series is my attempt to answer that question as theologically and biblically as possible.

Notes:

  1. Revelation 21:6
  2. Hebrew 11:1-12:2 cf. Romans 3:21-26
  3. Romans 8:1
  4. Romans 8:38-39
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:3-4

Here is Love: Why Did God Save Us? – Romans 8:29d

Romans 8:29 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.

This entire series has been trying to pit the world’s definition of love versus God’s definition of love. And perhaps up until this moment, we have never taken that to actual task. What I mean by that is that comparatively speaking, if I speak of God’s love, we can still find something like that in on earth.

For example, the laughter of a tiny infant to their parents’ goo-goo and gah-gah sounds. Some would say that would be joy, innocence, and love. But not much more that. Or when we challenge oppressors in hopes to give liberty to the oppressed, that might be out of justice and love, but what else could that included.

We could come up good lists of what different loves look like but none would be as complete as the love of God. I contend that the reason why is because while we do things out of love, God does something even greater than that—He does everything out of his glory.

Think for a moment and try to come up with a definition for the word ‘glory’. Consider Webster’s:

  1. high renown or honor won by notable achievements.
  2. magnificence or great beauty.
  3. praise, worship, and thanksgiving offered to a deity.
  4. luminous ring or halo, especially as depicted around the head of Jesus Christ or a saint.
  5. take great pride or pleasure in.

But according to the Bible, it speaks of God’s glory as each of his attributes to the maximum infinite degree. I say both maximum and infinite because to suggest maximum might suggest a limit somewhere. To say infinite says there is unlimited potential, but we can fall short of that.  In who God is—whether it be love, mercy, justice, holiness, righteousness, presence, strength, knowledge, or grace—God is maximum unlimited.

So when we say “God saved us out of love”, that is true but is far much more than that. I can say that with utmost certainty because you see, God is perfect and was never was or will be in sin and thus, everything that he does is never out of good intentions or in hope of but completed perfectly to the end. Consider our born state and the world we live in: many times, while we might do our best to do things out of love, we either fallen short with good intentions or do so with selfish gain.

Take any book of the Bible, look for the mention of the glory of God and see what I am saying. For instance, in Luke we see that:

God’s glory in the mere ability of God becoming man, Jesus – Luke 2:8-21 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

God’s glory in His all-knowledge and all-wisdom Luke 4:15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

God’s glory again in His all-power over brokenness Luke 5:25-26 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

God’s glory in his all-power over death Luke 7:16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!”

God’s glory in all-justice Luke 9:26-27 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (See Revelation 19:11–21)

God’s glory in His command of time Luke 9:32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

God’s even in the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross Luke 24:26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

Why did God save? Because he loves us but more so than that, because He is glorious!

Consider this: if God was not for his glory, then he would cease to be God. Remember, until we see our Savior completely face to face, we will never know perfection on this side of heaven. (Some pastors say you can obtain perfection while on earth and I am here to tell you that they are wrong). But what if we were without sin? That is so impossible to imagine but that is what God is. And in his absolute perfection, He operates within the maxed out of his attributes. He operates in glory.

To put this in another way, God does not have to lessen something that he is his in order to do what he wants. He doesn’t suppress his righteousness and holiness in order to love us. He doesn’t have to suppress his love in order to be fully holy. No, not at all! But sometimes we want him to let off his righteousness and holiness? Don’t we? Like “Lord, thank you for eradicating all of my sins but how about don’t work on this little sin deep in the recesses of my heart. How about leave that alone? I need my pride, my lust, my fear, my vanity because that is who I am!” How crazy is the notion that we would want God to grade on a curve or overlook this one little sin in our hearts? Don’t you want to be with the God who has ZERO SIN in and around him which automatically equates to perfect peace, fullness of joy and blissful pleasures forevermore? If God allowed sin in his presence—yes, even our “itty bitty little” sin— then we would still have sickness, disease, despair, death, broken hearts, some joy, some love, and mediocre pleasures in a short amount of time. Doesn’t that already sound a bit familiar? (Hint: look around you.)

But because God is glorious—in other words, because God is fully, perfectly, one-hundred percent-ly all the things that the Bible says he is, then it is because His glory that we are saved.

Isaiah 48:9–11

“For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.

And yet from this one prophet, consider how he was saved:

Isaiah 6:1-7 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

How do we know this to be the glory of God? Jesus said so:

John 12:41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.

Praise God for his perfection and glory.

Praise God for his ability, willingness, and actually completed his salvation of His people.

Praise God for his absolutely amazing love!

Series: Intrigued by the postmodern oft-used answer of “God is love”, by just by digging a little deeper, what I have learned is that people usually mean, “Love is God”. So we then have to ask, what is love? This series is my attempt to answer that question as theologically and biblically as possible.

Here is Love: By Whom We Are Saved – Romans 8:29c

Romans 8:29 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.

When we speak of Romans 8, most Christians rightfully cling to the verse 1: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. But Romans 8:1 is not the very first line of this epistle from Paul to the church in Rome. What I am getting to is that idea didn’t just come out of nowhere. What was Paul responding to? Perhaps we can look at the verses right before:

Romans 7:24–25 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

Seem familiar? Don’t we hear the same desperation in anyone, who by the grace of God, see their own sins as an affront and treason against holy and loving God? It is the great cry of the tax collector, “… standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” 1

Even more than that, it seems to be the same question Isaiah asked:

Isaiah 64:5–6
     You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
     those who remember you in your ways.
     Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
     in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
     We have all become like one who is unclean,       
     and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
     We all fade like a leaf,
     and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Isaiah the great prophet, to whom Christ unraveled his glory before him and Christ then sent an angel to touch Isaiah’s lips with a hot coal and cleansed his soul from all unrighteousness even asked, “Shall we be saved?”

I know that Paul answers all the cries of all the saints who clearly see their own sin before a glorious God, “THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS!”

Let that be one of the many banners over our souls and hearts: “THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION BECAUSE I AM IN CHRIST AND HE IS IN ME FOREVER!”

But this is not some standalone “theory” that we have to do doctrinal gymnastics in order to arrive at this point. The world wants to make the Bible more difficult than it needs to be. By either claiming to be nonsense, or it is a book filled with fantasy, or that God is an angry god or there are just too many contradictions. To such counters I will say two things: One, you cannot understand any gift of God without the Holy Spirit of God 2. Two, once you have the Holy Spirit and by his will, power and wisdom alone, you can now begin to grasp the Bible for it really is—the word of God.  All of a sudden, when we read passages like Luke 24 when Jesus taught his disciples about all the Scriptures, we realize that the Bible is really all about Him.

If the Bible is all about Jesus, then logic and reason dictate that salvation comes through Christ alone.

Let’s see what the rest of the Bible says:

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 1:12–13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 5:9-10 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

1 Corinthians 15:1–11 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Ephesians 2:1–10  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Titus 3:3–7  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

And the Old Testament says nothing less about it even despite our “Age of Information” brains who can only search by keywords. Go back and start at the beginning.

Genesis – beginning of the promise of Jesus Christ

Exodus – Jesus will save his people from their sins

Leviticus – the weight of the holy law upon the shoulders of Christ

Numbers – the progressive sanctification of his people or to put it into other words, being conformed to the image of His Son.

But how do we know that Christ was the Savior of those in the Old Testament when they didn’t even know His name? Paul says that in Romans 3 that God put Jesus Christ forward as a propitiation with Christ’s own blood to be received by faith. Not only with us the New Testament saints but the Old Testaments as well. God was passing over their sins in divine forbearance because those saints believed in Christ Jesus. 3

Saints of old and saints of new were all perfectly saved by Christ alone.

We know that those old saints were under the burden of the law with sacrifices and shedding of blood. But the shedding of the blood of ox and goats or even following the law perfect never intended to save God’s people 4.

Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, rose again, and ascended to the right hand of the Father to rule and reign over everyone, everywhere, and everything.

And Christ rules, reigns and saved his people because He went to the cross in humility and joy.

Jesus Christ is the literal crux where God’s steadfast love and God’s faithfulness meet and He is where His righteousness and His perfect peace kiss each other. 5

Because of all that he has done and because of what he is doing now and will do, there will be one fine day that I will stand in the presence of my Savior, just as Joshua did before the Commander of the Most High or as the adulteress caught red-handed and thrown before this King of Kings. I saw my Savior’s beautiful face but can I approach him? I can say nothing. But I fall to the ground in worship and in true awe before the one who saved me.

But then, the Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit, “Father of Lights, this is your precious son!”

And I can imagine Christ turning to his Father and the Father’s voice booms the heavens, “THIS IS MY SON IN WHOM I AM WELL-PLEASED!”

And upon that declarative state, Christ descends from his rightful throne, lifts me up to stand with him and finishes the holy judgment before angels, elders, and the other saints:

NO CONDEMNATION! Come and enter in the joy of your master.

It is then and only then that I will have a chance to hold my lovely Saviour’s face, look deeply into his eyes and kiss him a thousand kisses all because of what He has done for me.

Series: Intrigued by the postmodern oft-used answer of “God is love”, by just by digging a little deeper, what I have learned is that people usually mean, “Love is God”. So we then have to ask, what is love? This series is my attempt to answer that question as theologically and biblically as possible.

Notes:

  1. Luke 18:13
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:12
  3. see Romans 3:21-26
  4. Hebrews 9:1-28 Cf. Romans 8:1-4
  5. Psalm 85.10

Here is Love: How Did God Save Us? – Romans 8:29b

Romans 8:29 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.

So we have firmly established that God did not look into the future and see that I was good enough to be saved. I did not make the right decision to be saved or do a bunch of “good” works to be saved. We now know that from eternally past, God looked upon me and saw my wickedness, my evilness, my sins, and trespasses and graciously, sovereignly, completely, and mightily decided to save me if for no other reason other than for His glory.

For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another. 1

But because God is so glorious, the overabundance of that glory is my joy:

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 2

But how did God save us?

In other words, was it enough for God to save us by sending his Son to be born of an unwed, virgin, teenage girl and to live as a carpenter’s stepson?

Was it enough for the Son of God, filled with the Spirit of God, to wait until he was 30 years old to start his earthly ministry, all the while spending his entire life completely sinless and perfectly obeying the law of God?

Was it enough for Christ Jesus to finish his life and ministry by being falsely accused, falsely arrested, falsely tried, and falsely executed upon a Roman cross for crimes and sins he did not commit?

Furthermore, to be buried in a tomb for three days, and by that same Spirit of God that dwelled in him, risen again to be made alive, and then continued his ministry on earth for 40 more days and then ascend to the right hand of the Father?

Was all of that enough for Jesus Christ to save His people?

Anybody who has grown up in church all of their lives will shout the answer, “You must believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved!” That is the answer. Just believe in the one who lived and died for you and you shall be saved.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 3

But let us think about this: what if Christ came to live and die and no one believed? Would his life and death be in vain? Absolutely not, because Christ death on the cross on actually and factually accomplished something.

The Bible speaks of this through and through.  I believe it is most evident in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 1 verse 21:

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. 4

Read that verse. Does it give the mere possibility of saving his people from their sins or does it say distinctly will save? Does God fail in anything that he will set out to accomplish? Even if his word goes out, it will accomplish something and does not go out in vain 5, what more than God alone who all powerful, all knowing, and ever-present will perfectly set out what he wants to accomplish.

We say believe but did God die for the possibility of saving everybody? If we have established that God will perfectly execute his plans then we know that even the mere possibility indicates possible failure. Even we can bring up a couple verses starting in 1 John:

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 6

But reading 1 John as a whole especially starting with chapter 2 verse 1, we can see that John’s intention was not to say “the whole world is saved” but rather that all brothers and sisters for all around the world are saved because of the the propitiating work of Jesus Christ who is our advocate with the Father when and if we do sin. 7 To even suggest that the whole world would be saved would directly contradict Matthew’s witness account of Jesus: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.8

And I would say that John would be contradicting himself in his own gospel account in the aforementioned John 3:16. But look closely: John did not write, “that whoever believes and doesn’t believe in him should not perish” but “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Yes, John did write in verse 17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” but see how he ends the chapter with verse 36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.9

Both John, Matthew and the writers of the Bible are not mincing words when we speak of who God does and does not save (especially when you read about the Kingdom of God in Matthew chapter 13). Instead of looking at individual verses and making them stand on their own, let us be like Christ when he walked on the road to Emmaus and understand the entire Bible speaks about himself, Jesus Christ.

So we know that God is powerful to save. We know it wasn’t our “good works” or right decision that attracted the grace and favor of God upon us. We have established that God didn’t send his Son to die in mere hopes that we would make the right decision–nevermind the fact that that decision was already too late for the Old Testament saints. 10

We must always remember that, unlike Christ, we came into this world “foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.11

We were all born sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God 12— remembering that this is the same glory that God spoke about by which he would save His people. 13

We have all fallen short of the glory of God that saves us.

What are we to do if we are not already saved?

Without God, we are blind and cannot see. We are deaf and cannot hear. We have minds but cannot understand. We inhale breath but we are not completely alive.

In other words, we are completely dead in our trespasses. 14

But open your eyes and see this good news: Just as Moses lifted the serpent up in the wilderness that the Israelites might look upon it and be saved 15, God appeared:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 16

God saves us

  • According to his own mercy
  • By the washing of regeneration
  • Renewal of the Holy Spirit
  • Poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior
  • Justified by his grace
  • So that we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life

Might not as in mere possibility but based on the strength of the love our God our Father by the power of the Holy Spirit through the broken body of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

There is no greater news than this because there is no greater love than this.

Series: Intrigued by the postmodern oft-used answer of “God is love”, by just by digging a little deeper, what I have learned is that people usually mean, “Love is God”. So we then have to ask, what is love? This series is my attempt to answer that question as theologically and biblically as possible.

Notes:

  1. Isaiah 48:9–11
  2. Psalm 16:11
  3. John 3:16
  4. Matthew 1:21
  5. Isaiah 55:10-11
  6. 1 John 2:2
  7. 1 John 2:1
  8. Matthew 7:13
  9. John 3:36
  10. Romans 3:21-26
  11. Titus 3:3
  12. Romans 3:23
  13. Isaiah 48:9–11
  14. Ephesians 2:1-3
  15. John 3:14-15 Cf. Numbers 21:9
  16. Titus 3:4-7

Here is Love: What God Saw In Us – Romans 8:29a

Romans 8:29 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.

There are many verses that can be used to aptly say what verse twenty-nine so succinctly and definitely says here. I can think of two passages:

1 Peter 1:20–21 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Ephesians 1:3–14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

In order to understand God and his love for his people, we can take this little verse, walk through it, and answer the following questions:

What did God see in us in that we would be saved to Him? Many have speculated and theorized that foreknowledge of God simply means that God saw into the future and determined God saw those who would believe in him and not believe in him and pick accordingly.

We teach our kids the story on how God saved Noah:

Genesis 6:5–9 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.  These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.

And because of our philosophies born out of the world in which we live today, we surmised that it was Noah, first, that lived a righteous life and it was only then God saved Noah.

But does that line up with any story of salvation that you ever heard in the Bible or is Paul correct when he says:

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Notice it doesn’t say, “while we were really good” or “doing our very best, that Christ died for us.”

Let’s go back and look at the passage and walk through it step by step:

  1. God saw the evilness of humankind – The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually
  2. God regretted making mankind and it grieved him – And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
  3. God had a plan to make everything right-standing with him – God So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
  4. And give grace to some – But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
  5. And save them – … Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.

Let’s consider all of the Bible. What makes actual sense? Did Noah act right in order for God to save him? Or if we are to read every single account of salvation in the Bible and since the creation of the world, could we logically, theologically, and reasonably concluded that:

  • Noah was wicked (check)
  • every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (check)
  • that God was grieved to the heart because of Noah (check)
  • that because of his righteousness and holiness and love and mercy, God saved one family out of many and bestowed unmerited grace upon him (check)
  • And because we are only saved by grace alone, it is that Noah was declared righteous and blameless by God and walked with God as he would a friend, (check, check, and check).

As old dead white guys would say two hundred years ago, let us lay an axe to our pride and to anything that would cause us to boast before the world, each other, and most importantly, God, that we could say, “I am good, save me!” with the same intentionality as one philosopher would say, “God has to save me–it is what he does”.

Should we be audacious before the throne of grace? As the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirits, then yes! But as a child of wrath with no thoughts or convictions about our own sin or zero affections and love towards the Saviour of the world? No! For the child of wrath is declared by the all-knowing God to be unknowable.

And you might say to me, “This foreknowledge to too much for me to dwell on. How can I comprehend it?” My friend, it is not a belief in foreknowledge of God that would save you but it is faith and belief in the one who lived a life that we could not possibly live, the one who died dying a death that we should have death, resurrected back into life by which we have no power over unto the glory that belongs to God alone. I ask you to comprehend and trust the risen Christ! It is Christ alone who came into the world as a baby and to grow in a man faced every type of temptation just like you or me. But unlike us, he never sinned. For in that glorious work of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are now able to see the Father!

So in all of this, I must concede to one answer to the question of “What did God see in us to save us?”

Before Genesis 1:1, before time and space began, before the formations of the sun, moon, stars, and planets, before the dirt and mountains and sky and birds, and fish, and animals and anything in all of creation, he looked upon me and saw my wickedness, my pride, my sins, my thoughts, and my intentions, and powerfully, mightedly, gracefully, lovingly, mercifully, righteously, and justly declared,

“He is mine! He is in my family! And by the power of My Spirit, I will bring in him into my family because my Son will do everything in order to save him to me!”

What kind of love this? The heart can barely contain the amount. Praise God for his love.

Series: Intrigued by the postmodern oft-used answer of “God is love”, by just by digging a little deeper, what I have learned is that people usually mean, “Love is God”. So we then have to ask, what is love? This series is my attempt to answer that question as theologically and biblically as possible.

Here is Love: All Good – Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Herein lies love: all things work together for good for those who love God. Within our world, one might dare to ask, “What about those who don’t love God? What about my friend or neighbor or co-worker who is basically a good guy or gal? What about them?”

But what is goodness? Is it good/better/best or a quality that is wholesome and pure and without sin or evilness?

While we cannot assume the opposite is true in some cases, we can actually make that statement here: all things do not work together for good for those who do not love God. Or if things do work together for good, then it is for good/better/best and not at all for goodness according to the God.

Paul is saying nothing new. There is a distinction between those who love God and do not love God. We just got done reading at the beginning of Romans 8: “For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on things of the flesh… Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” 1

Perhaps you might think Paul is too harsh. Let’s think through things for just a moment:

There are always talks about harmonizing the Gospels of the New Testament but when you study the teachings of Christ and the writings of Paul, what I think is happening that Paul is simply giving a theological explanation to the words and deeds of Christ.

I dare to say that Paul is not giving anything new outside of what Jesus Christ has already said and done.

So when Paul talks “mind set on the flesh and spirit” or in our case “for those who love God”, how is that different than when Christ spoke of those on his left hand and his right, goats, and sheep, child of hell versus sons of God?

Or here: Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. 2

Paul is simply going into a more detailed explanation of what Christ said.

Why is this so important? All the promises of God are both yes and amen, but the promises for you, if you are a child of God, go many more AND deeper, more meaningful, more lovely and beautiful than anything we could have imagined.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 3

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 4

So who loves God? We just read that “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.5 That God knows the heart and that is such good news that he looks and sees us intimately.

So, what are all things? That circumstances and sin and wickedness do not dictate the statuses and the faiths of the children of God. Abuse does not.  Trauma does not. Being ignored does not. Being betrayed does not. Being tempted does not. Being poor does not.

Let the world take everything–my innocence, my money, my family, my job, my education–everything that I could put all of my identity in and fall into idol worship. But because I have God, I have everything.

How’s that you say? Again, let us use the words of Paul:

Let me live and I will live to Christ.

Kill me and Christ is my gain!

Take my job and force me into poverty and I will be content.

Throw me in prison and I will preach the gospel and see that the guard’s and their households are saved.

Let all things come my way and try to destroy me.

But God, let me see more of you to where the things of this world no longer entertain me.

God, set me on fire so the rest of the world can watch me burn.

God will because He loves me and will keep me forever.

Series: Intrigued by the postmodern oft-used answer of “God is love”, by just by digging a little deeper, what I have learned is that people usually mean, “Love is God”. So we then have to ask, what is love? This series is my attempt to answer that question as theologically and biblically as possible.

Notes:

  1. Romans 8:5-8
  2. John 3:36
  3. Romans 8:9–11
  4. Romans 8:14–17
  5. Romans 8:27

Here is Love: He is the One Who Knows Us – Romans 8:27

Romans 8:27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

This is a fantastic God

What compares to the knowledge of God when He alone reveals all truth and science to us? Yet, he is not merely the best supercomputer in the world with every single piece of knowledge and scientific fact ever. 1

What compares to the knowledge of God that he numbers the stars in the all of the cosmos, grains of sand on all the beaches and even the number of the hairs on your head? But he is not the greatest calculator that can count really, really high.

What compares to the knowledge of God that he not only knows the past but knows the future. He is not some brilliant scientist who has discovered time travel. He knows the future because he made the future.

What compares to the knowledge of God that he searches the whole world but he is not merely the best surveillance system ever.

This is the God who actually, perfectly knows each and every one of us. But what does that even mean in our world today? Where we put ourselves on social media but only show the world what we want them to see. But every single one of us are yearning to be truly seen and truly known—maybe not by everybody but by somebody.

Maybe we think, “I hope that God sees the good inside of me.” But what if this God saw a lot deeper than that. What if he saw past your social media posts, and then your walls, and then past your personality? What if he could peer inside your soul and see the deepest corners of your heart? What would God see then?

What if he saw your bad? Your fears, your doubts, your sin, your trespasses? You might think if he saw that, he couldn’t possibly want you or even love you?

Here’s the truth: he knows all of that. But this is the mind of the Spirit: way before you were born, the stars were placed in the sky or even before there was even dirt, he made up his mind about you.

Long before Genesis 1:1, he saw into the future and saw you not at your best or your greatest but at your weakest, sickest, and most terrible. Before you could even fathom a thought, God thought of you, loved you, and set the plan in motion not only to create you but to save you.

Who is truly like this God who is not scared nor frightened of your deepest sins? Who is like him whose heart breaks for what broke yours? Who grieved over your pain and also, who was rightfully jealous when you ran away from him?

Ah, but he knows you and sees you truly for who you are.

His reaction is not one of condemnation and tosses you away. He does not strike you down where you stand. He does not turn his back on you. Instead, he comes after you: not like the Devil Lion who would only consume your soul but the like the Protective Hound who simple chases you down, places you gently into his jaws and carries you back to safety.

I know this to be true because he sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who came not into the world to condemn you but only through him, to save you.

My Beloved, if you are his adoptive, precious child then do not fear that God knows you inside and out as he is only here to remind you of your fears and weaknesses. That is the Devil’s job. But Rejoice! For God sees you, knows you, loves you and wrote your name in His Son’s book of life. Run to him! Flee to him! Let him comfort you in the only way a perfect Father could ever do.

But what if you don’t know God like this? What if this is all foreign to you? Just know that our precious God made sure there is more than ample room at the foot of the cross of Christ for you.

Let the Almighty God take you into his strong arms as he begins to constantly, consistently, thoughtfully, and lovingly pray and intercede for you according His own will because he loves you.

I pray that everyone who reads these words would know that God didn’t create you and left you behind. He didn’t save you and then distance from you. God didn’t rescue you and then be disconnected from you. No! He saved you, pulled you in close, whispers blessings into your ear, rejoices and sings over you in gladness! 2

Because he loves you.

Oh, the mighty love of God be will with us all today and forever. Amen.

Series: Intrigued by the postmodern oft-used answer of “God is love”, by just by digging a little deeper, what I have learned is that people usually mean, “Love is God”. So we then have to ask, what is love? This series is my attempt to answer that question as theologically and biblically as possible.

Notes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 1-3
  2. Hosea 2:14; Zephaniah 3:17

Here is Love: He is Our Mediator – Romans 8:26

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

When coming to the full acknowledgment of the pain and anguish of sin that he seems to never be able to overcome, Paul cries the same incredible prayer in the same spirit as the tax collector in the synagogue:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?1

And I believe the totality of Romans 8 is the extended, thorough, exegetical explanation to his powerful nine-word answer: “Thanks be to God through Christ Jesus our Lord! 2

So let’s suppose that we find ourselves in the same shoes as Paul. We see our sin and we even try to wrestle it and overcome it and try to choke the life out of it but we all know that our strength is neither perfect nor mighty. It wanes day to day and even moment to moment. We are not as strong as the Almighty Savior who counted it as all joy to ascend to the cross and hand over his life as a ransom for many.

What shall we do? Do we give up hope? Do we scream out “Forget this! This is too much for me to handle. I will never succeed! Why even try?”

But don’t you see? Your cries are exactly like those of the children of Israel. The Old Testament is your prayer and the New Testament is your answer.

What, you can’t do it? God knows and He shows us His great love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us? 3

Remember before God saved you to himself and filled your heart with His Holy Spirit? When you were “once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” 4

Yes, God was mindful of you, saw you, and saved you despite your own wickedness, evilness, and malice towards the Himself.

If God is so good and powerful to do that, what do you think He’s going to do when you know you are weak, sick and more need of a Savior? Leave you? NO! You are His precious adopted child to whom all that belongs to His only begotten Son also is yours.

That gift includes the world. 5 But that includes something much greater than all of anything that we could want or desire on this earth:

God himself.

God the Father, whose mind, compassion, grace, sovereignty, and love is yours.

God the Son, whose life and body was in your place on the cross so that you could be with “His God, your God, His Father and your Father”. That’s yours.

God the Spirit, by whom is the power, connection, intimacy, closeness and the very voice that brings you and God together forever never to break apart or be forgotten. That’s yours.

By the power of the same Spirit that Jesus was able to walk this earth and live as we should have lived.

By the power of the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

If His Spirit dwells in you, you are now fully completely alive.

God WOULD NEVER ABANDON YOU, FORSAKE YOU, NOR FORGET YOU.

So why would he leave you at your weakest?

Paul goes on to say:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.6

When sin crouches like a hungry lion ready to devour our souls.

When the Devil and his demons shower you a million arrows of arrows to consume your flesh.

When everything that has worked before and now nothing does.

When you are at loss for words and nothing comes out.

That’s when the almighty Spirit steps in, shatters the mouth of the lion, shields us and absorbs every single arrow aimed for our hearts. He actually gives you the power to overcome all fears, anxiety, and sins, and speaks perfectly to God, our Father, on your behalf. Giving what is the very best for you when you couldn’t figure that out yourself.

That is powerful love.

Series: Intrigued by the postmodern oft-used answer of “God is love”, by just by digging a little deeper, what I have learned is that people usually mean, “Love is God”. So we then have to ask, what is love? This series is my attempt to answer that question as theologically and biblically as possible.

Notes:

  1. Romans 7:24
  2. Romans 7:25
  3. Romans 5:8
  4. Titus 3:3
  5. Hebrews 1:1-2
  6. Titus 3:4-7

​Here is Love: He is Our Hope – Romans 8:24-25


Theology-of-the-Body-Hope-1Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

What is this hope?

Walk backwards from the text. Our hope in adoption as sons? Redemption of our bodies? That creation would be set from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God? The revealing of God’s glory? Heir of God? Fellow heir of Christ? The Spirit bearing witness that we are children of God?
See the pattern?

But all of those things that we long for and desire and hope for are found in Christ alone.

He is our declaration of no condemnation.

He is our condemned sinful flesh.

He is our righteous requirement.

It is His Spirit by which we live, move and have our being. 1

It is His Spirit that dwells in us.

It is by His Spirit that we have been given life.

But Christ is someone we don’t see. Likewise, we cannot see the Father nor the Spirit. Because we can’t see him, we long for him. Like long distance lovers. Like husband off to war waiting for the day to come back home to be with his wife. Heck, like the guy who has to go to work 8 hours a day and fight hours of traffic just to be with his woman. Like the gal who goes out of town on business who just can’t wait to be with her baby.

In that waiting, we are not impatient as a kid wanting ice cream after dinner. We know we can’t see God right away but one day, we will. And when we see him, He will wipe away all of tears, make all things right, give us the fullness of joy and pleasures evermore.

Notes:

  1. Acts 17:28