Here’s a transcript of what I prepared to share for yesterday.
Talked to the Junior and Senior High kids last Friday during their Chapel Time – My theme, or my intent was to talk to them about Love; The week before this, I talked about how God’s love keeps us when things happen to us, and last Friday I wanted to emphasize how God’s love inspires us to make things happen. But somewhere along the way, as I was zeroing in on 1 John 4:15-19, the theme and topic of Salvation came in the mix.
I’d like to share just a little bit from what I shared to them.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:15
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.Romans 10:9
Two things I want to emphasize. John 6:29 features Christ sharing, that if you want to work for God, then the work of God is to believe in the One whom He has sent. The two verses I stated above give us an idea, a picture of what this would eventually mean for each and everyone of us. If we believe in Christ, I believe the Holy Spirit would lead us to confess that (1) Jesus is the Son of God, acknowledging His divine nature, (2) Jesus is Lord, acknowledging His absolute superiority, and (3) God raised Him from the dead, confirming His divine nature and His absolute superiority, and acknowledging His everlasting love and commitment to us.
These verses also show us what it means for us to be saved. Simply put, we believe in Jesus Christ, we confess He is the Son of God and is Lord of Lords, and God abides in us, and we abide in Him. We are fully reconciled to Him, with Him as He is with us, as close as we could ever be, and Romans 8:39 says nothing can ever separate us.
I talk about salvation because it’s featured in what I want to share today:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
First off I want to clarify that is says work OUT your own salvation, and not work FOR your salvation. Your average driver may be able to operate near anything that you give him to drive in manual or automatic transmission, but when given a high-end sports car or a construction bulldozer, well, you’ll need to practice it first. Also, we don’t exercise to get muscles – we exercise to grow, tone, and/or develop the muscles we’ve already had since we were born. That’s how I see our salvation – as a shiny, new tool that we need to consult the manual and practice using, or muscles we already have, and use frequently so we go faster, hit stronger, and move more efficiently.
With that out of the way, let’s continue to the rest of the scripture – and to me, here’s another way for us to see the life we have in Christ. Because we have established that God abides in us and we abide in Him, I think this also means that our will and our work abide with Him. In other words, we make our plans in His presence.
What does this mean?
- We may have our totally selfish plans, and plans we’ve been so used to doing and enjoying on our own… but take note that we aren’t alone in our plans – God is with us, so these plans don’t feel as feasible and pleasurable as they were before we confessed that Jesus is the Son of God.
- Because we enjoy God abiding in us, as we abide in Him, I think we could consider Proverbs 16:3 fulfilled: Everything we do is committed to the Lord, and He will establish our plans, according to His wisdom and His pleasure.
That’s the salvation we have, that’s the confidence we have in Christ – that we will either prosper in our endeavor, or we take peace in the truth of 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.
So that’s how we see our plans unfolding in the presence of our God, who never leaves nor forsakes us. But let us not forget that our God has His plans, and just as our plans are made with Him, so His plans made with us – meaning, with us in mind, and with us present. Just as He is present in us, and we are present in Him, so His love abides in us… and just as His love abides in us, so His plans and promises are not only made, but fulfilled and executed with us, in us, and/or through us.
In all this, we may be cautious about the vulnerability and the fallibility of our own plans… or we may not understand the perfection and the endless wisdom beyond God’s plans… but perhaps there is wisdom in us not knowing everything.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:8-9
We may be right or wrong according to our own perceptions and judgments. Obviously none of our plans are in consideration of every minute detail surrounding each and every entity and circumstance involved… but let this serve to humble us – let our realization of God’s infinite superiority and His enduring love that has Him enjoying us bring us to understand exactly where we are in the universal hierarchy of things…
…that is, we may be below Christ, yet we are certainly under His wings.
Until the next post, God bless you. Let’s have a good week ahead.
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