Truth For Today

HOLDING ON TO WHAT’S GOOD 
 
Cling to what is good. 
~ ROMANS 12 : 9

As a servant of Jesus Christ, God wants you to bind yourself to everything good, to whatever is inherently right and worthy. That task requires the use of discernment. With the help of God and His Word, you must carefully evaluate everything and thoughtfully decide what to reject and what to cling to (1 Thess. 5:21–22).

As you separate yourself from worldly things and saturate yourself with Scripture, that which is good will increasingly replace that which is evil. Then, you will fulfill Paul’s message to the Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you May prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (12:2).

Truth for Today

A CHANGE OF NATURE 

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
~ 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17

When you receive Jesus Christ, are born again, and enter into God’s kingdom, you become a totally different individual. The change that occurs when you’re saved is more dramatic than the change that will occur when you die because then you already have a new nature and are a citizen of God’s kingdom. Death simply ushers you into God’s presence.

In his epistles, the apostle Paul says that when God transformed us, He gave us a new will, mind, heart, power, knowledge, wisdom, life, inheritance, relationship, righteousness, love, desire, and citizenship. He called it “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Some teach that when a person becomes a Christian, God gives him something new in addition to his old sin nature. But according to the Word of God, we don’t receive something new, we ourselves become new!

Truth For Today

THE NEW NATURE

Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. 
~ 1 PETER 1:23

When we become Christians we are not remodeled, nor are we added to—we are transformed. Christians don’t have two different natures; we have one new nature, the new nature in Christ. The old self dies and the new self lives; they do not coexist. Jesus Christ is righteous, holy, and sanctified, and we have that divine principle in us, what Peter called the “incorruptible” seed (1 Pet. 1:23). Thus our new nature is righteous, holy, and sanctified because Christ lives in us (Col. 1:27).

Ephesians 4:24 tells us to “put on the new man,” a new behavior that’s appropriate to our new nature. But to do so we have to eliminate the patterns and practices of our old life. That’s why Paul tells us to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness” (Col. 3:5).

Truth for Today

INTIMATE COMMUNION

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
~ JOHN 10:27

The apostle Paul taught the Ephesians that one of the functions of the church is to build up the people in “the knowledge of the Son of God” (4:13). The word knowledge refers to full knowledge that is correct and accurate. That is the knowing of which Jesus spoke in today’s verse. He was not speaking of merely knowing their identities but of knowing them intimately, and that is the way He wants His people to know Him.

Paul’s desire is for every believer to develop this deep knowledge of Christ by building a relationship with Him through prayer and faithful study of and obedience to God’s Word. Growing in this deeper knowledge of Christ is a lifelong process that will not be complete until we see the Lord face-to-face.

Truth for Today

THE RIGHT RIGHTEOUSNESS

Not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ. 
~ PHILIPPIANS 3:9

To know Jesus Christ is to have His righteousness, His holiness, and His virtue imputed to us, which makes us right before God.

Throughout his earlier life, the apostle Paul tried to attain salvation through strict adherence to the Law. But when he was confronted by the wondrous reality of Christ, he was ready to trade in all his self-righteous and external morals, good works, and religious rituals for the righteousness granted to him through faith in Christ. Paul was willing to lose the thin and fading robe of his reputation if he could only gain the splendid and incorruptible robe of the righteousness of Christ.

This is the greatest of all benefits because it secures our standing before God. It is God’s gift to the sinner, appropriated by faith in the perfect work of Christ, which satisfies God’s justice.

Truth for Today

DRAWN TO CHRIST

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 
~ JOHN 6:44

Jesus Christ is the One who introduces men and women to God. Those whom He ushers into the Father’s presence all have a loathing of their sin, a desire to be forgiven, and a longing to know God. Those attitudes are the work of God in drawing us to Christ. A response to the gospel message thus begins with a change in attitude toward sin and God.

Beyond that initial change in attitude is the transformation brought about in every believer at the instant of salvation. 

Christ didn’t die just to pay the penalty for sin: He died to transform us. Deserted by most of His followers, Christ hung in darkness and agony on the cross, crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). Those were moments that Jesus felt incredible rejection and hostility. Yet out of those very circumstances Christ triumphed by atoning for sin and providing a way for men and women to be introduced to God and transformed. It was a triumph He Himself would soon proclaim (1 Pet. 3:19–20)

Truth for Today

A TENDER RESPONSE

A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all. 
~ 2 TIMOTHY 2:24

A Christian is to explain his faith “with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15). This indicates a tender and gracious spirit in speaking. The kind of fear we ought to have is a healthy devotion to God, a healthy regard for the truth, and a healthy respect for the person we’re talking to. That’s why you can’t be quarrelsome when defending your faith.

A Christian who can’t carefully, thoughtfully, reasonably, and biblically give a clear explanation for his faith will be insecure when faced with hostility and might be inclined to doubt his salvation. The enemy’s blows will devastate those who haven’t put on “the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8).

Truth for Today

THE TRUE PICTURE

I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
~ 1 CORINTHIANS 2:2

Jesus Christ evokes many images in the minds of people. Some picture Him as a baby in a manger—the Christ of Christmas. Others picture Him as a child, perhaps living in the home of a carpenter or confounding the religious leaders of Jerusalem. Many picture Him as a compassionate and powerful healer who restored the sick and raised the dead. Still others picture a bold and fiery preacher speaking the Word of God to great crowds. And there are those who see Him as the consummate man—a model of goodness, kindness, sympathy, concern, care, tenderness, forgiveness, wisdom, and understanding.

Yet the one image of Christ that surpasses all the rest is Jesus Christ on the cross. To know Christ crucified is to know Him as the author and finisher of your faith—the truest picture of His Person and work. 

Christ’s suffering on the cross is the focal point of the Christian faith. That’s where His deity, humanity, work, and suffering are most clearly seen.

Truth for Today

WHAT DO YOU REALLY LOVE? 

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple. 
~ LUKE 14 : 26 – 27

Apart from God, nothing could have been dearer to Abraham than his son Isaac. But that was the test: to find out whether he loved Isaac more than God. If we love God supremely, we will thank Him for what He is accomplishing through our trials and sufferings. But if we love ourselves more than God, we will question God’s wisdom and become upset and bitter. If anything is dearer to us than God, then He must remove it for us to grow spiritually.

In today’s verse, Jesus was not indicating that we’re to hate everyone. Rather He meant that if you do not love God to the degree that you willingly, if necessary, cut yourself off from your father, mother, spouse, children, brother, sister, or even your own life, then you don’t love Him supremely. You must determine to do the will of God first and foremost, no matter what appeals others MAY make to you.

Truth for Today

APPLYING THE PRINCIPLES 

Grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ. 
~ EPHESIANS 4:15

Spiritual growth is simply a matter of applying scriptural principles, but there are many who believe only spiritual giants experience a great increase in faith.

I have read about mystics who knelt and prayed for eight to ten hours, wearing holes in the wood floors. I have read about Robert Murray McCheyne, who would soil the pages of his Bible and the wood of his pulpit with great floods of tears. And I have read Power Through Prayer by E. M. Bounds, who spent countless hours in prayer. As I learned about these people, all I could think of was that I could never reach that level. But God uses each of us in different ways.

Spiritual growth is not some mystical achievement for a select few on a higher spiritual plane. Rather, it is simply a matter of glorifying God by confessing sin, trusting Him, bearing fruit, praising Him, obeying and proclaiming His Word, praying, and leading others to Christ. Those are the qualities every Christian needs in order to mature. When you focus on them, the Spirit of God will change you into the image of Christ, from one level of glory to the next.