Truth for Today

AN INEXHAUSTIBLE RESERVOIR

You have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren. 
1 PETER 1:22

As Christians we have a great responsibility to love others, but how do we fulfill it? By understanding our resource.

Love is available to us, and it’s our fault if we don’t tap the necessary resource. We are to submit to the Spirit and learn how to love. We must purify our hearts by confessing our sin and realize the urgency of attracting others to Christ through our love. We are to make a conscious choice to love others, fellowship with other believers, and concentrate on others rather than ourselves. And we must consider the effect of loving others. Love given is inevitably returned.

When God saved you, He made you a new creation with the capacity to fulfill the debt of love. The reservoir of love is inexhaustible. You have the privilege of representing God in the world by loving others as He loved them and receiving love in return.

Truth for Today

DEMONSTRATING LOVE

~ Walk in love. [EPHESIANS 5:2]

What is love? How do you demonstrate it? To be able to practice love, you need to know what it is biblically. Throughout Scripture, love is characterized as an action.

First of all, love teaches the truth to others (Eph. 4:15) and ministers to their needs (Heb. 6:10). It sets an example by serving others and stimulating them to grow (Gal. 5:13). It covers other people’s faults (1 Pet. 4:8) and forgives (Eph. 4:32). Love also endures the problems and idiosyncrasies of others (1 Cor. 13:7) and sacrifices on their behalf (John 15:13–14).

Self-sacrificial love gives spiritual truth, help, and concern to those in need. We owe everyone that kind of love and should not owe anything else. That’s the heart of Christian living; it’s the magnet that attracts the world.

Truth for Today

GOD’S DIVINE PURPOSE 

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
~ EPHESIANS 1:4

While Israel was still wandering in the desert of Sinai, Moses told them, “The Lord did not set His love on you or choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deut. 7:7–8). God did not choose the Jews because of who they were but because of who He is.

The same is true of God’s choosing believers. He chooses solely on the basis of His divine will, purpose, and love. There’s nothing you did to earn or gain salvation; it’s all of God. Be thankful that He chose you from before the foundations of the world.

Truth for Today

FALSE VERSUS TRUE PROFESSION 

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works
~ JAMES 2:14

A good tree not only can but also will bear good fruit. However, anyone who professes to be a good tree (a Christian) but does not bear the fruit of good works has no part in the body of Jesus Christ. The person who truly professes to be a Christian will be able to echo James’ sentiments, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. . . . Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:17–18).

Truth For Today

RESPONDING TO FALSE PROPHETS

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
~ MATTHEW 7:15

In Jude’s brief letter to believers, the apostle firmly warns against false prophets and tells us how to respond to them. “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). Our primary response to false teaching is simply to be right with God in the first place, to make sure we are in fellowship with Him and receiving His blessing and power. Then we can “have mercy on some, who are doubting” (v. 22, NASB)—believers who doubt their faith because of false teachers need reassurance.

Another necessary response might be to “save others, snatching them out of the fire” (v. 23, NASB)— unbelievers bound for hell after hearing false teaching need to be rescued before it’s too late.

Finally, Jude tells about a third response to false prophets: “On some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (v. 23, NASB). We sometimes must confront false prophets and their followers, doing so with a special dependence on the Lord and being careful not to get contaminated by their false teachings.

Truth for Today

DISCIPLESHIP IS SERIOUS

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost.
~ LUKE 14:28

You can pay nothing to earn salvation; yet living for Christ is a serious matter of discipleship. To be a Christian means to rely on Christ’s power rather than your own and to be willing to forsake your way for His. Being a Christian can mean facing persecution, ridicule, and tribulation. Jesus forewarned the disciples, “‘If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you’” (John 15:20).

But with His warning about the cost of discipleship, the Lord promised that your heart would rejoice “‘and your joy no one will take from you’” (John 16:22). And He also told His followers to “‘be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’” (16:33). You won’t escape the difficulties of discipleship, but Jesus will enable you to handle them.

Truth for Today

THE REPENTANT LIFE

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 
~ JAMES 2:17

If you have turned away from your sins and turned toward God’s way of righteousness, you will live a changed life. The theme of 1 John is that the truly redeemed person will demonstrate a truly transformed life. “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:5–6).

Those who teach that repentance and the repentant lifestyle aren’t a necessary part of the gospel are not presenting the gospel Jesus offered. Such a gospel of self-satisfaction and self-righteousness is from the world, not God.