We cannot earn God’s love nor salvation ( in the way others practice any belief/ religion besides Christianity), but we know we are saved because we follow the will of God (not ours nor worldly ideologies/human opinions ) from the time we devote our lives to Jesus until He returns or calls us home ( Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13). Now, how are we to do this? To “believe in” Jesus until the end? My friend, we can’t unless we remain in the Vine ( John 15:4-5; Matthew 19:24-26). God’s love is magnetic in that it will never let go of those who stay connected to the Vine, who is Jesus, and commit. How can we stay connected to Jesus, you may be wondering? We must commit to His teaching and the will of the Father. Remember, for God knows who are His because, like Abraham, they follow after Him in every circumstance.
Some people have embraced a super grace gospel because they don’t believe it’s possible to be like Christ, but on the contrary, Christ has given us His Spirit to be like Him. Committing to Jesus is not a solo journey for the believer. Alone we can do the natural. For example, as a Christian, you should take the initiative to purchase a Bible and read it daily. However, it takes the Holy Spirit to give you the revelation of the holy scriptures as you read them. Our relationship and commitment to God is a choice as much as a gift- a truth in Christianity that many people, unfortunately, miss or choose to deny. Our willingness to seek God and depend on the Holy Spirit are both needed for us to remain in the Vine, which is Jesus. In other words, how can we remain in Jesus if we are not dependent on His Spirit, the Holy Spirit? We can’t. Paul in Philippians 2 talks to believers about imitating Christ, and then he continues in the chapter telling them to “ work out your salvation with fear and trembling” and then goes on to say, “ for it is God who works in you to will and to act to fulfill his good purpose” ( Philippians 2:12-13).
Here Paul is not only making a note of our part in working out salvation but also the role of the Holy Spirit. On our part, we have to show up, you see. We have to bear in mind to do what Christ has modeled for us to do, which is what Paul was saying to the believers in this letter. He continues and says to them, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky, and then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain”( Philippians 2:14-16). In other words, we must decide to follow Christ’s example from what God has revealed to us through Scripture, like this letter Paul wrote. If not, our belief is in vain because our belief stands true once we practice what we believe. We know we cannot save ourselves from the penalty of sin and death; however, it is clear from Scripture, God’s children are not those who say they believe but those who practice their belief. Paul even says that is when he would boast about his labor sharing the gospel message, why?
Well, perhaps it’s for the same reason Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” and “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:24). Here we do not belong to Christ unless we do what He tells us to do. Working out our salvation requires discipline, and the discipline(s) is sure to show we are doers and not just hearers when we bear the fruits of the Spirit. In Galatians 5, Paul talks about living by the Spirit; he says to the believers, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 6:13). Later in the same chapter, he begins to show how believers can walk in this manner. We can serve each other in love by bearing fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ( Galatians 5:22). When practicing these attributes, we’re walking in the Spirit, saying no to indulging in our flesh and yes to doing what pleases the Spirit. Not only what pleases the Spirit, but that we are imitating Him, who is the Spirit of Christ our Lord. The Holy Spirit is good; He is full of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, and faithfulness, and all these sums up what love is. Love is not only a fruit of the Spirit; the Bible tells us God is love; it is His very nature.
For us, believers, when we decide to practice these attributes is when we truly are walking in love and are imitating Christ. Imitators imitate everything about a person or thing; they are not people who idolize or admire a person or thing. If we observe Scripture, we see that God’s love is the fullness of the fruits of His Spirit. We know that He is love because He manifests all of them at once, and we know Christ, too, manifested them at once while on the earth, and this is what He expects of us, those who believe in Him. Now the Lord remembers we are humans, He knows we have weaknesses, but this should not keep us from exercising our faith in the natural. When you and I live by faith in the natural world, the Holy Spirit is there to help us be Christ-like when our natural state fails to keep up with our new nature in Christ. Everything about our Christian walk requires faith to be in motion and our willingness to depend on the Holy Spirit to remain in Christ and help us live according to God’s will, especially when we have reached the end of ourselves. God’s love did not end at the cross, so our love for Him should not end at our confession….
Until next time, Stay encouraged!