Here is Love: Romans 8:37 For Your Consideration

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

All of the questions, pushbacks, and opposition that Paul was facing with teaching this one particular truth of God as a through but simple exposition of Christ’s own words when He said:

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.” 1

Now you would think that people, especially devout Christians, would welcome this bold and declarative statement of our own Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with great affection upon our hearts and great peace for our souls. Sad to say, there are many Christians today who would vehemently contend that, yes, it is certainly possible for one person to lose their salvation.

Why would one teach such a thing when the Bible teaches something, not that. When I read the Bible, I don’t see that at all. In fact, in the face of great tribulation, distress or persecution, I see Christians who hold fast to Christ. I read about the martyrs of our faith, who have murdered for refusing to proclaim anyone else but Christ is Lord and that all started with the Apostles themselves who all (but John) died horrific deaths at the cost of the gospel.

The world calls that insanity or delusional.

Christians know this not as a truth that can be selected from a multiple choice test of truths but rather absolute truth. It is not a mere “what is true for you is only true for you” but rather Jesus Christ, who lived, died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, is in fact ruling and reigning over all of creation demand everyone and everything to repent from their sin and put all of their trust in Him alone.

Now, some of you who know Christian history know for every martyr burned at the stake, many did deny Jesus to save their own lives. What about them?  Did you know that one of the discussions in the church were whether or not to allow these people back into the fellowship of believers? Now, what each individual church decided, I do not know. However, just as Christ said:

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 2

and further prophecies that Peter himself would not just deny Christ once but three times 3, but it was the same Christ in John 21 who called and confirmed Peter not once but three times.

So what about now? We have so many people who grew up in churches who then decide to turn away and live their lives as their own.

And we would say, “I have seen them move in the power of the Spirit. How can they be not saved before?” To which I would state that the author of Hebrews already addressed this:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 4

to explain what Christ said:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 5

I say this never to say “once saved always saved.” I am not even going to try to explain it away by giving the excuse of “perhaps they were not saved, to begin with” as though I had the God-alone power that searches and knows the hearts and minds of every person in the world because I do not.

I would say with my own testimony that I know this to be true.

I was saved by God back in 2007.  It was in a realization of God’s love he had for every person I have ever known including my mother who abandoned me, my father who sexually abused me, and my stepmother who aided in that abuse all up to and including this young woman I watch in a porn video not 15 minutes before God saved me. God at that moment gave me a new heart and his Spirit and among so many things, freed me from a crippling addiction to pornography.

But not ten years later, after going through additional emotional abuse that included manipulation, coercion, co-dependency, and attempts to control, I was prepared to spend the rest of my life as a lukewarm Christian. That is, doing what I want and barely participating in his work. Even when God had granted me sweet peace from this abuse, I simply was content to walk away and live the rest of my life not pursuing and even desiring God.

But you see, God is Father. And being that He is our Father, He alone is Perfect. The logical conclusion is that the perfect Father in heaven does not lose his kids. In that same vein, God sent three saints (I call them ‘prophets’) to come after my soul. I call them ‘prophets’ because God the Father send them out with the Holy Spirit within them called out three things in me. One, God has healed your mind, heart, and soul. Two, if you go in the direction you are going, you will head into despair. And three, God has called you to stay where you are at and continue the good work of healing and restoration that Christ has started in you.

When I heard my dear lovely friends’ sweet words contending for my soul, I repented. I repented of my sin, lust, foolishness, and destructive behavior and yet once again, I turned to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

Now, I don’t necessarily need to hear any other testimonies and stories to know that all of us Christians are weak. Weak in faith, weak in the spirit, and weak in our flesh. We even sing this in little children’s song, to which I correctly sing, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, we are weak, but he is strong.”

But if that is being the case, the fact that we are weak, how on earth does Paul call us not only ‘conquerors’ but ‘more than conquerors.’ To add even further insult to injury, the term that Paul uses here ‘more than,’ he uses one other time in 2nd Corinthians 4:17-18 which some translations use the phrase “beyond all comparison” or if you grew up with the King James Version, those translators use the phrase, “far more and exceeding.” Yes, the Apostle Paul has the audacity to call us, little weak children, “far more and exceeding conquerors”! How can this be?

My friends, we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 6 This is not a battlefield that you or I have ever seen in wartime nor even in history books nor video games. It is a war that God started not with a warhorn blasting through the sky but with a simple righteous declaration of redemption and restoration:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 7

And when the saints of God, after going 400 years without hearing a prophet of God, heard the voice of John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, “Make the straight the way of the Lord!”

And then the final battle cry that is the gospel of Jesus Christ, who commanded and marched toward the final decisive battle, to the place, Golgotha, the place of skulls, where the fate of the world rested on the outcome.

Jesus makes his intentions well-known:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 8

Jesus Christ, the Commander of the Most High, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, begins his perfect, unbeatable, unstoppable, conquering juggernaut not towards overthrowing some pitiful Greco-Roman empire but rather to His cross where he died for each of those whom he predestined, called, justified and glorified.

His path to the cross was paved with the mounds of defeated demons to his left and his right. It was at the foot of the cross where Satan was removed from power once and for all. More than that, it was at the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea where our sins were buried and Death itself received the fatal death-wound.

Jesus Christ is the Almighty Conquerer who loved us.

Jesus Christ did all of that but then audaciously declared that every one of his followers who would have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And therefore, we would go on to do greater works than the works of the Almighty Conqueror.

It is not because we are strong that makes us more than conquerors.

It is only because of God sovereignly and graciously calls us by the power of the Holy Spirit through the bloodshed body of Jesus Christ our Lord that we behold the title, “Far more and exceeding conquerors through Christ who loved us!”

Notes:

  1. John 10:28–30
  2. Luke 12:8–9
  3. John 13:38;  18:25-27
  4. Hebrews 6:4–6
  5. Matthew 7:21–23
  6. Ephesians 6:12
  7. Genesis 3:15
  8. Matthew 10:34

A Reforming Catholic Confession with Scriptural Prooftexts

TRIUNE GOD
That there is one God, infinitely great and good, the creator and sustainer of all things visible and invisible, the one true source of light and life, who has life in himself and lives eternally in glorious light and sovereign love in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14) – co-equal in nature, majesty, and glory. Everything God does in creating, sustaining, judging, and redeeming the world reflects who God is, the one whose perfections, including love, holiness, knowledge, wisdom, power, and righteousness, have been revealed in the history of salvation. God has freely purposed from before the foundation of the world to elect and form a people for himself to be his treasured possession (Deut. 7:6), to the praise of his glory (Eph. 1:3-14).
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

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.
HOLY SCRIPTURE
That God has spoken and continues to speak in and through Scripture, the only infallible and sufficiently clear rule and authority for Christian faith, thought, and life (sola scriptura). Scripture is God’s inspired and illuminating Word in the words of his servants (Psa. 119:105), the prophets and apostles, a gracious self-communication of God’s own light and life, a means of grace for growing in knowledge and holiness. The Bible is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it commands, trusted in all that it promises, and revered in all that it reveals (2 Tim 3:16).
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

2 Timothy 3:16–17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
HUMAN BEINGS
That God communicates his goodness to all creatures, but in particular to human beings, whom he has made in his own image, both male and female (Gen. 1:26-27), and accordingly that all men, women, and children have been graciously bestowed with inherent dignity (rights) and creaturely vocation (responsibilities).
Genesis 1:26–27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
FALLENNESS
That the original goodness of creation and the human creature has been corrupted by sin, namely, the self-defeating choice of the first human beings to deny the Creator and the created order by going their own way, breaking God’s law for life (Rom. 3:23). Through disobedience to the law-giver, Adam and Eve incurred disorder instead of order (Rom. 8:20-21), divine condemnation instead of approval, and death instead of life for themselves and their descendants (Psa. 51:5; Rom. 5:12-20).
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 8:20–21 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Romans 5:12–20 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
JESUS CHRIST
That Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God become human for us and our salvation (John 3:17), the only Mediator (solus Christus) between God and humanity (1 Tim. 2:5), born of the virgin Mary, the Son of David and servant of the house of Israel (Rom. 1:3; 15:8), one person with two natures, truly God and truly man. He lived a fully human life, having entered into the disorder and brokenness of fallen existence, yet without sin, and in his words, deeds, attitude, and suffering embodied the free and loving communication of God’s own light (truth) and life (salvation).
John 3:17 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.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Romans 1:3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh

Romans 15:8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,
THE ATONING WORK OF CHRIST
That God who is rich in mercy towards the undeserving has made gracious provision for human wrongdoing, corruption, and guilt, provisionally and typologically through Israel’s Temple and sin offerings, then definitively and gloriously in the gift of Jesus’ once-for-all sufficient and perfect sacrificial death on the cross (Rom. 6:10; 1 Pet. 3:18) in the temple of his human flesh (Heb. 10:11-12). By his death in our stead, he revealed God’s love and upheld God’s justice, removing our guilt, vanquishing the powers that held us captive, and reconciling us to God (Isa. 53:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:14-15). It is wholly by grace (sola gratia), not our own works or merits, that we have been forgiven; it is wholly by Jesus’ shed blood, not by our own sweat and tears, that we have been cleansed.
Romans 6:10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Hebrews 10:11–12 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

Isaiah 53:4–6 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Colossians 2:14–15 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
THE GOSPEL
That the gospel is the good news that the triune God has poured out his grace in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that through his work we might have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Jesus lived in perfect obedience yet suffered everything sinners deserved so that sinners would not have to pursue a righteousness of their own, relying on their own works, but rather through trust in him as the fulfillment of God’s promises could be justified by faith alone (sola fide) in order to become fellow heirs with him. Christ died in the place of sinners, absorbing the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23), so that those who entrust themselves to him also die with him to the power, penalty, and (eventually) practice of sin. Christ was raised the firstborn of a renewed and restored creation, so that those whom the Spirit unites to him in faith are raised up and created a new humanity in him (Eph. 2:15). Renewed in God’s image, they are thereby enabled to live out his life in them. One with Christ and made alive in him who is the only ground of salvation, sinners are reconciled with God – justified, adopted, sanctified, and eventually glorified children of the promise.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
That the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, the unseen yet active personal presence of God in the world, who unites believers to Christ, regenerating and making them new creatures (Tit. 3:5) with hearts oriented to the light and life of the kingdom of God and to peace and justice on earth. The Spirit indwells those whom he makes alive with Christ, through faith incorporates them into the body of Christ, and conforms them to the image of Christ so that they may glorify him as they grow in knowledge, wisdom, and love into mature sainthood, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). The Spirit is the light of truth and fire of love who continues to sanctify the people of God, prompting them to repentance and faith, diversifying their gifts, directing their witness, and empowering their discipleship.
Titus 3:5 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,

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
THE CHURCH
That the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church is God’s new society, the first fruit of the new creation, the whole company of the redeemed through the ages, of which Christ is Lord and head. The truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, is the church’s firm foundation (Matt. 16:16-18; 1 Cor. 3:11). The local church is both embassy and parable of the kingdom of heaven, an earthly place where his will is done and he is now present, existing visibly everywhere two or three gather in his name to proclaim and spread the gospel in word and works of love, and by obeying the Lord’s command to baptize disciples (Matt. 28:19) and celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19).
Matthew 16:16–18 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
BAPTISM AND LORD’S SUPPER
That these two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which some among us call “sacraments,” are bound to the Word by the Spirit as visible words proclaiming the promise of the gospel, and thus become places where recipients encounter the Word again. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper communicate life in Christ to the faithful, confirming them in their assurance that Christ, the gift of God for the people of God, is indeed “for us and our salvation” and nurturing them in their faith. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are physical focal points for key Reformation insights: the gifts of God (sola gratia) and the faith that grasps their promise (sola fide). They are tangible expressions of the gospel insofar as they vividly depict our dying, rising, and incorporation into Jesus’ body (“one bread … one body” – 1 Cor. 10:16-17), truly presenting Christ and the reconciliation he achieved on the cross. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper strengthen the faithful by visibly recalling, proclaiming, and sealing the gracious promise of forgiveness of sins and communion with God and one another through the peace-making blood of Christ (1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 1:20).
1 Corinthians 10:16–17 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Colossians 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
HOLY LIVING
That through participating in baptism and the Lord’s Supper, as well as prayer, the ministry of the Word, and other forms of corporate worship, we grow into our new reality as God’s people, a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9, 10), called to put on Christ through his indwelling Spirit. It is through the Spirit’s enlivening power that we live in imitation of Christ as his disciples, individually and corporately, a royal priesthood that proclaims his excellent deeds and offers our bodies as spiritual sacrifices in right worship of God and sacrificial service to the world through works of love, compassion for the poor, and justice for the oppressed, always, everywhere and to everyone bearing wise witness to the way, truth, and life of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9–10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
LAST THINGS
That in God’s own time and way, the bodily risen and ascended Christ will visibly return to consummate God’s purpose for the whole cosmos through his victory over death and the devil (1 Cor. 15:26). He will judge the world, consigning any who persist in unbelief to an everlasting fate apart from him, where his life and light are no more. Yet he will prepare his people as a bride for the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), giving rest to restless hearts and life to glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-44; Phil. 3:21) as they exult in joyful fellowship with their Lord and delight in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1-2). There they shall reign with him (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 22:5) and see him face to face (1 Cor. 13:12; Rev. 22:4), forever rapt in wonder, love, and praise.
1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Revelation 19:7–9 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

1 Corinthians 15:42–44 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Philippians 3:21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Revelation 21:1–2 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Original here.

The Lord’s Prayer: Your Will Be Done

Ephesians 1:11-14 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.

Your will be done

My Father, I am but a little kid. I see this, that Your will be done and my response is only what I want and concern for no one else. It is so easy for me to say, “I believe that the will of my Father will be done.” because I think I know your power and sovereignty.

Yet I am still on this earth and I know that I have needs and wants and desires and wishes. It is so easy to come to you and say, “Give me!”.

What if you said, “No.”  Will I have the wisdom and maturity to trust in you even when I don’t know why I am being protected for my own good?

What if you said, “Wait.”  Will I have the patience and peace, not worrying or anxious, and wait for you?

Now, I say, “Of course I would have the wisdom, maturity, patience, and peace to handle that situation.” But at this moment now, nothing troubles my heart so it easy to say that.  But what about then?

Deep down inside, my faith will be tested and I have no guarantees that I would pass that test.

If Your will be done, then what can I really ask for?  How shall I pray for my heart to respond?

The only thing I do know is this:

You are my Father in heaven.

You alone are good and you can only do good.

You alone are loving and you can only love me.

You alone chose me, saved me and adopted me.  You are perfect, you cannot lose me because a Perfect Father does not lose His kids.  You cannot go back on your promises for it is impossible for you to break your own promise. 1

You alone are in charge. You alone dictate. You alone command.

You alone rule. You alone reign. You alone are sovereign.

You alone are holy. You alone are righteous. You alone are faithful.

You alone have the power to execute every single bit of your will.

You alone will receive all the majesty, honor and glory.

Just you. No one else.

Dad, you know my needs. You know my wants. You know my thoughts and dreams and I think I need this or that, but you know perfectly how to provide for me so that you alone receive all the glory.

You know my heart and as long as I am here on earth, you are constantly conforming me to the image of your Son. 2

If those things be true, then help me trust in You.

But even if my trust gives way, Lord, have your Holy Spirit gently and boldly remind me to consider others before myself. For you have me. You got me. I cannot be lost. I am going to be taken care of. You will bless me and keep me and because of what your Son has done, you said you will shine your face upon me, be ever so gracious to me, smile upon me and give me peace. 3

Because you have me, I am free to think of others and pray for them.

So this is my prayer: I lift them up to you, my gracious God.

Provide for them. Care for them. Heal them. Save them.

So many things that we want and we think they are good. We even think those good things come from you. Those things might be good or might not be good but it really does not matter. Lord, give us whatever would turn our hearts and affections towards You.  Do not give us over to the things of this world that would turn our backs towards You.  Our hope is in you alone. I pray for Your will to be done and that You will be glorified.

If it is by Your will, then I ask this one thing:

Lord, may I see Your glory?

For I know that I have these desires and I want these things to be done so bad.

So I come to You, as Your child, asking my Father “Can I please?”

But let me repeat, what my Eldest Brother said before, “Not my will but Yours”

“Not mine but thine will be done.”

Don’t do this because I want to, do this because You want to.

Whatever Your will might be, let me be with you and rest in You alone.

Notes:

  1. Hebrews 6:18 cf. Genesis 15:1-20
  2. Romans 8:29
  3. Numbers 6:24-26

Mark 10:32-45 God Alone Receives the Dead

Mark 10:32-34 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

How should we respond?

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 1

Notes:

  1. Mark 10:35–45

Now Sings My Soul: Psalm 23:5b The Gift of Your Spirit

My God, Because of everything your Son has done for me, I now walk in the power of Your Spiirt. He leads me. He guides me. He teaches me. He reminds me of what You have said. He reminds me of my righteousness. He reminds me that I am your son. More so than that, He is the seal upon my heart and the promise of your strength. And because He dwells in me, I fear no death. Because he is the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. And because He is in me, I have the fullness of life. I am truly alive. I am holy, righteous, just; loved, and continuous under your grace and mercy. Because of your anointing on my life.

Here is Love: Romans 8:36 Sheep to the Slaughter

Romans 8:36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

So what if a little “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” 1 comes our way? God promises suffering for his saints. There is no way around it.

Just in case you are at odds with the rest of the authors of the Bible and only want the “red letter edition”, let us consider the words of Christ himself:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 2

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” 3

Right away, you know that choosing Christ as your God and Savior and Lord might put you at odds with your own flesh and blood. I have had normal visitation with my oldest son since his mother and I separated and divorced when he was about two years old. Today, he is 16 years old. And as much as I have tried to get him into church and share as much as I can with him about the gospel of Jesus Christ, he calls Christianity “a mythology”. My faith puts me at odds with my son who says it is impossible to know if there is life after death. This is the same young man who passionately wants to be in control of his own destiny (until death), make choices for himself, accepts the rewards and consequences of his own actions but for the life of him, cannot figure out why he has always felt like he is in shackles.

And that is just one example in my own life.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 4

We could forsake everything like Peter and the world will persecute us.

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. 5

Jesus Christ even promised the “laying on of hands”. My Charismatic friends, that is not the good kind but the the opposite of good–“bar fight with a bunch of drunk dudes at 2am in the morning” kind of laying of hands.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 6

The Gospel authors Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all testify that Christ said these words.

Tribulation, grievous trouble, severe trials, and suffering, is coming for those who love, believe, trust and follow Christ.

Distress, great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction and trouble is coming for those who love, believe, trust and follow Christ.

Persecution, judgment, and execution based on one’s faith, is coming for those who love, believe, trust and follow Christ.

Famine, the loss of basic necessities in order to live, is coming for those who love, believe, trust and follow Christ.

Nakedness, that is, the loss of basic material possessions, is coming for those who love, believe, trust and follow Christ.

Sword, terrible violence,  is coming for those who love, believe, trust and follow Christ.

And it is so easy to be like David in Psalm 44: on the one hand, only God saves but then immediately yells to God, “you have made us sheep to be slaughtered.”

Because we have all let our own circumstances in life determine our faith in God or even more so than that, let the persecutions and the trials and sufferings of this present time dictate just how much love God has for his children. Remember when Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” 7? He also said in the verse right before that we are indeed children of God and therefore heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ provided that we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 8

We can take a loss of a job, a loss of a spouse, a loss of marriage or family, a significant drop in income—whatever is your idol—and let that shape your views on God.

Or even one step further: I was the good kid growing up and I did all the right things. So why is my life a total mess right now? God, why didn’t you give me what I deserve? First, let us be careful that we only live a certain way in order to try to put God into our debt because Romans 4:4-5 says that is not going to happen. Second, we know that the world is completely broken since sin entered into it all the way back to Genesis 3.

More so than that: God gave us everything. Why do I know that? Because God gave us Christ Jesus, who:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 9

God gave us Christ to not only live for us and die for us but ascended to the cross in perfect obedience and joy.

Persecution? Trials? Suffering? All of this is to be expected.

But we are not lambs destined to be slaughtered, for Christ is the lamb that was slain.

And because Christ suffered and will receive the reward for His suffering, we are so much more than sheep to be slaughtered.

Notes:

  1. Romans 8:35
  2. Matthew 10:34–39
  3. Matthew 12:46–50
  4. Mark 10:23–31
  5. Luke 21:10–19
  6. John 15:18–25
  7. Romans 8:18
  8. Romans 8:17
  9. Isaiah 53:7

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,Psalm 16:8–11 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 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.
He is my light, my strength, my songJohn 12:36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.

Psalm 118:14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
This Cornerstone, this solid GroundPsalm 118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

Matthew 16:13–20 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Ephesians 2:11–22 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.Matthew 7:24–27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 14:22–33 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

What heights of love, what depths of peaceEphesians 3:14–21 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Romans 8:38–39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When fears are stilled, when strivings ceaseMark 4:39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
My Comforter, my All in AllIsaiah 66:13 As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 15:28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
Here in the love of Christ I stand.Romans 5:2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

1 Thessalonians 3:8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.

In Christ alone! - who took on flesh,John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Fullness of God in helpless babe.Luke 2:12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

This gift of love and righteousness,Psalm 85:10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

Scorned by the ones He came to saveIsaiah 53:1–9 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Till on that cross as Jesus died,John 19:28–37 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

The wrath of God was satisfiedIsaiah 53:10–12 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

For every sin on Him was laid2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Here in the death of Christ I live.Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
There in the ground His body lay,John 19:38–42 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
Light of the world by darkness slain:Revelation 5:12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
Then bursting forth in glorious dayJohn 20:11–18 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Up from the grave He rose again1 Corinthians 15:1–58 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. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

And as He stands in victoryActs 7:54–60 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,Romans 5:12–6:14 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

For I am His and He is mineSong of Solomon 2:16a My beloved is mine, and I am his;
Bought with the precious blood of Christ1 Peter 1:13–21 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 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.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:54–57 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the power of Christ in me1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
From life's first cry to final breath,Psalm 22:9–10 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Jesus commands my destinyRomans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,Revelation 1:17–18 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Romans 8:31–37 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Can ever pluck me from His handJohn 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.”
Till He returns or calls me home2 Timothy 4:1–5 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.Philippians 1:27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

The Lord’s Prayer: Your Kingdom Come

Matthew 16:15-19 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Your kingdom come

You are God. You are so exalted and so glorious that You have declared Your only begotten Son the King of kings and the Lord of lords 1.

You are God above all of our made-up gods created by our wicked hearts and hands.

You rule and You reign over all creation. There is not one square inch, not one tiny little atom of this universe that You, who is sovereign over all, have not proclaimed and vehemently declared, “Mine!”

You rule over all the heavens and the earth, all nations and all seas, all governments and all leaders, over every city and neighborhood. You rule over all languages, tribes and people groups.

You rule over our wills, our minds, our hearts, our spirits, our feelings and our beliefs.

Therefore, You are exalted above all.

Your kingdom come and it will advance no matter what. The Church is built upon Christ as our Solid Rock and not even the gates of hell can contain your Bride. 2 

Your kingdom expands and advances, all because of Your sovereign will through Your Son’s violent death upon that cross by the power of Your Spirit, the call goes forth: that there is the only One True God who passionately, continuously, relentlessly, lovingly pursues every single person who continues to this day to breath Your air. And we, indwelled with Your Holy Spirit, have been commissioned as heralds—princes and princesses of the great King—to the world proclaiming these things:

To the wicked, You will give Your righteousness.

To the fallen, You lift to restoration.

To the captives, You hold the keys to death and Hell, proclaim freedom and set the captives free. 3

To the blind, Your truth shines brighter than the sun and makes all things as they are—all the more radiant and more beautiful—and you will let them see Your glory.

To the deaf, never have our ears heard sweeter melodies and lovelier whispers.

To the dead, You bring the true life, the fullness of joy and pleasures evermore.

All that You have asked of is that we trust in You.

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”

– Abraham Kuyper

Notes:

  1. 1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16 cf. Daniel 7:9-14
  2. Matthew 16:18
  3. Isaiah 61:1