Friday, October 9, 2009

Devotional 091009

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It seemed like autumn finally arrived and our needy first rain is on the way. Thank God for providing us all kinds of experiences in life. And through the different changes in life, we learn to depend on the one whose promise will never change. The Bible said, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). The more mature we become, the more we realize our limitations and helplessness, and the more we learn to depend on God whose love for us will also never change. Amen.

"Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace… now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life" (Romans 6:13-22). I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot atone for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I can not make right what is wrong, pure what is impure, holy what is unholy. That is all the sovereign work of God. Have I faith in what Jesus Christ has done? He has made a perfect Atonement, am I in the habit of constantly realizing it? The great need is not to do things, but to believe things. The Redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith upon it. If I construct my faith on my experience, I produce that most unscriptural type, an isolated life, my eyes fixed on my own whiteness. Beware of the piety that has no pre-supposition in the Atonement of the Lord. It is of no use for anything but an isolated life; it is useless to God and a annoyance to man. Measure every type of experience by our Lord Himself. We cannot do anything pleasing to God unless we deliberately build on the pre-supposition of the Atonement of Christ.

The Atonement of Jesus has to work out in practical, unobtrusive ways in my life. Every time I obey, absolute Deity is on my side, so that the grace of God and natural obedience coincide. Obedience means that I have banked everything on the Atonement, and my obedience is met immediately by the delight of the supernatural grace of God.

Beware of the piety that denies the natural life, it is a fraud. Continually bring yourself to the bar of the Atonement - where is the discernment of the Atonement in this thing, and in that thing? Yes, we can’t use any human effort to attain piety; definitely not by inflicting unnecessary pain to your body as a way to show your piety. If fasting is to show God and others of your piety, stop doing it. It is useless. God is not impressed by your fasting to show off. That’s why Jesus taught His disciples, “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret ; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt 6:16-18).

The atonement of Christ is good enough to make us a new creation before God. We don’t need to add any devotional acts to validate our salvation. But you need to grow from where you have been saved – this is sanctification. We build on what Christ has accomplished on the cross, which is the foundation of our faith. Without this foundation, whatever we build in life will not last. God will examine our lives at the Judgment Day. He will examine our foundation to see whether we build on Christ or not. And then God will examine what we have built with all the resources that He had provided us in life – this is the judgment for good steward. I hope that God will find you a good and faithful servant when He returns.

Love you through His atonement,

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