He judges

The Father

Isaiah 33:22  For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.

The bad news is, God is our judge. The good news is, the Judge is on our side.  If we’re in Christ, we have a mediator who acts on our behalf to keep the Judge’s wrath from us.  The Judge sees His Son in us and rules in our favor.

Which of us is worthy of judging another?  We’ve all committed sins and are guilty of our own transgressions.  How could we judge anyone with so many strikes against us?  But God isn’t like us.  The Judge is without sin, without blemish.  He is holy, and only one who is holy is worthy to judge.  He alone holds the right to hand down a verdict.

One day we’ll all stand before Him and He’ll make His ruling.  We’re either not-guilty because we’ve believed on Christ for our salvation, or we’re guilty because we tried to be good enough on our own and didn’t measure up.  Where will you stand on the final judgement day?  Will you be acquitted of all charges because Christ your mediator stands between you and the Judge, or will you find yourself accused without counsel to defend you?

 

Sealed

Ephesians 1:13-14    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.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, there was some point at which you heard God’s Word, felt His prompting, and responded.  This might not be an exact moment that you can pinpoint on a calendar, but the fact that there was a period of time over which this process was occurring is certain.  God was working in you and you responded to His call.  You became part of His family.  And He sealed you.

Much like the seal of royalty in times of old, a wax emblem placed on a document so it could only be opened by the rightful recipient, God has placed His seal on us with His Holy Spirit until the right time for our inheritance.  No one can snatch us from the Father’s hand (John 10:29).  He has guaranteed our inheritance as His sons and daughters.

Likewise, in the same way the seal of royalty showed the king’s approval of the document (his endorsement), God has stamped His endorsement on us from the time that we believed on Christ for our salvation.  Rest assured.  If you are a believer, you belong to the Lord and He belongs to You.

He shapes

The Father

Isaiah 64:8  But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

What does God want from us?  Sometimes we need but ask Him.  We’ll find many times that He’s already at work in us to bring about His purposes.  We are His instruments in this life, if we’ve given ourselves over to Him…and really even if we haven’t (Romans 9:20-23).  He makes us into what He needs us to be, what He wants us to be.

We all have our own desires and our own ideas about what being godly means, but it’s God himself who determines what our strengths and weaknesses are, what our opportunities will be, what our roles in life will be.  But we get to where we are in His great plan one step at a time, one little minor change at a time.  We experience and encounter things that develop us as a people and then we in turn become a little bit more of what God intended.  If we’re following Christ, we’ll be used for good.  God will have us play out a role on His team.  The wicked and ungodly play a role too in His plan, but not for the same side.

Pray for wisdom, pray that God the Father would work on you to make you into the creation He intended you to be.  Seek to be more like Christ, in His character and in His devotion to the Father.  Let God work in you and through you as He shapes you into a fine piece of art.

Our inheritance, and His

Ephesians 1:11-12 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.

We have obtained an inheritance through Christ.  We have “been chosen as an inheritance” for Him.  In Christ, we receive God as our inheritance and we become His.  Our relationship with Him is reconciled in full.  Everything that is His, becomes ours, for the glory of God.

 

What are the implications here?  We’re in Christ, God is our inheritance and we are His.  What does that mean?  We get some help with this question from Moses and from Paul.  In Deuteronomy 32:9, we learn that God’s portion is His people.  This passage is speaking of His chosen people, Israel, of the Old Testament. But in Christ even the Gentiles have become God’s people[1]. We’re in God’s family now.  We belong to Him as His people.

 

Romans 8:14-17 explains that we have been given the Holy Spirit and become heirs with Christ.  All that is His will be ours as well.  The purpose of this, of course, is to bring glory to God.  He works all things – our circumstances, our talents, our relationships, our choices – to the purpose of His will.  This is what it is to be His and have Him as ours.

We are called to be the praise to God’s glory with our lives.



[1]   (Romans 11:11)

He disciplines

The Father

Hebrews 12:7-8  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

How does a child learn to do what’s right?  They learn through the example their parents give, yes, but they also learn through correction and discipline when they do the wrong things.  By being taught what the rights things are and disciplined over the wrong things, a child can grow into maturity, knowing right from wrong.

How does a Christian learn what God wants?  We have Jesus as our example and we have the commandments to guide us in what’s right.  But when we stray from what God has taught us doesn’t He also correct us?  Doesn’t He sometimes put us back on the right track because He loves us?  There’s a big difference between punishment and discipline.  Some have the view that God is up above watching for us to mess up so He can take His vengeance on us.  That action out of anger would be punishment.  But God doesn’t punish those He loves.  He disciplines them.

The truth is, we may not always even know we’re being disciplined.  The Father may remove something from us that isn’t good for us in a way that provides correction.  We may not even have been aware of what happened.  God may also put people in our lives at certain times that give some correction.  Whatever the method, God disciplines because He loves.  Any parent who provides no guidance and no boundaries to their children does not love them.  If a child is allowed to destroy themselves, the parent has no love for them.  But our Father does love us, and He loves us enough to make sure we’re everything we’re supposed to be.

Redemption in Christ

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

If someone asked you what it means that we have redemption in Christ through His blood, how would you answer?  Dating back to the Old Testament, the understanding of a redeemer was one who ransomed someone else, freed them from slavery or captivity.  God was the Redeemer of Israel when He led them out of captivity in Egypt.

You and  I have been redeemed too.  When we accepted Christ we were freed from the slavery and bondage of sin.  We’re no longer guilty.  Christ’s finished work of atonement on the cross through His shed blood ransomed us from sin and we are no longer under its control.

Sometimes we still sin, but it’s not because we’re under the bondage of sin.  We’ve been redeemed, we’re bought and paid for with a price.  We belong to Christ.  His blood paid our ransom.

He adopts

The Father

Galatians 4:6  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Christian, you have been chosen.  Just as an adopted child is chosen by his parents, so too have you been chosen by God and given all the rights due one of His children. Women shouldn’t be put off by the masculine language here.  It’s good that we’re all called “sons” of God, despite our gender, because the firstborn son in any first century family who would have been reading this letter written by Paul would have had an abundance of rights that the other children would not have had.  We should all be pleased to be called sons of God.

He has adopted us into His family through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Through Jesus’ life, death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead, God sent an invitation to us to be part of the family.  When we respond, the adoption is final and we gain child status.  The adopted children of God have rights to everything the firstborn has as co-heirs with Christ.(Romans 8:17)

Not everyone is a child of God, though He created everyone.  Only those who belong to Him through faith in Jesus Christ are His adopted children.  But if you are His, take comfort in the knowledge that He chose you to be part of His family.  Even while you were still just a sinner, He chose you and called you to Himself.  He loves you that much.

Chosen for God’s family

Ephesians 1:5-6  In love he predestined us for adoption 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.

God predestined us for adoption. He chose, before the world even began, to make us sons and daughters.  So often we see family terminology used in the Bible to describe our relationship with God.  He is our Father, we are heirs, adopted sons. We can’t choose our own family members, but God can and did choose His.  If you’re in Christ, God chose you.  You are His and He is yours.  And He chose you with a purpose.

God’s will is that we would bring Him glory.  His main purpose is not merely our redemption but that His holy name would be praised through our redemption.  He wants to pour out His goodness and grace on us in Jesus Christ for His glory.

There is nothing quite like the knowledge that you’ve been chosen by God Almighty to be part of His family to carry out His purpose.  But what are you going to do with that knowledge?  What will you do with that feeling you get from it?  He’s equipped you, so what are you doing to act on this fact?

He provides

The Father

Matthew 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread.

We all have needs.  Every one of us has something that we can’t live without, even if it’s only the basics of food and water.  But no matter what our needs may be, they are supplied by our Father in heaven.  All good gifts are from above. (James 1:17)

What’s more, God knows what we need before we do.  He’s aware of our everyday necessities and even our desires.  He provides not only what we need to survive, but to thrive and to carry out His purposes.  If He calls us to it, He’ll equip us to carry it out.  We’re never left without the required tools and skills to be used by God.  He’s always ready to give.

Though He knows what we need, in some cases God does want us to ask of Him what we seek.  It may be at times that He gives out of His grace and we never even knew to ask.  It may, however, be at times that He withholds something from us until we petition Him.  This is His prerogative, but it’s done to keep us aligned with His will.  If we ask what He wills, it will certainly be given.