- 20 January 2012
our sins. You have probably memorized the verse — Psalm 103:10, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” God in His grace gives us what we don’t deserve, and in His mercy He doesn’t give us what we do deserve and we should be thankful! “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Ps. 130:3).
I heard a fine Christian worker say, “How wonderful that Jesus died for all our past sins.” After the meeting, I asked him. “How many of your sins were past when Jesus died?” He got the point. But the fact that God has dealt with all our sins doesn’t give us the excuse to keep on sinning. Romans 6 takes care of that. The minute we start taking sin lightly, we start walking on a dangerous detour. When he was president of Youth for Christ, Dr. Bob Cook used to tell us. “Keep short accounts with God.”
David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23-24 is one we need to pray. Our loving heavenly Father is long-suffering, willing to wait until we repent and confess our sins; but if we linger too long, He will have to discipline us to bring us to the place of repentance (Heb. 12:3-11). David postponed seeking God’s forgiveness and suffered for it (Ps. 32:3-5). God has not given us a spirit of fear. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:7).
The word translated “fear” means “timidity, cowardice.” The only fear we need to cultivate is the fear of the Lord, a reverential submission to God, for this is the fear that conquers every other fear. Timothy was a young pastor who had some health problems and didn’t always have the courage he needed to stand up for the Lord and face the enemy. Paul admonished him to “stir up the gift of God” (2 Tim. l:6) which is the picture of a person stirring a fi re into a blaze. God had given Timothy the gifts he needed to do the work of the ministry, but it was up to young Timothy to “keep the fi re burning” in his heart. This meant a disciplined devotional life of prayer, meditation on the Word, worship, confession and dedication.
God wants us to have a balanced spiritual life, so He has given us power, love and a sound mind or self-control. The Christian life involves dynamic, the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). No matter how well-trained or talented we are, we cannot succeed in serving the Lord unless we have the power of the Holy Spirit. He enlightens us when we read the Word; He enables us when we share the Word with others; and He encourages us when we face opposition. The disciples had been trained by Jesus for almost three years, yet He told them to tarry in Jerusalem until the Spirit came and empowered them for service.
We need devotion as well as dynamics, the love of God motivating our lives and touching the lives of others. The love of God “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5), and witnessing power is energized by this love. We don’t argue people into the
kingdom; we love them into the Kingdom. We are witnesses, not judges or prosecuting attorneys. We also need a disciplined mind. This means trusting the Spirit to give us wisdom and insight as we seek to build the church of Jesus Christ. Without sound judgment that is based on Scripture, we will make poor decisions and hinder the work of God. Thank God for the ministry of the Spirit of God! God has not appointed us to wrath. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us,
that whether we wake or sleep [live or die], we should live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:9). There is a coming day of wrath, and all who have not trusted Jesus will experience that wrath. If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, your destiny is heaven. “I go to prepare a place for you,” Jesus told His disciples, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). Heaven is our eternal home. We don’t deserve it and we didn’t earn it. But we have the responsibility of telling others that they too can go to heaven if they will put their faith in Jesus Christ. If we are alive on earth when Jesus returns, we will be caught up to be with Him.
If we should die before Jesus returns, our spirit will go to heaven — “absent from the body... present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8) — and when Jesus returns, our spirit will return with Him, there will be a resurrection of the bodies of the saved, and our spirit will enter a glorified body to spend eternity with Christ. Are you grateful today for what God has not done? It’s all possible because of what Jesus Christ has done on the cross and is now doing in heaven. If this message is familiar to you, it may not be familiar to others whom you know; so ask God to stir up the fire on the altar of your heart and enable you to share the good news with others. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord...”(2 Tim. 1:8).