October 24, 2013
We are approaching the season where families and friends come together and reflect on the good gifts of the year behind us. Many of us will travel to visit people all over the country (and some maybe even all over the world). As we spend time together, I pray that we remember the greatest gift of all. 2 Corinthians 9:15 says,"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
The gift that God has given in redemption and forgiveness in Christ is indescribable. There are simply no words, in any language, that can express the importance of God’s gift to us. Once we have accepted that gift it affects our lives. We are different. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that in Christ we become new creations. There is a difference in our lives when we realize the importance of God’s gift to us.
What Are The Effects?
1. We are forgiven of our sins.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 10:11-12
This is basic but it is the fundamental truth of our redeemed lives. God has taken away our sins. This act gives us the opportunity to know Him. This gives us an open line of communication with the creator of the universe. Because of the forgiveness of our sins, which God promises to forget we ever had, a relationship is made possible.
2. We are members of His family.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:16-17
We are adopted in to his family. As an adoptive parent this one means a lot to me. When we were in court adopting Jackson one of the questions we were asked was if we understood that with this adoption Jackson becomes an heir to our estate (which is HUGE of course) just like he was born to us. That is the same picture God paints for us when we accept Him. We are heirs to all that is His. Remember, He owns EVERYTHING! When we accept His gift, we are His children forever. Just as no one could ever tell me that my son is not mine, No one can separate us from our Heavenly Father.
3. We are the house of His Spirit.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1 Corinthians 13:16-17
Our Men’s Bible Study has been learning about the Holy Spirit this fall. There have been challenging times as God has revealed to me the many times I do not seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life. The Holy Spirit resides in us as soon as we accept the gift that God gives us. We are basically walking places of worship. As we accept the gift of God, we should be living a life that reflects the gift. That means all day everyday not just corporate worship on Sunday. The Holy Spirit lives in you and that should affect your responses to the struggles and joys of life.
4. We are recipients of His peace.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Just like God's gift of Jesus is indescribable, so is the peace we experience. Not peace like the world longs for, but a peace we don't understand. The Holy Spirit helps us to trust that God has a plan. He wants us to experience peace. In the gift He gives us is a peace that we may not be able to describe but that we can trust completely.
5. We are residents of His Home.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3
We get to live with Him forever! Before the fall ever occurred God had a rescue plan for us. When Adam and Eve sinned, God’s perfect world became corrupt. The sins of the ages have destroyed the paradise that was present in Eden. As an effect of accepting the gift of God in our lives, we will get to experience the complete restoration of paradise. The end of the story will become the beginning of eternity and we will live in Heaven with Christ forever.
Today, I pray we will all take time out from the hustle and bustle and remember the gift that changed everything. We cannot describe this gift, but through the power of the Holy Spirit the effect of the gift can change us and change the world.
Jasper Rains, Minister of Discipleship and Administration has been part of the Parkway family since 2005