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Jesus on the Road

Jesus on the Road

As we continue to look at the life of Christ through Luke’s eyes, we get a glimpse into journeys that took place in the Lord’s ministry. This post will deal with Luke 9:51-62. You may want to read that before continuing.

In this section of Scripture, we see the Lord attempting to go through the region of the Samaritans on His way to Jerusalem. Many Jews considered them unclean and went miles out of their way to go around this area.

As He was going through, the Lord sent some disciples ahead to make food and sleeping arrangements for the night. They came back with the report that no one in the village wanted Him there.

Some of Jesus’ disciples wanted to call fire down to consume the town. The Lord rebuked their foolishness and they continued to another town where they were welcomed. Along the way, they met some interesting characters.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Luke 9:57-58 NIV

A young man wanted to travel with Jesus. The problem was, the Lord had no corporate office. He had no house in the big city. He traveled almost the whole time during His ministry.

In some ways it’s very difficult to live your life “on the road.” Jesus did it for three years. He understood the stress of always having to be on the move.

Spiritually speaking, if we serve the Lord, we can expect to be just like Him – to be constantly on the go. He doesn’t want us to stagnate, but to press on toward the prize. To do that we must be always willing to change and to try new things as the Lord continues to call us forward.

This kind of life is forever bringing new challenges across our path. Each step of the way we are being drawn to deeper commitment, greater devotion, and higher callings. With each new opportunity for obedience comes a choice – to be satisfied with the old or to move on in Christ to the new. It’s exciting following Jesus – but you have to keep moving.

When they met another person, Jesus told the young man to follow Him. In response, the man said that he had to wait until his parents died.

He didn’t think that the time was right for him to go off with the Lord. Personally, I don’t believe that Jesus would have asked this person if it would have jeopardized his parent’s safety.

Sometimes we respond the same way to the Lord. We tell Him that we’re not ready to follow His leading. Unfortunately, the time will never look perfect to follow the Lord’s plan for your life.

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:60 NIV

God knows what we need to do. Immediate obedience to the Spirit is the best response.

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:61-62 NIV

It seems that there’s always something else we want to do before we get around to obeying God’s will. I’ll be able to serve Christ whole-heartedly next week, next month, next year.

The time is now to put down the excuses. It’s time to wake up and move forward in Christ.

Jesus is always on the move. He wants to take you from where you are now, to your destiny in Him. You just need to make the choice to begin following His leading.

Question: What’s the next thing on God’s agenda for your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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God’s Plan – Starting Strong

God’s Plan – Starting Strong

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just looked at the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Now, Luke talks about his childhood years in Luke 2:21-40.

It’s obvious that both Mary and Joseph were devout Jews. They did everything according to the Law of Moses. This law is found in Leviticus 12.

According to this law, Jesus had to be circumcised on the eighth day. Then, Mary had to wait 33 days for her purification. At that point, she needed to go to the temple to offer the sacrifice for her purification.

This tells us a lot about the family of Jesus. All this moving around the country had taken a toll on their finances. They went to Jerusalem for their purification…

…and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Luke 2:24

Actually, according to the law, this is the sacrifice if you were too poor to afford a lamb. Mary and Joseph were struggling to get by. Yet, they maintained the spiritual connections the best that they could, in order to raise Jesus correctly.

After all, they could have made the excuse, “We can’t afford to go to Jerusalem yet.” But they went anyway, and God had a great blessing waiting for them there.

There happened to be an elderly man in Jerusalem named Simeon. God had impressed him that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. As soon as he saw the baby, he knew that the time had come.

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Luke 2:28-32

This prophet of God had some amazing words to say over this child. First, Simeon reveals that Jesus is the salvation of God.

Then, he speaks of the Lord’s ministry. Christ will be a light to the world. This light will be revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Israel.

As parents, I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph were thinking while Simeon was speaking out these words. But, he didn’t end there. He had a special prophecy that he spoke over Mary.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Luke 2:34-35

He makes it known that the ministry of Jesus will not be a “bed of roses.” The Lord will definitely make a lot of powerful enemies. He will reveal things that those in authority will want to remain hidden. Mary needed to be ready for the outcome of God’s plan – Messiah going to the cross.

After Simeon finished his assignment, another person came to these parents. She was an elderly prayer warrior named Anna. She also recognized the child by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. She spoke more words of encouragement to all who were listening.

Joseph and Mary did everything that was needed to be done in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled in their child. And, God rewarded their efforts. They saw the confirmation of all that God spoke to them.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:39-40

After they had gone through with their spiritual duties, they left for home. But, they didn’t go to Bethlehem, where the Child was born. Instead, they went back to Nazareth, where they had grown up and were connected with friends and family.

In this environment, Christ grew, and it was obvious that God had a great calling upon Him.

Question: What are the things you need to do to fulfill God’s plan in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2021 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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My Plan vs. God’s Plan

My Plan vs. God’s Plan

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. At this point we’re in the final stretch to the end. But, Paul still has some important insights for us.

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”

This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.

Romans 15:20-22

In this verse we get a glimpse into Paul’s heart for ministry. His great desire is to make Christ know where He was formerly unknown.

Speaking as a pastor, this is my heart as well. I never wanted to take people away from their church. My overwhelming desire is to see believers grow in Christ, and to live out their faith to the fullest.

However, there’s another insight into grace that Paul gives us here. Sometimes we have to put our desires on hold because of the grace we’ve been given.

The apostle very much wanted to go to Rome and fellowship with the believers there. But God had other plans. There were cities where the Gospel of Christ hadn’t reached yet. The Holy Spirit was sending Paul to the places he was most needed.

We need to remember this in our Christian walk. Many times we pray for things that we desire. But, we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes the answer is a resounding “NO!” But, there are other times when God is simply telling us to wait, because it’s not time for that yet.

For the next seven verses (Romans 15:23-29), Paul talks about his plans for the future of his ministry. I suggest that you read this section and compare it to the last eight chapters of the book of Acts. It’s interesting to see what Paul is planning versus what God had already mapped out for him.

His agenda was to go to Jerusalem with an offering from the Gentile churches in Greece and Asia. Little does he know that he will be arrested when he gets to Jerusalem. He will then make it to Rome, but as a prisoner headed to trial.

Most Bible scholars believe that this was his first trial in Rome. He was eventually acquitted, and made his journey to Spain. Then, later in his life, he was tried and executed in Rome.

We need to see that even though Paul knew the outline of his future ministry – Jerusalem, Rome, Spain – he didn’t know all the details that the Holy Spirit had in store for him. We face the same challenges in discovering God’s will for our lives.

We pray and seek God for His wisdom. The Lord then imparts the outline for His plan into our spirits. Then, many times, we run off, thinking that we know how to get to the goal line. It’s only after bumping into a few closed doors that we find the true path God intends for us to follow.

In all of this, Paul understood the key to reaching the finish line.

I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 15:30-33

Paul calls out to the church with an important request. He asks them to join the struggle with him through prayer. We have to realize that most people pray for their own concerns. He wants them to take up a concern for those yet to be reached by Paul’s ministry.

We know from the book of Acts, everything that Paul is about to face. We also know that God took him through it victoriously. A large part of this victory was the churches who stood by him in prayer.

Make sure that you stand in prayer with your leadership, missionaries, and other ministries (like mine!), to see God accomplish his will in our generation.

Question: What is God’s outline for your life right now?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Finding God’s Will

Finding God’s Will

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul is reviewing the walk of the spirit. In my last post, I talked about establishing God’s pattern in our lives. That involves prayer in the spirit – standing beside the burnt offering and becoming a living sacrifice before God.

As I spend time with the Holy Spirit, I begin to hear His voice. My mind is being renewed as God’s Word enters my heart. The next question is; now that I’m hearing God’s Word in my spirit – what do I do with it?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

There’s still a choice to be made. This is where, according to Christ, the thorns and thistles of distractions could choke it. We need to be careful about what our heart dwells on.

This verse literally says; don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. Instead, let the Word renew (renovate) your mind.

If you want a life that’s well-pleasing to God, it will require a renewed mind. It’s the renewed mind that will transform your walk. That word transform is the Greek word metamorph. It’s how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

It’s only when we’re allowing the Word to renew our mind that we’re able, have the power, to test and approve God’s well pleasing will.

Many people have asked me, “Pastor, how do I know God’s will?” The truth is that you will never know God’s will before you do it. It’s by faith.

I get my faith approved. Then I stand beside body praying in spirit to hear God. I allow God’s Word to renew mind.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

Through prayer in the spirit, we have access to the mind of Christ – that’s the renovation process that we need. It causes us to think His thoughts. Then, because His mind is working in us, we can test and approve God’s will.

As I live out my faith, opportunities arise. I feel a stirring on the inside of me, “I believe God wants me to do this.”

I now have the power to test and approve God’s will for my life. I step out. By faith, I expect either a miracle to confirm what I’m doing or the intervention of the Holy Spirit to stop me from doing it.

Paul understood this and tells us the bottom line.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Romans 14:17-18

To be well pleasing to God, it’s not about the rules you place on yourself. It’s a life lived in the spirit. That’s what God finds well pleasing. Because the flesh can never fulfill God’s perfect will.

Simply put, a well-pleasing life requires a spiritual walk.

Question: What do you believe is the next step in God’s plan for you right now?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Three Choices of Faith

Three Choices of Faith

We’re continuing our study through the book of Romans. At this point, Paul is explaining the place of Israel in the plan of God.

In my last post, we looked at Paul’s quote of a couple of prophecies from the book of Isaiah. He was dealing with Israel’s failure to obtain righteousness.

Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Romans 9:32-33

I said that this passage gives us three choices. I now want to look at these in more detail. We’re told that this righteousness that pleases God must be pursued by faith.

We know from Romans 10:17, that faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ. That’s where Paul is eventually bringing us to. It’s all about hearing and obeying Christ.

It’s interesting to note that Peter also quoted this verse in his writings.

…and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message — which is also what they were destined for.

1 Peter 2:8

Peter tells us that Israel stumbled because they disobeyed the Word. It’s all about hearing and obeying. Jesus Christ gave us a perfect word picture of what’s at stake.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Luke 6:46-49

I said that the passage from Romans gives us three choices. These choices are actually three responses the Word.

Sometimes the Word seems small and insignificant in our eyes. We ignore it and we end up tripping over it. So it stops us and gets our attention.

Sometimes the Word to us seems huge. It would require too much change in our lives. We don’t want to put forth the effort it would require. So, we try to get around it, and end up stepping in the trap and our lives get stuck.

The third choice is the best. We hear the Word, take it to heart, and obey it. We then use it for the foundation of our lives. Now we’re secure in the center of God’s will.

So, in the context of Scripture, Romans chapter 9, is talking about the Word. It’s about hearing from God, then trusting Him, and obeying what He’s spoken to us. This is what the Christian walk is all about.

That’s why I’m so adamant about spending intimate times with the Holy Spirit. Without His guiding voice in our lives, we’re merely drifting on the winds of chance. I want more than that for my life.

Spend the time that it takes to hear His voice. Then keep a watch over it in your heart. Allow the Word of Christ to take root in you and let it become the foundation for all that you do.

Question: What’s the last thing you heard from the Holy Spirit that you need to obey?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Yackity Yak, Don’t Talk Back

Yackity Yak, Don’t Talk Back

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. In talking about Israel’s place in the plan of God, Paul is explaining about God’s foreknowledge.

It’s a hard concept for us to grasp. The Lord sits outside of time and can view all of eternity at once. Our view is limited to where we are right now.

Because of this, some people get the idea that God makes everything happen. They say that He planned out everyone’s actions and reactions. I don’t believe this. Just because you know what everyone will do, doesn’t mean that you’re making them do it.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Romans 9:19-21

If God already knows what will happen, then why does He blame us when we turn out that way? Paul asks us; who can stand against and oppose His resolve?

What do you think you’re doing when you talk back to God? He’s the Creator, the great Potter. We’re the ones being formed. How can we say to the Potter, “Why are you making me into this type of pot? I don’t want to be this.”

Some of the pottery is for noble purposes, like vases and ornamental pieces. Others are for common uses, like wash basins and bed pans.

Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s really up to the clay to decide what purpose it’s used for.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

It takes the right kind of clay to make a delicate vessel. Hard, unyielding clay can only make a common pot. The fact is that God determines the use, based on what He knows of the clay. The pliability of the person determines how God shapes him.

In my last post, I talked about Moses and Pharaoh. God shaped Pharaoh to display His glory, based upon the desire of Pharaoh’s heart. A resistant heart can never become what a soft, yielding heart can be.

Remember, Paul is still talking about Israel in this passage. He said that not all of Israel is Israel. Not all of Israel yields to His will.

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Romans 9:22-24

God desires to display who He is. Even in His wrath, He is passionate. The Lord shows forth His power and glory in all that He does.

He could, by His foreknowledge, immediately send everyone to hell that He knows will reject Him. He could also immediately translate to Heaven, everyone who accepts Christ. But, that wouldn’t show who He is.

In the Lord’s grace, He shows His patience, even to those who will someday enter His wrath. He does this so that He could show the wealth of His glory to the objects of His mercy, those who yielded to His molding. In Christ, we’re being prepared for His glory.

Question: How is God’s patience a blessing to you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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It’s All About Mercy

It’s All About Mercy

We are now looking at Romans, chapter 9. In my last post we saw that God chose Jacob before he was born. That was because God already knew the choices that Jacob would make.

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

Romans 9:14-16

The only conclusion we can make is that there’s no unrighteousness in God. Paul then quotes a passage from Exodus 33:19.

The words, compassion and mercy in Exodus, mean to bend and stoop in kindness to an inferior…and thento hold them lovingly. This is used throughout the Old Testament.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him…

Psalms 103:13

Mercy, however, has a different connotation in the New Testament. We need to understand this concept.

A thorough study of mercy in the New Testament will show that mercy is God’s reward for His obedient children. I did a detailed series of posts about mercy. To see this series, click here.

This verse in Romans tells us that much of God’s grace comes to us, not because of our will, desire, or actions. Instead, it’s by God who shows mercy. It’s all about mercy. So, we have to understand mercy, to understand God.

Our will doesn’t figure into the equation. That was true in the life of Christ.

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Mark 14:35-36

Jesus knew this truth. It’s not about our will, but God’s desire for us.

It’s the same for running.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24

You don’t get the prize just for running. All of the athletes run.

In our Christian walk, it’s all about the mercy of God. Contrary to popular thinking – mercy is not some random act that God does. It’s a part of God’s righteous law. Jesus tried to explain this to the Pharisees.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Matthew 23:23

God’s righteous law is based upon three things: The original Greek says that they are faith, judgment, and mercy. Faith is the basis – without it you can never please God. Judgment is God’s final decision – guilty or not guilty. But mercy is the reward for obeying God’s Word to you.

This is a part of the Christian walk that most believers don’t understand. So, I want to take a post or two in order to explain its importance

Question: What’s your view of God’s mercy?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

In my last post, I started talking about Israel as God’s chosen people. In looking at Paul’s writings, he said that it was only the children of promise that were Abraham’s true children. Paul continues…

For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.

Romans 9:9-10

Isaac was the son born of a promise. But, the same was true when Isaac went on to have children of his own. Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, had twins. They were born at the same time, in the same bloodline, into the same family.

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad — in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls — she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:11-13

Now there’s a mouthful. What does that phrase, God’s purpose in election mean?

God has a purpose in choosing. Actually this goes along with Romans 8:28. Remember, in Greek that verse says, God works together with all who love Him to bring about good – the purpose to which they were called.

In the above verse from chapter 9, Paul uses a special word for purpose. It means something held out. It’s the Greek word that’s also used for the showbread in the Temple. They are also called the “bread of the presence.”

This showbread was displayed in the holy place of the Temple on a weekly basis. Then, incense would be poured on top of any that was not eaten. So it was eaten and burned each week.

Only those offering service to God may eat this in His presence with their prayers. It was constantly provided for the priests who served at the altar. I believe that it’s also a picture of Christ, since He called himself the Bread of Heaven (John 6:51).

That’s the word Paul used in describing God’s way of choosing. God has a purpose in His calling and choosing.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12

Everything that God does is based upon His preordained plan. His plan was set out from the beginning.

So, God wanted to show that it wasn’t by works that He makes His choice. He didn’t wait to see who gave Him the better offering or service. BEFORE they did anything – God looked ahead and chose the one who would obey His plan for their life.

Getting back to the verse in Romans, in order to see what’s being said, we have to understand love and hate. Contrary to current opinion, when the Bible uses these words, they’re both without emotion.

It’s all about choices. Love is the choice to positively participate in someone’s life. Hate is the choice to negatively participate or not to participate at all.

Knowing that Jacob would participate with His plan, God participated with him. Knowing that Esau would ignore His will, God chose not to work with him.

At first, it may seem unfair that God would say such a thing. But, after the twins progressed, it was obvious that God made the right choice. That’s especially true since it was obvious that Isaac was trying desperately to groom Esau to be the chosen son.

It’s good to know that God has a plan for me. He knows the choices I’ll make, even before I make them. I’m so glad that He works with me to bring about His destiny for my life.

Question: How do you see God’s hand upon your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Working Together for Good

Working Together for Good

As we continue through the book of Romans, we arrive at another verse that gets us all turned around. We need to really understand it in its context.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

This is great verse and I’ve heard many people quote it and preach about it. They usually say something like, “Don’t worry, no matter how bad your situation gets, God will turn it around to good in the end.”

Is that what Paul’s saying here? To answer this, we need to think about the verse just before this one. What’s the context of this statement?

Remember, the apostle told us that our spirit and the Holy Spirit are in conference over us. The purpose of this conference is to bring about God’s will in our lives.

It turns out that there’s an alternate translation of verse 28.

“God works together with all who love Him to bring about good – the purpose to which they were called.”

Remember – I don’t know the objective precisely as needed. However, the Holy Spirit of God will work with me to overcome that weakness. This translation melds perfectly with what Paul said in verse 27.

Of course, many people want to believe this verse the alternate way. They feel they can do what they want – just “love God” – and He’ll work everything out.

I don’t believe that’s the case. The Lord will work together with me to bring about His good purpose in my life. That’s more in line with the context of this chapter.

Think about what the rest of Scripture teaches.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:20

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.

2 Corinthians 6:1

This concept is found all throughout God’s Word. The Holy Spirit and the saints working together. Why would Paul say that God will do the work Himself, all you have to do is love Him? I believe that it’s clear, God wants to work with us to bring about His will.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:29

The next big question is about predestination. The key is that those He foreknew, He predestined to be like Christ.

We forget sometimes, that God is outside of time and space. Before you were born, He saw the day you would receive Him as your Savior. So, He already made a place for you in His Kingdom.

He set a destination for you, based on your future decision. It’s the destination that’s the important part of this verse.

What is that destination? That we are conformed to the likeness of His Son. It says that we’re morphed together into the picture of Christ.

This is the plan that the Holy Spirit and my spirit are working together to accomplish. Everyday, I want to look more and more like Jesus. That’s the goal of prayer in the spirit. That’s the only way to truly overcome the flesh and its sinful nature.

Question: How have you changed since coming to Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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I’m Not a Victim of Sin

I’m Not a Victim of Sin

In my last post, we looked at Paul’s view of the infancy stage that all believers pass through. The goal is to go through as quickly as possible. It’s not an excuse for a sinful lifestyle.

Let’s look at these verses in detail. Remember, in this section, Paul is not talking about himself, but writing from the perspective of a baby Christian.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Romans 7:15-16

It’s interesting to note that every word translated as “do” in this verse is a different Greek word. The literal translation of that first sentence is, I do not comprehend what I am fully accomplishing.

There’s another verse that can help us to understand what Paul’s saying here.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13

We have to realize that God is working in us. His work includes the changing of our will and our actions. We simply need to submit to the Lord’s process.

So, in Romans, Paul isn’t saying “I don’t know what I’m doing.” He’s expressing to us that as a baby believer, he doesn’t fully comprehend what’s being accomplished in his life.

The simple fact is that I don’t understand how God is working His will in me. He’s getting me to think like He thinks. In that way I’ll begin to act on His plan for my life.

Going back to the original verse in Romans, Paul tells us why he doesn’t comprehend what he’s accomplishing. Again, the literal translation of the next sentence reads, the reason I don’t comprehend it is because what I intend is not what I practice habitually.

It’s not that I don’t do it. The problem is that it’s not a habit yet. Paul is saying that at this point the baby Christian hasn’t reached the level of habitually doing what he knows to do.

Instead, this immature believer finds himself doing things that he hates. But, there’s an important difference. This phrase does not imply a habit, but something that he falls into from time to time.

That brings us to the next verse.

And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

Romans 7:16

There are times I find myself doing something that I actually don’t want to do. The good thing is that I recognize that it’s wrong. I find myself agreeing with God’s will. This is the first baby step to freedom.

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

1 Peter 4:3-4

Peter explains it well. He says that when you were in sin, you chose to do it. Now, you’ve determined not to do it, you even hate it. You may still fall into it from time to time, but your heart is changing.

The world thinks it strange that you want to do good. They think that serving God is a bad thing, it’s no fun. But, now you’re agreeing that the law is good. This is the growth you want to see as an infant believer.

Question: How have you seen your attitude toward God’s law change over the years?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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