The Spirit's Gift
Before we attempt to understand Gods Word, lets again invite Him to give us wisdom as we read this special promise:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3,4
There is really no way for us to understand what participating in the divine nature means. As humans, we find it difficult to grasp Gods promise that we can be lifted up from the disgraceful fall that began when Adam distrusted his Creator.
But We Can Thank God
for wisdom and understanding, and for the gift of eternal life. We can thank Him for His promise that we dont have to live forever with our old, selfish natures; but He lifts us up with a new birth, a new peaceful, unselfish and forgiving nature. We read earlier about believing personally that our Creator God actually became a human and deliberately "tasted", or experienced, death in our place. Lets read a promise now to each person willing to admit they have sinful natures and have committed sinful acts needing forgiveness. This promise addresses each of us with a record of sins that, in legal terms, declares a person guilty and deserving of punishment, a record that needs to be "purified" or cleaned up.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7-9
Declared Not Guilty
That is the promise God has made. In response to our confession and admission that we need Him, He promptly forgives our sins and declares us legally no longer guilty: were justified. The punishment we deserve was already taken care of by Christs shedding His blood on the cross; then He promises to purify us from sin. Christ gives us a new nature.
In the promise we just read, God is called "faithful and just". Another promise in Pauls letter to the people of Rome tells how we receive His love.
Just In Time
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:1,2,5,6
Notice how all three Powers of Heaven work together in that promise. God the Father, working with the Son, clears up the sin problem so that we are justified by faith. Then, through the Holy Spirit, we have Gods love poured out upon us. As this happens, our mind, emotions, and attitudes change, giving us freedom to rejoice and be hopeful.
Study His Book
Weve learned that in becoming perfectly mature Christians we can study all the Scriptures to find answers to our needs. Returning now to the Old Testament and reading Gods plan for His children, we can know that the principles behind His promises then apply to us, too, since He is changeless.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:25-27
We have the assurance from this verse that it is Gods loving plan to pour out His Spirit on us and change us in our inner selves so we will be moved to follow God and carefully keep His laws.
Gods commands suddenly become promises when we accept the outpouring of His loving Spirit. This was Gods plan all through Scripture. His love would pour out to us like a gift and flow through us to everything around, and then back to Him in a full, never-ending circle.
Even in Moses day a promise that we would have Gods love was recorded. Note the way the command is promised in the King James version:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. Deuteronomy 6:5,6 KJV (Emphasis supplied.)
He Says It Will Happen Inside Us
He states it as matter of fact. Why? Because He planned to pour His love upon us through His Spirit: Hes a God of powerful promises. Since Jesus died for us, were not powerless anymore; we can have His power if we choose. What a relief! He not only gave us eternal life, but He has promised we can have a new nature right now through the outpouring of His love by His Spirit.
With that Spirit in us, He tells us how we will react. In the preceding verses we read that we will love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and might. In Leviticus 19:18, He also said we would love our neighbor as ourselves. With His love in our hearts, well be able to do this.
To Make Sure We'd Never Forget
these commanded promises, God repeated them in the New Testament.
Jesus replied: " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40
The KJV says that you shall love God and your neighbor.
Turning back to Jeremiah we read again exactly how this command becomes a promise.
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write in on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." Jeremiah 31:33
God claims us as His. Because of Jesus death for us were counted as part of His family. The three Powers of Heaven love us. They want us to understand and believe that Christs death was on our behalf. They want us to receive a whole new nature, and know that we have eternal life as a gift. The Godhead wants us to receive His love fully so that when His Spirit is at work, His law will be written in our heart and mind, and we will love Him and each other. With our old nature we cant, but He promises (covenants) to do it for us.
It's A Gift For Us From Jesus If We'll Accept It
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free form the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4
Can it be possible that the requirements of the law can be met in us? That is just what that verse said! By Gods gift of a new nature---a spirit filled with love---we can keep His commandments. Anything different from this is not of God. When He writes His love in our hearts, were no longer condemned as guilty law breakers. Were freed by Him, and can rejoice in hope and conscious obedience as His Spirit fills us. Its the gift of amazing grace given constantly and continuously to us. We can thank Jesus for such a loving plan and rest in His Promises.
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Reading from 1John 1:7-9