True Christian living requires us to live according to Kingdom standards which bring Heaven to earth
By Neville Fowler
So you believe that there is one God, do you? You are doing well even the demons believe that, and shudder! [James 2:19].
There is a belief that saves and a kind that does not. Saving belief goes further than just acknowledging that God exists. It means choosing to put oneself on Gods side (unlike the demons!) and then trusting His promises enough to act on them, to live by them. This is called faith. If we wanted to express faith as an algebraic equation we could write: F= B+T+A where F is faith, B is belief, T is trust and A is action. Though we have freedom to exercise our will in the choices we make, real faith is nevertheless the gift of God. It is for us to choose whether to ask Him for it but when we do it is God Himself who supplies all the power and ability we need to believe, trust, and act or do works in accordance with His will. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. [Ephesians 2:8].
The patriarch Abraham has been called the father of the faithful (see Galatians 3:7-9). He not only believed in God, he believed God [Romans 4:3], which is a very different thing. He trusted Gods promises and did what God required. In obedience to the call of God he left the home of his tribal ancestors in the country we call Iraq and he travelled to a new land, settling in Canaan (now Israel). God promised to make not merely a new tribe but a new nation from him there, even though he and his wife were old and childless. God gave them a son, Isaac, from whom the new nation, Gods chosen people, would descend, yet at Gods command Abraham was willing to sacrifice the life of the lad on whom all his hopes for posterity depended. He trusted that God would even bring his son back from the dead, so confident was he that the promise of descendants as numberless as the stars in the sky or as the grains of sand on the seashore would be fulfilled. It was Isaacs son Jacob, Abrahams grandson, whom God re-named Israel. So eventually Abrahams family became the nation of the Israelites. Through one Israelite in particular, God promised that He would bless people of all the nations. Throughout their generations, encouraged by Gods prophets, they kept alive their expectation of the Messiah, the one who would be anointed by God, fulfilling the literal meaning of the Hebrew word Israel Prince of God. He would eventually rule the world from Jerusalem, the city of the Great King [Matthew 5:35], teach all nations to honour and obey the One True God, Yahweh, and bring peace to all mankind.
We can rely absolutely on Gods promises. Ever since mankinds fall into sin He has been unfolding His plan for the rescue of our world. The Messiah, the Israelite Jesus of Nazareth, conceived through Gods Spirit, was born in Bethlehem in 4 B.C. As prophesied by the Old Testament prophets, he lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father in heaven, a living demonstration of Gods nature and character. At the age of about thirty he died an unjust death at the hands of sinful men, the willing Lamb of Sacrifice, answering the requirements of Gods justice and mercy and paying the price for the redemption of mankind from sin. He rose from the grave and ascended to heaven to present the merits of his sacrifice in our behalf in that holy sanctuary. Unlike the priests of the Jewish religion who offered twice daily the ineffective sacrifice of the blood of animals on an earthly altar, Jesus once and for all time offered the full and sufficient sacrifice of his own lifeblood and then sat down at the right hand of God as His Prince with the right and duty to come to judge humanity at the close of this age. Meanwhile, through Jesus God has opened the door of salvation to people of all nations until the full number of Gentiles has come in. [Romans 11:25]. Those who trust in Jesus become spiritual descendants of Abraham and sharers of the inheritance God promised to him. Because he trusted God Abraham was called the friend of God [James 2:23]. Jesus said to his followers No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends. [John 15:15]. Christs friends know what he is doing. His spirit dwells in them whilst they work for him. They trust his promises, act on his teaching, and look forward with great joy to his glorious visible return to this earth to establish Gods kingdom, that city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God. [Hebrews 11:10].
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