7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
There are two types of promises, one in which God is the only one who acts on our behalf (grace alone through faith alone) and those which are a promise “if” our partnership in Christ is made complete through obedience, endurance and perseverance (faith + works).
Both stand alone in truth and are biblically proclaimed in seemingly opposition to each other but in the totality of God’s word, they require each-other in their completeness. God alone saves us, but how we work out that salvation matters, God cares who we become in His name.
This verse alone is a beautiful promise of our son-ship to the Father, our chosen servant-hood to the King, our eternal bond with Christ and the immeasurable gift of the Holy Spirit within.
But in full context this promise comes with a caveat in the very next verse.
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
We do not get the luxury of going on living as we did before Christ. His redemptive work on the cross was so we would pursue a completely new direction, not remain on our old worn and broken paths.
As I read this, I believe I have a growing faith that gets stronger as I pursue the face of God through His word, fellowship and praise through gathering with other believers, giving of my time and talents to others in need; but there is a sickness of the flesh that still prevails that can’t be ignored.
Times of lustful thoughts, or jealousy, resentments and judgment towards others and myself and I suspect on a really deep and elusive level that I’d rather not admit too, a resentment toward God that at times this seems too hard too endure, to great a calling, the burdensome a pursuit. At times I’d much rather just sit home and watch Seinfeld reruns.
Through a lifetime of fear, self medicating, and pursuing pleasures and wealth above all other pursuits I have developed patterns of pain, thoughts and behaviors that are against God, against others, and supremely self destructive under the vail of “the pursuit of wealth and happiness”.
If it feels good do it is an idiom the advertising agencies has sold to the world since the invention of electronic communications and pervasively is destroying our culture with more each day.
Get more, have more, chase more, conquer more, more more more……
It is those old beliefs and behaviors that I must come to terms with through recognition, repentance and ultimately surrender and change so that I become cheerfully and willfully filled with a desire to simply give more.
I believe what God is saying here is that we have a wonderful promise of eternity, but it would be deathly serious to miss the “but for those” warning in verse 9 and continually be testing our own hearts against it.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
We can never affect the love of God, for it is His nature to love righteously and completely His entire creation unconditionally, He cannot love us any other way, He is pure love.
But that same love dictates that we be held accountable for our actions so that we learn and grow to be more like Him. In that there can be grave consequences if we give up the journey of sanctification set before us and become complacent, indifferent and tolerant of sin.
The Good News of Christ is very good, and the work of the cross is made complete by God alone, and I know this may be controversial, but I passionately believe today that our response to His finished work on the cross has eternal implications.
Salvation is an offer to the disobedient (pick up your cross and follow me). To not respond to the call of God through obedience to His precepts, designs and truth is to reject the very son-ship he promises.
To get married to a wife and then sit on the couch watching football all day, playing video games, go out drinking with the guys, yell at or disrespect our wife – that is not a marriage.
The marriage ceremony, the piece of paper from the courts, the words spoke by the pastor and the promises to love and protect, the vows made by tongue are useless if our behaviors do not reflect those revelations.
The same is true with Christianity; to not live out our love for God is to betray our baptism, our proclamation, even our works done with a bitter heart betray our self-decieved notion of being in relationship.
God will always hold up His side of the deal, it is our motives and behaviors that always beg to reveal… are we holding up our side?
How We Live Matters!
We must endure to the end, never forsaking His call to become the men and women of Christ. To walk with morality and values, to shine as a light on the hill reflecting the love of Christ to all we encounter.
We must press on to the time of glory when our works both inward and outward will be joyously joined with His works to create an eternal matrimony in the time of His return.
Our world needs bold warriors for Christ, not first and foremost with sword but in Spirit. Prayer warriors, truth warriors, love warriors.
To boldly draw the line in our own lives that says we will make those hard choices and cut the behaviors, people and beliefs out of our lives that keep us from the glory of being all God is calling us to be.
To protect the unprotected, love the unloved, encourage the hopeless, lift up the broken.
God did not give us a spirit of timidity, and He did not go to the cross so we could go on partying, cussing, hating, or being prideful, lustful, or resentful.
He is love, and He desires to fill us with His love. But we have to let Him in, we have to embrace all of His word and live in a manner that shows the world we are disciples of the One True God and not live a life that proclaims God is just window-dressing on our bookshelf.
We are called to be courageous and then great promises will be ours to claim along with the great promises He has already proclaimed on our behalf.
Father God thank You for who You are, what You have done, are doing, and promise is to come. None of our lives are anything without you, and everything with You and in You. You make all things new, and I surrender this day to the process of sanctification and thank You for the continuous bending of my heart toward you and away from childish things. It is difficult and sometimes painful Lord to leave the things of my life behind, my comfort, my security, my past walls erected to protect me from the world. But those were false idols and escapes which only separated me from You. Help me to surrender myself more each day Lord, I hear the call You have for those who know You to stand and be bold in this darkened and dying world. Let Your will reign supreme throughout creation and if You so choose open my eyes to the divine appointments that you place in my path this day. In Your Son’s precious name I pray…