Friday, January 25, 2013

Daily Devotional January 21 - The 2nd stage of spiritual growth - Washed

"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"  Titus 3:3-5

This session we are going to look at the second stage of spiritual growth, being washed. No greater gift will you and I ever receive than the gift of salvation.  When you are washed by God, it is as simple as when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and also as profound as having spiritual surgery; where God removes from you everything that has attached its self to you, that is not from God (either by omission and commission):

Everything that is not of God
Everything that is not from God
Everything that you did against God and man
Everything that you didn't do but should have done
Every evil thought that you ever had
Every act of immorality
Every act of impropriety
Every decision that you made where God was not considered
All carefully removed and disposed of.

You would think that when God removes from us everything that is not or was not of Him, that there may have been times when there would have been nothing left.  But God doesn't just remove that which is not of Him, God imparts into us, that which is Him, the Holy Spirit.

When we accept the call of God - God sets in order a series of events: Some things happen instantaneously and some things take place over a period of time. This is what the bible calls being born again, being saved, i.e., the salvation experience.

The salvation experience can be marked by day and time, and yet, the salvation experience is more.  The salvation experience does not stop at that moment in time that we are saved/washed.  It continues on and on and becomes more and more to us and provides more and more for us and asks more and more of us.  Those who teach and those who believe that the salvation experience is rapped up in a moment in time, (whereby receipt of salvation is the end of their quest for God), will be utterly disappointed when they find out that the quest for God begins at that special moment in time, but never ends. 

Those who think of the salvation experience as a brief and ordinary experience in the life of a sinner, have been made to believe this by those who have devalued the price that God paid to secure our salvation, because the scriptures speak of an entirely different experience.

There is more to getting saved than just being forgiven of our sins and getting a ticket to heaven:
Two things happen when a decision is made without adequate information or let's say, without full disclosure.
1 The person making the decision might change their mind once they find out the truth,
2 Or, the person making the decision is short changed of vital information that could and will make all the difference once they find out the truth.

In the Church today we have the unsaved teaching the unsaved how to get saved, and the results is devastating. The best example of this phenomenon is found in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

When I read this for the first time, (many years ago) I decided that I would find out for sure what God expected of me for me to have His salvation. I did not want to be found in the camp with those who were rejected. I knew the scriptures were true.  How could there be this great dichotomy between those who thought they were saved and those who really were? I found the answer. Salvation is provided so that we can stop operating apart from God.

God isn't looking for us to become something or to cast out demons or to do many wonderful works, or to prophesy some great message.  God saves us to know us, and in the experience of salvation alone, we come to know God and God knows us - and apart from the relationship of listening to and responding to God, other spiritual tendencies have no real value and will win us no favor with God.

When we talk of salvation, we should reveal everything that we know to be true about our experience of salvation.  And for our own internal wisdom we should be thoroughly acquainted with the provisions of God through salvation. We should tell the unbeliever that God forgives sins, washes us clean and provides for us entrance into heaven - But we should also tell them:

That God will be taking up residency in their heart and purifying them, as with fire - 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
  • That no longer will they be their own, but they would be bought with a price - 1 Corinthians 6:20 & 7:23
  • That their minds would be renewed day by day, until the things of God became primary - Ephesians 4:23 & 2 Corinthians 4:16
  • That they would become a new creation and that all things would be new, and we would forever think differently, but we would be required to stay in our old body - 2 Corinthians 5:14-17
  • That they would be called to take up their cross and follow Jesus - Matthew 16:24
  • That they would not always know what to say, but the Holy spirit would give them the words to speak - Luke 12:12
  • That they were to pray without ceasing - 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • Abstain from all appearance of evil - 1 Thessalonians 5:22
  • To give to everyone that asks - Matthew 5:42
  • That they would have to turn the cheek - Matthew 5:39
  • That they would have to go the extra mile - Matthew 5:41
  • That they would have to love their enemy - Matthew 5:44
  • That they would have to bless those who curse them, do good to them who hate them, pray for those who despitefully use them - Matthew 5:44.
Those who teach that you can be saved and stay the same as you were before, that you can receive Christ and be friends with the world - they have done no one justice. Even a child, not only deserves, but demands better than that.  Stay with me tomorrow as we investigate the third stage of spiritual growth - Strengthened.

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