Grace from the Spirit of God

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

To each of us who have set ourselves upon this journey of life in this world we have had to make the decision of where that journey will take us. Some have dedicated themselves to exploit the wealth, pleasures and fame that can be taken for their own profit from here in this world. There are others who by the grace of God have been opened to the truth and their vision goes much further than life here but extends to the border lines of eternity. They have set their feet not as much on the dust of this world as they have upon the rock of their salvation from this world which is found in a trust and belief in Jesus Christ the Savior of all who call upon His name.

Either journey that a man chooses will require growth, a growth that starts at birth and never ends. There is the high road that few walk upon and the low road filled with the masses. One leads to the eternal home in the presence and love of the Heavenly Father and the other to certain destruction. No matter which journey one is on they must grow in the knowledge of the one who sits upon their throne, either themselves or the Creator and Master of their life. I know the low road and at a marvelous point in time I saw the destination and care not now to speak of it. I am on the high road and because of my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ my hope is not so much a future as it is unseen history. I am convinced by the history of the past that the promises of God are a surety and therefore my spirit lives in the history of my future.

At the worst of my times, which I created by my own selfish desires, my own lust for forbidden fruit, and my self-pride in it, still, God loved me and sent His Son to lead me to the Promised Land. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) It was nothing that I could do and there is nothing that I can do save Christ abiding in me. If I remain drawn to Him He is faithful to draw near to me. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) As a result I have grown to become more like the Master who sits upon the throne of my life.

As I have learned more of the Lord of my life there have been some pleasing changes to my character that before were not known. Changes that are offensive to the wisdom of the world, yet, desired by the world. As I yield the desires of the flesh to the lead of His Spirit that dwells within I find myself in a battle with the opposition of this world but patiently with love in heart gaining victories for the Kingdom to Come. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) These attributes are not of me but of the One living through me.

Being truthful I do not abide in all these attributes, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control, but they abide in me to the point that it becomes unnaturally natural in my daily walk. I do strive to abide in my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith for me is born in the conviction of the truth of God’s Word. What I have seen of the world and heavens visible to my eyes there is no thought in my mind that supports a bunch of dead chemicals coming together and creating life. There is no way that billions of stars can fly through a vacuum randomly without crashing into each other. Circumstance could not have set them in order. At my worst I have never been a gambler or believed in that one moment of luck. God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and if that is accepted all else is endless possibility in the spiritual realm of God. With the mind set on that God is the Creator then His spoken Word has to be absolute truth. Faith is acting upon the truth of God’s Word and gives the ability to see that which is reality in the spiritual world. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

I of myself do not have faith for I am “Thomas,” I can only believe that which I can see. But God opened my mind to His truth and gave me the faith to live in His truth and now I can see the history ahead of me just as well as the history of only a moment ago. As I abide in the faith that He has given me I constantly ask for more faith that I can see more of His glory that lies just ahead of me. “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5) Faith is His gift through His abundant grace.

My hope is not in what I can do, as I have seen what I have done. My hope is founded in the manifestations of the promises of God that have come into being and the faith built upon their realities that His promises for the future are as sure to become. One cannot deny what has come, we can lie about history but we cannot change history. There is not one thing in recorded history that God promised that did not come into being. There is no prophecy in the word of God that did not come about exactly as He said it would. If you can look back at your life and see the hand of God upon it then why can you not trust that His hand will sustain your future? I find my hope in the revealed truth of the past and have faith in the revealed truth of the future. This is the power of God in that He not only controlled the events of history but is in control of the history of eternity before us.

My hope is in the power of God. In the Gospel of John chapter 11 Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. Just prior Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) Jesus speaking of His own resurrection spoke these words, “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) It is an undeniable fact that Jesus rose from the grave. He has the power to raise Himself from the dead and has promised the gift of eternal life to His followers. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28) My hope is in Jesus Christ as he rose from the grave and has promised my resurrection as well. My hope is in Jesus Christ because as the Apostles Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) This hope comes from the grace of God.

Love being the greatest is also the hardest for me to abide in. it is hard for me to be more concerned for another’s welfare above my own. I have a very difficult time seeing the other side of an argument apart from my side. Loving others as I love myself is not something I can or naturally do. Love was always a difficult emotion for me as I could only relate to love in a physical atmosphere. If I was not physically attracted to someone then I could not really love them as I should. But this love, agape, comes from the grace of God to His children. I never viewed love as charitable. God’s love is charitable and He gives that love to you as that is the love that He has towards you. As the Apostle Paul describes love he is also describing a major attribute of God. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

God is love and to have fellowship with Him one must have love. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8) During the transforming work of God over my life I reflected back to the days of my rebellion. Then as I realized how hopeless I was and how disastrous my way was I sought the straight and narrow, so to speak. Knowing my past has placed a concern for the future of those who travel the road I once trod. As I know that history of my future through faith I can only imagine the same for the shepherdess of the world. I cannot help, if so led, to give them the opportunity to hear the truth and make a decision based upon that truth. I cannot help but share the gospel of Jesus Christ because of my charitable concern for their spiritual welfare.

It is God’s love that empowers the engine of our faith to see a glimpse of our future hope found in Jesus Christ. It is that hope in the history that is assured to be ours though Jesus Christ that empowers our God given love to share our hope that others might know His truth. Love is the greatest, it is the one thing that all want, the only way to receive love is to give love. That is the model of God, He gave us His love by His creation, because of His love for us He sacrificed His Son to reconcile us unto Him, and all we have to do is accept it, accept His love in our lives.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant Bible College May 28, 2015

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