In the Grace of God Part 1

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

The Apostles Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus is a reminder that we must remember from where we have come. That all once “were dead in your trespasses and sins.” There are those in this world that feel that they are good hard working people and productive members of our society. There are those in the Church that feel they have achieved the righteous life and therefore place themselves before fellowmen as sinless. The truth is rather we are among the Sons of disobedience or the Children of God we are sinners. If we think that we are righteous here in this world we are living in deception. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)

The standard that we must meet to enter into the Kingdom of God is perfect divine righteousness, and I know of only one, Jesus, who has met that standard. Jesus proclaimed this standard in His Sermon on the Mount. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) This is not in the realm of possibility for any man as even before birth, because of his nature, he is a sinner born into sin. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) Adam was created righteous and for an undetermined time lived in righteousness and walked with God in the Garden of Eden. But he fell to sin and the human race was polluted and from then forward man was prone to sin, as it was in his nature to sin.

Man’s sin nature makes him rebellious against God. For man it is a natural inclination to sin. If one has the choice to do God’s will or their own they will naturally choose to abide living their way as they will. No one has to teach a child to lie, to be selfish, or to lose its temper. They develop these skills without training, they come naturally, and their thoughts are naturally self-centered. A child has to be trained to do right. Man in his natural state is sinful and rebellious toward God.

If the Christian does not remember from where he has come, then he will not fully appreciate where he now is. They were born dead and lived dead lives and were destined for the second death, but now that are alive through the new nature that has been instilled within them. They are alive in the power of the Holy Spirit which gives life.

There are many kinds of life in this world. There is vegetable life, animal life, there is human life which is mental, physical, and spiritual.  A man can live well in this world in his physical life, as this is where the physical body was designed for, life in this world. At the same time his spirit can be stone cold dead towards God. There can be no life in the spirit and this is a tragedy. When the physical body dies, as all will, then the spirit is judged for the actions of the physical life, if it has spiritual value or not according to the will of God. “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) If a man does not stand in judgment in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, then his verdict is guilty.

We all once walked in our trespasses and sin following the plan of the world. But whose plan is the course of this world? It is not man’s plan, as man is not large enough to form a conspiracy large enough to control his purposes throughout the whole world. It is a greater mind than man which sets the path of this world. A plan conceived in the Garden of Eden and shall play out to the Day of the Lord.

Satan is the enemy of righteousness and those who try to live in righteousness. Satan is the enemy of any who seek God and desire to follow Him. Satan is the father of lies, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

Satan’s mission is to rob God of the souls of men, as they are precious to God and He loves them each and every one. To those who have rejected the truth of God Satan blinds their minds that they cannot understand His Word. “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) To those who have not believed he robs the Word from them lest they should find salvation. “Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12) Satan will use the Word of God to advance his own purposes. “But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:8-10)

Satan is also the adversary of those who believe in the gospel of salvation. He stands accusing the saints of Christ night and day. “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” (Revelation 12:10) Satan hinders anyone who carries the message of God’s redemption from those who desire to hear the good news. “For we wanted to come to you–I, Paul, more than once–and yet Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:18) Satan’s demonic armies are in spiritual warfare over the souls and welfare of men. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12) Because Satan is the father of lies he is a master of deception. “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12:9) Satan in his craftiness is the tempter of those who fight the battle of living righteously. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)

Once by nature we were the children of wrath. We had surrendered to the ways of this world, we had surrendered to the temptations of Satan, and all being prompted by our own sin nature. We were once living in the old self in the sin nature we inherited from Adam. As such we rightly deserved the wrath of God which is soon to come. Many people shrug this off that the day will come when they will meet their Creator and answer to Him for the deeds of their flesh in this world. They may feel at that time as victims of the world they lived in. But in truth they are not victims but ripe for the justice of God’s righteousness. People defend their selves by saying how could a God of love bring His wrath upon people of His creation.  They conveniently dismiss that a God of love demands justice.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, April 11, 2017

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