Meet Jesus, the Captain of Our Salvation

Daily Devotional: Day 149

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10, NKJV).

God made Jesus the Captain of our salvation. Jesus is not one of many captains of our salvation. Jesus does not have a co-captain. He, and He alone, is the Captain of our salvation. This title and role was not conferred on Jesus for free. He earned it by paying a heavy price. How do we know that Jesus earned it? Today’s opening Scripture tells us. It says God had a plan to bring many sons to glory. “Many sons” is referring to us who are born again and destined for salvation. The Father wanted many children (us) to share in His heavenly glory. But Someone had to pay the price and lead the way. God, therefore, appointed His Son to become the Captain of our salvation. And, God made the Captain perfect through sufferings. The glory of God is now upon us because of what Jesus did.

 Jesus’ sufferings did not begin on “Palm Sunday,” “Holy Thursday” or “Good Friday.” Jesus started suffering as a baby. He was born in a manger, exposed to the elements, and deprived of the basic comfort of normal birthing conditions. Still as an infant, His life was in danger because of King Herod’s fury. We can go on and on, counting the sufferings of Christ. The Cross was only the culmination of His sufferings. It was in this crucible of sufferings that Jesus was made the Captain of our salvation.

Because Jesus is our Captain, you can be confident that you are on the winning team. Jesus has never failed as a Captain, and He never will. Your salvation rests on the solid ground of Jesus’ captainship. This also means that obeying the voice of the Captain is key to your success. Be of good cheer and know that, no matter the challenges you face, your Captain will never let you down. Know that you are child of glory through Captain Jesus.

May the Lord let His face shine on you today! Amen.

For further study: John 17:20-26

A Priest Who Understands You

Daily Devotional: Day 79

“Therefore, He [Jesus] had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18, NASB).

The Bible says that to become our Savior and High Priest, Jesus had to become like us in all things, not just in some things. The only exception is that Jesus didn’t sin. This means Jesus knows what it means to suffer; He knows what it means to feel hungry and thirsty; He knows what it means to lose a loved one; He knows what it means to be happy and accepted. But He also knows what it means to be rejected and despised; He knows what it means to be betrayed by a close friend; He knows what it means to forgive someone who doesn’t “deserve” forgiveness.

Jesus knows what it means to belong to a family; He knows what it means to love and be loved. But He also knows what it means to be discriminated against based on one’s ethnicity, religion and social status; He knows what it means to be homeless; He knows what it means to be persecuted for one’s beliefs; He even knows what it means to be a refugee in a foreign country.

Wait, there’s more. Jesus knows what it means to be denied justice and a fair trial; He knows what it means to have your friends abandon you in your time of need; He knows what it means to be taunted and tortured. He knows what it means to be tempted to sin; He knows what it means to laugh or cry.

And finally, He knows what it means to die. So, believe Him when He says He is fully representing you as your Priest and Intercessor in heaven. Whatever temptation or hardship you’re going through, Jesus gets it and He has your back. He didn’t promise life will be easy, but He promised to be with you. Today, encourage yourself in Jesus, knowing that He understands you fully and will never abandon you.

Prayer:

Daddy, thank you for Jesus! He is my faithful and merciful High Priest, and I know He’ll never abandon me. I’m anchored in His love forever. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. 

For further study: Luke 7:11-17

Right Heart, Right Life

Daily Devotional: Day 47

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them into their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8:10, KJV).

The new covenant is established through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Under this new arrangement, God writes his law into the core of your being – heart and mind – when you believe in Christ and get saved. Consequently, your transformation will occur from inside out, and not from the outside. You will no longer attempt to obey God based on an external law written on stone tablet. In the Bible, you’ll find several instances of God’s instructions – including do’s and don’ts – which require your obedience. Because God’s law is already written in your heart, when you come across God’s law in the Bible, it’ll spark your interest and resonate with your spirit. This means your spirit will recognize the law and will not oppose it, because the same law is already in you. This is the basis for being happy to obey God. It’s the reason you don’t feel like a burden is being imposed on you. God’s law is already woven into the inner fabric of your born-again spirit. Therefore, keeping the commandments of God doesn’t come across as burdensome. On the contrary, you’re delighted to obey your Father in heaven (Read the verses of Psalm 119 below).

From this point on, you’re not obeying God to get him to save you, but rather, you’re obeying God because he has saved you by grace through faith, and you’re in love with him. It’s all about love from this point. The Apostle John put it perfectly when he wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).  Jesus himself also said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). True love for God inevitably bears the fruit of obedience. If you find yourself making light of God’s commandments or disobeying Jesus, it’s a red flag; repent and turn to God. A truly changed heart will always love the Father. And whoever loves the Father will love his law and keep it. It’s not complicated. 

Pray:

Father, thank you for the blessings of the new covenant. Thank you for writing your law into my heart and my mind. Thank you also for pouring your love into my heart (Romans 5:5). Because you have given me a new heart, I can and I will love and obey your Word. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. (Enjoy Don Moen’s rendition of the song “Trust and Obey”)

For further study: Psalm 119:89-106

Don’t Let Your Past Hold You Back

Daily Devotional: Day 42

“Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way” (James 2:25, KJV).

When the name Rahab is mentioned, it’s often associated with prostitution. But surprisingly, the Letter of James (2:25) and the Letter to the Hebrews (11:31) present Rahab as a model of faith and righteousness. In the Bible, only James and Hebrews associate her with faith and righteousness. How Rahab moved from a prostitute to a model of faith is astonishing. James cites her life as an example of how faith produces corresponding works. Rahab was from Jericho. Like her fellow countrymen, she had heard stories of the mighty deeds of the God of Israel. However, unlike everyone else, she believed in her heart that Israel’s God was the true God worthy of worship. While her countrymen remained afraid and defiant, she put her trust in the God of Israel and surrendered to him. She was, therefore, prepared to leave behind her profession, her homeland, her friends and any gods she may have previously served, to follow Israel to the Promised Land. She subsequently made a deal with the two Israelite spies, that she and her relatives would be spared when Israel came against Jericho (You can read the full account in Joshua chapters 2 and 6). For what Rahab did, the New Testament presents her to Christians as a model of faith and righteousness. Incredible story!

We can draw many lessons from Rahab, but let’s focus on only the following: Her history as a prostitute left her with little to no moral credibility. But, she didn’t let this become an obstacle. She looked past her bad record and saw a future with Israel’s God. With the eyes of faith, she embraced God’s love, forgiveness and protection. By faith, she bid farewell to the old Rahab and welcomed the new Rahab. Fearless, she marched into her new life, free from the bondage of sin, fear and shame. This tells us that your history doesn’t have to define the rest of your life. By faith, go ahead and close certain chapters in your life. Stop worrying about what has happened. You can’t change the past, but you can change what happens from this point. Learn your lessons and look ahead. Lift up your eyes of faith and see a new you in Christ: forgiven, accepted, transformed and restored. In Christ, the Father has opened a new door for you. Walk through it and never look back.

Pray:

Daddy, thank you for the gift of a new life. In Christ, you’ve made me a new creation. I embrace this new life and all the blessings that come with it: freedom from sin, fear and shame; and power to live for righteousness. Thank you for this life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Luke 19:1-10

True Faith Produces Works

Daily Devotional: Day 38

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 1:26, KJV).

Today’s Bible verse is well known for the controversy it has generated among Christians, especially since the Protestant Reformation. This is a devotional, so we won’t go into the complexities of the controversy. But, let me say that God’s Word isn’t complicated at all. The problem is that people won’t let the Bible speak for itself. We tend to read too much of our own opinions into God’s Word. What we believe is powerful – powerful enough to influence the direction of our lives. Nearly everything we do in life is a product of what we believe. In today’s passage, James –  speaking about faith in God – says that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. He’s right, and God wants us to understand this. Some have tried to get around James’ statement to make it mean something different, but James means exactly what he said: faith without works is dead, and a dead faith doesn’t save anyone. James’ teaching agrees with everything else the Bible says about faith. (At another time, I shall write about how this fits into the doctrine of being saved by grace through faith, apart from works). True faith produces corresponding works. This means, contrary to what some suppose, faith is not action-less.

If our faith in God doesn’t lead to corresponding action, something’s wrong. Be sure to read Hebrews 11:1-40 for further insights on how faith produces works. Whenever there’s a separation between what we claim to believe and what we do, there’s a problem: Perhaps we don’t truly believe or we’re being hypocritical. This is the fundamental principle that is behind the biblical teaching that faith without works is dead. At no point does the Bible propose a faith devoid of works. For example, if you truly believe that God has made you righteous through the atonement of Christ, that same faith will produce works of righteousness in your life. If, however, the said faith doesn’t produce fruit of righteousness, something’s wrong somewhere.  Faith that’s alive always produces fruit. Ask God to ignite faith in your heart, so that your faith can bear fruit for his glory.

Pray:

Daddy, thank you for the gift of faith. Stir within me your gift of faith, and let it come alive in my actions, speech and thoughts. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Hebrews 11:1-40