Take Advantage of Your Qualification in Christ

Daily Devotional: Day 236

“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12, NKJV).

If you have ever applied for a job or recruited people for a job, you are familiar with ‘qualifications.’ In nearly all human endeavors, qualifications play a vital role. Your qualifications tell people if you are fit for a particular task or if you deserve some benefits. In short, your qualifications can give you access to opportunities.

Today’s passage from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians contains a vital truth for all children of God. In it, Paul urges the saints in Colossae to give thanks to the Father. Reason for the thanksgiving: the Father “has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”

Did you catch that? The saints in light, i.e. God’s children (see 1 Thessalonians 5:5) have a common inheritance in Christ (see 1 Peter 1:3-5). When the Bible says that God has qualified you to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints, here are some implications. First, it implies that you belong to the fellowship of the saintsYou are a saint. Be convinced of that.

Make not the mistake of holding on to two diametrically opposed identities: sinner and saint. You are either one or the other. Sinners have no share in God’s inheritance. Today’s Bible passage, as you can see, is addressed to saints only. Notice that Paul doesn’t say, “inheritance of the sinners;” rather, he says, “inheritance of the saints in light.” The good news is, God counted you among His saints when He saved you. Believe, therefore, that you are a saint; think like a saint, and behave like a saint.

If, however, you are truly convinced that you are a sinner, don’t give up. There is hope for you. Repent, forsake your sins and turn to Christ. He will save you (see Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 1:21; Luke chapter 15).

The next implication of Paul’s message is the following:

In virtue of what the Father has done for you, you are capable of soaringYou are capable of rising above anything which hinders your walk with God. You are capable of shining. You are capable of living free from the dominion of sin (see Romans 6:14). You are capable of a life that glorifies God. God has made you fit for a higher life. He has made you fit for a life of excellence. As a new creature in Christ, you are capable of positively influencing the world around you. God has chosen you, wired you and equipped you to be a living expression of His glory. If you believe this, you should be leaping for joy right now.

In sum, you have been named in the inheritance reserved for God’s saints. Who named you? The Father did. Take advantage of your qualification in Christ and be transformed.

Stay blessed, in Jesus Name. Amen.

For further studyColossians 1:1-29

Come as You Are, But Don’t Stay as You Are

Daily Devotional: Day 73

When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:12-13, NKJV).

After Jesus called Matthew to follow Him, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus at table. The Pharisees noticed it, and they weren’t pleased. Consequently, they complained to Jesus’ disciples saying, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard the complaint and defended his actions by pointing the Pharisees to the Scripture in Hosea 6:6, where God says He desires mercy and not sacrifice. Let’s briefly examine Jesus’ response to find out what this Scripture passage means for us today.

The Pharisees criticized Jesus, because they didn’t understand His mission. They only saw the “bad optics,” so to speak, of Him hanging out with sinful people. They saw only the surface and didn’t realize that Jesus was, and is, the Heavenly Physician who heals the sin problem that ruins sinners. Jesus needed to welcome the sick so He could heal them. He needed to welcome sinners so he could set them free from the bondage of sin and offer them the freedom of righteousness.

Jesus saw beyond the surface. He saw broken people who needed healing and restoration; he saw sinners who could be transformed into saints for God’s glory. And only by welcoming them could He save them. But notice that after welcoming them, Jesus saved them from their sinful conditions by calling them to repentance.

In our world today, masses of people, especially the youth, are confused by current trends in the media and the educational system. The Church can’t afford to add to the confusion. If the Church doesn’t wake up and name things for what they are; if we treat sin lightly in the name of the often-misguided notion of inclusiveness and a vague understanding of love, many souls will be lost and their blood will be on our hands. True, Jesus loved and welcomed sinners. We should do likewise. Yet, we also know that Jesus didn’t shy away from naming sin and calling sinners to repentance. So, why should we be different?

Jesus welcomed sinners, but He didn’t allow sinners to set the agenda or the tone for His ministry. He was loving, caring, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, direct, blunt and unapologetic, all at the same time. Lesson for the Church today is: Welcome sinners, but don’t let them dictate what you can preach and what you can’t preach. Welcome sinners, but don’t fall into the trap of political correctness.

Our modern society is corrupting morals and encouraging – even celebrating – immorality. If the trend continues, we won’t need an expert to tell us what will happen in the near future. We the Church, have a divine mandate to rescue the perishing. Our weapon is love plus truth. It’s unwise and utterly irresponsible to ask sinners to come as they are and neglect to call them to repentance. The only hope for sinners is love and truth; not love divorced from truth. Love is meaningless if it is not accompanied by truth. And truth is powerless if it is not accompanied by love. We have a golden opportunity to bless this generation with the power of Christ’s love and the power of His truth. 

Prayer:

Dear Father, your will is for all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Empower your Church to minister love, truth and repentance to this world. And as we do that, bless our efforts with a harvest of repentance and salvation. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Titus 2:11-15

Jesus Has Made You a Saint. Act Like One

Daily Devotional: Day 29

“But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints” (Ephesians 5:3, RSV).

Your Christian life takes on a completely different meaning when you realize that Jesus has made you a saint and you’re no longer possess a sinner identity. The difference between a saint and a sinner is significant. The former is saved, washed by the blood of Jesus, made righteous, sanctified, set apart for God, and walks in light. The latter is lost, lacks eternal life, walks in darkness, and needs to be born again. In today’s Scripture, Paul exhorts the Christians in Ephesus to live a life that is “fitting among saints.” Notice that the Bible addresses Christians as saints, and it’s not the first time. The name saint isn’t just a technical term. It describes your ontological status before God after you become his child by grace through faith in Christ. In other words, your very being has been made pure and holy like God, your Father. And because you’re holy, the Bible urges you to live accordingly. This is the point Paul makes in today’s Scripture and elsewhere in the New Testament.

The name saint describes your permanent identity before God. God is holy. And God is your Father. What does that make you? Holy, of course! Remember that how you understand your identity has implications for your behavior. If you accept the truth that you’re a saint, then you’ll be motivated and empowered to live like a saint. If, on the other hand, you convince yourself, after you’re born again, that your identity is that of a sinner, you’ll look for false consolation in your mistaken sinner identity. After all, what do sinners do? They sin. It’s who they are, and it’s what they do, until Jesus sets them free from the bondage of sin. 

You need to own your God-given saint identity and become comfortable in that identity, because a shaky identity is the breeding ground for sin. Let me give an analogy from the world of animals. Let’s take an eagle, for example. An eagle is wired to fly. Eagle is his identity. And with this identity comes the inherent capacity to live the life of an eagle. But the eagle must own this identity, if it’s going to act like an eagle. Occasionally, an eagle might spend brief moments on the ground. If the eagle begins, as a result of these brief moments on the ground, to entertain the thought that it has two identities, eagle and cat identities, it’ll have a very limited experience of an eagle’s life. Identity drives behavior, and behavior reinforces identity. A double identity will create a false dual personality, resulting in double-mindedness. A further consequence is that your behavior will be inconsistent. This means, you can’t live consistently saintly. You’ll go back and forth between sin and holiness. But this is not God’s will or plan for you (Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8). Part of correcting the problem begins with correcting your identity. Your identity must be single and consistent. 

As God’s holy child , it’s important that you operate with one mindset – the mindset of a saint, just like an eagle must operate with the mindset of an eagle. If an eagle operates with the mindset of a cat, sooner or later, it’ll live like a cat and hang out with cats. A sinner mindset will only lead to an endless cycle of sinning. But, when you got born again, Jesus wired you for holiness. Therefore, you have in you the God-given inherent capacity to live like Jesus. This is your identity and calling. You have no other identity or calling. Your ID = Saint; your Calling = live holy. If you operate with two competing identities or two opposing mindsets – sinner plus saint – the cycle of sinning will continue. The Bible says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). For a saint, committing sin is the exception, not a habit or the norm (Read 1 John 2:1-6; 3:1-9).

Summing up, don’t wait to be pronounced a saint by people who have neither the power nor the resources to determine the truth in your heart. And don’t hope to become a saint; you are a saint, according to the Word of God. What you must do, is live out your saint-identity. It’s possible for a saint to sin. But if you do sin, repent and stick to your only identity and your only calling (Read 1 John 2:1-2). Go be the saint Jesus has made you, and you’ll notice the fruit of righteousness manifest in your behavior. 

Confess:

My Dad is holy. And so am I, by his grace. I know that Jesus has taken away sinner-identity and has given me a saint-identity. Therefore, a sinful life  is not for me. Sin shall have no dominion over me. I yield my body to my Father as an instrument of righteousness.  I am a saint, and through the power of the Holy Spirit in me,  my behavior shall line up accordingly. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Ephesians 4:17-32

In Christ,

Pastor Steve