“Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God.
When we sin, God invites us to return to Him for the cure. The cure for our disobedience to God is God. He invites us to return, faithless one, and I, The Pure Bridegroom, I the Holy One, I, Who have not sinned, I the One Who has been offended, I will cure you of this sin and restore our relationship. So the One Who is sinned against, the Injured Party, invites us to return to Him in repentance and He will forgive us.(I John 1:9) Apply this to our everyday lives. If someone sins against us or harms our relationship, the way to heal that is through forgiveness. In our humanness we resist this, but Christ is our example. His love compels us to reach out to forgive and heal, even if we are the injured person.
“Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord almighty.
This is the consequence of choosing sin over following God’s way. Think of a time when you did that very thing and remember the bitterness and misery you experienced. Godly Christian men and women cannot choose backsliding or sin without feeling pain- spiritual and physical- as they have forsaken the Lord their God – the One Who truly loves them. Rejoice! God has provided the way out of that misery and pain. Repent and ask forgiveness. His promises don’t fail. His love never ceases. I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you ,before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
This reminds me of Ephesians 2:10, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works , which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Whether Old Testament or New, the truth is this: God knew us before we were born, formed us in the womb, set us apart for Him, and planned the work we would do for Him. He encourages us: don’t be afraid to speak, be ready, and remember “I am with you”(vs 8).
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Years ago, God blessed me with this verse to be my “run to” verse when my mind begins to dwell on things that are less than godly. If it wanders off into places it shouldn’t go, I recall this verse, and the Lord brings my thoughts back to where they belong. It is a blessed thing to have the Word of God hid in our hearts, where we can access it at any time. It is like a spiritual “car wash” for the mind. Now, isn’t that a visual!
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…
I think this is the key to the trials of life. There will be suffering while we are on this earth. How we deal with that suffering will change our lives – each time. There is a fellowship in Christ that we share in suffering, that doesn’t come to us any other time. There is an intimacy we will not forget, and it will change us. Plan on choosing the fellowship next time the suffering comes. Look for ways God is lifting you, encouraging you, strengthening you, helping you, never letting go of you. The deep things of Christ we learn during these times will remain with us as we continue to live and walk in Him.
For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
This is the issue of so many conflicts in Christianity. If we would lay down ourselves, our issues, our needs, and instead, look after the interests of Our Lord Jesus Christ, these conflicts would end. Yes, it is difficult to lay aside our need for recognition, our desire to have our way ,our belief that what we want or what we say is right, but if we will surrender those things at the feet of Jesus Christ, we will experience the glory and the grace of God in ways we never dreamed were possible this side of heaven.
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
There is so much going on in the world to day that is intimidating or scary: physical disasters, moral decay, a lack of true spirituality. Yet, we have God’s promise that He will continue to perfect the good work He began in us right up to the time He returns for us. It takes the fear and anxiety away, knowing that God doesn’t take His hand off of us, or quit working on us, even for a moment.
This chapter is filled with specific instructions.
Honor your father and mother…vs. 2
Fathers do not exasperate your children…vs 4
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men…vs.7
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…vs. 11
Stand firm then, …vs. 14
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions…vs. 18
These instructions can only be carried out in the strength and power that God provides, yet they are instructions for every day of our lives on this earth. Don’t go out to battle against the devil without the armor of God or you will be vulnerable. We don’t just have jobs; we are working for the Lord, not men. Stand firm. Ask the Lord daily for the wisdom and strength to walk in this way.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…
I worked in a summer camp kitchen for 30 + years. I remember coming home after a long, hot day, tired, sweaty, sticky. There was nothing like a rush of water from the shower head to cleanse and restore, to refresh body and mental status. We are saved in Christ. We don’t get cleaned up first. We are just saved. Then comes the holy, cleansing of mind and spirit through the Word of the Lord. Kindness, forgiveness, grace, unconditional love, gracious speech, wisdom and building each other up in love, these come as Christ makes us holy.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Submit to one another: not because you are right and I am a doormat, not because you are superior and I am inferior, but out of reverence for the One Who loved us so much, He gave His life to be our salvation.