“Love is the best accountability; you don’t want to disappoint those you love.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 5, 2022
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:1-2, NKJV
“Just a sinner, saved by grace.” A common Christian phrase, many of us say—even pray—but is it the most accurate way to describe our current condition as followers of Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul does not write to the “sinners” in Ephesus, rather he blesses these faithful believers as the “saints” in Ephesus. A cosmopolitan seaport city in modern day Turkey, Ephesus bustled with commerce. Their society was immorally influenced by a cult who worshiped Artemis the goddess of fertility. Out of this secular cesspool, sinners were, by God’s grace, being converted into saints. Once they were blinded by unbelief, now they could see with eyes of faith—saints not sinners!
Why are the words we use important in describing who we were B.C. (before Christ), in contrast to who we are now A.C. (after Christ)? We want to be wise with our words, because what we say and believe about ourselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is healthier and more realistic to say, “Before I trusted Christ as my Savior and Lord, I was a sinner bound for hell. But since I was saved from my sins, I am now a saint ready for heaven, who sometimes chooses to sin.” More than just a sinner saved by grace (implication: I’m still controlled by sin) I am a beloved child of God, a saint, faithful in Christ Jesus. Amen! We live by grace through faith, choosing not to sin, out of love for Him.
“Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24, ESV).
You are a saint if you are a faithful follower of Jesus Christ…growing into Christlikeness to be like Him, full of grace and truth. Holy, set apart for God. As Charles Spurgeon aptly delineates, not mere moralists, but made holy by God: “But the word “saints” really means also holy persons. If we are the beloved of the Lord, He will make us holy persons. There is a very wide difference between that and being merely moral… Holiness is a more spiritual, a more intense, a more divine, a more heavenly thing than morality— but he who has not morality certainly falls very short of anything like holiness. We are called not merely to be moralists, but to be saints.”
What is your mindset? Just a sinner saved by grace, or a saint beloved by God who sometimes chooses to sin. The beauty of seeking to walk in the Spirit is your heart is sensitive to preempt sin by God’s grace and love. Love is the best accountability; you don’t want to disappoint those you love. And when you are in a weak or vulnerable moment, the Holy Spirit will lovingly convict with you a nudge, prick or prompting of your heart and conscience. Saints are predisposed not to sin. Keep top of mind…you are who God says you are…you are who you say you are…a saint. Become who you are and move away from who you used to be…a sinner, but now a beloved saint.
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12, NKJV).
Heavenly Father, I praise you that you make me a saint free from sin, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Read and study further Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, Concerning Saints.
Jonathan and Melissa Helser: I Am Your Beloved
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