Archive of Daily Bible Lessons
March 22-31, 2004

3.22.04  More on the Resurrection and Sanctification
3.23.04 Even More on the Resurrection and Sanctification
3.24.04 Still More on the Resurrection and Sanctification
3.25.04 Once More on the Resurrection and Sanctification
3.26.04 The Resurrection: Reality, Not Dead Religion
3.27.04 The New Covenant of Grace: A Covenant of Relationship
3.28.04 The Security & Intimacy of Your Relationship to God
3.29.04 Death In Adam or Life In Christ
3.30.04 Reigning in Life through Christ
3.31.04 In Christ, a New Creation

Bible Lesson for 3.22.04
More on the Resurrection and Sanctification

I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord . . . That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection. (Philippians 3:8,10)

Sanctification is the process whereby you are increasingly set apart for the purposes, use, and glory of God. The resurrection of Christ and the power of that resurrection are interwoven into that entire process. Today's Bible verses give you additional insight into this sublime truth.

  • The primary context is getting to know the Lord. "I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord."
  • Your deepest desire should be to know your Lord, to become more intimately acquainted with Him. The scripture refers to this blessed goal as the greatest value available in all of creation: "I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ."
  • In other words, you should be prepared to sacrifice anything in order gain more intimacy with your Lord. A growing knowledge of Jesus is referred to as "the excellence" This could be translated, "the excelling value."

Your relationship with the Lord began in "the power of His resurrection." You were dead in your sins, and the Lord raised you to new life, as you believed upon Him. What a wonderful way to start out your fellowship with God! A glorious season of joy and gratitude accompanied this personal resurrection. His resurrection power gave you such a great appreciation of who your Lord actually was, a God of might and power.

As time marched along, you discovered that there are other ways to get to know your Lord more fully: namely,
"the fellowship of His sufferings."

  • Perhaps you were startled when, after believing in Jesus, you encountered some personal suffering.
  • In your early joyous days with Jesus, you may have assumed that trials would never come your way.
  • Eventually, you began to suffer as Jesus did (for doing the right things, for righteousness sake). "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

The fact is: *suffering* for the sake of Jesus is a very basic and essential aspect of growing in the knowledge, love, and grace of your Lord. By experiencing the often painful trials of living in a mortal body -- in a sin-filled world -- you will learn more of the difficult path that Jesus Himself walked here on earth. Better yet, you will personally experience His presence, His faithfulness, and His compassion when you LEAN on Him in your times of greatest need.

One step at a time... one day at a time -- leaning on your beloved Savior, Jesus -- THAT's how you grow. That's sanctification!

Dear Lord of power and compassion, I magnify You for Your resurrection power. I extol You for Your matchless compassion. You have allowed me to experience these that I might grow in knowing You. Unleash Your power in my weakness. Pour out Your compassion in my sufferings. Let me know You more, through Christ I pray, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.23.04
Even More on the Resurrection and Sanctification

That I may know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. (Philippians 3:10)

Today's Bible verse points out one great quest (for you to know Jesus) and three different arenas in which your knowledge of Jesus must grow...

  • Resurrection power
  • Fellowship in Christ's sufferings
  • Conformity to Christ's death

In yesterday's Bible study you saw how resurrection power and suffering can increase your knowledge of the Lord. Now, you add another amazing aspect to a growing acquaintanceship with Jesus: "being conformed to His death."

There were some unique aspects to the death of Christ upon the cross (for example, His atonement for sins). However, there are other aspects of your Savior's death that God wants to repeat in your life...

  • As Jesus was placed upon the cross, it looked like defeat. It seemed to be the greatest wrong that man could ever do. Yet, God was working out His sovereign purposes. "Jesus, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death" (Acts 2:23).
  • By the same token, there will be times in your life when you are placed in situations that seem certain to lead to a deadly defeat. Yet, the Lord will be IN those situations with you, to bring about His sovereign plan for your sanctification.
  • In taking you through such impossibilities (and turning apparent defeat into victory), the Lord is allowing you to grow through becoming better acquainted with Him and His ways.

When Jesus was dying, He hung helpless upon the tree. He entrusted Himself into the hands of His Father. "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23:46).

  • The Father would have to prove faithful, if Jesus were to come forth from the grave. "Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Romans 6:4).
  • You, too, may some day be confronted by a crisis so terrible that it threatens every earthly thing that you hold dear to your heart. There may be NO remedy to that crisis except for a miracle. And then you must say, as Jesus did, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit."

And God will save you, but perhaps not in the way that you expect. That is...

  • He may choose to deliver you OUT of the crisis
  • or
  • He may, instead, choose to sustain you IN AND THOUGH the crisis.

Either way, you will grow into a deeper knowledge of God, because of your fellowship in the sufferings of His Son.

Dear Father of glory, help me to not shrink back in fear and doubt when You are conforming me to the death of Your Son. When everything looks like defeat and disaster, remind me to look to You to work out Your will, in spite of the evil intentions of foolish or godless people. When I am hanging helpless in the midst of crucifying circumstances, remind me to commit myself to You and Your great faithfulness. Lord, I want to know You more through any means You choose, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.24.04
Still More on the Resurrection and Sanctification

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

As you are getting to know your God of resurrection (by learning about and then partaking of His resurrection power, Christ's sufferings, and conformity to His death), your life is being changed. You are attaining to "the resurrection from the dead."

The phrase "resurrection from the dead" might make you think it refers to the Final Resurrection of the redeemed in the last day.

  • Yet, your Final Resurrection cannot be in view in today's Bible passage. Your place in the Final Resurrection is determined by your relationship to God. That issue was already settled at the moment that you exercised a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
  • You and all others who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior will be raised unto eternal life in the Final Resurrection of the redeemed. You don't need to *attain* to that goal. Why? Because you ALREADY own it, by the unbreakable promises of God.

Notice that today's verses indicate the goal is "to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

  • The word "attain" clearly denotes a goal which can be accomplished DURING you present life here on earth.
  • "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me" (Philippians 3:12). Apostle Paul, the God-inspired writer of Philippians 3:12, states that he had not fully gained the type of resurrection about which he wrote.
  • Yet, the Final Resurrection was already Apostle Paul's future destiny, guaranteed of God by virtue of Paul's faith in Jesus. Therefore, it is evident that the Apostle is pressing on for something MORE -- something that could become his possession PRIOR to his death.

Earlier, Apostle Paul had revealed what He was seeking after. "I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ" (Philippians 3:8, 10).

  • This is why the Apostle wrote, "that I may know Him."
  • Knowing Christ ever more fully was the central passion of the Apostle's life.
  • The main thing that Apostle Paul sought was a growing fellowship with his resurrected Lord. The Apostle sought to know His risen Lord so well that he might -- during his lifetime -- attain to "the resurrection from the dead."

In other words, Apostle Paul wanted his PRESENT relationship with the risen Christ to grow and grow and grow, so as to produce a resurrected lifestyle in him. The Apostle wanted to face each situation of life with a heavenly, resurrected perspective and attitude -- a way of life completely different from that of the dead and dying world all around him.

Should you, like Apostle Paul, strive to attain to a *resurrected lifestyle* in the here and now? To answer this question, ask yourself:

"Since God included Philippians 3:10-11 in His Bible, does He {or doesn't He} intend for me to apply those verses to my own walk with Him?"
Dear Jesus, my resurrected Lord, I praise You for providing me a place in the Final Resurrection. Now, I pray, help me to get to know You better, that I might -- even NOW -- live a resurrected life day by day, in Your mighty name, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.25.04
Once More on the Resurrection and Sanctification

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)

Today's Bible verses give you a vivid example of the Lord's resurrection power operating in the life of Apostle Paul. God's Bible gives you this example so that you can know that Christ will work in YOUR life, too, whether you are experiencing good situations or, like Paul, you are in extreme tribulation and danger.

Some believers are led to believe that the Christian life is a "bed of roses," and that God will protect them from each and every one of life's problems. When they encounter hard times {and there WILL be hard times}, they often are told that this is happening because their faith isn't strong enough. Today's Bible passage says that such teaching is simply unBiblical NONSENSE.

If any human beings besides Jesus have ever had PLENTY of faith, Apostle Paul must be counted as one of them. Again and again the Bible shows this to be true. Yet Paul encountered many, many bad days {see 2 Corinthians 11.24-28}. Therefore, God inspired Paul to write about some of his difficulties so as to encourage you when hard times come YOUR way. "For I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia."

Too often, you might be tempted to keep your struggles totally private. If you do so, however, you will rob glory from God, when He delivers you. Also, you will keep others from learning important lessons that come from watching God fulfill the faithful promises of His word.

Apostle Paul's battles were severe on this occasion.
"We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves."

  • These trials took Paul and his missionary team to the brink of death. They were pressed down, overwhelmed, helpless, and hopeless.
  • When you are in hopeless despair, your sufferings might seem to be pointless. Yet, your difficulties (like Paul's) have this invaluable purpose built into them: "that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead."
  • You have frequently noted that living by grace requires humility and faith. God gives grace to those who humbly trust in Him. Well, God doesn't send bad times your way, but He DOES *use* those bad times to help you grow in your humility, and in the strength of your faith in Him.

Trials and difficulties become opportunities {yes, opportunities!} for you to learn how to be humbled before God.

  • You are deeply moved to cry out to God in helplessness.
  • Also, trials present new opportunities to trust in the Lord.
  • When your trials are intense, God is purging you of the primary obstacle to trusting in God, and that is self-trust. "Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead."

Thus, as you become increasingly convinced that you cannot handle it on your own, you will call upon God, who WILL faithfully resurrect you from your circumstantial death. "Who delivered us from so great a death."

Thereby, your faith will grow that God will continue to rescue you: "and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us."

Growing stronger in the bad times -- THAT is sanctification. For this reason, God counsels you as follows...

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
O Lord, my Deliverer, come to my aid in the trials that bury me in despair. Show me where I am trusting in myself. Purge me of self-trust. I want to embrace humility and put my trust in You. Resurrect me, Lord, in Jesus name, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.26.04
The Resurrection: Reality, Not Dead Religion

Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. (Acts 4:1-2)

The resurrection of Christ is the difference between a dead religion and a personal relationship. Living by resurrection power is the difference between earthly striving and heavenly reality. These differences can be seen in the contrast between the religious authorities of Israel and the disciples of Jesus.

The disciples were proclaiming to the people the wondrous message of the risen Lord Jesus.
"They taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead."

  • The message of Christ's resurrection infuriated the religious leaders of Israel. "The priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed."
  • Today, many religious leaders reflect a similar response. In the popular religious world, universalism and skepticism prevail. Each religion is viewed as one more road leading to God. Anything miraculous is unacceptable. Human reasoning reigns supreme.
  • In many religions circles, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either an object of scoffing or an area of hypocritical compromise.

The Sadducees of old were like this. They absolutely DENIED that anyone could be resurrected.

That's what made them Sad-you-see. :o)

One day the Sadduccees told Jesus a made-up story in which a woman had a husband who died, so she remarried. This happened 7 times in a row! Thus, 7 different men became the husband of the same woman, through 7 deaths and 7 remarriages.

At the end of their story the Sadduccees asked Jesus a *tricky question* that was designed to confuse and ridicule Him. Namely, they asked Jesus WHICH of the 7 men would be the woman's husband in heaven. "Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her" (Matthew 22:28).

The Sadducees were being totally hypocritical and sarcastic when they dreamed up this question. Why? Because they did NOT believe that a resurrection was possible.
"The Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked Him" (Matthew 22:23).

Jesus was fully aware that the question was designed to trick Him. Even so, He didn't get upset or respond with sarcasm and anger. Instead, He answered their question simply, mildly, and accurately.

  • First, Jesus explained two reasons why the Sadduccees doubted the resurrection: (1) They didn't study the Bible, and (2) They didn't believe in the power of God. "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God" (Matthew 22:29).
  • Next, Jesus answered their mean-intentioned question: "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven."
  • Finally, Jesus quoted God's own words as irrefutable PROOF of God's resurrection power: "But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Mt 22:31-32)

In days to come, when you yourself bear witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you will sometimes encounter folks who, like the Sadduccees, deny the resurrection of Lord Jesus.

When you testify to unbelievers and skeptics, remember that Jesus didn't argue or get upset with the Sadduccees. Instead, He ignored their sarcasm, then answered their question, then quoted what God has said, and that was it. You would be well advised to do the same.

As for your own faith in the resurrection, it rests on very solid ground -- namely, the word of Almighty God, who cannot lie. For example, God inspired Apostle Paul to record the following list of eye-witnesses to the resurrection. This is only one of the MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS that God gives you in His Holy Bible...

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by --
  • Cephas,
  • then by the twelve.
  • After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
  • After that He was seen by James,
  • then by all the apostles.
  • Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your patience when I profess belief in the resurrection, but seek to live by my own inadequate human resources. Help me to kindly but powerfully bear witness to the Lord's resurrection. Teach me more more more of what the scriptures say about living daily in the power of the resurrection of Christ, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.27.04
The New Covenant of Grace:
A Covenant of Relationship

In Him you have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace . . . But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 1:7; 2:13)

The ultimate blessing of the new covenant of grace is that it allows you to develop an intimate relationship with the true and living God.

You began your life SEPARATED from God: "you who once were far off."

  • Your sins created a wide *chasm* between you and the Lord. You could not relate to God. You could not talk to Him or enjoy His presence. "Your iniquities have separated you from your God. Your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)
  • You were "without Christ . . having no hope and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).
  • Therefore, you were "alienated from the life of God" (Ephesians 4:18).
  • Then, "according to the riches of His grace," you found "forgiveness of sins," as Jesus shed His blood unto death to pay the redemption price. "In Him you have redemption through His blood."

Now, the entire picture is drastically changed. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."

  • You are no longer separated from God. "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19).
  • You are now a member of God's own family. You are His own beloved son or daughter. "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'" (Galatians 4:6).
  • By the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, you cry out intimately to the Lord God as ABBA -- your Heavenly Papa! "You received the Spirit of adoption by whom you cry out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with your spirit that you are children of God" (Romans 8:15-16).
  • As you cry out "ABBA!," the Holy Spirit, who dwells within you, gives you a deep internal, spiritual confirmation that you truly are God's child.

Your heavenly Father wants to build a close relationship with you, His child...

  • He wants you to know His love. "The love of God has been poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to you" (Romans 5:5).
  • Your Father wants you to respond in love to Him. "You love Him because He first loved you" (1 John 4:19).
  • Your Father wants you to call upon Him, that He might respond to you. "Call to Me, and I will answer you" (Jeremiah 33:3).
  • Your Father wants you to empty your heart unto Him. "Pour out your heart before Him" (Psalm 62:8).

It has been said that NO one can get inside your skin, to truly know how you really feel. But God can!

Because of your surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior, God has taken up permanent residence in your heart, soul, and spirit. By God's grace, your aloneness is once and forever ended. Halleluyah!

Dear Abba, Father, my own dear Papa -- I thank You for washing away my sins. I praise You for bringing me close to You. I desire to grow in intimacy with You. Help me to see Your love more clearly, that I might respond in stronger love to You. Remind me to cry out to You consistently and to pour out my heart honestly, all by the blood of Christ, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.28.04
The Security & Intimacy
of Your Relationship to God in Christ

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

The new covenant of grace guarantees the eternal security and intimacy of your relationship to God *in Christ*...

  • *In Christ* is WHERE you live spiritually. It is also HOW you live. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2.20)
  • As sure as a fish in the ocean must live in dependence on the resources of the ocean, you are *in Christ* and live on the resources of Christ.
  • As sure as an unborn child is in the mother and lives on the life of the mother, you are *in Christ* and live on the life of Christ.

God eternally placed you *in Christ* in the very instant that you believed on Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

  • With respect to your relationship to God, you have been "brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:13)
  • Moreover, you are joined to Jesus like a body is to its head. "He is the head of the body, the church" (Colossians 1:18)
  • Christ's union of intimacy with you is like the union between a living Vine and one of its branches. "I am the vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5). Thus, Jesus is the source of your spiritual aliveness, and the bringer of fruitfulness to your life.
  • The intimate relationship between you and Jesus is likened to the joining of a Husband to His beloved bride. "You also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead" (Romans 7:4)

You can count on Jesus! He will never leave you for any reason throughout your pilgrimage here on earth, because He has promised: "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28.20b)

What blessings are yours -- now and FOREVER -- *in Christ!*

"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39

Lord Jesus, I am overwhelmed by the intimacy that is available to me, now that I am united to You. Lord, I want to depend upon You as my Vine, follow You as my head, and love You as my bridegroom. Lord, please continue to reveal to me the implications of being joined to You for all time and eternity, in Your holy name I pray, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.29.04
Death In Adam or Life In Christ

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

God's new covenant of grace is a covenant of relationship...

  • Spiritual death through Adam made this covenant of grace necessary.
  • Spiritual life through Christ makes intimacy with God possible.
  • BAD NEWS- You, along with every other human, inherited a sinful, fallen, earthly life from Adam: "by man came death."
  • GOOD NEWS- You, along with every other person who has put their faith in Christ, have received from Him a righteous, risen, heavenly life: "by Man {Jesus} also came the resurrection of the dead."

In the beginning, Adam had an intimate, personal relationship with God, his Creator. "The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being . . . Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it" (Genesis 2:7, 15).

In the beginning, Adam served the Lord and daily had fellowship with Him, when He would walk "in the garden in the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8).

  • Adam could partake freely of all the abundant food that was in the garden, except for the fruit of one particular tree. "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:17).
  • The day that Adam sinned, by disbelief of God's warning, he and his wife Eve died the death of spiritual separation from God. "And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8).
  • Whereas Adam and Eve previously had enjoyed intimate fellowship with God, their sins now led them to flee in fear and shame from His presence. "The LORD God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?' So he said, 'I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.' " (Genesis 3:9-10)
  • Ever since that time, all of the descendants of Adam {including you} have been born "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1).

The only remedy for the spiritually dead human family would be through a relationship to a new *family head*

"Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned . . . But the gift is not like the offense. For if the many died by the offense of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many!" (Romans 5:12, 15).

There are only two *families* to which you can belong: Adam's or Christ's. There are only two family head's to which you can be related: Adam or Christ.

  • You were born into Adam's family, by natural birth, and became an heir to sin and death.
  • You were Born-Again into Christ's family, by the Spirit of God, and became an heir to righteousness and life eternal all by God's glorious grace.
Creator God, my Father, I confess that I was born into Adam's sinful line. I have demonstrated my inherited sin nature on a multitude of occasions. I praise You for sending Your Son to rescue me from Adam's race and to *born me again* into Your glorious family -- in Christ, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.30.04
Reigning in Life through Christ

For if by the one man's {Adam's} offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)

God wants you to grow in the magnificent blessing of living victoriously through Lord Jesus. You CAN have a triumphant Christian walk. How? By developing an ever more intimate acquaintanceship with your Savior, Jesus. Why is this so? Because you are only able to "reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ."

Powerful spiritual enemies stand ready to battle against people who seek to live a victorious life in Jesus.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

  • Because of Adam's sin, spiritual deadness rules over the entire human race. "By the one man's offense death reigned through the one."
  • Satan uses this spiritual deadness to dominate and destroy lives. Thus, Jesus likened Satan to a thief: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" (John 10:10).
  • This is why so many individuals, households, and entire nations are suffering spiritual blindness, deadly defeats, and crushing failures.

To break free of spiritual deadness, a new and greater resource is needed.

  • God has provided this resource -- His only begotten Son, Jesus. "Much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ."
  • These heavenly provisions are "much more" than is needed to replace the defeats of Adam with the victories of Christ. The resources are two-fold: "abundance of grace and... the gift of righteousness."

One of these two resources is possessed by you, and by every other believer in Christ: "the gift of righteousness."

  • This gift is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, which God imputed to you because of your faith.
  • That righteousness enables you to stand accepted before a holy God: "found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith" (Philippians 3:9).

Let me try and explain it another way --

  • God took your sins and put them on Christ.
  • God took Christ's righteousness and put it on you.
  • The Bible puts it this way: "For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

You *wear* the righteousness of Jesus because God clothed you in that righteousness with His own hands. It is a gift from God to you. Can you lose it? The Bible says: "The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance {irrevocable}." (Romans 11:29)

Concerning your daily prayer life, what does God want you to do, in light of the righteouness that He has imputed unto you? The Bible says...

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Lord God of grace, help me to live my life so as to show forth the glorious righteousness of Jesus in me. Teach me to pray often, and boldly, and lovingly. Help me, beloved Father, to daily draw upon the abundant measures of Your grace, that I might live victoriously, through Your Son, Christ Jesus, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.31.04
In Christ, a New Creation

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. (Galatians 6:15)

In the relationship you have with the Lord through the new covenant of grace, there is intimacy, fullness of life, spiritual victory, and so much more.

When you received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you were *born again* by the Spirit. In that very moment -- in the twinkling of an eye -- you became a new creation in Christ Jesus!

  • By natural birth you formerly belonged to the old creation -- Adam's family -- because "that which is born of the flesh IS flesh." (John 3.6a)
  • By spiritual birth you now belong to a new creation -- Christ's family -- because "that which is born of the Spirit IS spirit." (John 3.6b)
  • You were born into Adam's family by the will of your parents.
  • You were RE-born into Christ's family by the will of God! "As many as received Jesus, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1.12-13)

What *happened* to you when you were born-again? MUCH! We shall list just 8 of the infinite and glorious changes God made in and for you. But these 8 should be more than enough to bring tears of joy and worship to your eyes.

  • Made alive. "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2.1)
  • Given a new heart and spirit. "I give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36.26)
  • Re-created. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5.17)
  • Washed. "He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3.5b)
  • Accepted. "He has made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1.6b)
  • Adopted. "God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Galatians 4.4b-5)
  • Immigrated. "Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3.20)
  • Promoted. "To Him {Jesus} who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1.5b-6)

I'm supposed to end each lesson with an *application* but let me catch my breath. I am simply overwhelmed by the grace of God.

Oh the AMAZING grace that saved us all!

Oh the beauty and altogether loveliness of our Heavenly Father! He is just so awesome, so kind, so merciful, so compassionate, so wise, so patient, so WONDERFUL!

Today's Application: Go to your prayer closet. Kneel. Raise holy hands. Worship Him. Praise Him. Rejoice!!!

Dear Lord, giver of new life, my heart celebrates the wondrous fact that I am a new creation in Christ. Words are so inadequate. I can only say THANK YOU, from the bottom of my soul, that my sins and weaknesses and meanness and hardness of heart did not prevent Your work of grace in me. I praise You for Your glorious grace, Amen.


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