The Child of God’s Heritage

“You have put all things in subjection under his feet... But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus...”
— Hebrews 2:8-9

We do not see Man as God intended him to be. Consequently, we overlook what a marvelous act of God’s creation we are. We forget the position He intended for us. God placed Man over all creation and gave him dominion over the earth. It was in this position that Man was to reflect the glory of God. But we do not see Man reigning, as he ought. Man does not have dominion and where he tries to exert his influence greed, disease, and corruption spring up. For every flower, there are weeds, thorns, and briars. Neither Man nor his world is as God intended them to be. What went wrong? Why isn’t Man a ruler and the earth a paradise? Because Adam committed high treason in the Garden of Eden, delivering the kingdom into the hands of a wicked enemy, in effect saying to the devil, “Here, destroy my King’s world.” Man abdicated his position. Today, “we do not yet see” Man as God intended him to be...But we see Jesus!”

We have the example of what Man should be. It’s Jesus! He came to show us a life lived in constant communion with the Father, as God intended. That means it is possible and all is not lost! Though we can't see Man in his rightful place as king and ruler, we can see Jesus, “who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” (Heb 2:9) Because He humbled Himself, one day we can be exalted. Jesus has made a way for us to be free from our fallen nature and to become what God originally intended. The “redeemed,” are the fulfillment of God's purpose. In Christ, God has restored us to the position of sonship and “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:6) One day we will reign together with Christ over a perfect world.

- From Study #5162

God has Spoken

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son...”
— Hebrews 1:1-2

God is neither distant nor silent. He has spoken to us! Repeatedly He sent his representatives, the prophets, but most people did not want to listen. Man wants someone who will tell him only what he wants to hear. He does not want to hear ”thou shall nots...” The boundaries that God has set for Man’s good are looked upon as restrictive and mean. Our human will and desire for self-gratification is so strong that we will completely ignore all warnings and consequences to have what we lust for, even if it means it will do us harm. Like a raging bull about to slam into a brick wall our head is down, our eyes are closed, and we are charging headlong into dreadful consequences. Why? Man is not willing to listen to God.

God has “spoken to us by His Son.” In the life of Jesus Christ God has shown us how we ought to live. “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him.” (Matt 17:5) God says, “This is the example of how I intended you to be.” Jesus is the standard for all humanity. God spoke through His life to show us how we all fall short. But people did not want to hear God in the life of Jesus so they put Him to death. It is through the death of Christ that God has spoken the loudest and the clearest. Having been spat upon, blindfolded, beaten and whipped, Jesus was taken to be crucified. There on Calvary’s cross, as Jesus cries, “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me,” God speaks to the human race. Loud and clear He says to every one of us, “I love you, I’ve sent My Son to die for you. All of you can be forgiven. All of you can be set free. All of you can have a new life with Me if you’ll give your life to the One who bore your sin on Calvary’s cross.” God has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus. Are you listening? Have you heard? Does the cross speak to you?

- From Study #5161

The Glorious Appearing

...Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
— Titus 2:13

The “blessed hope” is the coming of Christ for His Church or what is commonly known as, “the rapture.” Are we looking for Him? Are we excited about the fact that the coming of the Lord draws near? Do we expect Him to come for us in our generation? It seems that God desires that every generation live anticipating Jesus’ imminent return. This sense of expectancy has a purifying effect on how we live our lives. As the Scripture says, “...denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age...” (Titus 2:12) This is no time to live selfishly, so caught up with the material, earthly things that we have little time for the things of God. Be thankful for material blessings, but remember, one day our earthly possessions are all going to burn.

Time is short! We need a balanced perspective of our life here on earth. Let us not be so taken up with earthly crusades and causes forgetting that we “are not of the world,” (John 17:14) but are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth...” (Heb 11:13) “who desire a better, that is a heavenly country.” (Heb 11:16) We are pilgrims passing through and ours is the cause of Christ. As individuals and as a Church we need a greater sense of urgency in our evangelism than ever before. We must not neglect our calling to take the good news “to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) We have but a little time left to win our friends and loved ones to the Lord. Time is short! We must take the gospel to our generation now! It is time to live all out for the Lord, “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14)

- From Study #5159

A Life Poured Out

I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight... Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness...
— 2 Timothy 4:6–8

Paul reflects on the past: “I have fought the good fight.” He reviews the present: “the time of my departure is at hand.” And as he looks into the future he sees, “the crown of righteousness!” When he considered his years of struggling with the flesh, the world, and the devil Paul could say, “I stood up.” “I did not lie down and let the enemy walk all over me.” “I have fought the good fight.” Many athletes fall short in the final round, the fourth quarter, or the last lap. Its one thing to start well but how you finish is what really matters. Paul had that deep satisfaction of being able to say, “I have finished the race.” He stayed the course and never veered from the great truths and doctrines in the Word of God. At the end of his life he could say, “I have kept the faith.” If we belong to Christ there is also a course set before each of us. We have the same opportunity to run well, to stay on track, and to finish the race. We can fight the good fight of faith!

“The time of my departure is at hand.” Like a ship being untied from its moorings in the harbor, Paul is ready to set sail. He is ready to be untied from the earth; loosed from the body and its limitations. Death to Paul means casting off for the greatest adventure of all. Though he was to die a martyr’s death, for him the executioner’s chopping block was an altar and the ax the means of the sacrifice. He would pour himself out for Christ in death as he had in life. If our departure were at hand would we be as confident? Paul’s confidence came from a life of trusting in Christ. Can you look back and see a rich and wonderful past with Jesus? Can you look forward to a glorious future with Him? Paul trusted Jesus for a robe of righteousness, and facing death he could trust Him for a crown. We shall all come to that day when we will pass from this life. Will we be able to say like the Apostle Paul, “my life was poured out for Christ?”

- From Study #5158

The Snare of the Devil

...that they may know the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
— 2 Timothy 2:25-26

When a man wants to catch an animal he does not leave the trap out in the open, he hides it. In fact, the “art” of trapping is in the concealing and camouflaging of the trap. So it is with the “snare of the devil.” Satan is a liar and a deceiver and since Adam and Eve his strategy has remained the same – to lure and trap us into doing his will instead of the Lord’s will. He still whispers the same doubts and questions meant to undermine the Word of God, but his snare is also in the voice that says, “God doesn’t love you.” “You are not good enough to be a Christian.” He also attacks the one trying to walk after God by seeking to misdirect him. How many believers have been snared by the enemy and spent years going the wrong direction! It is also the devil’s snare when people concentrate so much on past failure to the point of depression. “Nobody cares,” “nobody understands me” is his snare too. But perhaps the most powerful and subtle snare of all is pride. The moment we think we have overcome it we have fallen back into it. We can actually be proud of our own humility! When we are full of pride we become over-sensitive, jealous and envious, often bearing a grudge because we do not feel appreciated. Too often churches have been split and people have left disgruntled because they have allowed him to manipulate their pride.

So, how do we avoid or get out of the snare of the devil? Paul tells Timothy that as these people hear the truth he trusts that they will “come to their senses.” The first step is to wake up and see that you are headed for or already in trouble. In the face of such powerful lies and deceptions knowledge of the truth is vital. “Christian truth rightly applied” is the believer’s armor. When tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus fought off each attack with, “It is written...” God’s Word rightly, aptly and specifically applied is the best protection you have against falling for the snare of the devil. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

- From Study #5157