May 1, 2017

I belong to Jesus . . .

Life is full of disappointments, yet because I believe in the sovereignty of God, and that I belong to Him, I know that whatever happens is for my good, even if it does not seem like it at the time. He may show me His reasons for those disappointments, but even if He does not, I can still call Him a good, good Father. I can still . . .

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:1–5)

All people belong to God by creation, but we who believe belong in a more intimate way, like a child belongs to its father. We enjoy a loving family relationship with our heavenly Father and His human family.

This is God’s idea. He said, ‘I will be their God; and they shall be my people.’ All Christians belongs to God because God choose them . . .

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13–14)

Not only did God choose me to be His child, He bought me out of slavery at an incredible cost. I am redeemed from the curse of sin because of Jesus . . .

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)

It is one thing to be chosen, one thing to be redeemed, but God also changed me, made me a new person. As a sinner, all I could choose was sin, but as a new creation, I am able to willingly choose to serve Him, not sin.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved . . . .” (Ephesians 2:1-5)

All this is more than a change of mind. It is a change in the direction of life, a turn-about made possible by identification with Jesus. Just as He died for my sin, I have died to my sin — and this was visibly declared when I was publicly baptized.

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:4–6)

This is real stuff. At times, the temptation to sin is strong. At times, I want to quit this way of life for it can be very difficult, but I cannot — because I belong to God. He does not quit. He lives in me and carries out His will in me.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

Jesus, baptism was my public confession of faith that identified me as belonging to You. Because that is true, glorifying You with my body in the way I live is not only reasonable, but possible. I’m amazed at how Your Spirit warns and protects me, keeping me from doing things that do not honor You. Because I belong to You, I am set free from the bondage of not being able to choose anything else but sin — and in the glorious place of knowing and loving You.

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