Being Born Again

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

 I Peter 1:23: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible {seed}, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

When the Scriptures say that believers are born again, then we may believe this truth because the Word of God liveth and abideth forever. In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1), and the Word of God is still here and always will be. Since God’s Word claims that we are born again, then that is the truth and something we may put on in our thinking processes as we renew our minds by thinking with this spiritual perspective that we are born again.

Nicodemus once questioned Jesus about these same truths of being born again and this is recorded for us in the Gospel of John chapter 3. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). But Nicodemus could not comprehend the concept of being born again, thus Jesus said to him, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things” (John 3:12)?

Jesus was somewhat disappointed that Nicodemus did not understand the Word of God and said to him, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things” (John 3:10)? Nicodemus was a master (teacher) of the Scriptures, yet he really did not have a clue about the subject of being born again and everlasting life when speaking to Jesus who is the resurrection (see John 11:25). Jesus was in essence saying to him, “Man, how can you call yourself a Teacher and a Man of the Cloth (so-to-speak), if you do not understand even foundational truths regarding your future life!”

John 3:14–17:
-14: {Jesus is still talking to Nicodemus} And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
-15: That whosoever {this includes Nicodemus, you, and me} believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
-16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
-17: For God sent not {sent NOT} his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

When we were born, we became the progeny of our mother and father; we can never change that fact. (The miracle of our birth is not that man created anything, but rather the God-given abilities that the Creator gave humanity were employed.) Oh, I know some parents would like to disown their children and vice versa; however, by virtue of birth we are the children of our parents. It is the same with God ― once we are saved (born again) we are children of our heavenly Father. We become born again, but not of corruptible seed, as is our first birth, which is corruptible because of the sin nature inlaid in man since the fall of man in Genesis (Romans 5:12). However, God’s seed is incorruptible and eternal. He is our heavenly Father for all eternity!

Galatians 3:16: Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He {God} saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy {or your} seed, which is Christ.

When we become born again, we have the spiritual seed of Christ in us, and having Christ is having eternal life (I John 5:11-13). We are, according to the Scriptures, members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27) because we have received the seed of Christ. Romans 12:5 says, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another,” because we are born again of incorruptible seed, and are now permanently members of God’s Family. Having this wonderful gift within gives us an everlasting standing in the household of God as His very own children (Ephesians 2:19-22), and this can never change. In the Old Testament, yes, the believers could lose their standing in God’s care, but today in grace because of the completed work of Jesus Christ on our behalf (I Peter 1:18-19), we are the children of God now and throughout all eternity.

Colossians 1:27: To whom God would make known {to you and I} what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

The mystery is literally that the Jews and Gentiles who do become saved belong to God, and they become permanent members in the body of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-7). The foundation of this mystery is Christ; and we having everything Christ has ― his love, his peace, and his eternal life ― and we can know and enjoy the spirit of Christ in our hearts (Romans 8:9-17). The riches of this mystery are Christ in you, the hope of glory, to literally be with Christ in his glory for all eternity.

II Thessalonians 2:14: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

II Timothy 2:10: Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Having Christ in you and obtaining his glory are biblical testimonies, but learning how to enjoy these spiritual truths takes the renewing of our minds to what the Scriptures teach. The renewed mind is a dynamic study within the Scriptures that show and teach the children of God how to become ever more Christ-like in daily living. The first step to having and enjoying a renewed mind in this day and age of grace is to become born again, and Romans 10:9 and 10 explicitly puts the process into plain words about how to become saved, receive salvation, and be born again.

Romans 10:9–10:
-9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
-10: For with the heart man believeth unto {God’s own} righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto {your own} salvation.

The renewed mind process is one of the most enjoyable and exciting treasures we could ever receive, because having the renewed mind is having God’s best for us; we literally start to enjoy the spiritual qualities of Jesus Christ. Romans 10:11 continues, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” The words shall not be ashamed means to be totally exempt from condemnation and despair because when we have the renewed mind, as promised we will know for certain that we are born again and we can know the certainty that we are going to heaven. We will never need to question or doubt in our eternal destiny again, as Nicodemus had, because our eternal life will become an apparent, present-tense reality in our hearts.

In order to enjoy God’s blessings upon our lives we first believe and confess in Romans 10:9-10 and we become born again and are members of God’s family, able to receive biblical truths that are inspiring and renewing and comforting in our new fellowship and journey together.

II Corinthians 6:2: For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Ephesians 1:13: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.

I Thessalonians 5:9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rejoice and Be Glad in Righteousness

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

God’s healing Word shows the believer how to receive God’s righteousness, and teaches us how to rejoice and be glad in righteousness. Righteousness is a gift from God of acquittal from all wrongdoing. It is to cause one to become right in God’s eyes, to have the spiritual ability to stand before the Creator without any feelings of fear and guilt because God has forgiven us of our past sins and made us right and just before and with Him. First let us discover how to get a hold of some of God’s righteousness, and as always, we will go to the Scriptures to gain a biblical perspective of how to receive from God.

Matthew 6:33:  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

“These things” are the necessary ingredients for life such as having our food and clothing. But first Jesus taught us to “seek” God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and when these are sought after and discovered, then, God Himself begins adding to our lives not only the necessities for life, but also His kingdom and His righteousness become ours.

Romans 10:9–10:
-9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
-10: For with the heart man believeth unto {God’s very own} righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto {your very own} salvation.

I Thessalonians 2:12:  That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

To literally “walk worthy” is to walk (conduct and behave ourselves) as those who are already righteous before God (Ephesians 4:1–3). Knowing that we absolutely are truly deserving of His kingdom and His glory lightens our hearts with joy and gladness. Without believing in and knowing of God’s righteousness within, we could not accept or partake of this wonderful God-given gift and spiritual right of righteousness. When we believe and confess Jesus as our Lord, we receive God’s very own righteousness and with our confession of the resurrection we are given salvation and our most special calling!

This salvation is being made whole in body, soul, and spirit, and salvation means to be saved for heaven for eternity. This is a wonderful reason for believers to rejoice and be glad. Jesus taught us in Matthew 7:7 to “seek, and ye shall find,” and the search will bring a man or a woman to Romans 10:9–10 (above), wherein one finds the greatest discovery of all time because he literally will discover the righteousness of God – within his or her very soul.

Psalms 68:3: But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

Obviously, this verse recognizes that righteousness can be found, that being righteous will bring gladness, and righteousness allows and encourages us (the righteous) to rejoice – exceedingly!

Psalms 32:11: Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. {To be “upright in heart” is to accept and acknowledge our God-given righteousness with rejoicing and gladness.}

God’s Family – the Season of Grace

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Whenever anyone confesses and believes Romans 10:9 and 10, they automatically become members of God’s family. When we become saved we are in His family for eternity, and God is our heavenly Father forever. Salvation into God’s family is one of the easiest things in all of God’s Word, yet for so many people, even believing Christian people, the truths of salvation are all too often not understood and thus many find it difficult to accept God’s eternal invitation that has been recorded in Romans for nearly two thousand years.

Before I began understanding God’s wonderful, healing Word, I thought that salvation was reserved for a special few, very good, religious people, and that the rest of us needed some kind of confirmation from someone holy to become saved. Oh was I wrong! We can miss God everywhere until we literally come face to face with Romans 10:9-10, and then we can find God anywhere after we come to accept this Scripture:

Romans 10:9-10:
-9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
-10: For with the heart man believeth unto {God’s very own} righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto {your very own} salvation.

This is the only section of Scripture in the entire Bible that specifically explains how to receive salvation, how to acquire it (believing from the heart), what to confess (said aloud or to yourself — that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead), and what will be received (the righteousness of God, and our complete salvation). If and when men and women fulfill these Scriptures, then they are going to heaven, and that is the simple truth. When we believe and confess in the resurrection, God gives to us eternal life, and this life, as stated in I John 5:11, is in the Son of God whom God places within our very souls; as Colossians 1:27 reads: You have “Christ in you.” You will never need to have any man confirm this for you because you yourself confirm your own salvation by your own confession! Well, bless God!

Ephesians 2:5 states, “by grace are ye saved,” but it does not record that we are saved by works as I was taught and unfortunately lead to believe through my youth. No one can save themselves by works, nor are we saved by confessing our sins to anyone else, but rather we become saved by confessing our Savior from sin, the Lord Jesus. This is genuine repentance. There is no man on earth who has the privilege of confirming another soul to God, or denying salvation to anyone else, because God has given this distinct privilege to each and every person by his or her individual free-will choice.

Acts 13:46 – Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Who in the above verse was responsible for judging themselves worthy or unworthy? Themselves. The Scriptures have not changed, for man still has the privilege to accept Christ, or to turn him down. We have the right ourselves to become members of God’s family and save ourselves (Acts 2:40-41), or to condemn ourselves (Titus 3:10-11); the choice is so obviously clear and it is so inconceivable to me that some will reject everlasting life. However, when we do accept our salvation, a joyous party literally commences among the angels of God in heaven because someone has believed unto salvation and spiritual wholeness, and they are set apart for heaven. From that moment, we can be “followers of God as {His} dear children” (Ephesians 5:1).

John 3:15-21:
-15: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
-16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
-17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
-18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
-19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
-20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
-21: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Luke 15:10 Likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. {“Repentance” is literally to confess and believe in Romans 10:9 and 10.}

I have no doubt that the angels of God are joyful when someone receives their salvation. However, Luke 15:10 in the Greek Text explicitly states that the joy is emanating out from God Himself Who is in the presence of His angels because He has received a new child into His everlasting family. God is so blessed when someone chooses Him by his or her free will, and now are eternally part of His family.

When we first become saved and introduced to the heart of God and His wonderful Word, we usually have hundreds, if not thousands of questions about God, life, and our future. One thing that I usually explain to those who are newly saved is to have patience with yourself, and with God, because He will begin answering your questions. Nevertheless, the answers may not come at the precise moment we want them, but as they do come to us, we will recognize that God’s timing is perfect. Just allow yourself to enjoy your new spiritual union between you and God’s divine love. Salvation is a heavenly experience that only happens once, though it never ends, for it lasts for eternity.

This spiritual love is an absolutely wonderful and intimate heartfelt connection between the individual and his or her heavenly Father (Romans 5:5). When we first become saved, we literally have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life, from being our own master to allowing Christ to become our Lord and Savior, as God in Christ begins introducing us into the household and spiritual family of God.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

Another honest question for some people is, how do we know which Church or what group of people is truly founded by God? For some people the answer is obviously clear, the one to which they belong! And this is actually true because all believers have received an unconditional and eternal salvation in the sense that God Himself always looks on the heart rather than at the denomination or the group to which we might belong. “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). He is all love and according to His Word, anyone who is saved belongs to Him for eternity because God is no respecter of persons or groups — anyone, anywhere, under any circumstance can become saved and become a member of His household. We become members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27), and we may fellowship with whomever we desire.

God is your Father and He is blessed when you are blessed, He is never upset simply because you go somewhere to learn more about Him Who does counsel and comfort in your deepest spiritual thoughts. God is not a despot causing bad things to happen, nor does He throw you a curve simply to test your faith (James 1:13), rather He loves you. God never thinks ill of you, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Whenever anyone or any group of people think that they are the only people in the Church of God, something is most definitely amiss (Luke 9:49-50; John 10:16). God does not look at the human race by way of brand names because “God so loved the world” (John 3:16), and He changes not (Malachi 3:6). We can simply be thankful that God called us rather than worrying about who is in or out. God can and does bless and has mercy on anyone He feels like blessing and giving mercy to (see Romans chapter 9), He even blesses unbelievers from time to time, especially if those blessings will eventually affect the believer in a positive way. We can be so thankful that He is eternally our heavenly Father Who will always honor our believing. I Peter 4:18 informs us that even the believing believer is “scarcely” saved (more on “scarcely” below) and we should be so humbly grateful for our salvation.

Ephesians 2:12 That at that time {before our salvation} ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel {the citizenship that Israel once enjoyed with God}, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

The English words “without God” are the one word atheos in the Greek Text and literally means “atheist.” Atheos is someone without God, while a Christian believer is someone “with God,” and with God, all things are possible. Our salvation, righteousness, and spiritual wholeness are gifts from our loving God, and “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalms 84:11).

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off {way out there} are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

You see, the completed work of Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation for us, and because of him, his personal sacrifice, his own works, and his life’s blood offered for us, we are saved – scarcely; “if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear” (I Peter 4:18)? The word scarcely means with much labor, pains, and with difficulty, which ended up being a horrendous, torturous death that Christ went through for us to give us citizenship into God’s household. The second part of the verse- where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear has nothing to do with you, the scarcely saved, and I know that they (the ungodly and the sinner) will be given every possible chance to believe, but because you have believed today – you have moved up to the scarcely saved, and you know where you will appear. So, please today enjoy the privilege of being among the scarcely saved, because tomorrow life will get even better with God! Because Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

It is such a blessing to realize that we truly are members of God’s family and that we are saved and heaven is our eternal destiny. May you continue to grow in the light of God’s gracious Word this day while being immersed in the warmth of Christ’s love, for today is your Season of Grace.

God Bless You!

John 3:1521 (The Amplified Bible):*
-15: In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever!
16:  For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
17: For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
18: He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation–”he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]
19: The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.
20: For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.
21: But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are–”wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him].

* Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

The Grace of Our Lord

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Galatians 6:18:
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Heaven’s greatest gifts and holiest spiritual blessings accompanied with divine grace belong only to those who have obtained salvation. Galatians 6:18 is the closing salutation to the Book of Galatians. The first word is “Brethren . . .” and is used because God’s Word is talking to all those who belong to Him, and when they are God’s children, they are His sons and daughters, and members of His family. Every child of God is important to Him (Luke 15:10), and to each other (Ephesians 4:14-16).

Jesus, during the Gospel period was known to his disciples as their “master” (John 13:13) while to Jesus Christ, his disciples were known to him as his “friends” (John 15:13-15). This is still true today, along with another dynamic dimension, and that is that Christ is also our beloved Savior. For as he is a child of God (Mark 1:11) we are also the children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:15-17a).

The next phrase in Galatians 6:18 is “. . . the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” “Your spirit” here means the inner you, not only what is in your heart but in your emotions and in your feelings and in all that makes you — you. After our salvation and introduction into God’s household, the very next thing that He gives to His children is “grace,” the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Lord and Savior, for he was raised from the dead, and because he was resurrected, he has been the foundation of all true Christianity. In Romans 10:9-10, we learned that we must believe and confess that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead; this is how we obtained our salvation. Then, we have free access to all the grace that came with Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Grace means unmerited and undeserved favor from the God of all love, and today the wonderful grace of God in Christ is ours to discover in the New Testament Scriptures, and to enjoy in our lives.

The last word in Galatians 6:18 is, “. . . Amen.” This means, “So be it.” In other words, the last word fills up the thought and content of the subject. Thus the grace of our Lord Jesus is permanently and presently with you and in you because you are the brethren of Jesus Christ and the children of God. Amen and so be it.

Looking Unto Jesus (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Hebrews 12:1-2:
-1: WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
-2: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is {now} set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The great cloud of witnesses is the Old Testament believers talked about in Hebrews chapter 11. The witness of these believers was their faith, their positive believing faith and inner hope and conviction in the coming of Jesus Christ which even today is recognized when reading the Bible. In retrospect, from the Old Testament Scriptures, we today are still compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses who left us vividly written examples about how they looked to Jesus in their time, to inspire the people of this current age of grace to reach forward to Jesus.

The race that is set before us is to look to Jesus just like the Old Testament believers practiced. Their past examples encourage us to daily look to Jesus, for in him and with him is continued access to God our heavenly Father and His merciful grace. Jesus taught that when we pray, we are to offer our prayers up to God in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14). This further helps us place him at the forefront of our daily thinking, just as we are always in his daily thoughts, and through our prayers he is in ours.

Today we can look to Jesus Christ and rely on his believing faith, knowing that he is the author and finisher of our own believing faith. The word author means princely leader, the first and foremost. The word finisher means to bring to full maturity, to the completion of where our believing faith will ultimately take us – to God – to eternity. Thus, the author and finisher of our believing faith is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the first and the last, the alpha and the omega, infusing his own believing faith to enhance our personal believing faith in him who gave his all in all for you and me. Jesus is the finisher, completing and perfecting our believing faith which enables us to believe in God, through believing His Word.

Ephesians 2:8 records, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that {faith is} not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” This verse is not referring to a man or woman’s personal faith, and is why the Epistle says, that not of yourselves, but rather it is the gift of God. Then, to what faith is God referring? He is referring to the faith of Jesus Christ; this is our gift to begin enjoying our Christian life on the Path of Righteousness.

The main difference between man’s faith and the faith of Jesus is that human faith can only rise up to believe in that which is seen. In stark contrast, the faith of Jesus Christ is given so men and women can rise all the way up to believe in that which is not physically seen, yet is spiritually real ― such as salvation.

In truth, man needs Jesus to fulfill his own faith, as we read in Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus {is} the author and finisher of our faith.” Having Jesus’ own faith, we become enabled to perceive the spiritual realities of God. Christ’s faith is given to every believer at the moment of salvation, for “God hath dealt to every man {every believer} the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).

We can genuinely and honestly receive the actual gift of God, which is our salvation, without any works on our part because of the faith salvation imparts. Another reason why Ephesians 2:8 reads, and that not of yourselves is because we did nothing whatsoever to earn salvation, nor can we do anything to lose our salvation ― that is why it is such a precious gift. Salvation is something God through Christ made available to us and is freely given. God’s grace, His divine favor of love, is manifested to us through His gift of salvation.

With Jesus’ own faith, he literally becomes our spiritual window to the Creator; that is certainly much greater than going it alone, with so-called “blind faith.” Jesus’ own faith helps us perceive God in the genuine light that His Word reflects. Rather than God remaining an unknown entity or enigma Who is out there someplace just out of our reach, Christ and his faith helps those who are trying to find their way to the Creator Who dwells through all eternity.

We all receive gifts at certain times of the year, on our birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions. Yet of all the gifts we have ever received, nothing will be as everlasting as the gift of God. The gift of God is our salvation, given freely on account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

A gift is never worked for, earned, or even necessarily deserved. Gifts are simply given to bless and make one happy. Many of the gifts that we have received as early as last year are already gone, used up, or spent, but the gift of God is eternal. God’s gift is given to men and women by His divine grace, which is unmerited and unearned, yet eternally present, and we can gratefully accept it and daily appreciate its fulfillment.

Ephesians 2:9:
{And this gift is given} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

In the sight of God, no one is more saved than another for we believed unto God’s own righteousness (Romans 10:9-10), which gives complete salvation along with total access into His grace and family (Romans 5:2, and Ephesians 2:19). If salvation could be obtained by works, then logic commands that one could give more or pray more or be a better citizen or Christian than his neighbor is, and he could boast on the works performed, thinking this would give him an edge toward his salvation.

However, if works were the way to get into heaven, then God’s grace (freely given) would become totally worthless and most of us would never make it on through to heaven.

Thankfully, salvation is not based on our works, but as the Scriptures reveal, salvation is by God’s grace because Christ has already done the work and paid the full price in order that we may sincerely believe to receive. We receive our salvation on account of a friend, on our friend, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

This is the friend we read about in Proverbs “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24), and he indeed laid down his life for each and every one of us. I do believe that if you or I were the only person to believe, then this close friend would still have laid down his life so that you or I my walk on the Path of Righteousness with our Savior!

Indispensable completeness of our believing faith is what we may expect to receive by simply looking unto Jesus, rather than only looking to our own abilities (or lack thereof), or our own strength (or lack thereof), in the hopes of receiving spirituality and blessings from God. With the believing faith of Christ, men and women truly have avenues into an abundance of promises recorded in God’s Word.

When studying, for instance, the life of King David from the Books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, or from the Psalms, we find how he looked forward to the coming of his Redeemer, and we can aspire to his examples. We can read about David who was just a man, a man who tried to walk with God to the best of his abilities.

We can also see how David failed when he did not look to Jesus, but more important is that we can see him succeed whenever he was looking ahead to the Savior, the hope of his life. When and where David looked to Jesus, David had believing in God’s Word, and then he became a great recorded witness for us to still read about centuries later.

King David also wrote about the hope of Christ’s coming throughout the Book of Psalms. When teaching about the resurrection of Christ on the day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts chapter 2, the Apostle Peter refers back to David as a witness of Christ. Peter says of David that he always had Jesus Christ in the forefront of his thinking and writing as a great example for Peter and all believers.

Acts 2:25-26:
-25: For David speaketh concerning him {recorded in the 16th Psalm}, I foresaw the Lord {Jesus Christ} always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
-26: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

What gave David this inner joy, continued hope, and a glad tongue was having a personal understanding of his Lord and Savior, inspiring David to speak and write of him, being moved by God’s inspiration (II Peter 1:21).

The Old Testament Scriptures continue giving us joy, hope, and a glad tongue, the same joys that David and Peter knew when reading or speaking the Word of God because they knew Christ’s heart and had placed their allegiance, fidelity, and future hope in him. Peter uses the witness of David to introduce Christ who is our entrance into God’s family.

Acts 4:11-12:
-11: This {Jesus Christ} is the stone which was set at nought {rejected} of you builders {Peter is addressing Israel}, which {or rather who, Jesus} is become the head of the corner {of the spiritual church and family of God}.
-12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus took our sins and shortcomings to his cross in order to present you and me to God as those who are now saved. When we look to Jesus with a believing heart in expectation to receive, we will find the true spiritual presence and presents that God gives.

God now sets this daily joy before us at the table of life, and all the Word requests is for us to believe to receive, and it is our joy to enjoy by looking to Jesus, our friend, the author and finisher of our faith.