During our recent forty days of reflection we’ve been thinking and talking a lot about choices, those we can make and those we can only pray others are making. According to God’s Word we can choose where we will spend eternity, what our everyday life will reflect, our thoughts and our words. Lately it has become so very important for us to recognize the choice we can make for ourselves and the choices we can pray others will make for their eternity.
Our eternal choice – “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.Matthew 25:31-45
. . . they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
New International Version
Quite late a few nights ago, I heard a Christian TV Host say, “Now, since you have prayed for salvation, you will have eternal life.” I wanted to scream at her, “No! you have eternal life NOW. God created you to be an ETERNAL spirit. The prayer for salvation determines WHERE, not if, you will live eternally. Everyone will live eternally. Dear Hearts, if you haven’t come to grips with that Holy Kingdom fact I urge you to re-read Jesus words as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel.
The “eternal life” for the righteous Jesus speaks about begins the moment you call upon Him for salvation.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true [supreme and sovereign] God, and [in the same manner know] Jesus [as the] Christ whom You have sent.John 17:3 AMP
For years those attending our study groups and other meetings have heard us focus on choices. The message has always been, “your life is a result of the choices you make…If you don’t like your life, it’s time to start making better choices.” God’s Word tells us how our choices will change our lives.
Our everyday choice – This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may liveDeuteronomy 30:19
New International Version
This morning in our quiet time we read the day’s devotional from Barry Bennett, one of the few ministries we follow regularly. His title: Which “it is finished” do you prefer? Sharing it here with his permission, ’cause it fits my thoughts for the day perfectly.
The saying “it is finished” appears twice in the New Testament. The first appearance is the declaration of Jesus referring to the fulfillment of the Law, the destruction of the power of sin, sickness and the power of the devil, and the opening of the door for God to live in men.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30)
On this statement hang all of the glorious truths of the gospel! Those who believe are no longer seeking to be free from sin, we ARE free from the power of sin. We no longer are seeking to get healed, we HAVE BEEN healed by Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross. All who believe this Good News have been forgiven, delivered from the power of darkness, and have been made to sit with Him in heavenly places in Christ.
We no longer need to beg God to do what has already been done. Faith is simply receiving what has already been accomplished. It is finished!
But there is another use of this phrase that you may have missed.
Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when IT IS FINISHED, brings forth death. (James 1:15)
Did you know that though you are free from the power of sin and you can have dominion over the lusts of the flesh, if that dominion isn’t exercised sin can still be loosed in your life. And, when it is finished, it will bring forth death in your life. Not that you will fall down dead, but rather corruption, loss, confusion, weakness, guilt and sickness will have the opportunity to go to work.
In order to avoid the “it is finished” of sin, it is incredibly important that we walk in the “it is finished” of the cross. Exercise your God given dominion. Access the grace of God in every circumstance and determine that the power of His resurrection is greater than the power of sin that is in the world.
Before I finish, let me just touch briefly on the choices we make regarding our thoughts and our words. God gives us clear directions in both areas. I love the instructions from Paul to his congregation in Corinth.
Our mindful choice –“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”2 Corinthians 10:5 MSG
When it comes to our words, I’ve said so much already it seems best to simply leave you with the “search results” for words found here at the Cottage. There are so many post to choose from!