ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED Lesson Number 1 YOU CAN HAVE ASSURANCE
The Holy Spirit extends Himself to assure the saved of God's favor toward them. The reason for this procedure is obvious: Satan works tirelessly to deprive the saints of this persuasion. He realizes that his effectiveness is brought to an abrupt halt by the "full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:22), the "full assurance of hope" (Heb 6:11), and the "full assurance of understanding" (Col 2:2). He simply cannot dethrone one of God's king-priests (Rev. 1:5-6) that has embraced the truth of divine acceptance. Little wonder our adversary is so aggressive to distract believers to things that make absolutely no contribution to faith, assurance, or hope. Much, I fear, of the dialog that goes on among professed Christians has very little to do with the Divine agenda. ANCHORING YOUR FAITH Ephesians 1:3-6 anchors our faith in an eternal God. With determination that characterizes Deity alone, He has blessed us with "all spiritual blessings." These are benefits required to overcome this world and obtain the one that is to come (Matt 12:32; Heb 2:5; 6:5). They are "spiritual" because they are effectively brought to us by the Holy Spirit. They are "blessings" because they bring joyful and undeniable advantage. The regions in which these benefits may be realized are called "heavenly places." These are realms uncontaminated by sin. They are real, and are therefore called "places." They are transcendent to time and sense, and are therefore called "heavenly." Because of the exceeding broadness of this domain, it is called "places." This is more a term of diversity than of quantity, and is intended to underscore the availability and extent of the blessing of God. As a person in Christ, God has "raised" you up together with other believers to "sit together with Christ in heavenly places" (Eph 2:6). From another perspective, this is the grand place to which we have come in Jesus. How wonderfully it is stated in Hebrews 12:22-24. "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel" (NASB). Can you believe, child of God, that you have come to such a hold place? It is not that you SHOULD come there--it is that you ARE come there. That is where God has placed you, by His matchless grace. There is not need to question the reality of this placement, it has been made known to us through the Holy Scriptures. "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor 1:30, NASB). He, and He alone, has "placed the members in the body as it has pleased Him" (1 Cor 12:18). You have been placed where unspeakable advantages are provided. With shouts of joy, you can identify with the Psalmist, "Thou hast set my feet in a large place" (Psa 31:18b). There is no reason why you should lack confidence, be fearful and timorous, or reluctant to "draw near" to God. In Jesus, you have been accepted by God--and that acceptance is total, and without any reservation whatsoever! If you have received His Son without any reservation (John 1:12), He has received you without any. For those that imagine receiving Christ (Col 2:6) allows for disobedience and a sloven life, they greatly reproach both the Father and the Son by such distortion of the truth. It is written, "The love of Christ constrains us . . . " (2 Cor 5:14), and indeed it does! An understanding of Divine acceptance will never gender slothfulness. That is the fruit of unbelief, never of faith!
-- TOMORROW: The Necessity of Purity Before Marriage -- -- MONDAY: THE PLACE OF BLESSING --