PERSEVERANCE WORKS EXPERIENCE
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope (Rom 5:1-4, KJV). " . . . and perseverance, proven character . . . " (NASB). " . . . perseverance, character . . . " (NIV). "And steadfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope" (ASV).
Devotion 2 of 24
THE NEW COVENANT IS UNIQUE
The New Covenant presumes the reconciliation of the people. The Old Covenant presumed the basic alienation of the people. That is why the accent of the Old Covenant was placed upon doing, as distinguished from the New Covenant which places the emphasis on believing.
The New Covenant begins with the remission of sins, and announces the identity of the people with God. Everyone in the New Covenant starts by being delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son (Col 1:13). Those within the covenant are not striving for identity with God, they possess it through Jesus Christ. God, who puts us into Christ, makes Jesus to be "unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor 1:30).
This identity is not a mere formality-- as with Israel of old. They were God's people because of their relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was a GROUP identity, not an individual one. The people did not have the character of God, or were not "partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4). The Word of God chaffed against their unregenerate souls. They did not feel comfortable in the presence of God, for their natures were unlike His. The glory of God and their fleshly nature were simply incompatible. That condition describes everyone outside of Christ.
But it is not so in the New Covenant! Here, the association of the individual with God is very real and personal. Believers have been "joined to the Lord," and are "one spirit" with Him (1 Cor 6:17). They have been "justified from all things" upon the basis of a sacrifice offered by another, even the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 13:39). Their names are already written in heaven (Lk 10:20; Heb 12:23). They already have an eternal inheritance reserved for them in heaven (Heb 9:15; 1 Pet 1:4).
Our text unveils another refreshing aspect of the New Covenant. It confirms "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day" (Prov 4:18, NIV). In the New Covenant, it is not a matter of restraining a basically sinful nature. Rather, it involves culturing a basically godly nature--the "new man."
Let no one suppose that we no longer confront the sinful nature, or "flesh." It is still within us like a lingering and unwelcomed enemy. It must be crucified and mortified (Gal 5:24; Col 3:5). For the New Covenant person, however, the real "I" lives by faith in Christ (Gal 2:20). It serves the law of God (Rom 7:25), and does not have a desire to sin (Rom 7:17). Because the regenerated part of is superior, being "born of God" (1 John 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,4,18), those in Christ are "MORE than conquerors through him that loved" them (Rom 8:37).
The Law promised life to those who worked, keeping its demands to the finest detail: i.e., "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them" (Rom 10;5). But those in Christ Jesus, constituents of the New Covenant, "BELIEVE to the saving of the soul" (Heb 10:39), and BELIEVE "for everlasting life" (1 Tim 1:16).
These marvelous circumstances set the stage for considering perseverance. Those in Christ Jesus have been given resources that will enable them to finish the race, be faithful until death, and be steadfast and unmoveable. It is true that only those who "endure to the end will be saved" (Matt 24:13). We should be reminded of this, lest an "evil heart of unbelief" be found in us, resulting in our departure "from the living God" (Heb 3;12). Those, however, who make this their main message have come short of their responsibility. The saints are to be reminded of the marvelous grace and power that have been given to them.
If you are in Christ Jesus, you are within the New Covenant. You are already accpeted by God, have been pronounced righteous, have been given everything that "pertains to life and godliness" (2 Pet 1:3). God requires nothing of you that you cannot do, and do well! You can "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:10).
PRAYER POINT: Father, thank You in Jesus' name for providing everything I need to maintain my life in You and be godlike in my thoughts,words, and deeds.
-- Tomorrow: PATIENCE or PERSEVERANCE --