“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” – Ephesians 1:5-6 (NASB)
For my 54th birthday, my wife decided to send me an e-devotional from the Institute of Creation Research. This “Days of Praise” e-devo was titled “The Christian Permission” and, as always, it was written by Henry M. Morris III. This independent Baptist has penned some real doozies and on this December 8th, there was no exception. So, without further ado let’s get our knives and forks out and cut into the meat of this permission.
The first slice has to begin with our opening verse from Ephesians. When we look at this passage, we could take the position that our God, through His kind intention, just gives us grace. But if you understand that it’s only through the adoption process, we get from the work done by Jesus Christ you might not understand it so cheaply. Jesus taught, healed, and then emptied Himself on The Cross so that we may come boldly, yet humbly to the Throne of Grace through His intercession. Apart from Him in all of this you can do NOTHING!! So open your Bibles and let’s get movin’ on…
Dr. Morris begins to thread the needle with something the high priest of Israel would have to wear. “Holy to the LORD” was something “you shall” engrave in gold, fasten with blue cord, and wear it on the front of your turban like a seal. (Exodus 28:36-38) This would have made them accepted before the LORD. A high priest, returning from the Babylonian Exile dressed in filthy garments, being accused by a now rebuked Satan has those garments removed from him. This priest, whose name is Joshua (he also could be seen as a type of all believers) is admonished, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you walk in My ways, and if you perform MY service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing.’” – Zechariah 3:7
If you take a look at John 15:16 you’ll read where Jesus commanded His chosen and ordained disciples to “ask” the Father for “whatever” solely on the condition that theirs was to “go and bear fruit” and “that your fruit remain”. And since we are on the subject of asking, we ordinary folks have been permission by Jesus Christ Himself. “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7) Sounds very cool, doesn’t it? This means we are accepted!! Well don’t lose your place, because this is all hinged on you “abiding in” and “grafted into” But there is more…
The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:13-14 that we are “sealed in Him with the promise of the Holy Spirit, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” In other words, we are “established…anointed…sealed” (2 Cor 1:21-22) Our permission expands when we look at 1 Cor 1:4-8 and see we are confirmed in everything. Exodus 28:41 and 1 John 2:27 has us consecrated, sanctified to serve and a look at 2Cor 5:5 says we are given “the Spirit as a pledge” to empower our ministry.
The work of the Holy Spirit is a threefold ministry in our lives and He does this on Christ’s behalf. That by doing this work in us we can be a witness to those who aren’t part of the family yet (see John 16:7-11). We can also go to John’s Gospel to see where He will also teach us so that we are guided in all truth (John 16:13; 14:17,26; 15:26). Furthermore, the wisdom, prudence, and knowledge of God are revealed to us through His work in us (1 Cor2:9-10). Our “effectual working” has been “graced” to us (Eph 3:7) so that we can “work out [our] salvation” (Phil 2:12), “and in Him you have been made complete” (Col 2:10).
I recently got myself the iPhone 6 Plus and still haven’t used it for what it could really be used for. At times, I treat my walk with Christ the same way. With all the studying I’ve done over years, I still find myself keeping myself in this tight box of Christendom simply because I forgot that I have been given permission to be much more. I am grateful for “so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us” because they help me “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which easily entangles us” so that I “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” I hope you agree…AMEN?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “The actual call of Jesus and the response of single-minded obedience have irrevocable significance. By means of them Jesus calls people into an actual situation where faith is possible. For that reason, His call is an actual call and He wishes it so to be understood, because He knows that it is only through actual obedience that a man can become liberated to believe.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. Psalm 63:7