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God’s Rescue Plan

God has a rescue plan!

Not only does He “rescue us” and bring us to new life—eternal life (read more about that by clicking here), God also gives us the opportunity to live an abundant and joy-filled, victorious life here and now.

Jesus describes it this way:

[box]“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)[/box]

Once you enter into a relationship with God, He begins His restoration process. God is restoring His elect to their pre-fallen condition through a process called: sanctification. In other words, God is able to take the difficulties of our lives, the struggles and also the blessings and use them in the process of “growing us up” and conforming us into the image of Christ:

[box]“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son . . .” (Romans 8:28–29)[/box]

Mankind was created in the image of God, but sin marred that holy, pure state. Man “fell short of the glory of God” when he transgressed. This restorative work (sanctification) is designed to display the power of the gospel through transforming fallen men and women (this includes you and me!) into individuals whose lives bring glory to God.

Sanctification is a redemptive work of God that is occurring as we submit to the authority of God’s Word and apply His truth to our lives through the grace and power of His Holy Spirit.

If you’ve received new life in Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, you are a “new creation” the old has “passed away.” But, like me, you may still struggle with old habits of the flesh and issues of sin like: anger, covetousness, or ingratitude.

Anger was a huge one for me. I would get angry, then I would vent that anger on a loved one, leaving them feeling hurt and rejected. God delights in giving us victory over that tendency.

When I first became really serious about eradicating anger from my life, I was a young bride (several years ago!) and it was a huge challenge. Someone suggested that if I was serious about overcoming my anger, I should memorize or at least meditate seriously on Romans chapters 6–8.

The process of diligently pouring the truths from these verses into my heart and mind began to affect my behavior.

Memorizing Scripture is not sufficient to insure victory, however, it must also be an act of you will to literally apply the truth you are memorizing. And it can only be applied by accessing the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:13 gives us a key to overcoming sin:

“If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body . . .”

We are to put to death our fleshly, sinful actions—by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How do we do that?

When you are tempted to give into rage, self-pity, jealously, greed—cry out to God for His grace to overcome that temptation. Ask His Holy Spirit for the power to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God. Ask God to give you greater love for Him.

When we love God more than our sin, we will have victory over that sin!

You must make the hard choice to submit your temptation to God and then humble yourself to obey His will. He will not force your obedience, but when you ask Him, He will give you the grace and power to obey.

Finally, God’s work of redemption will one day be complete as we reach a state of glorification. Even the present heavens and earth will one day be completely redeemed (2 Peter 3:10-13).

You might think of it this way:

  • Salvation is the deliverance from the penalty of sin.
  • Sanctification is the process of overcoming the power of sin.
  • Glorification is the complete and final deliverance from the presence of sin.

This is the comprehensive work of redemption throughout the life of a believer.

Spend some time meditating on Ephesians 1:7-14 and ask God to give you a fuller understanding of His complete work of redemption. Ask Him to open your eyes to your spiritual need and His provision.

Let’s pray for each other today:

Father, would you allow us to see You at work in our lives, bringing the transformation we so desperately need? Please grant us Your grace to apply ourselves to the hard work of dying to sinful desires and embracing Your will for our lives. Give us sensitivity to Your Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin and remind us to cry out for Your grace to overcome the temptation. Grant us the hope found in the surpassing greatness of Your power toward us who believe. 

I pray that we will showcase the beauty of Your transforming power in our lives in a way that will cause others to see You in us!

2 Comments

  • Elaine

    if a person refuses to let go of the sin or doesn’t recognize that s/he is living in sin – adultery, homosexual lifestyle, drunkenness, lying, etc., do you think the person has a relationship with Christ?

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Elaine ~

    If a person refuses to respond to the truth of God’s Word, rejects His authority, is unwilling to repent of sin (sin that is clearly spelled out in Scripture), that individual is what Scripture refers to as a child of wrath.” That is where we all begin–we are all born as sinners (children of wrath).

    Ephesians chapter 2 spells it out pretty clearly:

    “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Eph. 2:1–3)

    We all, by nature, by birth, are “children of wrath” and therefore we deserve punishment for our sins. We naturally will live selfishly, foolishly, and indulge the lust of our flesh. But, God does something miraculous when we come to Christ, He mercifully gives us new life (which includes new desires):

    “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:4–10)

    “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ . . .

    So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

    But you did not learn Christ in this way . . . that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Eph. 4:14–24)

    We should expect people who do not know God to act in a way that demonstrates their unregenerate condition (lost people will act lost). But what is confusing is when we know individuals who claim to have a relationship with Christ, but there is no visible evidence of a life change, there is no obvious transformation.

    Only the Holy Spirit can open the spiritual eyes of the unregenerate, we can’t cause that to happen, but we can demonstrate a winsome love, be gracious and humble in speaking truth, and be on the front lines of prayer for those who are lost (and may not even yet realize they are lost).

    We are not called to be the “Holy Spirit” in their lives or to bludgeon them with the Word, that will not draw them to Christ. There is a fine line that must be walked, actually it is walking in the Spirit, where we speak truth in love and serve them in the humility of Christ and watch for opportunities to share the gospel wisely.

    Join me in praying for loved ones who claim to know Christ, but may only have received “head knowledge” without a true heart change.

    God’s blessings to you ~