“Exit Strategy” (seen below) is now available at most e-book venues.
How dare we call obedience “works” as we emulate Christ, His commands and His glorious example of forgiveness? Christ’s assension depended on His obedience. Like Jesus, our future salvation depends on our obedience, from our heart, toward others and God. Our success is first made possible when God draws us, through Christ Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. In the depth of our first wonderful experience in Christ, we find a new heart that likes what it has just experienced. At least we should. Seeking the same, we hear and obey. We sincerely and voluntarily act, obediently exerting our will. THAT is what God is waiting for. It is evidence of our transformation. Each heart exam takes time, a life-time. Even Jesus had to wait extra hours on the Cross. That too was a test, not of the Son of God but the Son of Man.
Forsaking obedience, many declare, “This couldn’t be God, it is too painful,” or “there is nothing I can do to “get” saved, it is a free gift.” That is true. Getting saved is free. Maintaining my “saved” condition IS my responsibility and is maintained by what Jesus taught me. Many have believed life with Jesus is not supposed to hurt. Jesus said the opposite when He said, “You must pick up your cross daily.” We confuse “heaven on earth” with the real heaven we look for. Of all the object lessons to use, it was His willing obedience to go to the cross and His then saying we must pick up our cross “Daily” that takes us beyond our salvation / reconciliation experience into a life experience of obedience in Him. Keys to the kingdom means keys are required. Forgive to be forgiven means forgivness is required. WE are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. It does not say WAIT until they do something nice, then do something nice for them.
When we run from this cross of ours or fight being put upon it by our persecutors, instead of volunteering to mount our cross for the sake of others, we are forsaking ourselves and our reward, our continued reconciliation and our eternal life. We can not afford to self-excuse our resistance to Gods instructions. We fool only ourselves by calling them “works”, rejecting God’s action orders as not being of Him. There is only One who can call our efforts “works.”
”For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB77)
Obedience must be evident in us IF we are the workmanship of God. The “works” are of His design and to His credit. Our will, with our obedience, allows (yes allows) His works to be accomplished through us. One who is owned is expected to obey.
So that we do not exalt ourselves in our obedience, we must remember, even if we were to literally die for our faith, we will not have purchased anything. Our life is not our own. We have already been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6: 20 and 7:23) Our new self does not belong to us. Our obedience is intended to prove that. We really have nothing of our own to offer God or His effort that does not already belong to Him. Physical death, as a willing witness for Christ is a great act of sacrifice to us, but it is also expenditure, an investment on His part, for the sake of the still unsaved. That may sound hard but we are an asset, a treasured asset of His having great value to the Lord. Our obedience mirrors Christ and His preciousness; or is our mirror broken?
This book is pointing to what may be our greatest value in this life. As an asset of His, as a child of the Most High God, this might be a final Christ-like witness to unbelievers, who in their ignorance are terminating us. They will see Christ in us, in our interceding departure. We will remain a child of God, and gain an honor shared with Jesus.
None of us rejoice over our possible demise. Jesus did not either. (Matthew 26:39 YLT) Christ went to the Garden knowing, prepared in advance for the prophesied events. It will be a fearful challenge, and God will understand as He did with Jesus; but let us seek to understand it now, and the fullness of its glory, so we are prepared to endure it gloriously should it come. Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2 NAS) We are that joy. Do we have a joy to envision? Is Christ our joy?
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
Our obedience leads to His return!
We initiate the return of Christ! (The E-book)
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