Revelation, Love and Intimacy

Circle-1  It is hard to envision what the Garden of Eden was like before the fall of man. Can you imagine an existence on this earth where there are no laws to break except one, and no conscience to violate, but only love and acceptance? Man dwelt there with his Creator in love and all his livelihood was provided for him with no fear of death or sickness. There were no animals or men to fear, and no weeds or briars to fight. It was a place where there was total peace and fellowship with all God’s creatures. Even the animals communicated with man in love, using a common language that was heard from heart to heart instead of head to head. This is the world that God made for man to enjoy. Adam and Eve ran around like little naked kids with no sense of shame whatsoever and felt such love and intimacy together that their relationship was only driven by God’s agape love for and in them, not by self-centered lust. God was loving and communing with them as their Daddy.

After thousands of years of suffering the consequences of the fall, it is hard for us to imagine such a world. Yet the image of the garden gives us a glimpse of heaven. Man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and unleashed evil upon the earth, but God has had a plan to fully restore man to Himself and so we can walk in love with Him and one another once again and that plan was summed up with the words, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”[1] Paul wrote of this saying, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.”[2]

God so loved the world that He actually sent His own Son into this vile and dangerous place to restore man. Jesus not only consented to come here to the earth, but to be rejected, falsely accused by His own people and then tortured and killed in the most gruesome way possible, hanging on a cross. He did this so He could blot out the offence of our transgressions once and for all by taking our sin on Himself so we might be justified.[3]

The Hebrew word translated “restore” in the Old Testament is shub (shoob) and is found 1339 times in that ancient text. One of the most familiar verses is in David’s prayer, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.”[4] Restoration of mankind is high on God’s list of priorities.

The drawing above in my mind pictures what God has been showing many of us in one form or another as He calls us out of ourselves and into Him as His sons and daughters. The tangle of weeds and briars along the bottom represents the curse that man has been under for thousands of years. A concern over good and evil is an endless tangle and a trap that pitches one man against another through sin and the rigidity of laws and regulations. Much of Christianity is trapped there today. The first fruit of this wrong tree was Adam and Eve seeing their God-given state of nakedness as evil and making garments of fig leaves to cover themselves and hide from God. It is interesting that God said to them, “Who told you that you were naked?”[5] It was the serpent who filled them with guilt and shame as they submitted to him in order to become wise. On that day they lost their child-like faith and trust in God.

But God had a plan to pull us up out of the muck and mire of sin, law and death through the death and resurrection of His Son[6], the spotless Lamb Who takes away the sins of the world.[7] We all know His plan to bring about the salvation (the saving) of man by Christ’s death on the cross, but there is so much more to it than just getting us out of the miry clay and setting our feet on the Rock.[8]

God has wanted an intimate, loving relationship with man from the beginning. He identified Himself as a husband to both Jews and Gentiles in both the Old and New Testaments.[9] And finally in the New Testament, Jesus is identified as the Bridegroom and those who truly love Him as His Bride.[10] This brings up the subject of intimacy.

As depicted in the drawing above, Revelation, Love and Intimacy flow between and out from the Father, Son and Spirit. In this relationship, the Spirit reaches down into our lives with what the scriptures and is called the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ.[11] Jesus said that He would send the Spirit to us to lead us into all truth.[12]

With this revelation from Him we realized that God loves us and we in turn love God because He first loved us.[13] We come into a relationship with Christ because He calls us and reveals Himself in us.[14] We are also called into the intimacy of the Father and the Son, and from this intimacy comes and ever growing revelation of who They are.[15] With this growing revelation grows an ever greater love for Them in us as well. We are caught up into this circle of love with them as well.

In all this, we who are His elect grow together in our love for one another as we are made perfect in love. The perfect love of God casts out all fear.[16] This freedom allows us to walk in the transparency and the Light (spiritual intimacy) of Christ[17] with one another in true fellowship[18]. We pray for each other and work toward each other’s wholeness as members of Christ’s body[19] where all things are done unto edification.[20] As God unites us together in His love for one another, all our walls of separation come down, because in Christ there is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave or free, or male nor female, but a new creation allowing real intimacy and fellowship between us.[21] As our love grows for one another, our relationships take on a depth we never knew possible in the world. “Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails!”[22] Jesus said:

A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34 KJVCNT)

You might say that we are being sucked-up into this tornado of love where the Father, the Son and the Spirit live for us because they love us so much. The closer we are drawn to Them, the more we become like Them and the more the world rejects us because we are no longer of this world.[23] Soon, His love is so strong for and in us that we gladly loose ourselves from our earthly moorings like houses torn from their foundations in a tornado, and are totally caught up into the love of the Father and the Son. All the things of this world that were once near and dear to us lose their grip on our hearts.[24] In my own case I used to live to fish and hunt and have a place of my own in the country that made it easier to do so. I even built my own hunting lodge that was on 20 acres of forest near lakes and mountains, but before I was done, God’s love so changed me that it was all I could do to finish this lodge so we could sell it and move into town where Father wanted me.

Paul, who loved Jesus dearly, put it this way:

 Those things were important to me, but now I think they are worth nothing because of Christ. Not only those things, but I think that all things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him, I have lost all those things, and now I know they are worthless trash. This allows me to have Christ and to belong to him. Now I am right with God, not because I followed the law, but because I believed in Christ. God uses my faith to make me right with him. I want to know Christ and the power that raised him from the dead. I want to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death. (Philippians 3:7-10 NCV)

 How else can we as His bride ever become one unless we have a common depth of love for Jesus and the Father? Soon we become so enraptured with Christ and the Father that we are in total identification and unity with them and with one another in this same love. This is the goal of the gospel!

 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he says unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he says unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Revelation 19:7-9 KJVCNT)

 Speaking of love and intimacy Oswald Chambers wrote:

After that, He appeared in another form to two of them… —Mark 16:12
Being saved and seeing Jesus are not the same thing. Many people who have never seen Jesus have received and share in God’s grace. But once you have seen Him, you can never be the same. Other things will not have the appeal they did before.
You should always recognize the difference between what you see Jesus to be and what He has done for you. If you see only what He has done for you, your God is not big enough. But if you have had a vision, seeing Jesus as He really is, experiences can come and go, yet you will endure “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).
Jesus must appear to you and to your friend individually; no one can see Jesus with your eyes. And division takes place when one has seen Him and the other has not. You cannot bring your friend to the point of seeing; God must do it. Have you seen Jesus? If so, you will want others to see Him too. “And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either” (Mark 16:13). When you see Him, you must tell, even if they don’t believe. ~ http://utmost.org/have-you-seen-jesus/

(a special thanks to Susanne Schuberth for sharing this and her own experiences on her blog. https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/a-life-redeemed-now-or-later/ )

 Seeing Jesus as He IS makes all the difference in the world. Jesus calls us to be not only His friends, but His bride, intimately connected to Him. As called-out ones, we share a greater intimacy with Him and, as a result with others who have seen him, too. We cast off our earthly moorings and let the Spirit wind take us wherever He sees fit. The perfect love of the Father does a deep work in our hearts and draws us away from the cares, goals and values of this world system. Jesus had a circle of 70 disciples, but the original 12 were closer to Him. Inside this smaller group were the three He took up in mountain where He appeared to them clothed in Light. Finally there was John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

So it is with the called and chosen. He loves everyone the same, but not all are able to receive everything He wants to share with them. John was not afraid to lay his head on Jesus’ breast because he was connected to Jesus by His great love. Of the twelve, only John was there with Him while He died on the cross.[25] The depth of love for Jesus and the ability to cast off our worldly and religious expectations and be caught up in Him alone will eventually make the difference for all of us.

At the last supper, before Jesus was taken captive by His murders, He prayed a very important prayer with His disciples.

 

Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you: As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know [Grk. ginosko – intimate knowing[26]] you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent… I pray not for the world, but for them that you have given me; for they are yours. And all mine are yours and yours are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are… That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known [ginosko] you: but I have known [ginosko] you, and these have known [ginosko] that you have sent me. And I have declared unto them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:1-26 KJ2000)

 

Here we see a prayer for revelation, love and intimacyONE. I cannot get away from this phrase, “that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” His desire was and is not only for us to join in their unity and love, but for us to know it among ourselves as His people! This vortex of love between the Father, Son and Spirit draws us up into intimate fellowship with Them.

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.., and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7 RSVA)

This precious promise is not in future tense, but in the present. Dear saints, let these words sink into the depths of your heart, for here is the reality of His revelation and love for us in the greatest intimacy imaginable. May we all come to know this intimacy and love as we abide IN Them. Amen.

[1] Gen. 1:26

[2] Romans 8:29 RSVA

[3] Romans 3:23-26, 1 John 2:2 and 4:10

[4] Psalm 51:12 KJV

[5] Gen. 3:11

[6] Rom. 8:2

[7] John 1:29

[8] Psalm 40:2, 1 Cor. 10:4

[9] Jer. 2:2, 3:14, 31:32; Isa. 54:5; Eze. 16:8, 23:4; Hos. 2:2, 3:1 ; John 3:29 and 2Cor. 11:2

[10] Matt. 22:1-14, John 3:29; Rev. 19:7-9, 21:2-9 and 17

[11] Eph. 1:17

[12] John 16:13-15

[13] 1 John 4:19

[14] 1 Cor. 2:7-16, Galatians 1:5 and 3:27, Acts 17:28

[15] Matt. 13:11; Mark 3:11; Luke 10:23; John 15:15; John 17:6-7, 26; Romans 16:25-26;1 Cor. 2:11-12; Col. 1:26

[16] 1 John 4:18

[17] John 1:9

[18] 1 John 1:5-8

[19] James 5:16, Eph. 1:17-18, Eph. 4:21-25

[20] Eph. 4:14-16

[21] Gal. 3:26-28 and 6:15, Eph. 2:13-22, 4:1-6 , 4:15-16, 2 Cor. 5:17

[22] 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a CEV

[23] Matt. 5:10-12, Matt. 10:22, Mark 13:9-13, Luke 6:22-23, Luke 21:17, John 15:18-20, John 17:14

[24] Matt. 10:37, Luke 14:26, 2 Cor. 5:14-15

[25] John 19:26

[26] Matt. 1:25

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Who ARE You, Lord?

Hubble Photos“I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!” (Luke 11:8-13 AMP – emphasis added)

The human mind tends to be lazy. We want to get an initial understanding of something and “get a handle on it.” From that point, it is fixed and we move on to get another theory neatly under our belt. But the wisdom and knowledge of God is infinite. Just about the time we think we have Him figured out, He does the opposite. And how many times I have had the meaning of a verse opened by Him into a greater depth I never saw before!

Imagine the shock that came upon those faithful Jews who administered the daily sacrifices and guarded the temple of God, knowing that what they were doing was necessary for maintaining their covenant with God. Yet, this same God allowed the Babylonians to come down upon them, take them into captivity, destroy the temple, and put an end to their daily sacrifices! The Ark of the Covenant was lost, never to be seen again. The shekinah glory above the mercy seat was gone! Men built more temples, but the glory of God was lost forever. Every time we think we have God in our nice, neat little doctrinal box, He blows up the box with a new and greater revelation of who He is! In this particular case, He was doing away with the Old Covenant to make room for the next one—a new one not based on law-keeping, but rather the mighty power of His grace.

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 RSVA)

Oswald Chambers wrote,

God cannot reveal anything to us if we have not His Spirit. An obstinate outlook will effectually hinder God from revealing anything to us. If we have made up our minds about a doctrine, the light of God will come no more to us on that line, we cannot get it. This obtuse stage will end immediately [when] His resurrection life has its way with us.”

We try to resist God with our puny human minds–minds that have been infected with the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! For instance, we constantly use our minds to categorize people and things (this is good and that is evil). The way the typical carnal Christian thinking works when we meet another Christian is to start asking questions to find out how they believe and where they go to church. Then we say to ourselves, “Oh, you are one of those,” put that person in a convenient pigeon-hole and don’t listen to them any longer unless they are in the same pigeon-hole with us! Our beliefs are not tried and tested when we pigeon-hole people and shut them off if what they say is a challenge to us.

The Pharisees had a hard time with Jesus. They were constantly trying back Him into a doctrinal blind alley. Nicodemus had his mind blown by Jesus one night when he tired to pigeon-hole Him! So, in typical Pharisaic fashion he said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him…” Jesus stopped him dead cold in his tracks and told him that he was not even in the game, much less on first base. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus was speaking of a spiritual rebirth of the New Covenant in which the Spirit of God comes into those who keep seeking and are not content with their religious status quo. But that old man could only relate to a spiritual answer with another carnal question, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” As Oswald Chamber rightfully wrote, “If we have made up our minds about a doctrine, the light of God will come no more to us on that line, we cannot get it.”

One of the most important aspects of being led and taught by the Spirit of God is spiritual flexibility. Jesus went on to tell that old Jew,The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit”(John 3:8 RSVA). You cannot predict the wind. Its very unpredictability is demonstrated in Tornado Alley in the mid-west United States every year. Hundreds die in those storms in spite of their storm cellars and early warning systems. Religious people use their knowledge of the Bible to put God in their doctrinal boxes. They say, “Oh, God would not do that!” Or, “It says this in the Bible so God has to do it!” God laughs at our attempts to control Him with our puny minds so we can be God. Isn’t this the very motive behind so much of our Bible studying? Aren’t we trying to get a handle on God so we can control this unpredictable, wild Lover who swoops into our lives and longs to take us to ever greater heights of intimacy with Him?

Yes, He is a wild Lover. He calls us to follow Him, keep seeking Him, keep asking what His will is for us each moment of each day, and keep knocking on His heavenly door until He lets us into His inner chambers where He dwells. Here we abandon ourselves to Him and say as Mary did, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word.”

Oh, dear saints, our Father has so much more for each of us to discover and experience– who He is and the depths of His great love for us. Don’t be content with your own shallow understanding and stop there, thinking you have arrived. One of the most damaging things men do is give another man a theology degree that tells him He has arrived and knows all about God. Paul had one of those degrees because he sat at the feet of and learned from that highly regarded Jewish scholar, Gamaliel. Then on one fine day when Paul had God all figured out and was going about to kill all those cult followers of Jesus, He had an encounter with the living God. All of a sudden his fine education and training became so much dung. But Paul did ask the right question in his divine encounter, “Who are you, Lord?”

My dear Christian friends, if we are to ever apprehend this God by whom we have been apprehended, this is the question that we all should ask Him every day and then stand by to have our minds blown.

Who ARE you Lord?

“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he ate the produce of the field; and he made him suck honey out of the Rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.” (Deuteronomy 32:11-13 RSVA – emphasis added)

We Are Saved by His Grace!

sun-and-cloudsBut you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
(1 Peter 2:9 RSVA)

The longer I live (I am over 70 now) the more I see that walking by faith is totally a gift from God. This gift is called “the faith of Jesus Christ.” Paul wrote,

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed in [grk. eis – INTO] Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16 KJV – emphasis added)

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but rubbish, that I may win [gain] Christ, And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith OF Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:8-9 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

Did you see that? The faith of Christ is the righteousness of God! How does one get Jesus’ faith and become righteous? Jesus told the Jews:

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. (John 6:44-45 RSVA)

Yes, our heavenly Father teaches us as He draws us with His Spirit. We also know that God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11 RSVA)

Even we who are evil by nature can come to our righteous Father and ask Him for the faith we need. God is the originator of everything good, and all things were made by Christ, including the faith by which be believe. Paul wrote,

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17 KJV)

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ, (BY GRACE you are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5 KJ2000 – Emphasis added)

“For BY GRACE are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJ2000 – Emphasis added)

And James wrote:

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. (James 1:16-18 RSVA)

It might seem like I am splitting hairs here, but saving faith is not of us! It does not come by us listening to a carefully devised sermon designed to play on our emotions, either. It is by the will and the grace of the Father that we are saved. He places the faith of Christ in us by the power of His grace. This might come as a shock to many of you, but we are not saved by reciting some magical incantation called a “sinner’s prayer.” Show me anywhere in the Bible where anyone prayed a sinner’s prayer! Jesus is the Bridegroom and He is the one who chooses His bride, not the other way around. Paul wrote about his own salvation experience as follows:

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (Galatians 1:15-16 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

Who caused Paul to be born? GOD!

Who called Paul by His grace? GOD!

Who revealed His Son IN (not to) Paul? GOD!

Who chose Paul’s calling? GOD!

His grace moving upon and in us is where our faith to believe into Christ and Christ in us to do the Father’s will comes from and not by anything we can generate within ourselves or by the persuasions of men, either. Paul wrote:

And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:3-5 RSVA – emphasis added)

Dear saint, is it any wonder that the church of today so resembles the world and is so powerless? Today’s ministers most often rely on their own power and wisdom (or that of another in a pulpit commentary) to do God’s work. Very few portray weakness or fear in the face of the faithful; instead they polish their skills of Greek oratory and homiletics and strut their stuff on Sunday morning. Millions have come to the marriage feast of the Lamb wearing their own garments, not the wedding garment of Christ who is their Covering! They say; “I got saved by Billy Graham!” “I answered an altar call given by Pastor Wonderful!” “I said a sinner’s prayer in 1972!” Sorry folks, salvation is not at all about all those extra-biblical things the church so proudly points to today! And it most certainly is not about innate “goodness” that “we chose Jesus.”

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” and while we are yet sinners God moves on us with His breath of Life and gives us the life of Christ. It is by His empowering grace that we believe and totally trust in Jesus to be Christ in us. We trust in Him alone to do those works that Father has ordained from the foundation of the world for us to walk in.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 KJ2000 emphasis added)

What is left for us to do? If the “us” in us is the old un-crucified Adam, there is one answer: “Die!” If our “us” is “Christ in us the hope of glory,” we have one thing to do, and that is rest (See Hebrews 4:9-11) while He does the works through us. This is summed up in Paul’s words, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

One more thought. Where do the love of God and the Spirit come in with this dynamic we call resting in Christ? Paul wrote,

“For we through the Spirit [the empowerment of His grace] wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works through love.” (Galatians 5:5-6 KJ2000 Emphasis added)

Through the Spirit who abides in us we wait! We don’t run out and try to earn our salvation or keep ourselves saved by doing good works. As we wait upon and have confidence in Christ in whom we live, He moves on us and in us with His love. From that love, the works we are to do become evident, and are empowered by His grace. We are birthed by the Father in Christ, and because of this, “in Him we live and move and have our being…for we are His offspring” (See Acts 17:28).

“…observe, again, that the phrase ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ has a deeper meaning than we sometimes attach to it. We are accustomed to speak of rejoicing in a thing or a person, which, or who, is thereby represented as being the occasion or the object of our gladness. And though that is true, in reference to our Lord, it is not the whole sweep and depth of the Apostle’s meaning here. He is employing that phrase, ‘in the Lord,’ in the profound and comprehensive sense in which it generally appears in his letters, and especially in those almost contemporaneous with this Epistle to the Philippians. I need only refer you, in passing, without quoting passages, to the continual use of that phrase in the nearly contemporaneous letter to the Ephesians, in which you will find that ‘in Christ Jesus’ is the signature stamped upon all the gifts of God, and upon all the possible blessings of the Christian life. ‘In Him’ we have the inheritance; in Him we obtain redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins; in Him we are ‘blessed with all spiritual blessings.’ And the deepest description of the essential characteristic of a Christian life is, to Paul, that it is a life in Christ.” ~ Alexander MacLaren – http://biblehub.com/commentaries/maclaren/philippians/4.htm

It is His grace moving upon us, His faith within us we rest in, His love that moves us to act and His Spirit that empowers us—and never are any of these things of ourselves, but only are they ours as we abide IN and have put on Christ. What a great salvation our Father in His love for us has given us, that we should be called the children of God (See 1 John 3:1). Amen.