Saturday, 27 October 2012

How to remain in God's peace

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." Romans 16:20

Peace is a powerful weapon against the enemy of our souls! The secret to resisting the work of Satan is learning to remain in a constant state of supernatural peace. This peace that transcends all understanding is found in God - the God of peace. Paul writes,

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7

The question is, "How do I remain in God's peace?"

Christ's example

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, lived in God's peace while on earth. He could rest in the presence of His enemy whilst others lost their peace. For example, Jesus slept in the boat in the storm whilst His disciples panicked. When Jesus was wakened by the disciples, He rebuked the storm from a place of peace (see Mark 4:35-41).

Christ left us an example of how the believer should respond to false accusations and the attacks of the enemy. He writes,

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats." 1 Peter 2:21-23

How did Jesus keep His peace in the face of injustice and the false accusations of His enemies?

"Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." 1 Peter 2:23

Jesus placed His life in the Father's hands. He trusted God in the face of His enemies. He dined with the Father in the presence of His enemies (Psalm 23:5)!

We see then that Jesus remained in God's peace by constantly being conscious of the Father's presence (1 Peter 2:19) and by entrusting His life to the Father.

Paul's example

Writing from prison, the apostle Paul exhorts the Philippians -

"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Phil. 4:9

Paul could write with authority because he himself learned to live in peace in the face of persecution and hardship! He knew how to be in constant peace whatever the circumstances. He writes,

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plently or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." Phil. 4:11-13

Paul knew the secret of finding peace in every circumstance - trusting in Christ! It was Jesus who gave him the strength to remain in God's peace as Paul fixed his eyes on Christ rather than on reacting to his circumstances. Whether imprisoned with Silas after severe beating or in chains in Rome, Paul remained God-conscious and prayed, praised and worshipped God in every circumstance (see Acts 16:24,25!).

Consequently, Paul, speaking form experience, encourages the Philippians to do the same! He writes,

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:4-7

Very practically, Paul then continues to show the Church how to keep her peace:

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." Phil. 4:8

Paul was able to remain in a constant state of peace in all that he went through by remaining God-conscious and by keeping his mind on "things above" (Col. 3:2).

Finally, Paul could remain in God's peace as he not only trusted in God but also trusted in God's faithfulness. He writes,

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19

Paul's confidence and peace lay in his faith in what God was able to do and what God would do!

Remain in God's peace

In summary then we see that in order to remain in God's peace, we need to:

  1. remain God-conscious
  2. trust God
  3. think on things above
  4. trust in God's faithfulness

I want to encourage you today to "seek peace and pursue it" (Ps 34:14). No matter what you are going through right now, you can experience God's supernatural peace. Resist the enemy and rest in God. 


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Do you have Eternal Life?

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13


The purpose of the apostle John's letter is to help believers know whether they have eternal life or not. John looks at the evidence or fruit of the life of one who is truly saved to help us know what the life of a believer should look like. Before we look at some of the fruit of a born again believer we need to understand what it means to be saved.


Many Christians think that salvation is about believing in Jesus Christ so that when they die they will not go to hell but will be given eternal life in heaven. Although that is true, it is only a limited understanding of what salvation is all about! What many people don't understand is that through faith or trusting in Jesus Christ, the believer is "born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable" (1 Peter 1:23). That means that the believer receives life that is imperishable - eternal life. This eternal life is not an impersonal force but the very presence of the One who lives forever because He has conquered sin and death - Jesus Christ. The believer therefore receives the indwelling presence of Eternal Life. John writes,

"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:11,12

Eternal Life

So we see that eternal life is not just something believers receive after they die, but it is Jesus living in them, the moment they believe in Him and confess Him as Lord of their lives (Rom. 10:9,10; 1 John 4:15). Those who don't believe in Christ Jesus are separated from Eternal Life, the life of God, but anyone who does believe, "God lives in him and he in God" (Eph. 4:18; 1 John 4:15).

The proof of Eternal Life

The question then is, "How can I know that I am born again and have received Eternal Life?" The apostle John explains that believers can know that they have Eternal Life because,

  • the Holy Spirit testifies with their spirit that they are children of God (1 John 3:24; 4:13; 5:10)
  • they are walking in the Light and don't keep on sinning (1 John 1:6; 3:6,9; 5:18)
  • they don't deny their disobedience when they have sinned (1 John 1:8)
  • they obey God's will (1 John 2:3,4; 2:17; 5:2)
  • they are like Jesus (1 John 2:6; 3:2)
  • they love the children of God (1 John 2:9,10; 3:14; 4:7,11; 5:1)
  • they overcome the evil one and the world (1 John 2:13; 4:4; 5:3)
  • they don't give in to their sinful desires (1 John 2:15-17)
  • they have an anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20)
  • they know the truth (1 John 2:21)
  • they are confident and unashamed (1 John 2:28; 3:21; 4:17; 5:14)
  • they do what is right (1 John 2:29; 3:10)
  • they have hope (1 John 3:3)
  • they love with action and in truth (1 John 3:18)
  • they have peace with God (1 John 3:19)
  • they please God (1 John 3:22)
  • they speak from God's viewpoint (1 John 4:5,6)
  • they live in love (1 John 4:16)
  • they don't fear punishment (1 John 4:18)
  • they receive understanding (1 John 5:20)
The reasons for lack of fruit

The fruit of Eternal Life is simply the revelation of Christ in the believer. The problem, however, is that many believers are not seeing the fruit of Eternal Life in their lives. Does that mean that they are not saved? I believe the lack of evidence is due to three reasons. Clearly there might be the possibility that the person is just a nominal Christian who has not entirely surrendered his life to Jesus as Lord of His life and is therefore not born again. The second reason is that believers don't respond to the Eternal One in them. They simply continue doing their own will and ignore the presence of God in them and with them! The third reason believers don't see more evidence of Eternal Life in their lives, is simply the fact that they don't remain in fellowship with God

Fellowship with God

Fellowship with God means I live my daily life with an awareness of God's presence in me and with me all the time. This awareness of God means I include God in every aspect of my life. As I do so I become sensitive to His presence and learn to respond to His leading. I get to know God and learn what grieves Him and what pleases Him. I spend time in the secret place to draw near to Him in worship, to meditate on His Word and to receive from Him. I learn to acknowledge His presence and become sensitive to His every movement as I go into the day. As I become increasingly sensitive to God, I have my mind on what the Spirit desires so that I avoid giving in to the desires of the flesh. Fellowship with God will cause me to produce the fruit of Eternal Life! Those who remain in Christ know that what John describes as the evidence of Eternal Life is possible! (Rom. 8:1-16; Gal. 5:16-25).

Fullness of joy!

Jesus came to give us fullness of life (John 10:10)! Those who truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, receive Christ who is Eternal Life itself. Having received fullness in Christ, the believer has received everything he needs for life and godliness and can participate in the Divine nature as he remains in Jesus and continues to have fellowship with Him (Col. 2:10; 2 Peter 1:3,4; John 15:4,5).

I encourage you today, to spend time in God's presence and enjoy fellowship with Him. Practice the presence of God and you will produce the fruit of eternal life as you obey Him. I write these things so your joy will be complete (1 John 1:4).


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Walking in the Light

"The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make your joy complete." 1 John 1:2,3

Fellowship restored

Jesus came to reconcile man to God so that man can enjoy fellowship with God not only in heaven but already on earth. Those who trust in Jesus have access to the Father to enjoy intimacy and close fellowship with God on a daily basis. This is the joy of salvation - being made right with God to enjoy His presence and fellowship! God demonstrates His love for us by giving us His Son so that we can have fellowship with Him. God has done everything for man to be close to Him! 

Walking in the Light

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the world." 1 John 1:5- 2:2

God is light. He is holy and expects His children to walk in holiness (1 Peter 1:15,16). Those who walk in fellowship with God will walk in holiness. As children of Light we are to produce the fruit of the Light (Eph. 5:8,9).

John recognises that even though the believer seeks to walk in the Light, he may occasionally sin. That is a very different walk to the one who continues to walk in sin or darkness. Clearly those who continue to walk in darkness, produce the fruit of darkness and are not in fellowship with the Light, even if they claim to know God and walk with Him! John is repeating what Jesus says in Matthew 7:16 concerning what is revealed by the fruit of one's life.

The effect of sin

John's concern for his spiritual children that they don't sin is based on the fact that sin affects our fellowship with God and one another. If it didn't, then there would be no need to confess our sins! Through Christ, however, the Father has made provision for man to enter His presence and to remain in His presence. Occasional sin does not sever our relationship to God but it certainly affects our fellowship with Him. When a child of God sins, he grieves the Spirit of God (Eph. 4:30). Grace isn't given to cover our sin but to empower us to live in the Light (Titus 2:11,12).

The carpet of grace

If grace is a carpet that we receive from God, then we must understand that it is not given to sweep our sins under. That is to say we have no sin (1 John 1:10)! Rather, the carpet of grace is given for us to stand upon with our sin before God. The mercy and grace of God give us access to enter the presence of God with our sin and to deal with our sin with Him to restore intimacy with Him. On the carpet of grace we are not judged and condemned but rather we are loved, forgiven and empowered to overcome our weaknesses. 

Many Christians still live according to the Old Testament where man had to first offer a sacrifice before being allowed in the presence of God. Similarly many believers feel they must first deal with their sin before coming before God. That way, when they feel good enough they feel they can enter God's presence. The problem with approaching God this way is that it is unbiblical and self-righteous. When do you feel good enough to really know you're good enough? 

True confession and repentance

Confession is not based on what man thinks is wrong. Confession is agreeing with what God sees as wrong! Repentance is not promising God never to do a particular wrong again but changing our minds and living according to God's revelation. Those who continue to sin have not accepted God's word and allowed it to dwell in them and change them - it has no place in their lives (1 John 1:10).

The throne of grace

The writer to the Hebrews says we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb. 4:16). Those who live under law, approach God's throne not with confidence, but with fear of punishment and a great sense of guilt and condemnation. But that is exactly what Jesus came to resolve (Rom. 8:1). The reason we can apparoach the throne of grace with confidence in our time of need (when we have sinned or need strength to overcome) is that we rely on the mercy and grace that is available to us when we stand in the presence of God with our sin! It is in His Light that we truly see our sin the way God sees it. The result will be godly sorrow over our sin rather than worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and life in the Light (holiness) but worldly sorrow is temporary and leads to death (2 Cor. 7:10-11).

Value the presence of God

God longs for His children to walk in fellowship with Him. He has done everything possible for man to enjoy His company and to be a friend to Him. Don't let sin destroy your intimate walk with God. Walk in the Light and deal with your sin in the Light. The more you become aware of His presence the less inclined you will be to sin. Include the Holy Spirit in all areas of your life. In every danger zone acknowledge the holy presence of God before rushing into something you will later regret. Value the presence of God and you will walk in holiness, enjoying fellowship with God!


Friday, 6 April 2012

Still looking for chocolate eggs?

I love Easter! As a young lad I always looked forward to my uncle Christoph's visit over Easter because he always brought the biggest chocolate egg -the kind you open and find all sorts of other chocolates inside. Yummy! I didn't have to search for the egg. Uncle Christoph came and I was ready to receive.

The Gift of life is not hidden away for man to look for and discover. We don't have to search behind every bush and under every cushion to find the egg. The Father offers everyone the Gift of life - a giant chocolate Easter egg full of wonderful things inside!

The Word of God tells us,

"He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." John 1:11-13

We don't have to look for life. It is not hidden from us so that some find it and others don't (I wonder how many eggs remain unfound over Easter). The Father loves His creation so much that He wants people to simply receive His Gift of Life! He doesn't expect people to be good enough or to search enough before He will hand over the Gift. He simply wants people to trust in Him and His Gift of life so that everyone can discover what is in this wonderful Gift.

Many people try to find life in the created and the temporary but as the angels said to the women at theempty tomb,

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen!" Luke 24:5,6

You won't find eternal life among the temporary. Don't look for life among the dead.

Those who receive the Father's Gift, are blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Receive God's free gift of life today and enjoy the goodies in the egg for eternity !

I think I'll have a chocolate egg now....

Have a blessed Easter as you enjoy fullness of life in Christ!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Simplify to Glorify!

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." Psalm 126:5,6

Sacrificial Obedience

Those who wholeheartedly live for God and His Kingdom willingly say "no" to this world and "yes" to God. 

"By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead at his reward." Hebrews 11:24-26

Moses said "no" to his worldly status and wealth and "yes" to Christ and His purposes because Moses' focus was not on earthly and temporary things but on the heavenly and eternal fruit that sacrifice would bring.

Jesus sowed His life willingly because He was looking ahead. He saw the joy of fruitfulness that His sacrificial sowing would bring!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb. 12:2 (emphasis mine)

True sacrifice is costly. Jesus sowed His life with tears to return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with Him! We read in the letter to the Hebrews that, 

"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered" (Heb. 5:7,8).

The suffering spoken of here is not the result of disobedience but the consequence of sacrificial obedience for the sake of God. Jesus chose to lay down His life to please the Father, to benefit others and for the joy of fruitfulness set before Him.

When we say "no" to the things of this world, we make room for God. It costs us and we sow Kingdom seed with tears but we do it because the reward will be far greater than anything this world can offer. 

Living for eternity may bring temporary tears 
but it brings eternal joy!

Sacrifice makes room for God!

Sacrificial obedience is motivated by a desire to see God's Kingdom established on earth as it is in Heaven. God even challenges His people to test Him in this! In Malachi 3:10 - 12, the Lord commands His people to bring the whole tithe to the storehouse so that God can throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that we will not have enough room for it!

For many people tithing is costly. Giving a tenth of one's income can mean saying "no" to many things in this world. However, even if the tithe is sown in tears, it will relase the abundance of heaven! The tithe, sown in sacrificial obedience with tears will bring a harvest with joy!

Sadly many misappropriate these verses and try to coerce God to bless them by giving their tithe. However, those who sacrifice to release God's Kingdom to please the Father, to benefit others and to glorify God are those who will reap a harvest with joy!

Make room for the King!

The Lord is calling His people to make room for Him. The Father wants to manifest His presence, His power and His Kingdom in and through our lives but He needs space. Making room for God means there are some things we enjoy in life that we will need to say "no" to so that His Kingdom can come. God's purpose in getting His chiildren to make room for Him is not to be a spoil sport or for us to be miserable! He wants His people to live for the sake of eternity and to be filled with "inexpressible joy" as we sow our lives sacrificially and receive the abundance of heaven for His glory.  

What is God calling you to say "no" to so that He can manifest His Kingdom in and through your life? How can you simplify your life to live for God? How can you simplify your life to glorify God? Child of God:  

Simplify to Glorify!


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Be strengthened by grace!

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." Rom. 5:1,2

Stand in grace

God has made provision for man to stand in His undeserved favour! By depending on Christ's righteousness, the believer is made right with God and is able to enter into God's gift of love. Having removed the barrier of hostility, Jesus invites the believer to participate in God and to be a partaker of His divine nature. Once the believer enters God's favour by faith, he can stand in God's grace, enjoying the pleasure of God and the Father's delight in His child. 

 Grace reigns

 Once the believer learns to dwell in God's grace, the Lord's grace can reign in the believer. Paul writes that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace reigns through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 5:21). The believer therefore reigns in life as he remains in grace and God's grace reigns in his life! 

Strengthened by grace

God wants us to understand what He has freely given us in Christ! As the believer receives revelation of this wonderful truth by the Spirit of God (see 1 Cor. 2:12), he can stand in grace, allow grace to reign and be strengthened by God's favour! 

"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim. 2:1

Grace for holiness
When the believer stands in grace and grace is reigning in his life, he can find grace to be strengthened in life and overcome all the obstacles of the enemy. It is this grace that "teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright lives in this present age." (Titus 2:11,12)

The throne of grace

The believer is encouraged to approach the throne of grace with confidence, to receive mercy and find grace in his time of need (Heb.4:16). It is therefore the knowledge and experience of God's unconditional love and favour that strengthens us and encourages us to persevere in holiness and righteousness. It is God's kindness to us that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4) and places the desire in our hearts to live to please God - not to earn favour but because we have been lavished with His love and receive His favour despite our short-comings! 

The greater the revelation of God's grace and love, 
the more we are filled with Him and desire to live for Him  
(see Eph. 3:17-19)

Child of God, approach the throne of grace with confidence. Enter the grace of God and let His grace reign in your life through Christ's righteousness. Be strengthened and encouraged by God's grace so that you can overcome temptation and live a holy life that is pleasing to God.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift to us!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Are you participating in the divine nature?

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." 2 Peter 1:3,4

Immersed in God

God saves man to be like Him (see previous post: "What are we saved for?" ). Peter says the believer has received everything he needs for life and godliness (Christ-likeness) as he participates in the divine nature. Through faith in Christ, the believer is immersed in Jesus and joined to Him. Having been joined to Christ, the believer is crucified with Christ and raised to newness of life - a life empowered by the Spirit of God to be like Him (see Romans 6). Consequently, the believer is able to produce the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22).

Growing in Christ

The apostle Paul describes the maturation of the believer as Christ being formed in him (Gal. 4:19) and the believer becoming mature by "attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). The maturation of the believer is therefore not a process of God improving the old nature but of the believer's increasing dependency on Christ to be like Him! Sanctification is not a process! God planned that those who believe in Jesus would be like Him so that Christ would be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom. 8:29).

Empowered to choose

God has given the believer "fullness in Christ" (Col. 2:9) so that he can "escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." That means that the believer is empowered to choose to be Christ-like! As sons of God, believers are set free from the control of the old, self-centred nature so that they can obey the Holy Spirit's leading to live a life of Christ-likeness. That is why Paul writes;

"Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation -
but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it." Rom. 8:12

We are to live according to the Spirit. That means choosing to live a life that is Christ-like in the power of the Holy Spirit. Consequently the believer is without excuse. Since God has set the believer free from the power of sin, the power of the old, ungodly nature and the enemy; ungodly behaviour is simply disobedience.

Put on Christ

For this reason Paul says the believer must take off the old with its ungodly behaviour and put on the new which is Christ-like. The believer is empowered to participate in Christ's divine nature because his life is "hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3)!

Created for good

The believer is saved to produce good fruit (John 15), to do good works (Eph. 2:10) and to live a godly life (Eph. 4:24).

Satan's lie

Satan has managed to sow a lie in the Church causing Christians to believe that sanctification is a process and that being ungodly can be excused. Don't be deceived! It is for freedom that Christ has set you free so live by the Spirit to be like Him (Gal. 5:13,16). Produce the fruit of righteousness because the Righteous One dwells in you (Phil. 1:11)!

How to participate in the divine nature

There are some very practical steps for the believer to stop his disobedience. Here are some keys I believe will help:

Stop making excuses!

As long as you make excuses for your ungodly behaviour you will remain defeated. The first step to overcoming ungodly behaviour is admitting that it is your responsibility to simply obey the Holy Spirit. Stop blaming God, the devil, your old nature, your past and others! Read James 1:13-16.

Believe the truth!

Take hold of God's truth about your life in Christ. Replace the lies of Satan with the truth (see "Are you building godly stronholds?")

Be strengthened by God's grace!

God's gift to you is fullness in Christ. God does not condemn you but He wants you to be strengthend by His love and presence in you (see Heb. 13:9; 2 Tim. 2:1; Titus 2:11-14) so that you will live a godly life. Approach the throne of grace to be strengthened (see "When do you approach the throne of grace?")

Get prayer support!

Share your struggles with someone and ask them to pray for you (James 5:16). Just as Christ lives to intercede for us, so we should commit to praying for one another to stand firm in righteousness and godliness.

Now is the time!

Now is the time for the sons of God to be revealed (Rom. 8:19). Walk as Jesus did in the power of the Holy Spirit.

"This is how we know we are in him:
Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6


Saturday, 14 January 2012

What are we saved for?

"God saved us and called us to live a holy life." 2 Tim. 1:9

I want to ask you a life-changing question:

Does God save people for them to become like Jesus or does He save people for them to be like Jesus?

Your answer to this question will determine your Christian life! Before we can address the difference between "becoming like Jesus" and "being like Jesus," we must have a clear understanding of what it means to be saved.


Mankind was created in God's image to live in close relationship with God, to reflect the very nature of God and do His will on earth. As God's offspring, we were created to be like God (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:8). Because of man's disobedience he separated himself from God's will and consequently God's presence and nature. Having become ungodly (no longer like God) mankind became God's enemy as he continued to walk independently of God and in rebellion to God's will. The apostle Paul describes man's separation from God like this,

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath." Eph. 2:1-3

God's image that was to be revealed through mankind, became distorted. Consequently, mankind is ungodly by nature.

The last Adam

In order for God to restore man to His original nature and purpose, God sent Jesus to both reveal man in his original image of God as well as to restore man to his original godliness. Jesus came to rescue, restore, reconcile or save man from ungodliness and separation from God. Paul writes,

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." Rom. 5:6

So we see that God made a way for man to be restored to Himself so that man would be in close relationship to God, reflect His nature and do His will.

Saved to become or saved to be?

Understanding God's purpose for creating man and for giving us His Son, it should be clear that we are not saved to become like Jesus but to be like Him. That is why we read in Scripture:

"Be holy, for I am holy" 1 Peter 1:16
"Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6
"Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" Matt. 5:48
"Be imitators of God" Eph. 5:1

Created for what?

Let me ask you: What was God's purpose for creating Adam? Was it so that he would become like God? Was the whole purpose of the creation of man an experiment to see how he would develop in God-likeness? Clearly not!

The problem with thinking that our purpose in life is to become like Jesus is that it paralyses the believer and causes him to be introspective and ineffective in "reigning in life" (Rom.5:17).

Preoccupation with self-improvement and responding to the accusations of the enemy keep the believer caught in a satanic trap that stops him from fulfilling God's purpose for his life!


After explaining to the believers in Ephesus that their previous nature and behaviour separated them from God, Paul shares the amazing truth that because of His great love for man, God has provided a way for us to be restored to Him and therefore restored to fellowship with God and to godliness. The restoration to godliness cannot be accomplished by man's own effort (works) but is retored by faith in Christ! Grace restores man to God and to the Creator's original purpose for mankind.

God's workmanship!

Having described God's gift to mankind, Paul says,

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do." Eph. 2:10

God restores us to Himself and to our original godliness so that we will do God's will and fulfill His purpose for us. 

The believer is not created in Christ to become like Jesus but to be like Jesus, doing the Father's will in the Father's image out of fellowship with the Father!

That is exactly how Christ lived on earth (see John 14:8-14).

The problem of sin

I believe that God hates sin. He hates rebellion and disobedience to His perfect will. However, let me ask you this question:

If there weren't such a thing as sin, how would you live your Christian life?

The answer to this question will reveal whether you are preoccupied with self-improvement or whether you are set free to pursue the "good works, which God has prepared in advance" for you to do. Let me repeat what I said earlier: Preoccupation with self-improvement and responding to the accusations of the enemy keep the believer caught in a satanic trap that stops him from fulfilling God's purpose for his life!

Grace is risky

God took a risk when He gave us the gift of grace. He knew that we could either ignore it by still trying to become godly in our own effort (see Gal. 3:1-4; 5:4) or misuse it by continuing to live in sin. However, regardless of the ignorance of grace and the misuse of grace do you realise that grace empowers? Paul writes,

"You then my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim. 2:1

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himslef for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:11-14

God saves us to be like Jesus. Having received this indescribable gift of grace, will you ignore it or misuse it or will you walk in it to be like Jesus, enjoying intimacy with the Father, revealing the Father's nature and doing the Father's will?