Bruce Goettsche • March 07, 2021
It is important to notice that the Bible does not say "work hard FOR your salvation." Salvation is a gift from God.
However, this gift gives us new life. We begin to head in a new direction, have a new outlook, and are empowered and filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul is telling us to move forward in this new life. God has opened a door now He summons us to walk through that door.
Unfortunately, many see the open door and simply sit down. Others put their toe inside and then turn back. The world right now needs Christians to live out the results of their salvation. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to swim against the current of our culture.
We have been given an astounding privilege and opportunity. Paul simply says, "don't squander it."
Bruce Goettsche • March 06, 2021
May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (Philippians 1:11).
A person who genuinely turns to Christ as Savior and Lord is a person who is changing from the inside out. This is the fruit that is produced in those who are truly saved. We are not saved because of this fruit . . . it is the result of our salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit inside of us.
This is important because it is easy to "have an experience" (at a church service, a conference, camp or even at home) and conclude the experience indicates you are truly saved. That is not necessarily true. A true encounter with Christ changes you forever. It is falling into His arms, trusting His ability to save AND lead your life.
People should see a difference in you. A true follower is becoming more and more like Jesus (this takes a lifetime) and less and less like the world around us. No one should be surprised to learn we are followers of Christ.
Here's the question: Are you trusting Christ or are you trusting an experience? Are you following Jesus or the crowd? Have you surrendered to Jesus or only had "an experience?"
Bruce Goettsche • March 05, 2021
The verse that follows this one is one of the most abused verses in the Bible. It is the verse that says, "wives submit to your husbands." The word "submit" in verse 22 is not even in the Greek text . . . it is implied from verse 21. The entire passage describes what it means to submit to one another (wives to husbands, husbands to wives, children to parents, parents to children, and employers and employees). Submission is something all of us should be doing out of reverence to Christ.
Submitting to another is not the same as being walked on. It is to see the needs of another; to look for ways to give of yourself to help or love another; it is to listen to each other and seek out the wisdom others possess. It is to cooperate with those who in authority over you (as long as they are not asking you to do something God forbids).
This, I hope you recognize, is countercultural. We live in a world where people declare, "I have to take care of Number 1" (and they are not referring to God). We demand our rights, we want to get whatever we can from others, we insist on being respected. In other words, we live in a time when we exalt and promote self in a way that puts us in competition with each other rather than submission to each other.
Listen carefully to this section in Ephesians starting with 5:21. Reflect on what it means to submit to one another because of our love and devotion to Christ. If we do what He tells us to do, our marriages will be stronger, our families will be unified, church families will live in harmony, and different churches will respect each other and work together. We will be the finest citizens, we will be humble, and we will influence the world because we will pay attention to the people around us, showing compassion, grace, and respect to all.
May God help us to be what He called us to be.
Bruce Goettsche • March 04, 2021
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
Everyone has bad days. There are times we are unaware, and others where we are just "in a mood." We want grace from others. We want them to know that we are not like this all the time. We don't want our worst days to be the days that others focus on and remember.
Paul wants us to remember that other people have bad days too. They struggle, they panic, they sometimes spew. He encourages us to "make allowances for each other's faults." In other words, He summons us to extend mercy and grace to each other.
We are all in the midst of growing. I used to have a sign that said: "Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet." A true brother or sister in Christ is the one who sees that you are a work in progress and celebrates the growth they see rather than spotlighting the places where you still need to grow. They forgive and overlook the bad days because they know you are a work in progress.
Let's be that kind of a friend to each other.
Bruce Goettsche • March 03, 2021
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
(2 Corinthians 4:16–18).
The Olympic champion distance runner pushes through to the finish line even though they are tired, weary, and their body screams with pain. They see the goal and they strive for it with every ounce of strength that they have.
This is the image Paul gives us of the Christian life. We are people who must keep running, striving, and serving until we cross the finish line. We don't stop and lick our wounds . . . we focus on doing what God has called us to do. It doesn't matter if things do not go the way we hoped they would go, it doesn't matter what penalties may be imposed on us for teaching the truth, It doesn't matter if we are not popular. What matters is getting to the finish line pointing to Jesus. We strive to hear "Well Done." In the end, that is all that is going to matter.
Bruce Goettsche • March 02, 2021
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Freedom in Christ is not an excuse to sin, it is motivation to serve the Lord and love each other. Paul tells us plainly that if you are "biting and devouring" one another, you are NOT loving each other! In other words, if you are criticizing others, competing with each other, (which usually means underscoring perceived faults in others to make ourselves look good), and gossiping, you have missed the point!
Jesus said the law is summed up by loving one another as Christ loved the church. The church had power and influence in the world because people were drawn to the way they loved one another. This is not just the way they loved "their church" it was the way they loved THE church.
Do you want to know how to bridge the widening gap in our country? Let's start by modeling the love of Christ.
Bruce Goettsche • March 01, 2021
So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Galatians 3:11).
This is a simple statement but it is something with which we continue to struggle. There seems to be an innate need to try to find a formula for salvation. We want to know what combination of things will get us into Heaven. So we run to find the right church, the best teachers, great books to read, and conferences to attend. We embrace church rituals, serve on committees, and try to be a good person. We do this much of the time trying to earn God's favor. However, as hard as we work, we still CANNOT earn our salvation.
Salvation is something made possible through trusting Jesus. We must believe that He died to pay for our sin and rose from the dead to kick the door open to a new life empowered by the Holy Spirit. We do not EARN eternal life, we RECEIVE it.
We are no longer driven by the futile work of trying to be "good enough." Instead, we are motivated by joy and gratitude for a gift that is more wonderful than we can possibly comprehend. We do not move forward proud of what we have accomplished . . . we go forward with humility and wonder at a grace that is more profound and liberating each day.
Get off the treadmill to nowhere and rest in the open arms of Jesus!