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God’s Will in Christ Jesus & Perseverance of the Saints
The Apostle Paul told the Colossians a specific prayer he had for their church. The prayer was they “may be filled with the knowledge of His (God’s) will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding …” (Colossians 1:9).
God’s will is the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. This is known as giving Jesus Christ preeminence (first place) in all things. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus is Lord. God has put all things on earth in subjection to Christ; every dominion, tribe, kingdom, ruler, authority, and government is under His Lordship. All the principalities and powers of the heavens are subject to Christ’s rule as well. It is God’s perfect plan, and God’s good pleasure, in Christ all the fullness will dwell. Nothing will stand in the way to prevent God’s will from taking place.
The Apostle Paul desired Christians to understand God’s will fully, completely and practically. Paul understood how the knowledge of God’s will ought to shape and control the life of those that follow Christ. Our ambition, energy, words, accomplishments, and our response to every situation and circumstance we face (every function of our being) must always have the goal of exalting Christ. In even the most mundane, ordinary tasks of everyday life; Christ is to have first place. Anything and everything we do that is not Christ-like, not exalting Christ, not giving Jesus Christ first place; is outside of God’s will.
Paul told the Colossians an outcome of the prayer would be their being strengthened for perseverance (1:11). The strengthening would be with the same Holy Spirit power God anointed Christ with for ministry; declaring Him to be the Son of God with power; the power for Christ to do good, heal the sick, and cast out demons. It is the power strengthening the Gospel for salvation. It is the power raising us up on the last day.
Just as God wanted the Colossians to know His will, God wants us to also know His will. God also wants us to know as a result of this knowledge, we will be strengthened for all steadfastness and perseverance.
God grants tomorrow’s resurrection power today so we may persevere, overcome sin, walk in the Spirit and not the flesh, power to continue walking in Christ. God gives us this power, “according to His glorious might.” The Greek word used here by Paul means a “power able to overcome any resistance.” It is God’s miracle working power. Nothing may stand against God’s power. It “disarmed the rulers and authorities of darkness, and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them.” It is the power giving God the name, “Almighty God.” The power of almighty God to split the Red Sea, crumble the walls of Jericho, the power used to spin a tornado, and the power used to create the Universe and set it in motion, is working in us so we steadfastly and patiently persevere.
It is this almighty power of God keeping the saints steadfast in faith, even in the worst of circumstances; even the intense persecution described at the end of Hebrews 11: torture; destitute conditions; affliction; ill-treatment; wandering in deserts; mocking and scourging; chains and imprisonment; put to death with the sword; stoned; and being sawn in two.
The Saints in Christ are given this miraculous power to steadfastly continue in the faith, waiting patiently for God’s sure deliverance, never losing hope.
We cannot save ourselves and neither may we continue in our salvation on our own. It is only by the power of God we can continue in the faith. The Saints walking in Christ are not ill and weak Christians, but able to stand strong in every situation.
Why, because this is God’s will in Christ Jesus. Think about this. God has ordained a body of believers to be members of the body, with Christ as the Head. How does it bring Jesus Christ glory if He loses even one member? How is Christ preeminent if one, which God ordained elect before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), is lost along the way? Paul told the Philippians, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God purposes to complete each and every work of salvation that He begins. All the Father gives Christ, the Father keeps in Christ. The Body of Christ, the Church, the Bride, will be presented on the last day with EVERY member present, complete, to the glory of God.
God is our deliverer, nothing can snatch us out of His hand, and nothing can separate us from His love. His power cannot be overcome. God will not and cannot be defeated. Knowing God’s will, with all spiritual wisdom and understanding, allows us to face any circumstance and know we will be with Jesus someday. Knowing God, whose plans cannot be thwarted, is highly exalting the Son allows the Saints in Christ to see HOPE brightly shining in the darkest of nights.
It is impossible for me to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength without considering my relationship to food. My diet, taste buds, appetite, cravings, and digestive process were all created by God and originally declared “good” by Him. He made all this for a purpose; therefore, it behooves me to know why. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
We can be certain all that God does is wise and is for an ultimate purpose. All things contribute to His overall plan of having Christ have the preeminence. Even what may be routine or mundane has a purpose in God’s plan. We need to heighten our awareness of God and see His sovereign providence in every moment, especially while eating.
It amazes me just how many references to food there are in Scripture. And why not, we do eat often and it is an essential element of our existence. Imagine the Bible being written without food? No fruit in the garden. No feasts for the Israelites. No bountiful harvests or famine for Joseph to discuss with Pharaoh. No fasting for our Savior in the wilderness and no temptation to turn rocks into bread. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. For the Bible to have no reference to food would give pause and doubt to its authenticity and authority.
I am certainly not the sharpest theological knife in the drawer, but it seems rather self-evident with all the mentioning of food in the Bible there appears to be a larger message here for us to grasp. Before you jump to conclusions and rattle my cage for taking liberties with hermeneutics, know that it is my foremost goal to give God glory in every area of my life. In doing this I must consider Him in areas seemingly mundane and ordinary. Is God not the God of my belly or my taste buds or my desires?
In previous posts on the doctrine of food we explored that food reveals the goodness of God, food causes us to remember and celebrate, and food choice reveals our sin. This post will illumine that Scripture shows that food gives us greater insight into spiritual truths.
Because of God’s design of food, we are able to practically describe Spiritual truths using physical means. Food allows for deeper understanding of God and His Word through physical analogies, metaphors, and descriptions. It allows for a universal description of the world because everyone knows what is sweet and what is sour. We use these same words to describe things around us that are not eaten. We know that being bitter is not pleasant, that a sweet person is good, and a painting with no taste is not worth observing.
Here are a few examples:
It is fitting to be reminded of how God has used food to describe our entrance into His heavenly kingdom. Our hope is built on nothing less than to be with our Savior. He has told us “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Our reunion with Christ is going to be a feast where righteousness, grace, mercy, holiness, joy, worship, and glory will be the banquet.
Eat well today and then perhaps consider filling your belly afterwards.
In God’s creation, there are no accidents and no surprises (for God there are no surprises, we are a bit surprised on occasion). We can be certain that all that God does is wise and has an ultimate purpose. All things contribute to His overall plan of having Christ have the preeminence. Even what may be routine or mundane for us has a purpose in His plan. When we go about our day, we need to heighten our awareness of God and see His sovereign providence in every moment.
With this in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about food and how it relates to God. God uses all things for His glory, even when we do something as simple as eat a bag of potato chips. Food is one of the many “all” things. When God created us with the need to eat food, this was no accident or after thought. He could have made us as beings that have no need for consumption. Every edible thing and every portion of our digestive process has a place in the schemes of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us specifically that our use of food should be done for the glory of God (the verse says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”).
In contemplating food and the glory of God, I will be sharing a series of thoughts on the “doctrine of food.” The purpose in writing these thoughts is to help us see that God is intimately involved in every aspect of our life. He cares about us and desires to reveal Himself to us. God engineers, influences, directs, and controls every moment of our day. When we have a heightened awareness of His providence, our appreciation and thankfulness of the Almighty grows to new proportions. My hope is in sharing this series, I can help both you and I grow in our affections for God. Use these thoughts on God as a springboard to other areas of your life (sleeping, driving, bathing, relaxing, etc.). Allow your mind to find application to envisage God in all things. As our affections for God increase, my prayer is that we will live more full lives, continually contemplate God’s goodness, marvel more at His handiwork, thankfully enjoy His bounty, persevere in life’s challenges, and grow in maturity by His grace.