For June 29, 2019
With the cross at Calvary looming—just a few hours away—our Lord Jesus Christ utilized His last few moments encouraging His Disciples through heart-warming teachings essential to their very survival. Soon Jesus would leave His comrades; men who co-labored with Him, accompanying Him during His three-year ministry, which was now coming to a close.
To better prepare them for His imminent departure, He uses powerful symbolism to comfort and reassure them (and us today) during His absence:
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 (NLT)
Redeeming Christian faith happens the moment we surrender our hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. At that precise moment:
- God forgives our sin, through faith in Jesus Christ, and His works—alone,
- God grants us permission to have fellowship with Him forever,
- God’s Holy Spirit indwells us; becoming the “down payment” to give us power to live right while also securing our eternal destination: Heaven,
- God’s Holy Spirit transforms our “sin-deadened” spiritual nature; bringing it “to life,” and
- God makes us “new creatures;” mandated and equipped to produce fruit (good works) that honor Him.
Jesus died on Calvary’s cross, but He rose from the dead. By doing so, He triumphed over sin, death, and the grave. We who believe in Him are assured of victory over sin, death, and the grave as well.
In addition, we have the power to emulate His morally and spiritually impeccable lifestyle. Here, we express the Fruit of the Spirit outlined in Galatians 5:22-23 along with the Armor of God featured in Ephesians 6:10-18 to live in ways that enhance the health, welfare, safety, well-being of others; treating them with the honor, dignity, and respect they deserve regardless of race, class, gender, culture, and/or political affiliation.
Abiding in Christ also makes us neither barren nor unfruitful because we strive to achieve His moral and spiritual perfection. Not in our strength alone, we surrender to the Holy Spirit daily until Christ-likeness (or authentic living) becomes as natural as breathing.1
In this life, we will not achieve perfection. Nevertheless, as Philippians 3:13–14 teaches, we will grow to forget our past while pursuing those things before us. We press toward the goal for the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Lord, who is triumphant in all things, assures us peaceful lives as we obediently surrender while awaiting His glorious return:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (KJV)
Ultimately, as we abide in Christ, we can turn from sin, turn to God, and truly live out a noble Christian witness consistently. Then, we not only honor our Lord, but we can change the world around us, one person at a time.