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Three Components of God’s Wisdom

In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul is laying out the basis for walking in the power of God.  According to the apostle, it’s through the Word of the cross that this power is accessed.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Never forget that all the power we need for life and godliness is from one source.  It’s all because we’re in Christ.  It has nothing to do with how good I am, or how faithful I’ve been to God.  It’s His work, only, that’s given me this blessing.

We know from the rest of this chapter that the cross was the supreme revelation of the wisdom of God.  When I grasp what happened there, I can embrace and walk in the power of God.  Of course, we have to wait until chapter 2 to see what it takes to lay hold of this wisdom.

But for now, Paul gives us a description of what are the major components of this wisdom.  There are three specific parts to how God operates in us.

The first is His righteousness.  Simply put, righteousness is being seen as right or correct in God’s eyes.  Because of what Christ did on the cross, we can be seen as righteous no matter what our past is like.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

Because I’m in Christ, God the Father sees the righteousness of Christ, rather than my personal failures.  That allows me into His presence, where my life can be changed, daily, into the walk of righteousness.

Next is holiness.  This is the description of anything that has been made clean and consecrated for God’s use.  In the Old Testament, everything used in the Temple had to be made holy.  Giving us a position of holiness was another work that Christ did on the cross.

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith…
Colossians 1:22-23a

By trusting in what Christ did on the cross, I’m now seen as holy; set apart for God’s personal use.  This is an important truth because nothing impure or unholy can enter God’s presence.

On my own, I have no holiness to offer.  Because of this, I would have no right to come into God’s presence.  The problem is that I can only be made clean in His presence.

Now, because I’m seen as holy in Christ, I can come before God without any accusation.  In that way, I can be purified to live a life of holiness in Him.

The third part of God’s wisdom is redemption.  This is probably the greatest gift of all.  It’s what the enemy never saw coming.  Redemption means that on the cross, Christ made the complete payment to buy us out of slavery to Satan and the world.

Righteousness and holiness would have been little help to us if we were still under the authority and control of sin.  Because of the work of Christ on the cross, we are free to serve God as a part of His kingdom.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…
Ephesians 1:7

The wisdom of God is the most wonderful part of our life with God.  In the next few posts, we’ll see how Paul says that we can access it in our walk with the Lord.

Question: What blesses you the most about God’s wisdom?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Have You Met El Qanaa?

Lightning 3In my last post I showed the first thing the Holy Spirit wrote about Himself. This was found in James 4:4-5. It declared in no uncertain terms that the Holy Spirit is intensely jealous over us.

Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
James 4:5-6

But what really caught my attention was the phrase Scripture says. I started to ask myself where the Bible talks about this jealousy. So I searched the Old Testament.

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Exodus 34:14

In this section of Scripture God is giving Israel the Law through Moses. As I read it I was taken by surprise to find out that His name is Jealous.

Please understand, I’ve heard a lot of teachings about the names of God. He’s Jehovah-Rapha, the Healing God. He’s Jehovah-Tsidkinnu, God our Righteousness. These names don’t even scratch the surface.

But in all of these teachings that I’ve heard about the names of God I was never told about El Qanaa. The Jealous God. (Pronounced like El Kanaw)

We need to lay hold of this. For purposes of comparison I started counting. Jehovah Jireh, the God who Provides, is only used 1 time in Scripture. Abraham was inspired to use this name for God when He provided a ram for sacrifice in place of his son.

In contrast, God calls Himself El Qanaa 7 times in the Old Testament. I think that this is a part of God’s character that shouldn’t be ignored.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30

This verse literally says do not make the Holy Spirit sad, mournful. I think we lose sight of the fact that He’s a person with feelings. How many times do we make Him feel rejected or ignored?

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

This verse tells us that God did not call us to a life that’s not cleaned. That phrase could also mean not pruned. We think it’s okay to say, “I just don’t want to be cleaned up right now.”

The truth is that we’re called to a set apart life. This is accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit within us. So He starts the cleaning process when we’re saved.

When I reject the process – His instruction and guidance – I reject God, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to do a work that He’s proud of in us.

Then we tell Him, “Not now. Come back later.” That makes Him sad. He knows the destiny He’s leading us to. We need an increased sensitivity to the Holy Spirit working within us.

Question: What has the Holy Spirit been working in you lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Revival, The Church

 

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The Great Deception

TrophyIn my last post I talked about Paul’s rebuke of the Christians who live as enemies of the cross. There are many who replace Christ with worldly pursuits. I’ve heard a lot of holy sounding excuses.

“We need to be a witness to the world.”

“God understands that I need to do this.”

“I’ve been faithful for months. I can take a week off.”

Here’s the problem. We’ve begun to believe a lie. It sounds so good that even preachers will quote it. But, it’s destroying God’s people. What is this great deception?

“Jesus Christ needs to have first place in your life.”

It sounds so pure and holy, but it has the potential to destroy your walk with the Lord. Why is this the case? Because Jesus never wanted to be first in your life. It’s abundantly clear from the Scripture – Christ wants to be the only thing your life revolves around.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Philippians 3:7-8

If Christ is in first place, then we can have a close second and feel good about it.

“I go to church most Sundays. I only missed one week this month. Of course Christ has first place over the amusement park.”

We need to get back to the pattern. That’s what will change our lives, and the world around us. This is what we were saved for. Not a one-time encounter with Christ, but an ongoing relationship of renewal and transformation.

In order to live this way we must move on into the walk of victory that Christ has destined us for. This will require us to get a new revelation of the cross of Christ.

First we must get over our fear of the cross. For too long God’s people have backed off from it because it sounds uncomfortable. It’s always been this way. Even from the first time Jesus mentioned it to His disciples. At one point the Lord described what He was going to do on the cross and Peter openly rebuked Him.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Matthew 16:23

Very few people understand the cross. The enemy’s kingdom didn’t. Neither did the disciples. But we see here that the very notion of rejecting the cross was offensive to Christ. Peter had no idea the significance of what would happen there. So at this point in time, Peter was an adversary of the cross. It’s the same place we find ourselves so often. Not enemies of Christ, but of His cross.

Even back then, the Lord didn’t let it end there. He went on with His teaching.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Matthew 16:24-25

Christ tells His disciples, and us as well, that if we want to walk in step behind Him, then we need to go where He’s going. We have to be on the same path He’s taking. That means that we must deny ourselves – literally to contradict ourselves – in order to follow Him. That tells me that I must go in a direction that’s opposite of what I think is the logical course for my life.

Question: What does embracing the cross mean to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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The Well Pleasing Sacrifice

FireIn my last post I talked about having a faith that’s well pleasing to God. Today I want to continue in that theme of pleasing God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

This is one of those verses that we wished wasn’t in the Bible. But it is, so we have to follow it. It says that there’s something we can do that’s holy and well pleasing to God.

The word offer means to stand beside your body. Paul is talking about something that can only be done in the spirit.

The original Greek says that it’s a burnt offering, living, holy, and to God – well pleasing. Wait a minute; we are to be a living burnt offering? There’s really no other way to say it.

Pleasing God requires sacrifice. But what exactly does that mean to us? Most people use the word sacrifice to mean they’ll try harder. They think it tells them to fast on holidays, eat according to the Old Testament food laws, dress like the 1940’s, and talk King James English.

That’s not what God is looking for. If you read the epistle to the Romans, you find that Paul writes about the walk of the spirit. If that’s in place, then you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. How do we get there?

We need the fire of God to consume the sacrifice. In the book of Acts we see tongues of fire on the heads of those praying in the upper room. We are also told (I Thessalonians 5:19) not to quench the Holy Spirit’s fire. Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy, to fan into flame the gift that was within him (II Timothy 1:6).

Paul was a man who had a rich experience of prayer in the spirit. He assumed that those he was writing to also knew how to pray in the spirit. When you pray in the spirit, you’re standing beside your body as a burnt offering.

The last part of the verse in Romans could be modernized as, logically – this is what you signed up for. We are living out a spiritual walk. You can try harder, stumbling around in the flesh without Christ. But if I’m to be well pleasing, it will require a spiritual work.

My last post talked about our faith being tested and approved – that’s the fire. As I pray in the spirit, I stand beside the burnt offering.

Remember, I’m not talking about whether or not you’re saved, or even acceptable to God. You’re all those things, and more, in Christ. I’m talking about going beyond acceptable and into the realm of well-pleasing to God.

This should be our desire if we want to see a move of God in our lifetime.

Question: Why do some believers find this sacrifice so difficult?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
 

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You are Called to a Life of Excellence

TrophyA couple of weeks ago I blogged about how the Bible describes our excellent God.  It’s one thing to acknowledge that a perfect, holy, and Most High God is excellent.  It’s quite another to see that we’re called to that same level of excellence.

Again, let me remind you that it’s not what we do, but whom we have become that makes us excellent.  A ministry is not excellent because of its money, technology, modern equipment, large size, big building, or anything else that we may possess.  It’s only when we compare what we’re doing to the normal, the average, or the expected that excellence can be seen.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Acts 13:2

The very act of finding and entering your calling is being set apart – you are being divinely moved from a large group to a smaller group.  This, by definition, is the more excellent group.

It is a group of those who have been called, prepared, chosen, and accepted for a divinely appointed task.  Don’t ever think you’re just like everybody else; you’re not.

There are levels to our callings based upon our obedience and excellence.  The more we manifest excellence in our walk and ministry, the further from the pack we move.  Make no mistake about it; the Lord is very clear in His call to us – we are to leave the normal behind.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

This seems like an almost impossible task. Are we really to be as perfect as God?  Actually, the word perfect in this verse means fully mature.  God wants us to grow up and act as mature believers.  The life of maturity in Christ is the life of excellence to which we are called.

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:15-16

It is clear from the above verses that God is calling us to live a life worthy of His excellent name.  Please don’t get confused by what I’m saying.  I’m not talking about your salvation.  It’s not by works that we’re saved, but through the grace of God.

What I am speaking about, however, is the fact that once we’re saved, there is an expectation of change (for the better) in our lives.  God is looking for His children to grow and mature into a people who accurately portray His kingdom and His desires.

For Christians, the walk of maturity is the walk of excellence.

Question: In what areas have you seen yourself mature since you’ve come to Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Spirit of Excellence

 

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The Mountain of the Lord’s Temple

Isaiah 2:2-3
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”  The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

When the temple was established in Jerusalem, no gentile could ever enter it, no matter how devout they were.  Temple worship was the exclusive right of the nation of Israel.

Things are different now.  Because of what Christ has done, all nations may now enter the invisible, holy temple of God.  We can now climb the heights to His very presence.  What was formerly impossible is now accessible by grace.

It is now possible to sit at the feet of the Lord and allow Him to teach you His ways.  Even when the temple was open to Israel, only the priests had that privilege.  Now, because of the cross, we can all experience the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Make that climb today, to the top, to the mountain of God’s temple.  Approach the majestic presence of the Creator of all things.  Worship at His feet, for He is worthy to receive it.  Wait on Him, for His Spirit to move upon your heart.  Lives are forever changed up on that mountain.  Let yours be one of them.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Be Holy

1 Peter 1:15-16
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

To be “holy” means to be “set apart.”  It means that we see ourselves as reserved exclusively for God’s use.  I am no longer a part of a crowd, headed for destruction.  Through Christ, I have been singled out to serve the Lord.

Having a special time and place to meet with the Lord each day, helps to reinforce that mindset.  As I make a break with the general population and come away to His presence, a change starts taking place.  I am transformed from just a tiny drop in a huge bucket to a unique servant of the Most High God.

It is God’s desire to work in me through my own particular personality, strengths, and weaknesses.  He has a calling for my life that no one else can accomplish quite the way I could.  There is a destiny and a purpose set-aside just for me.  I am special in the eyes of God.

Make that break from the pack today.  See yourself as set apart, holy to the Lord.  Don’t settle on just being a number or a statistic on somebody’s role somewhere.  Start today seeing yourself as God sees you, as a chosen and unique vessel exclusively for the Master’s use.  Armed with that knowledge, you can come boldly into the awesome presence of his holiness.  Receive from the Lord today all that you need for fulfilling your destiny in Him.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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