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Blessed with Abraham

Do you expect the same blessing that was on Abraham’s life?  You should.  In the book of Galatians, one of the foundational writings of the New Testament, Paul explains it with great clarity.

Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Galatians 3:6

He starts by explaining the basis of Abraham’s blessing.  It had nothing to do with Abraham’s good works, and everything to do with faith.  Abraham was declared righteous simply because he believed God.  That’s why God could bless his life abundantly – he was walking in God’s righteousness and not his own.

Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.
Galatians 3:7

This is one of the greatest promises of Scripture.  If I believe God – just like Abraham – I can receive his family blessing.  Please understand that on our side of the cross, trusting God means that we believe and act on the fact that salvation is only through the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Now, once I’ve acted on this faith, I’ve been miraculously placed into Abraham’s family.

“Wait a minute, Nick, I’m not Jewish.  How could I possibly get in on the blessing of Abraham?”

The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Galatians 3:8-9

This is the Good News.  Way back, in Abraham’s day, God announced to him that the Gentiles would be able to receive the same righteousness that was available to the Jews.  What at one time could only be given to Abraham’s bloodline was now open to all nations.

That’s something I’m particularly glad about.  My ancestors are from Italy, not Israel.  But because of Christ and His work on the cross, God treats me as a son of Abraham.

It’s hard for us to see just how powerful this promise is because of the translations.  If you look at what was promised to Abraham, in both the Old and New Testaments, it puts it in a whole new light.  The promise literally reads; all nations will be blessed in you.

When this was given to Abraham, the entire DNA that would make up Jesus’ earthly body was in Abraham.  Since it’s in Christ that we receive this blessing, God could tell Abraham that we would be blessed in him.

That’s an important truth.  When I bowed my knee to Christ, God didn’t give me a separate blessing that was not quite the same as Abraham’s.  Because I’m blessed in Abraham, it’s the exact same blessing that he received.

That thought is repeated in the next sentence of the verse above.  The Holy Spirit clearly reveals to us that those of the same faith are blessed with Abraham.  It’s not a different blessing.  It’s the same one that God bestowed upon the first man of faith.

Please don’t get the idea that all God wanted to do was to save you and get you on the road to heaven.  He has much more planned for you.  You need to live each day with the expectation that God is at work in you, the same way He worked with Abraham.

And just to give you a “heads up,” as we continue through the book of Galatians, Paul will present this truth in even greater detail.

Question: What is your expectation for God’s grace in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Legalism, Encouragement, Faith, The Gospel

 

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Righteousness and the Power of God #powerofGod

PowerWe know that the manifestation of God’s power in our lives is directly linked to relationship.  But this brings up a very important question.  What’s the relationship between righteousness and the power of God?

I grew up always feeling unable to walk in the power of the Spirit, because I was never good enough.  We’ll now look at what the Bible says about the relationship between the power of God and righteousness.

The fact is that no Biblical principle exists in a bubble, even though we like to teach them that way sometimes.  Righteousness, mercy, love, and power all relate to each other.  Right now we need to see how power and righteousness relate.

Just to make sure we have the same understanding, I define righteousness as being right in God’s eyes.  It’s when God looks at you and says that you’re living correct according to His standards.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

This is an incredible claim, when you think about it.  Ever-increasing glory.  This sounds powerful to me.  Remember that the definition of power is the ability to produce change.

Think about the amount of power required for this verse to be fulfilled.  We’re being transformed into the likeness of the Lord from our imperfect state.  This is the place Paul is bringing us to in Corinthians, chapter 3.  Listen to how Paul describes this change of living in the verses prior to this.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:6

It’s obvious that he’s talking about the difference between the power of the law and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Life in the New Covenant isn’t based on the power of the law, but on the Spirit.  If we try to use the law, then death will be at work in us.  But it’s the next verse that’s even more revealing to us.

If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
2 Corinthians 3:9

Did you catch what Paul said here?  He said that this ministry – the ministry based in the power of the Spirit – brings righteousness.  It is not the other way around as many people teach.  Some would have us believe that if you live a righteous life, you’ll receive the manifestation of the power of God.

This verse shows us the fallacy in that kind of thinking.  It’s just the opposite.  You need the power of God in order to live righteously. In actuality, righteousness is only obtained through God’s power.

Question: Why does living righteously require God’s power in you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Power of God

 

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The Day of Christ #returnofChrist

Cloud2I’ve been posting about how Christ will reveal Himself at His return.  We’ve talked about Jesus’ teaching in Luke, chapter 17, on the days of Noah and Lot.

Remember that He already said in verse 24 that when He’s revealed on that day, every eye will see Him.  It will not be a private return.  He’s coming in all of His glory.

“On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them.  Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.  Remember Lot’s wife!  Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.  I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.”
Luke 17:31-36

Many interpret this verse to mean that the one taken is taken into heaven and the one left is the one that’s going to be judged.  How can this be?  In both of His examples, the stories of Noah and Lot, the Lord clearly states that the unrighteous are taken in judgment and the righteous ones are left.

The disciples wanted Jesus to clarify what He was teaching them.  They asked the obvious question: Where was it that they were taken to?

“Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”
Luke 17:37

Jesus makes it clear that those taken are dead bodies.  The Greek word for carcass is what the NIV translates as dead body.  Also, the word Jesus used for vulture is a generic term that could be used for any carrion bird that feeds on dead bodies.

So in answer to the question “Where are they taken?” Jesus said, “Do you want to know where the carcasses are taken?  Then look for the vultures.”  Personally, I don’t want to be taken like that.  I want to be one of the ones who are left.

What, then, have we learned in this portion of Scripture?  First of all, I see a time of warning leading up to the time when Christ is revealed.  We then come to a day – a literal, twenty-four hour day – during which He will reveal Himself.

Christ uses two examples, Noah and Lot, to explain His point.  In both cases the day starts out with some saints.  They are then somehow supernaturally protected during the events of that day.  In Noah’s case he was put in the ark and in Lot’s case he was taken out of the city.

On the day that they were protected, salvation was then closed and judgment fell.  After judgment had fallen, at the end of the day, the saints were left.  That’s the way I read it and that’s the way I believe Christ meant it to be read.

Questions: Are you prepared for that day?  How have you prepared?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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The Right Path

Proverbs 2:20
Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.
(NIV)

Righteousness is a word we don’t like to use too often.  It’s real religious sounding.  All it really means is to be right from God’s perspective.  Unfortunately, the religious definition is not always in line with the Scripture.

Having grown up in church, I sometimes got the impression that I was righteous as long as I followed a set of rules.  If I was “being good” then I was righteous.

At this point I have come to the conclusion that righteousness is all about trusting God enough to live my life on His terms instead of mine.  It is a path I have to walk.  The reality is that when we walk, every step is a choice.  Even a slight change in our stride can send us off into a totally different direction.

Each day I have a choice.  I can walk the way of the world, or trust the Lord that He will bring about His plan in my life.  By watching the lives of godly men and women in the pages of the Bible, or in the history of the church, I can see where this path is leading me.

Make the best choice today.  Follow the advise of wisdom. “Walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.”

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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