January 15

Genesis 15:6 (NIV) 6Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Salvation has always been by grace through faith. God reached out to Abram and gave him promises of a son and of possession of the land. God promised his descendents would outnumber the stars, and Abram believed. The apostle Paul wrote, 4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. Romans 4:4-5 (NIV)

He went on to say that this is before the law and before circumcision. Abram had done nothing but believe God, and God credited it to him as righteousness. This shows us that the way to God is simply believing God, not keeping some set of rules or performing some action. It is when we receive what God has said and accept it as truth.

Throughout the ages, man has come to God in the same way. Only the death of the Son of God in our place makes it possible for this transaction. The righteousness credited to us is the righteous life of Jesus. Since God never changes and does not have a different set of standards for different people, we can see all mankind comes to God in the same way. God reveals Himself to man, and man either believes God or turns from God and trusts self. Paul wrote that this grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men. We need not worry that God will be unjust and damn forever those who never had a chance. Creation testifies of God, and the Spirit of God shines on every heart to give them an opportunity.

This does not let us out of the responsibility of sharing the plan of salvation, for that is the Great Commission. It does, however, show us that God loves the world and is not willing that any should perish.

Consider: All will have an opportunity to do as Abram did, believe the LORD. Do you really believe Him?

January 15

Zechariah 2:10-11 (NIV) 10"Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the LORD. 11"Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.

As Jesus road down into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the religious leaders asked him to quiet the shouting crowds. They were asking for this prophecy to not be fulfilled. That is why Jesus said that if they were quiet the rocks would cry out. The word will be fulfilled in spite of what man does.

Why are we to shout and be glad? JHWH (Jehovah) has come to live among us. Not only did the Word become flesh and walk among us, but now He has come to live in our very hearts. Where Christ is there is joy! Many of our churches are altogether too quiet! There is definitely a place for reverential quiet as is mentioned in the following verses, but there is a place for a shout of joy also. Think about it! God has come to live in you! He has redeemed you and invites you to fellowship with Him. He will guide you each day and direct your paths. Wahoo! Perhaps one reason unbelievers have a hard time believing us is that the fantastic story we tell them does not match our expression.

Verse 11 tells of the wonder of the Gentiles becoming the people of God. In the first days of the new church, this was still interpreted as Gentiles converting to Judaism. It took years before they realized this meant a personal relationship between the Gentile believer and JHWH. I will live among you and you will know...

Is the first "I will live among you" the incarnation, and the second the infilling of the Holy Spirit? Certainly, when we are filled with the Spirit, we know that the JHWH Tsaba has sent Jesus to us. Do you know the Eternal God of the Armies of Heaven has sent Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit to you?

Consider a shout for joy! After your shout of joy, do what verse 13 commands us to do, and be still before Him.