Contributed by Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain
A new year, putting off the old and embracing the new. We look forward to all the great things the new year will bring.
Salvation is quite a bit the same.
Before we are saved, our lives are characterized by sin.
Galatians 5:19-21 explains: “19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
After we are saved, the Spirit of God lives within us, and transforms our lives characterized by sin, into lives characterized by righteousness.
Galatians 5:22-23 explains: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Love is the central theme of the upcoming Valentine’s Day. We learned in December that God is love. He loved so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay for our sin debt, and then defined love.
Godly love is so much more than sending cards, buying candy, candle-lit dinners or romance. It is a commitment between a man and a woman forever.
Matthew 19:4-6 explains: “4And he (Jesus) answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Godly love requires us to love others.
1 John 4:7-8 and 21 explain: “7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.”
The challenge for us in 2018 is to choose whether to live in God’s Spirit and salvation or to be alienated from God and live in the flesh. Love vs. hate, life vs. death, hope vs. despair.
We must all choose.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain