What does it mean to be "saved"? What really happened to alter the path of our lives for all of eternity, at the moment we became 'born again'? For most Christians, the knowledge of sins forgiven and eternal heavenly reward is the extent of understanding concerning this common yet powerful word. The word 'salvation' means preservation for the whole man. It is complete and encompasses every aspect of life past, present and future! When we were lost in sin, we had need for a Savior. No man has the ability to save himself. In receiving our salvation from Jesus, we enter into a heavenly agreement. He agrees to be our Savior and we agree to let Him be Lord over our lives. This agreement is the basis for what the Bible calls the "new covenant".
Our need for love draws us to God. Our love for God draws us to believe His Word and accept Jesus as our Savior. Jesus is called the 'sacrificial lamb' - a symbolic one, killed and shedding His blood to seal our covenant with God. In the Old Testament, under the old covenant, it was the blood of the lamb that covered the sins of the people. Under the terms of our new covenant, Jesus blood washes away the sins of God's people. His blood makes the terms of the covenant binding and legally seals the terms.
Jesus said that He came to fulfill and abolish the old covenant. And a new law He was giving to us with the terms of a new covenant. What GOOD NEWS was brought to man! God wasn't going to stay away from man any longer. The separation He imposed after the sin in the Garden of Eden was being abolished. God was going to demonstrate His love for people again – He was going to give men another chance. In exchange for this new relationship of love, we were given two requirements; to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul and mind and to love other people as we love ourselves. He said that in doing this, the law and the prophets were fulfilled.
The new covenant is one of love. God's love for us and our love for Him; and in and through that love for us and our love for Him, there is perfection. "And God shall meet all of your needs, according to His riches in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord." How could a covenant be any better than "meet all of your needs"? It's the ultimate promise. Do you need comfort? He's provided you with comfort as part of your covenant. Do you need wise counsel? He's provided that for you as part of this covenant of love. Do you need something in the material realm? God has said that He "delights" in blessing us with spiritual and temporal blessings! He meets ALL OUR NEEDS "abundantly above and beyond all that we could ask or think." In exchange, we agree to love Him and love others.
A covenant means an agreement that requires each party to give or pledge something that is of worth and value to the other party. It is to be equal and in balance. Giving God something He needs that only I can supply while He gives me something that I need that only He can supply. This covenant is not one sided and it is only beneficial when both parties are doing their part.We Christians are well practiced in asking God for things. But not many have learned to pay attention to God when He wants to use us according to the terms of our agreement.
What does God require of us to fulfill our part of the covenant? Love for Him that prompts our willing obedience. And His first requirement out of that love is that we love others.
Jesus said "owe no man anything but the debt of love". The debt of love is what we have incurred and taken on as our own debt, when we made covenant with God.Because He is the God of love and we have become His children, then we are children filled with unlimited love to give to others. It is written that "His love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit". It is our responsibility, our obligation, to the terms of this covenant and our required position to honor the terms of the covenant to love others as we love ourselves. This is what God has told us to do. This is what we agreed to do. This is a debt. We have no choice but to pay it if we are going to merit God's meeting all our needs. Love others. Not because we want to. Not because we feel like it. Not because they are easy to love or even that they merit our love. But loving them solely because it is our moral obligation under the terms of our heavenly agreement – the New Covenant.
God wants people everywhere to know Him. To know and experience for themselves, His great love, His goodness and His loving kindness. How does He bestow this love on men? Through gifts He has given to us human beings. "God gave gifts to men …" The ministry gifts are to be used in love to all men. If we are appointed an apostle, it is out of God's love for people, that He has assigned us this job. If we are called to the office of prophet, it is with the express purpose of loving people. The gifts of the ministry assignments are out of God's love for people – to be used for one purpose – to love people.
If I am to administrate, or serve, or work in the Kingdom of God, it is to be a blessing to people. In all that I do and say, it is to show them the love of God. This is how each of us honors the terms of the covenant.
"If you want to be great in God's Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all."Our desire to be great is not based on competition or earthly drive. It is out of a desire to please God by being excellent in all we do – to please Him by living lives that honor Him, esteem Him, bless Him and obey Him. To be great in God's Kingdom is a position or reward for living life as He desired of us. How do we go about this? By learning to be a servant of all. To be this kind of servant – not one that is abused by men – but to serve all men fulfills the scriptural instructions of "lay down your life for your friend" and "bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ."
We are not to serve men for our own gain. We are to serve others out of sincere love. Showing mercy and giving grace. Giving men unmerited love. We are to be the channel through which God pours His gifts to men. Love channels flowing from His heart to the hearts and lives of men.
For too long the people who are called by God's name have tried to make servants of others while elevating their own positions and self-worth. For too long people in the world who observe Christians, have seen the same political games and manipulations used by the world contenders, that hurt and abuse innocent people. People have been tragically hurt and turned away from God because of the abusive nature of so many ministries. It's time for this to end. The Word tells us that judgment will begin in the House of the Lord. What will God be judging us on? How large the building or the Sunday morning attendance? How many kids come to our after school programs? How big the offerings are each week? How beautiful the sanctuary? No. None of these things that seem so important in our 'seeker friendly' churches matter to God if we're not obeying His commandment to be doing everything out of love and a servants heart.
In fact, the Bible says that a person can be the world's greatest orator, but if he doesn't speak with a sincere and genuine love for God, that man is regarded as a noisy, irritating sound in God's ears. The Word says that if we understand and interpret the scriptures with a tremendous gift of prophecy or even if we have such tremendous faith that mountains are moved, if we don't operate in God's love for people, He is not impressed and views that man as "nothing." The Word goes on to say that even if a man gives everything he has to the poor or suffers persecution – even death – if he does not have God's love as his motive, he has gained nothing but loss and death. (I Corinthians 13)
So I encourage each of us to look to our own heart and judge ourselves by the Holy Scripture. Are we being doers of the Word and not just hearers only? "Dear children let us not love with word and tongue; but in action and in truth." We are living in crucial times of accountability before God. In order to fulfill His destiny and plan for each of our lives, we must allow Him to work out the old nature that is self-centered and self-promoting. We must submit to His Spirit and allow the washing by the water of His Word to flow through our every word and action, doing all things in truth to His way. God has tremendous plans for each one of us and He has given us everything needed and required to live in His purposes. He is waiting for us to take our position as true sons and daughters, by allowing the purification of our love walk. He eagerly longs to pour out His Spirit into our lives, to be used as gifts to men. But He will not force us to comply. He offers us His grace – His divine ability to do what we cannot do in and of our own selves. As we offer ourselves up to Him in complete submission to His will, holding nothing back, compromising in nothing, He is then able to complete His portion of the covenant agreement and provide for all our needs as MET. Now, in this lifetime. Giving us all things that pertain to life and godliness NOW. The key to receiving is to give. To give love as freely as it was given to us by our Father and by His Son Jesus. The love of God was given to us without cost. But it isn't without requirement. To love God and love others is not just a suggestion. It's a commandment. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived. We do not want to miss out on heavens best because we allowed someone to cause us to stumble or fall. No matter what, choose the way of love. Choose to forgive as He has forgiven. Choose to forget even as He forgets. Choose the way of peace as much and often as you can. Let God be your vindicator in every offense. If you are not satisfied with your ability to receive from your Covenant with God, then look at your own life. Take responsibility for the choices you make. How's your love walk? Everything you need in life is available to you. Open your heart more to others and allow His loving nature to pour through you to be a blessing to others. In your attitude, your words, your deeds and in being honest in motive and desire. God is not willing that anyone miss out on His very best. He's given us everything we need to overcome the world and the key is found in this one commandment of LOVE.
Have a light and easy week in service to others. Ask not what others can do for you but ask what you can do for the people God has asked you to serve. As His representative in the earth. Fulfill your divine assignment out of love for God and a sincere desire to please Him. As you seek FIRST this Kingdom He has instituted, you will find "all these things added unto you" (that you have need of). Judge these words by the Holy Word of God. Look carefully to your own heart. And prepare to receive the outpouring of blessings that God has laid up for you, as your inheritance. "blessings coming upon you and blessings overtaking you."