23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” (Psalm 73:23–24, NKJV)
Even though it often appears that the arrogant and ungodly are rewarded with prosperity and ease in this life, Asaph the psalmist came to understand the ultimate outcome of the ungodly is complete destruction and sudden desolation (Psa. 73:1-20). When you see the wicked person prosper in his prideful disregard of God, you must remember there is more to life than the here and now. Eternity looms ahead, and you must continue to trust in the Lord to uphold you with His powerful hand, and to guide you with His holy counsel. When you follow the guidance of God’s holy word, He will receive you into eternal glory. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:10-11).
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1–2, NKJV)
The great grace of God is accessed by faith. Abraham’s faith is prototypical of the faith we must have in order to access grace (Rom. 4). Those who “walk in the steps of the faith” that Abraham had are those who are saved (Rom. 4:12-16). Notably, Abraham’s obedience perfected his faith (Jas. 2:21-24). In the same manner, obedient faith grants access to God’s grace today (Rom. 6:17-18). One greatly errs if he thinks God’s grace overlooks sin. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it” (Rom. 6:1-2)? Faithful Christians will not develop a careless attitude toward what sin is, or toward what it does. The Holy Spirit warns us not to fall from grace, and persuades us to live by faith by obeying the “perfect law of liberty” (Gal. 5:4; 2 Cor. 5:7; Jas. 1:22-25). Do not falsely conclude that because God’s grace is so great, it will save you in spite of having unrepented sin in your life. That is not the faith of father Abraham. That will never be the faith that accesses and stands in grace.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13, NKJV)
Our prayers should not only be about our needs and desires (Heb. 4:16). They should not only be supplications on behalf of others (1 Tim. 2:1-2). They should also be filled with adoration for our Heavenly Father. Reverent respect and regard for the Almighty ought to be evident in our manner of prayer (Matt. 6:9). Acknowledge the regal, royal, sovereign rule of our Father as we pray. It is precisely because He reigns supreme that we are impressed with His willingness to hear and answer our prayers. His eternal power, announced by His whole creation, assures us of His ability to act on our behalf. His majestic glory humbles us in His presence and impresses us of His love toward us, low as we are in comparison to His majesty (Psa. 8:4). As we pray, let us remember to whom we are addressing our petitions. This will help define our attitude in prayer as well as shape our faith in our Father to “do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4, NKJV)
Christ is our source of life. Not only is He the giver of our physical life (the One through whom all things were made and given life, Jno. 1:3), He is especially the source of our eternal life (Jno. 1:4; 14:6). We have been raised from sin’s death to newness of life, quickened by the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead (Col. 2:12). This assures our faith that Jesus will appear again, returning from heaven in the same manner He was seen going into heaven (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:16). When He does, Christians will share in the brightness of His presence. Our splendid hope rests in Christ and the life we have in Him. We cannot overlook the unmistakable point of this passage, Colossians 3:1-4: If Christians do not “seek” things above, if we do not “set” our minds on heavenly things, and if we do not live faithfully “with Christ in God,” then when Jesus comes we will not appear with Him in glory. We have clear incentives to put Christ first in our lives: He died for us, and we have died to sin. God has raised us from spiritual death and given us a heavenly inheritance. Now, let us be faithful to Him and receive our inheritance on the great day of His return.
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23–24, NKJV)
The Olympic Games give the world a chance to celebrate athletic excellence. They also remind us not to trust in personal accomplishments. Wisdom, strength and wealth ought to be viewed as blessings and opportunities, not as excuses to boast in self and forget God. Our benefits and blessings bring into focus the goodness of God toward us. Instead of reveling in our personal advantages (such as wisdom, strength or wealth), let us glory in knowing the Lord and in depending upon Him. His mercy, justice and righteousness fills the earth, and we reap these blessings of His goodness. Self-exaltation does not please the Lord. So, be careful to boast in the Lord and not yourself.
to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:21, NKJV)
A review of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 reveals the glory God is due. God is to be held in honor because He is our Progenitor and our source of spiritual strength (v. 15-16), because of His great love with which He fills us (v. 17-19), and because of His amazing power to exceed the expectations of our requests and thoughts (v. 20). In today’s verse, Paul calls attention to his summary point: God is glorified in the church by Christ throughout the ages (v. 21). Far too many who profess to be Christians do not value Christ’s church. Doctrines that make the church an afterthought in God’s mind have contributed to this devalued view of the church. Corrupt teaching, living, organization, worship and work all add to the wrong notion that says, “Christ is important, not the church.” We cannot separate Christ from His church without nullifying the glory it gives God. Jesus purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25). The church was built by Christ (Matt. 16:18). The church is the result of God’s eternal, redemptive purpose in Christ (Eph. 3:10-11). These reasons, and more, compel the called out ones (the church) to give glory to God. We do so as we live by faith and Christ dwells in each heart (v. 17).
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:26–29, NKJV)
God’s choices are unlike those initiated by human wisdom and expectations. Yielding to the temptations of pride and conceit prevents many from humbly believing and obeying the word of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18). Those consumed by worldly wisdom consider the gospel as “foolish things”. Those driven by power see the gospel as filled with “weak things”. How people assess the gospel does not diminish its wisdom or destroy its power. To those who hear and heed God’s call, the gospel continues to be God’s power and wisdom (1 Cor. 1:24). God has chosen things that are opposite of human wisdom and preference in order to turn our attention to His wisdom, greatness and grandeur. We must never boast before God, but always humble ourselves in dutiful and submission obedience to His will.