22nd August 2016 - Bruce Mackay
Jesus continued to teach from the mountainside. As soon as He had finished teaching on the nine attitudes for true happiness, He moved right onto the subject of how to be right with God so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven. Everyone wants to go to heaven! We all hope we will make it. But how? By what means? What is the criteria? Do all roads lead to heaven? Many people have opinions. Some say to just do the best you can; God understands that He can’t ask for anything more than your best effort. Others say you must be baptised, while others insist that you must belong to a certain religion. There is an old song about getting to the pearly gates […]
The Son intercedes for us
When we pray in the Holy Spirit, the Son intercedes for us to the Father, according to the will of God. He petitions the Father to strengthen our spirit with His Spirit. The Father answers the prayer of the Son through His word, which, if received, continues to bring regeneration and renewing to our lives so that we grow in the capacity to live the life of Christ. As we pray in the Spirit, we are enabled to show forth the virtues of Jesus Christ as members of His body. This becomes an ongoing dimension of our life, by which we are able to walk according to the Spirit.
The Father also gives us grace to participate in the sufferings of Christ. We are strengthened by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, to join the fellowship of His sufferings. These sufferings are ‘according to the will of God’. This is why Paul said that we should not despise the chastening of the Father. He disciplines us ‘for our good, so that we may share His holiness’.
Finally, the Father enables the Holy Spirit to pour the love of God into our hearts, establishing and grounding us in love. The hope of being a son of God is not disappointed as we bring forth the fruit of the Spirit of God. Paul identified these fruits as ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control’. This is the fruit of sanctified living, by which the righteousness that is defined by the law is revealed. This quality of living, or life, is the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. This life is now our life. The Spirit gives us power to express the life of Christ as a son of God, and also, to show forth the excellencies of the Son of God as a member of His body, the church.