John 3:19 – This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Jesus draws a line in the sand as He begins His three and half year earthly ministry. The subject of judgment revolves around “light.” Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12). Since the advent of Christ, light has been in the world. There is no more excuse for men to walk in darkness. Not only is light in the world, it has been increasing in intensity ever since the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost.
Judgment follows the light. Presently, mankind is called to repentance and to turn from darkness to the light. When individuals harden their hearts against the light of God, there is only a pending judgment that waits. The reason Jesus could say, “I did not come to judge the world” (John 3:17), is because the rejection of the Son of God brings the judgment of God. Jesus came to save. You could say His campaign was not negative, but positive although filled with clear defining lines. As one chooses the light, salvation will result. When one rejects the light, there remains only a fearful looking ahead to judgment.
Believers become carriers of the light. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). God’s plan was that the light in His Son would be lit in the believer through the Holy Spirit. It is through the believers throughout the earth, that light is now filling the planet. Many believe that darkness is increasing, but the truth is that light is spreading through the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Father, I thank You for the light of Christ which is in me. Thank You for delivering me from judgment and calling me to be a light bearer in the world today.
2 Corinthians 5:16 – Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh.
If we look at people in the flesh, it will be an exceedingly difficult task to be a person of reconciliation. Reconciliation is a work of the Holy Spirit and He keeps His eyes on the new creation in Christ and not the old which comes from Adam.
Paul informs the Corinthian believers that God committed to each of us the “word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Reconciliation is an apostolic function. If an individual has been given an apostolic gift, reconciliation must be manifested in their life and ministry. It is reconciliation that causes the church to be “apostolic” in its core being. Any church that does not manifest the ministry of reconciliation cannot be considered fundamentally solid.
The key to carrying the ministry of reconciliation is found in the principle of our verse for today. Paul is emphatic when he says, “from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh.” We must see through the eyes of the Spirit of God. His filter is the cross where the blood of Christ was shed for the sins of the world. In my flesh, I am filled with judgments. Some may be accurate, but judgments nevertheless. In the Spirit, I am to receive the judgments of Christ which are viewed through the work of the cross.
There will be an end time judgment for all those who have rejected God’s offer of reconciliation. But until that day when Christ returns, our judgments are to be viewed through the cross and God’s grace. If we judge after the flesh, our judgments will condemn us because of the weakness of our own fleshly failures. If we judge through the cross, then we commit all true judgment to God who will judge the heart of all men.
Father, I ask for grace to not see anyone after the flesh, but through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. Fill my heart with Your love and a desire to see all men and women brought to the cross and new life in Christ. Help me to walk in the “word of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:7-8 – We walk by faith, not by sight — we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
We are called to walk out the process between the cross and the throne, experiencing His love and sharing His love with others, beginning with the family of God and taking His love to the lost. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul teaches about the new creation man. That walk is a walk of faith. It is faith because we are not led by our natural senses, but by the Holy Spirit who lives in the believer. He is preparing us for eternity and living at home with the Lord.
Paul speaks of his desire to leave this present world and be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:2). Love motivated him as he lived in his earthly body. His life was dedicated to the Gospel and reaching the lost. Paul had a clear understanding of his purpose as a result of the cross. He longed for the Throne of God, but not in an unhealthy way. He did not just mope around awaiting his death, but served the Lord’s purpose until the day he was separated from his earthly body to receive the body prepared for him by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Love and faith motivated the apostle as it did all of the Lord’s apostles. Love and faith is to be our motivator as well. We possess the kingdom as we walk out the process of love and faith. This process of love and faith includes our families, other believers, and the lost people we encounter along the way.
Father, I ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to infuse my life with love and faith in the process of my walk before You and others. Thank You for Your presence that is continually with me to give me good success.
James 1:25 – One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
This is an interesting scripture. James connects liberty with listening. Our relationship with the Holy Spirit should be more about His speaking to us than our speaking to Him. He has a great deal to say to us in helping to bring our life into the liberty Christ has provided for every believer.
“Anyone who is a hearer of the word and not a doer forgets what kind of person he was” (James 1:23-24). An aspect of our liberty is located in remembering what kind of person I had been. As I read God’s Word, I am always reminded of the true lost condition I was in. Many believers hear the Word, but stop and camp on who they were in their fallen nature. The liberty James is addressing comes not only from hearing, but also by doing God’s Word. The “perfect law of liberty” is located in what Christ has done for us and our response by receiving what He has done. The forgetful hearer is limited in hearing the Holy Spirit. Remembering what I was without Christ should lead to what I am in Christ and the doing of His will.
“It was for freedom that Christ set you free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). What a tremendous declaration of God’s purpose in Christ. Our freedom! Consider a few things He has accomplished: our freedom to obey the Holy Spirit as He reveals God’s Truth to our hearts, our freedom to love others, especially those not so lovely, and our freedom to retain God’s Word, and by His power allow the Word to change us into His likeness and image perfect in me.
Outside of Christ, this liberty does not exist. The only law we need, is the “law of Christ.” Paul gives us clarity as to what that law is, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 KJV). It is that simple, beloved, learning to bear the burdens of others. This is what the Lord had in mind when He said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, so love one another” (John 13:34).
Father, I thank You for the perfect law of liberty. My great desire is for the Holy Spirit to daily empower me to look into “the perfect law” and fulfill its liberty by hearing and doing all You have commanded me to do.
God’s love is manifested through the prophets as they give revelation of the plans which God wants His people to know. “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile” (Jeremiah 29:11-14).
God desires that His people have such a relationship with Him, so that He can reveal His will to them. He wants them to voice God’s will so that others will know. “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). He reveals His desire that all of His people would “prophesy” in 1 Corinthians 14:31 when Paul says “For you can all prophesy one by one.” Paul goes on to reveal that prophecy has purpose; that it is “for learning and the exhorting” of God’s people. Prophecy is not the natural man trying to figure out God’s will, but the Spirit of God making known His will to the spirit of a person. What one believes the Spirit of God has revealed to them is subject to others hearing God as well. No spirit of prophecy is “private,” but is to be confirmed by what others are hearing God say. “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but peace as in all the churches of saints” (1 Corinthians 14:32-33).
God’s love is revealed in the Son. God so loved the world that He gave His very best – He wants our very best as well. Our best is not our efforts, but His Son revealed in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. His love is revealed in the “Gift of His Holy Spirit.” The Spirit only produces Christ’s life, not our opinions or wants.
In the Spirit, God gave a helper: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16). Through the Spirit He does not leave us as orphans (John 14:18)
Father, I thank You for the spirit of prophecy. I pray for You to stir up the prophetic gift in my life. You want me to convey Your will and Your love. I choose to give You my very best, my utmost for Your highest. I am dependent for all I have from the Helper which You have given.