Self-Control

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

~ Galatians 5:22-23

Last, but certainly not least, is the fruit of the Spirit known as self-control. The word used here “ἐγκράτεια” (enkráteia) properly means “the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites”. It is derived from “ἐν” (en) meaning “in” and “κράτος” (kratos) meaning “strength,” and has reference to the power or command which believers are to exercise over all manner of sinful and ungodly practices. This kind of discipline over ourselves is not something we muster up. In the flesh, we are weak (Rom. 7:14). It is the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit which bestows what is necessary to put to death the old man and causes Christians to live in newness of life. It is then the fruit of self-control which enables the true follower of Christ to cultivate, nurture and grow all the fruits of the Spirit in their life. Against such blessed things, there is no law.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, may You help me to be like a tree planted by living waters that brings forth fruit in my season of life, and that the power and presence of the Divine Spirit in my life, my leaf will not whither and whatsoever I do for Your own glory, shall prosper. In Jesus, name, amen.

Certainly Not!

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!”

~ Romans 6:16

Those who would use the grace of God and the gift of eternal salvation as license to sin understand neither grace nor salvation. Though sadly, I fear many, practically, do just that. We rationalize our sin. We think to ourselves, “I’m saved, I go to church, I’m a basically good person – surely God won’t count this sin against me”. And yet once this kind of depraved thinking has crept into our hearts and minds, then just about anything is free game at that point.

Should we think because we have tasted the wonderful grace of God it’s ok to go back and drink the bitter waters of sinful living? The Scriptures are clear: Certainly not! Some translations render that phrase “God forbid!”. The grace of God is freedom, but it is freedom from sin and strength for holy living and faithfully serving the God and Christ of our salvation. Grace is license, not to sin, but to serve. What then? Will you use the grace of God to sin or to serve?

Prayer Life Pause: Father, help me to walk away from sin and to walk more in Your grace each and every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

~ apl

Peace With God

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)

May we never minimize so great a peace! May we never discount what it means to be at peace with God. We may long for peace here and now, but may we ever so much long for peace in eternity. May we remember how far we have fallen away from the grace and favor of God and how far He has come to turn away His great wrath and grant us His peace. We now have the privilege of serving the Price of Peace. He who declares to the storms “Peace, be still”. He, who is Jesus Christ, and brings to us this peace which Scripture describes as surpassing our understanding. God’s peace does surpass our understanding, doesn’t it? Who can comprehend such mercy? Such love? That the sovereign and eternal God of heaven and earth, He who is holy, blameless and pure – He who the Bible says is comprised of unapproachable light – would justify poor sinners through the sacrifice of His own Son – and reconcile, that is join together, His lowly creatures back to Himself through and by His eternal and everlasting peace.

Amen

The Plan of Salvation

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)

The plan of salvation by Christ reveals God as willing to be reconciled. He is ready to pardon, and to be at peace. If the sinner repents and believes, God can now consistently forgive him, and admit him to favor. It is therefore a plan by which the mind of God and of the sinner can become reconciled, or united in feeling and in purpose. The obstacles on the part of God to reconciliation, arising from his justice and Law, have been removed, and he is now willing to be at peace. The obstacles on the part of man, arising from his sin, his rebellion, and his conscious guilt, may be taken away, and he can now regard God as his friend.

~ Albert Barnes, Notes on the Whole Bible

Making Way For Peace

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)

It is sin that breeds the quarrel between us and God, creates not only a strangeness, but an enmity the holy righteous God cannot in honour be at peace with a sinner while he continues under the guilt of sin. Justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. And such are the benignity and good-will of God to man that, immediately upon the removing of that obstacle, the peace is made…. And surely a man needs no more to make him happy than to have God his friend! But this is through our Lord Jesus Christ–through him as the great peace-maker, the Mediator between God and man, that blessed Day’s-man that has laid his hand upon us.

~ Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Romans 5:1