The very foundation of Salvation is grounded in the realization that God’s unmerited love toward us is greater than any other power— including death. Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:14-21
One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to help us to reflect Jesus more fully in our lives. God’s goal is that Christ be seen in us, that we be a living letter revealing the character of Christ. Another purpose of the Spirit’s infilling is to receive power for witnessing.
In today’s devotional we will focus on reflecting Jesus’ character.
The professed Christian can participate in two kinds of obedience. First is what I call external obedience. This could lead to legalism if the believer obeys the law of God because they are seeking the reward of salvation on this basis alone. God wants us to trust Him and obey Him from the heart. The second form of obedience is internal obedience, and occurs because of a deep, inner desire within the believer to obey God. External obedience without heart obedience is unacceptable to God:
“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:16, 17).
These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8).
I came across an illustration many years ago that clarifies the difference between external and internal obedience. Let’s say my father died, and I’m not sure if I should mourn his death, or not, so I go to a friend and ask his advice. We discuss whether or not I should mourn. My friend finally says, “After all, he was your father, and you are his son. So I think you should mourn his death.” On his advice I begin mourning my father’s death. I think it becomes obvious that my mourning in this case would not be genuine mourning from the heart. Rather, it would be external mourning because it was my obligation, as my father’s son, to mourn his death. True mourning would come spontaneously from the heart. I couldn’t help mourning if it were genuine mourning. The same is true of obedience to God. When one is in right relationship with God through the infilling of the Spirit, obedience springs naturally and spontaneously from the heart without even thinking about it. Temptations to disobey will come; however, they will be much weakened in influence by the strong desire God has placed in the heart to obey.
Through the baptism, or infilling of the Holy Spirit, God’s law is written in our hearts, and we obey from the heart. This does not fully happen when we accept Christ and are baptized by water. Paul states that we must continually be “filled with the Spirit,” which is necessary for God’s law to continue to be written on our heart:
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation: but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
This “internal” obedience, springs from daily experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God, as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us” (The Desire of Ages, P. 668).
We have the “assurance” of salvation when we “trust” Jesus with our lives, that’s it. Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. Salvation is Now!! 1John 5:11-13, 1 John 3:2, John 17:3