Sanctification and Kindness
What do you walk in? What do you count on as regards being cleansed from sin, or do you claim to have no sin?
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Confession is the beginning, but not the end, of our salvation; for the confession of sin and cleansing need to be part of the sanctification process. And there is so much to learn.
Last week I posted the first five verses of Psalm 32; here are the rest of the psalm's verses:
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart" (Psalm 32:6-11).
In this psalm, then, God promises to instruct us and teach us in the way we ought to go, and He will. But that's not all.
We need, also, the certainty promised in 1 John 5:13: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."
We recognize, as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
We receive comfort. Jeremiah wrote, "The LORD appeared to him from far away, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you'" (Jeremiah 31:3).
We receive more comfort. John wrote, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1, 14).
We grow. Paul wrote, "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:6-7).
We grow. Peter wrote, "So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up into salvation--if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good" (1 Peter 2:1-3). A hunger and thirst for righteousness should drive us all to on-going intake of the Word.
We do good works, not to become saved, but in response to the saving work of Christ.
Paul wrote about this in several of his letters.
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed" (2 Corinthians 9:8).
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
"Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds" (Titus 2:13-14).
"This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds" (Titus 3:8).
"Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful" (Titus 3:14).
How do we display fruitfulness?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).
What do Christians have to look forward to?
"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).
"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever" (Psalm 23:6).