God’s Beloved People

January 18, 2007

God’s beloved people lay down their life with Jesus Christ to take it up again. This is the message of the cross, namely, the way to salvation.The Lord, who went before us, said, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again (John 10:17).” To those who follow this truth, eternal life is given through the love of God.

1 John 1:2 says, “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.” And again, 1 John 2:25 says, “And this is what he promised us–even eternal life.”

Those whom God loves lay down their life to take up eternal life. And so, our Lord said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:39).” It is also written in Romans 6:5, “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”

Without this faith no one can please God. Those whom God loves please God by the faith. They lay down their life to take it up again by faith according to the new covenant in his Son’s blood. We who have the faith are the people of God, being conformed to the likeness of his Son.

Eternal life is what God promised us by his Son. The Bible refers to it as “new life.” In Romans 6:4, it is written, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Anyone who has a new life must lay down his old life. If anyone cannot lay down his old life, he does not have a new life. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. It is written, Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Therefore, the people of God have this testimony: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).” Anyone who does not have this testimony in himself does not belong to Christ Jesus. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires in order to take life up again.

The Lord himself said about it, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26-27).”

The world has been crucified to anyone who denied himself and took up his cross and died with the Lord. The elder, who went before us, testifies about it, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).” Those who have this testimony belong not to the world but to Christ.

All those who belong to Christ are a royal priesthood and will have part in the first resurrection when God again brings Christ into the world. It is written, “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).”

As the head comes out first during a birth, each will be resurrected in his own turn. 1 Corinthians 15:23 says, “But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” Those who belong to him are the bride of the Lamb.

Those whom God loves are not in the flesh but in the Spirit through faith in Christ Jesus, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.

And so, it is written, “And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Amen, Amen. Thank you, Lord.


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