The restorative living grace of God is prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.
We live by His grace alone, yet that grace is not alone just as our faith is not alone. Our faith is in God who provides us grace. We receive God's revelation, we are saved by God's grace through living faith in Jesus' person and work. And we do this to God's glory forever. We know this by the Scripture.
I brought up last time that we find God's love, and through His love we know Him, and this knowledge causes us to be and think as His children. One cannot divorce Love, Theology and Doctrine from each other, for they are co-existent. We humans sure enjoy compartmentalizing, do we not?
It is God's own nature that constrains us to function as He wills. In submission we join our Lord in proclaiming that His will, not ours, be done.
Let us rejoice that one difference between Jesus and the pagan world is that Jesus knows the Father directly. It is Jesus who reveals God to us. In this we are called in Him to have the mind of Christ.
Paul asks rhetorically in his writing, who knows the mind of the person but the spirit in that person? He states then that we have the Spirit of God in us, so we have access to the mind of God; not due to our humanity but the divine human Jesus.
We are His royal priesthood, His holy nation, a kingdom of priests, His household and spiritual house; we are the New Jerusalem, His Bride, a people for His own possession. This is the identity expressed in the Bible by phrases each with their own unique connotations currently understood and as expressed in the Old Covenant text.
As humans we have historically understood that a nation is usually a people who believe they are related by ancestry. God tells us to consider Abraham as the father of the faithful. In Christ then, we are linked by faith and the blood of Christ into a common identity. No longer are we historically to be considered mere humans.
Pagans and Jews unite together because of the promise of God to Abraham, the Gentile who became the great Hebrew nation. We know that God has always planned from Creation to have a people with whom God has an active relationship with. We also know that the Fall was not a surprise to God, being as Chirst was determined prior to Creation to be our Redeemer.
This is truth, and the truth exists independent of our believing it, for any truth exists because God is. There is a context for every truth, apart from which the declarative premise becomes nonsense or a lie. When we deal with truth then, we are looking to be sure of what it is we know for sure.
Jesus in teaching on the Mount, is recorded as defining in his sermon the context of truths which had been compartmentalized incorrectly by the scholars and scribes, priests and rabbin of Israel up to that time.
"You have heard it said," Jesus says, "but I tell you..." This is almost a mantra in the Gospel texts. This divorce of truth from context, which Jesus exposed, existed not because of Rationality but because fallen humanity defined what God reveals in a way which goes beyond what is written.
This is a danger we always face, as His church.
By God's grace we are united by Jesus' righteousness into His people. Our heredity in Jesus goes back to the beginning because the Word of God made us. We are those who by God's grace have faith in God. Our knowledge of God's revelation finds its definition and completeness in Jesus. But the Lord's choice, being obedient to the Father, He chose twelve faithful disciples and allowed one son of perdition; all these were given to Jesus by the Father according to the will of the Father. This was not the result of offering themselves, or recommending others.
He personally trained these men, and personally assigned them their tasks and roles; except Judas who needed no training to be a tool of Satan just like every other human. By their testimony in word and deed, these apostles became the authority of God by proclamation, in matters of faith and practice. This was because of who He is, not who they were.
There have always been people who denied these men the role and office Jesus gave them. In Paul's writing we learn of divisions and false claims due to those who challenged the Apostles and their teaching. This prideful error is popular again today.
By God's grace, we enter into His active love by faith, and we learn of Him by God's revelation and especially the self-attesting Christ of God. We are transformed and conformed into His image, including participating in His sufferings and in the mind of Christ.
Being in the image of Jesus, yet needing continued sanctification in this life, we see to speak what the Father says, and do what we see the Father doing. This is the model we have in Jesus. It is enough that we be like our Master.
Blessed be Him who gives us what we receive. Amen.