Are your deeds incomplete?

If Christians are worn out, it is for one of two reasons: (1) they don’t know how much their Father loves them and (2) they have an unbiblical definition of work. Hey, I’m not judging anyone here. When it comes to overwork, I’m guilty as sin. I’m a workaholic who regularly pushes himself past breaking point. I’ve learned a lot through my mistakes, but sometimes I wonder whether I have learned anything at all.

So put this one in the “Do as I say, not as I do basket.”

On the subject of rest vs work, I have much to learn, but one thing I know for certain is this: Jesus does not want you to work yourself to exhaustion. Rather, he wants you to rest from your labors, and trust in his finished work.

“But Paul, what about all those scriptures that say things like Jesus knows our deeds and we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling and we will be rewarded for doing good?”

I encourage you to check out the 30+ articles I have written on these and other deeds-scriptures. (You can find them in the Archives>Subject Index under “works”.) Today I want to look at a scripture that I unpack in my new book, Letters from Jesus.

I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. (Rev. 3:2b)

This sounds like a serious warning, and it is. But the warning may not be what you think it is. Jesus is not saying, “You need to pray more, study more, do more to maintain your fellowship with the Holy Spirit.”

Yet sadly, this is the message many Christians hear. They read these words and feel like Jesus is giving them a performance appraisal. “You’re not doing enough! Your deeds are incomplete.” What is the remedy? Sign up for more busyness. Make more promises to God. And what is the result? Burn out and condemnation.

Perhaps you have been burdened with unholy demands for more, but this burden is not from the Lord. So what is Jesus saying in this passage? Short answer: He’s talking to unsaved people who had heard the gospel but not believed it.

The incomplete deeds passage comes from Jesus’ letter to the church at Sardis. This church had made a name for themselves – they had a reputation – but Jesus wasn’t impressed. They were known as a busy church, but the majority of people in it were unsaved. They were self-righteous do-gooders who remained dead in their sin and unacquainted with the Holy Spirit.

In the first verse of his letter, Jesus draws attention to the Sardians’ deficiency—they lacked the Holy Spirit. The fellowship of the Spirit is not something we earn through good works. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the gift of God given to all who ask (Luke 11:13). The self-righteous Sardians had done many things for God, but they had not asked for anything from God. They were more interested in what they could give to the Lord, than what he could give to them.

By all accounts the Sardians were plenty busy. They had acquired a reputation for their good deeds. But those who are trying to earn God’s favor can never succeed. They may be slaving for the Lord, but their best will never be enough. Their deeds will always be incomplete.

What is the remedy for incomplete deeds? Jesus tells us in the next verse.

Remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent (Rev. 3:3a)

Since Sardis had a substantial Jewish population, we can assume that the gospel came to this town via the synagogue. The Sardian Jews heard the good news first, and some of them repented and were clothed with the spotless raiments of Christ’s righteousness (see Rev. 3:4). But many who heard the gospel did not repent. Hence the Lord exhorts them to “remember what you heard (the gospel) and repent (change your unbelieving minds).” He also exhorts them to keep it, which means heed it and hold fast to it.

The gospel reveals the free gift of God’s righteousness—“a righteousness that is by faith from first to last” (Rom. 1:17). One sign that a person hasn’t received the gospel is they haven’t received the righteousness that comes from God. They are still trying to establish their own. This is what was happening in Sardis. The Jews had heard about Jesus, but they had not grasped what Christ had done. They were boasting in their reputation when they could have been boasting in the Lord.

If you believe in Jesus, rest assured the incomplete deeds warning is not for you. However, if you think your hard work is earning you favor with God, then maybe it is. I don’t say that to condemn you, but to liberate you from the tyranny of dead works.

In my next article, I will ask an important question: Are you working too hard for Jesus? If your gut reaction is, “It’s not possible to work too hard for the Lord,” then allow me to introduce you to a some Christians who were working far too hard and suffering as a result. Stay tuned.

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48 Comments on Are your deeds incomplete?

  1. Penny Creery // February 13, 2019 at 1:04 am // Reply

    Thank you Paul. A great reminder that we are called to rest in Jesus finished work, and let Him bring forth the fruit through us. Blessings to you and your family.

  2. Someone once told me what BUSY stands for in the Kingdom of God, I never forgot it. Busy Under Satan’s Yoke! They were right.

  3. I liked how you related the words of Jesus to the “unsaved” in the church at Sardis. Jesus himself said that there would be tares in with the wheat so the truth of unsaved people in a gathering should not be a stumbling block to us.

    I do have one question: what is your take on Jesus saying “remember what you have received…” It’s the word “receive” that I am wondering about. The word “receive” in other scriptures shows the acceptance of Jesus’ work on the cross and resurrection.

    Perhaps it is referring to mental assent to a message which would be different from believing from the heart which is necessary for salvation? Rom. 10:9-10

    I love your grace-based views on scriptures. Some brethren have like Daniel the ability from the Lord to give knowledge and understanding of …”hard sentences and dissolving of doubts…”:

    Daniel 5:12 (KJV)

    • There were quite a few tares among the wheat in the Revelation churches. The full phrase is, “remember what you have received and heard.” The gospel came to the synagogue. They received the brother who brought it and heard his message, but they did not “keep it and repent.” They did not receive it into their hearts. In Acts we read that Paul was received into various synagogues where he boldly proclaimed the gospel to Jewish people who heard it but did not repent. The same thing happened here.

      • That’s what I thought too but you added more insight into it for me. Thanks for taking the time to answer. Bless you!

      • So how does one know whether or not he has received the word in his heart? Is there a feeling, an awareness, a “just knowing” that one has so received? Or is it a change in one’s life that is to give one the knowledge that one has ‘truly’ believed?

      • You have said yes to Jesus, instead of no. It’s not primarily a feeling; it’s an act of will, a decision – a small one with infinite consequences.

      • Rob, for me it has been to me just believing, even in bad circumstances, I have been in. I stand as I heard Job did in Job, where God said Job would not deny him in the first Chapter and Satan said take away that hedge and he will deny you?
        God allows adversities, because he know and has faith in us to hold on even in and through adversities. See the end Chapter, where Job did not deny God as God said he would not. Did Job sin. Sure he did, as it is not about sin, it is about belief to God to see you through no matter how long it takes.

        This world is doubt!!! I see in Isaiah 7:1-9, verse 9 especially, where God told them about Samaria and said in verse 9 if you doubt me, I will not establish you.

        See the4 first free choice of Eve where Adam followed her in her doubt, he followed her because she did not die right away as thought by Adam, so he ate too and the fall brought death to all.
        Doubt is what started this and doubt is what is still going on today in people.

        So just knowing, God Father and Son are real as the air you breath, to be alive physically. Noe be alive Spiritually from God Father’s gift of risen Son, reported to the entire world from the Disciples to us all.

        Those that just believe even though they do not see are blessed beyond measure that can and does take a while to see. So stand even unto death as we see in Acts Stephan did, as he got stoned to death by the religious, Pharisees for saying God does not live in temples. As Saul who became Paul after watching Stephan die willingly, wondering what, who goes to death willingly?
        Then that road to Damascus where he changed his mind from unbelief to belief.

        Brother in belief, to Father personally, Father reveals Son to thee over time in you not giving up, even though many a times you might or have felt like it.

        This is Spirit and Truth, not of flesh and blood, where we only see and feel to make it real.

        Love from Father beyond understanding is what he has done for us all by Son as in Col. 1:21-23, then Romans 5:1-10 tells us, this truth has not anything to do with us, but Love and mercy to us
        Thank you as Father reveals truth to you too

  4. Judy Eshenko // February 13, 2019 at 1:55 am // Reply

    Thank you for your insights. I am reminded so often of the question: Why is is so hard for Christians to “get” this message of immense Grace? Pastor after pastor, preaching works righteousness and not even realizing he is doing it. “we are a serving church, look at what we do, our outreach is awesome”, when so many working in these ministries still think they are working on keeping the commandments. Grace is just for salvation and then we better get busy…. (not). Thank you for the truth that sets us free Paul.

  5. This is a breath of fresh air. I value your commitment, Paul, to expounding the love of God. This post reminds me of a quote by George MacDonald:

    “When my child would serve me,” he went on, “he spies out some need I have, springs from his seat at my knee, finds that which will meet my necessity, and is my eager, happy servant, of consequence in his own eyes inasmuch as he has done something for his father. His seat by my knee is love, delight, well-being, peace–not service, however pleasing in my eyes.–‘Why do you seat yourself at my knee, my son?’ ‘To please you, father.’ ‘Nay then, my son! go from me, and come again when it shall be to please thyself.’–‘Why do you cling to my chair, my daughter? ‘Because I want to be near you, father. It makes me so happy!’ ‘Come nearer still–come to my bosom, my child, and be yet happier.'”

  6. Spot On!!! Thank you as always Paul!

  7. The law has been fulfilled in Jesus.

  8. I’m about halfway through your book. Thank you so much for bringing clarity to these misunderstood words of Jesus.

  9. Jenny Beauchamp // February 13, 2019 at 8:35 am // Reply

    Good stuff Paul– I strive so hard (when I even remember to ) to stay in His Rest!
    Love the quote Jonathan. Thanks.

  10. Are your deeds incomplete__ not if we do what is designed by God for us to do in the spirit.

    The person opens their heart to the heard calling of God to come out of the world & in to his Kingdom; by inviting him to come on in & dwell; therein the heart. That person is granted faith to believe by faith, given by Faith.

    As faith & believing are not provable; just as receiving is not held to one by God, but many. Would we be care-full to examine the words, “what you have received”? Grace, the finished work of the Cross, the call of God to come out of the world, faith, works or deeds (done in the spirit yet, designed by God for us to do), crowns, rewards etc… are various receivings. Yet, understood differently by the Saints – as each is on a differing point of the journey with Jesus.

    In Jm 2, James speaks to Faith given & received. He’s speaking to the individual here & says, faith without works/deeds (done in the spirit) is nothing. Being respectfully careful here: A text without a context is only a pretext waiting to made in to anything we want – logical fallacies can be conjured by the mind – lest we be guarded. To know the truth is start with a true premise. Can we put Jm 2:14-26 in to perspective?

  11. jonathan tutor // February 13, 2019 at 7:57 pm // Reply

    Excellent!

  12. I have been reading your book and for the most part I agree with you, but not on this. I am disappointed that you chose to interpret Jesus as saying “what” you heard rather than “how” you heard. “How” is how the Greek word is usually translated, and how we hear is the important issue. How do we hear the word of truth – i.e. ‘He who has ears to hear’. Perhaps they were real Christians but stopped hearing with their spiritual ears. “What” they were hearing was correct, but “how” they were hearing was the issue. This explanation seems much closer to home, more relevant to so much of the Church today, and what has a direct connection to the kind of deeds we have.

    • Hi Jerry, that’s an interesting comment, but whether you interpret the word as what or how the interpretation of the passage remains the same. The gospel had come to them, most likely in the synagogue, they had heard it, but they had not repented. It’s true that 9 out of 10 commentators agree with your interpretation that Jesus was speaking to renegade Christians. Consequently this verse is often used to frighten underperforming believers. I strenuously disagree. We can be sure they were not Christians because Jesus said they remained dead (in their sins) and had not put on the white robes of his righteousness. He also implies that they lack the Holy Spirit – a claim that would not apply to Christians.

  13. So they were a church but weren’t saved. Is this a case of people thinking they are saved but really weren’t? How can the rest of us know we are saved, except by looking to our works (as the Sardis church was de facto told to do)?

    • No, that’s not quite correct. In the assembly at Sardis, Jesus identifies two groups; those who were saved and those who weren’t. He paints a big thick line between those who are dead and alive, those who have the Spirit and those who don’t, and those who are clothed with the raiment of his righteousness and those who wear the filthy rags of self-righteousness. (A pretty normal church in other words.) Jesus has a different message for each group.

      • It’s confusing and despairing. How can one know one’s faith is real? I’ve been told all my life that to be saved is to produce fruit, or at least to sin less. Habitual, chronic sin is evidence that one is unsaved. So you believe again and the same result happens. Again and again, (30 years for me). It shouldn’t be this hard.

      • Do you believe that Jesus is who he said he is and that he loved you enough to die for you and that he now lives for you? If yes, your faith is real.

    • If I may, Rob, What I see per scripture is God and the person in belief to him are the ones that know if are or not. Romans 8 declares this truth. So it is not up to me, you, or any other person to know this truth, if another one is in or not.
      God knows who believe in him and who will believe as well as those he still reveals himself to believe him in his love and mercy of Son given the entire world.
      So when I say I believe, and others believe me, I can use them can I not? so to me I agree with Paul in Phil 3>1-11 then verse 12 not to claim I know, for there is 2 Cor, 12:7-10 as well when another thinks they know.

      So all I can say is I hope, for all to turn to Father in belief of his love and mercy given to us as reconciled by Son in Son’s death only are all reconciled as forgiven and seen as if never sinned by Son alone is his one time death, Col. 1:21 -23 and then toi see Romans 5:10

      Acts 20:21 tells me this Son’s death for us was is for all to be as reconciled 2Cor. 5:16-20
      Acts 17:28, tells me as well that we as the people are only vessels that God Father uses in risen Son to lead us in truth of his Love as best described in 1 Cor. 13:4-7, and in order top do that type of love it has to be imputed in us from Father, not by my trying to do it. For Ex: Romans 7 explains that part of trying to do what not one can do but God himself in Son for us all to get new life that is not offered in his open time death. That is for reconciliation only, where as Christ’s risen life is offered in our belief willingness for his lead in Father’s Spirit and Truth, as if Son never left

      Just a little steak to eat and chew trusting God to digest it for you to out from underneath worries that are only natural for this flesh body that is not redeemed yet

      Hope I am not pout of turn here you replied to Paul Ellis, and me thanking God for him and others as you as well too.

  14. Thank you pastor, every time I read your article am refreshed and see Gods love clearer.

  15. Jenny Beauchamp // February 15, 2019 at 4:33 am // Reply

    The will and works of God (His Deeds):
    How many times have you been in a church service or bible study and were told to pray the Lord show you your calling, your part in the body so that you can know the will of God, and do the works of God?
    I remember when the Holy Spirit whispered the simple truth to me, through these scriptures- See John 6:
    John 6:28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
    v. 29 – Jesus answer and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
    John 6:38 – Jesus tells us that He has come down from heaven to do the will of Him who sent Him. Then He proceeds to tell us exactly what is the will of the Father who sent Him—
    …that of all He has given me I shall lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
    v. 40: And this is the will of Him (God) who sent Me (Jesus), that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    so the will of God (for you) is that you see and believe in Jesus and therefore have everlasting life and be raised upon at the last day!
    And the work of God is that you believe in Jesus, who He sent.

    Can it be that simple? Yes, Yes, and Amen!

  16. It seems that the comments section shows that rather than bring security, this article creates insecurity on whether a person can really know whether they are saved in the first place.
    I don’t think your interpretation is correct in these latest articles, if your interpretation is the correct one, why would scripture be written in such a way that encourages a completely different perspective?
    I also can’t help but notice the collectivist approach to salvation as well. The idea that all those that ARE saved are basically one homogeneous group is a way some have turned grace into a “law” of sorts which has a dampening effect on meaningful relationship.
    The gospel is anti tribal, it promotes a personal salvation that leads to a personal relationship with God, everyone is an independent moral agent. Because of this, some people can in fact be closer to God than others and the scriptures make that abundantly clear. That may not be a salvation issue, but the concept of relationship is meaningless unless the individuals free will “deeds” are incorporated into their personal relationship with the Lord.

    • How do you interpret incomplete deeds? What sort of deeds does Jesus expect from us if not faith?

      • I think Faith is a given also, from Father by Son for us. It is Father the Holy Spirit that got me to see this relationship with him and I as he won it for me, you and all who will turn to him personally in belief, Yet that takes the Holy Spirit upon us to be revealed this and given this

        No work can do what is done by Son for us, or can it?
        Thanks, as we grow in fellowship, each one of us, and not be overly dogmatic, but in the truth the foundation
        Jesus Christ and him crucified, as each builds off this truth. Father reveals he is risen for us, in the form of the Holy Spirit, is what I see, has nothing to do with me but his lover and mercy for me and the entire world

        Gal 2:20-21

        Thanks me always willing to learn understanding taking all to Father in prayer to hear truth over error, as there are many a errors in this world we ae in and not a part of any longer

        I think Daniel has a point to be reckoned with in prayer over this miraculous love from Father to us all in and through Son that is risen where new life is given, after his one time death reconciled everyone to Father as forgiven according to Col. 1:21-23,
        Thanks me just wanting to learn and not think I know, only Father does

      • Faith is the foundation for relationship, it is just the beginning. What man holds up his marriage certificate and declares his marriage complete, final, requiring no further deeds on his part to build a relationship with his beloved? I don’t find a legal definition of salvation for eternal security purposes compelling, it is much more than that. Deeds done for the wrong motives may be an issue, but to say that God’s interest in us is just a general salvation and then we lay on a deck chair for the rest of our lives while being hand fed grace grapes to remind us of the finished work is not in any way the complete picture.
        I think the warnings to the churches in Revelation address that reality just as much as they address legalism. God is deeply interested in the motives of our hearts and in every aspect of our lives, our deeds are the material manifestation of our heart state and our relationship to Him. Does God have more respect for some people than others? I’d say yes, and I’d also say that God trusts some people more than He trusts others as well, just as a husband and wife build trust based on their deeds together rather than just the marriage certificate.

      • And yet, reclining at the feet of Jesus eating “grace grapes” is exactly what Mary did and what Martha should’ve done. Relationship is not something to manufacture with deeds; it grows out of love and intimacy. We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, and the one thing that hinders that above all others, is the ever-present temptation to work for what he has freely given.

    • Daniel, I think the point is about, believers wearing out in trying to do what they can’t do as religion teaches this to be done by us.
      Which is true, to go through as very hard work first before able to see how to enter God’s rest as in Hebrews 4:9-13 tells me about it.

      As I hope as Paul prayed for us all in Eph. 3:16-19 to see high, deep and wide, it has not a thing to do with our work

      Yet our work to be in does seem to come up first. To see one’s own inability to be perfect, which reveals why Son has done what is done for us ion his one time death only.

      The new life gets discovered or got discovered when I cane to the end of my own flesh and blood I am in, and saw, I can’t, so God did in Son the exact image of himself in the flesh for us.
      Then see 2 Cor, 5:16-20 about reconciliation first, now since that is done new life can be installed in us by God Father for us in risen Son given us to walk new in by Son’s Faith leading us now, not of self as was in the first works to be in and yet still we in and not know this until one ends up at the end of himself trying to do what no man can do. Then one turns to Father for Father’s done work of Son to permeate through in love to all, not a few as man can only do. Love those that love them, not those that do not love them.

      Luke 6:32
      Thank you asking for God’s imputation, revealed in Romans 4:17-25, and getting 1 Cor 13:4-7

      New Life installed from God Father, thanks to Son’s done work for all first in his one time death it is done4 to get this now in belief and be content in all things

    • I think I can see the point Daniel is making, and regret I too disagree with your interpratation Paul, especially with regard to the Church at Sardis.
      Some years ago I had cause to ask the Lord what the modern Church was like and He gave me one Word – Sardis, and that answer I believe had little is anything to do with a failure to rest in His completed work (which I also believe in by the way, though not as you seem to).
      The problem as I see it is not resting, rather it is in taking too much for granted, something I think too many Christians can be guilty of doing. Let me explain. We are saved by grace working through faith – the Scripture makes that clear. But that was not the problem with Sardis. Like many today they had turned that into a law to justify themselves every bit as much as the Pharisees who believed they were saved by being lineally descended from Abraham. They believed, falsely, that the work of the Cross saved them while their actual deeds did not reflect the will of the Father. They took too much for granted and made a mockery of the Cross. I think this is what the Lord was reproaching them for.
      Does a person sin by trying too hard to live in a way that they believe is pleasing to the Lord? Never! We should never think we save ourselves, but not to make an effort to modify our lives (with His aid) to become pleasing to Him suggests mere hypocrisy.

      • The self-righteous Sardisians, like the Pharisees, were unacquainted with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said they were dead and needed to wake up. They needed to repent and believe the gospel. They weren’t confused Christians in need of rest (like the Ephesians); they were sinners in need of grace.

  17. Paul, thank you for that response in truth having nothing to do with taking for granted what is given us

    As this world we in and not of turns, and twists to be God, Satan lucifer wanted from the start

    Lost at the resurrected Son, who got sanctified as High Priest forever to never die again

    And not of the Levite Tribe either. From the Tribe of Judah, that fooled Satan into wanting him dead, not realizing Jesus would be Justified and made as High Priest forever, that is when Satan lost the keys he had then to Heaven and Hell

    I love not having to be a puppet, as Satan wants from everyone him to be God a Tyrant which the true God is not

    Thanks Again for standing up in God’s Love and mercy to all and for all to turn to him each willing if will
    Thank you Father Psalms 100:4, 103:12

  18. Jenny Beauchamp // February 21, 2019 at 1:41 am // Reply

    How can one believer be closer to God than another, if the reason and position in Christ is because of the Father/Son covenant and we are adopted? Possibly, one believer is more aware of his/her relationship with the Father in Christ (at times). But, He is not a respecter of persons and when He looks at us (believers), He sees His Son in whom He is well pleased! I believe that covers the comment of God respecting some people more than others. think about it, can or does actually look at someone and think “I don’t quite respect this one!” No way, cuz the next thought is why, then sin, then judgment, then penalty, etc. Either God/Jesus finished the work or He did not. I for one believe He did and I just enter in. God is Love and manifested Himself in Jesus Christ. Jesus is also the Head of His Body, in which I am a part. I am in Jesus because of His work and calling to me, Jesus is in me and God is in Jesus, and me and Jesus are in God. We are One! Let’s not forget the circumcision of the flesh, by the Hand of God! I choose to be a Martha and eat the Jesus Grace Grapes; and, I work hard to chose this day by day! Jesus Christ did all the work; He died and rose again and will come again; His love, mercy, forgiveness, Salvation are free to us, and we cannot buy it, nor pay it back! Thank you God!

    • Jenny, than you for this simple faith that those working at it do not see yet, but if in him too, these will see it one day too
      As said take on his yoke and burden it is light and easy, yet does not seem that way at the second birth installed in us from Father, where we are sealed by him
      Eph. 1:13, then we see over time we are Forgiven and accepted in him. just a one is.
      We decide to change with him changing us by our seeing truth over errors we have at least I have done thank you again much

    • How can one believer be closer to God than another? very easily – because they want to be.
      This whole idea of “equality of salvation” is in effect a legalistic doctrine that has often been promoted to assuage the cognitive dissonance of people that are struggling with double mindedness.
      That struggle is indeed real and MUST be addressed, the finish work of the cross IS an essential revelation for the believer to understand in order to walk in freedom, it is absolutely essential for us to begin our relationship with God and then mature in our faith.
      But it IS a relationship, and all relationships are unique to the two persons engaging in the relationship. God trusts some people with His wisdom more than others because they have proven their trustworthiness through how they relate to Him and then others. Jesus Himself was closer to some apostles more than others and had a different way of relating to each of them.
      And indeed God is NOT a respecter of persons, which is why the sacrifice of Christ has provided the way for all people to have a relationship with Him, after that they can get as close to God as they choose. What a wonderful Gospel.

      • The idea of a believer getter closer to God is not possible. There is no separation between God and the believer – they are one. There may be separation in the believer’s mind, but it is not based on truth. He’s not trying to get anyone to prove anything to Him. Our only part is to believe. Believe He loves and accepts you fully…as you are, not as you ought to be. The believer is right now in Jesus, is right now as He is, and is right now one with the Trinity.

      • Wow, thankyou for that
        surreal

      • Thank you for addressing things I never said, but it doesn’t really challenge the point I made. I’m not arguing for this being a salvation issue, or interested in a legal definition of grace, I am talking about a living breathing relationship with God. No one points to their marriage license and declares their marriage complete, the strength and success of the marriage depends on how both parties relate to one another. The Gospel is personal and relational, which means you and I and anyone else can get as close to God as we want to be. That is not works, it is not law, it is simply a genuine, intimate relationship. God may not have separated Himself from us, be we can separate ourselves from Him if we still prefer the fruit of the tree of knowledge instead of the tree of life. We are saved by Grace to then pursue the relationship that God originally created us to have, but we still have free will. That is the good news.

      • Thanks Daniel and Howard. I’m talking about a relationship too. Family relationships are a good way to help us see how our Heavenly Father relates to us, but there is a limit to how far we can compare a phileo relationship to an agape relationship. He cannot love you more, accept you more, or be more pleased with you (the believer) than He is right now. The maturation process for the believer is to be persuaded of this unchanging truth in every situation and every facet of life. This happens by seeing myself in Jesus. As He is, so am I in this world.

  19. Judy Eshenko // February 21, 2019 at 5:17 pm // Reply

    Great conversation and important wrestling with truth. As believers I am convinced we need to get rid of the measuring stick, stop focusing on ourselves and instead, focus on our amazing Saviour in whom we have everything we need for life and Godliness. Every day is a choice to live according to the Spirit or to live according to the flesh, but regardless….as believers we remain IN THE SPIRIT at all times…because it has not to do with us, but instead a promise made between God and God (Hebrews) . If we choose to live by the SPirit in one instance, we feel peace as we are behaving/acting in keeping with our true spiritual state. When we choose to live by the flesh and we sin, we feel the inconsistency of that action with our true spiritual state. Either way, we confirm our identity.
    As we increasingly choose to live by the Spirit, we live more and more in keeping with who we actually are, and the Fruit of the Spirit is revealed in our lives…in little and big things. And this is the will of God. Amen and thank you! As I read scripture, the audience of the instruction is becoming so much more important. If I think the scripture is speaking to a believer when it is speaking to someone who needs to repent and be saved…all is confused. Again, so grateful for this conversation and assurance always that the Truth will certainly set us free.

  20. LJP
    Thanks much insight being given from all, learning much at the same time sharing

  21. This….hope it’s okay to post it on this topic….

    WHO IS SHE?

    She sees beyond everything the mirror reflects to my broken state, my hurting heart, my aching soul, my unspoken needs. Her ears listen to me when I have too much, and nothing, to say. Her tongue speaks words of peace, love and truth that fill me. Her heart gladly rejoices with mine and breaks into pieces with mine as well.

    Her hands, ah, her wonderful hands. They touch me when sin makes me a leper. They pick me up when I am crippled by my desires. They grab me when I am sinking in my sea of doubt. They give me sight when I am blinded by pride. They feed my soul when I am hungry for answers. They water my heart when it is an arid desert of callosity. They raise me from the death of my own actions.

    Her feet run to embrace me and shower me when I come back from my shameful deeds. She runs away from sin and yet stands by me in mine, waiting and encouraging me to run away with her and Truth, her partner.

    When I was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, she was all I had left. Her undeserved gifts are sufficient, rich, abundant, exceeding, manifold, contagious and glorious. They are renewed every single morning and they are free.

    She paid the ultimate price for me, showed me the way to eternal joy and walks with me every day until I get there.

    She is Grace.

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