For in this hope we are saved

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Trusting God will keep his word, is the foundation of my faith and the hope of my salvation. Jesus, the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3), also trusted God’s word and wielded it in his defense against the temptations of Satan in Matthew chapter 4.

After he is baptized by John in chapter 3, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert and fasts for 40 days and nights. At this point of human vulnerability, Jesus was hungry, Satan comes to tempt him. Prove your authority over creation as the Son of God, he says, and turn these stones to bread. I can hear Jesus’ stomach grumble at the mention of bread. (If you have ever fasted, you too know the sensation of nausea that accompanies the grumble.) But, Jesus’ confidence does not come from his understanding of who he is, but in whom he trusts. He replies with God’s own words, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3).

Seemingly unthwarted, Satan takes Jesus to a high point above the Holy City. Prove your authority over the angels as the Son of God, he taunts. Throw yourself down and command them to lift you up without a scratch. (I wonder why Satan thinks Jesus needs prove himself to anyone, let alone to one who knows God firsthand.) Nevertheless (most likely for our sake), Jesus responds with the words of his Father again. You shall not put the Lord your God to the test (Deut. 6:16).

Finally, Satan sees Jesus’ devotion to the Father and appears to covet this for himself. Taking Jesus to a mountaintop, displaying the splendor of the kingdoms of the world, temporarily under his domain, Satan tries to make a deal. I will give you all of this if you worship me. Jesus is done with him. Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only (Deut. 6:13). At this, Satan flees. And ironically, God sends his angels to attend his Son.

Words are powerful. We know this to be true in more recent history. Words inflame and pacify, they accuse and defend, they deceive and authenticate. Words matter, but God’s words are the only ones that are eternal.

Throughout the Old Testament, God made verbal promises to restore His relationship with mankind in the person of his Son – He gave His Word.

In the righteous life, shameful death and powerful resurrection of Jesus, God reconciled all mankind to himself. The only condition is to believe his Word. Disbelief of the word of God led to death. But belief in the Word of God leads to life and hope.

I have been given this faith as a gift from God. Nothing I have ever done or will do accomplishes what the grace of God has done. According to God’s word, I have been saved from the wrath of God. I have been adopted and am now a child of God and member of his kingdom-family. After my body dies, I anticipate receiving a glorious new body which will never know sorrow or death. Not only I will be changed, but all creation will be liberated from decay and brought into glorious freedom (although I don’t know what that really means.)

One thing I do know, I have been sealed by the Holy Spirit as confirmation of God’s promise. I experience the evidence of its presence in my life daily, in supernatural peace, joy, compassion, hope, and love.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14.

God’s word says, you also, because the promises are not for me alone. These promises of God are for all. Jesus came to save the world. Won’t you place your faith in the promises of God today? There is a hope that will not disappoint.

Love, Nicole

 

 

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