I am a follower of the Lamb, a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit Who taught me “the Word of Truth,” I have renounced every false way and turned to Christ for my salvation, righteousness and everlasting life. While I am indeed saved by free and sovereign grace, nevertheless I remain a sinner and my sinfulness is sadly realized and acknowledged even in my worship and service to the Lord. As John Newton said, “Sin is mixed with all I do.” When I look at my faith, I weep over the unbelief of it. When I examine my prayers, there is so much coldness in them. When I read the Scriptures, my mind frequently wonders. When I gather with others to worship, I am easily distracted. My efforts to honor God are stained with inward corruption. I want to love the Lord with all my heart and love you as I ought, but my love only vaguely resembles what it should be. Since vileness mars my best intentions, I ask: how could God ever consider my works to be good and acceptable when I know they are all polluted by sin? It is written, “And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD” (Exodus 28:38). Aaron, a type of Christ, was the high priest of Israel. Fastened to the mitre (turban) which he wore was a plate of pure gold with this engraving, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD.” Though our “holy things,” and “holy gifts,” prayers, worship, service, etc., are indeed tainted with iniquity, Christ is our holiness. He is ever and always consecrated to the Lord and He has already paid for, not only the “iniquity of the holy things,” but for all the sins of His people. Thank God for the Savior and His work on the cross which is perpetually effectual before God. It is because of His blood and righteousness that this sinner and my pitiful efforts to serve Him are made pleasing to God. As I am “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6) so my works, worship and service are “accepted in the Beloved.” “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
TAKING HEED TO OURSELVES
God warns us, "Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;" (Deu.11:16) Many are deceived in their worship of "other gods" rather than the Living God. Their deception includes their being fully convinced and totally satisfied that their god is the Living God. These individuals are Satan-deceived and self-deceived. This deception concerns Who Christ is and what He's done. "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Many deceivers means much deception. Jesus warned, "Take heed that no man deceive you." This deception promoted by those who claim to speak for God. "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Mat.24:11) Their deception is subtle and deceives all but God's sheep. "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Mat.24:24) Those who are deceived by the subtle lies of false religion have nothing upon which to live and feed and no means by which to deliver themselves from this deception. "He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (Isa.44:20) They delight in being deceived because they are not only deceived by Satan but are also self-deceived. God said of such through Obadiah, "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? (Obad. 1:3) To determine whether I am DECEIVED, let me examine what I have RECEIVED! "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, HOW that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;" (ICor.15:3)
--- Gary Shepard
As Christ’s resurrection was a declaration of His being the Son of God, so regeneration is an evidence of interest in his adoption of children. Likewise as the resurrection of Christ was by the almighty power of God, so is the regeneration and quickening of a dead sinner. And as Christ’s resurrection was the first step to His glorification, so is regeneration, to seeing and entering into the kingdom of God.