When we read these verses, which talk about salvation, we may find that it is unfair that women will be saved through childbearing. The synonym of the word saved used here is ‘preserved’. In the garden, Eve was cursed with labour pain due to sin.
September 26, 2022
We are saved by Grace
Ephesians 2: 8-10 (ESV)– 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them
I Timothy 2: 15 (ESV) – Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
When we read these verses, which talk about salvation, we may find that it is unfair that women will be saved through childbearing. The synonym of the word saved used here is ‘preserved’. In the garden, Eve was cursed with labour pain due to sin. Today, we have technologies and operations that protect women. But in earlier times, when they had no such technology, it was like going through the valley of death because one was uncertain if women would be alive after childbirth. Paul is saying if we continue to live in faith, love, and holiness with self-control, we are delivered from that curse. Thus, women are preserved through that childbearing.
Comparing this with the passage from Ephesians, it says we are saved by grace, which means it is nothing we have done. Most often, we want to take credit for everything. We are saved completely because of what Jesus has done on the cross. We can call out the name of Jesus because of His grace over our lives. Even the reason we can walk into a Church and think about the name “Jesus” is grace. This is such a great privilege that the Lord has bestowed upon us. Yet we are dull in church and in our prayer life. The reason for the same is somewhere; we still believe that we are the authors of our life. We forget the finished work of Christ on the cross. Even our relationship with God is the result of Him setting us free. It is always and only Him who sustains us. We must learn that our prayers or good works do not sustain us. The best thing that we can do when we experience His grace is to respond. However, with our pride and thoughts about ourselves, we often come in the way of God’s blessings for us.
To understand how we can respond to the good work the Lord is doing, we can take the example of a ball dance. Onlookers may not understand, but one partner in every pair is the leader, while the other is the follower. The leader takes a step to the front, and the other partner follows. Likewise, our response is to follow His lead in our relationship with God. Since we are saved by grace through faith, our job is to respond to what the Lord has already done. Whatever we have received from God is a gift. In human terms, imagine we gifted our friend something, and they paid for it. Wouldn’t we feel humiliated and sad? However, most of us behave like that with God when we want to strive instead of receiving. We need an attitude of humility to receive any gift. When we are proud, we take credit for who we are and what we have become, and we fail to receive any gift. Faith without humility is not possible. If we try to drive our relationship with God, we will experience burnout and frustration. But if we let go and let God, by responding to what He is doing and following His leading, we will always experience the effortless overflow of the spirit in our life. Therefore, the Bible says those who are led by the spirit of God are the sons of God (Romans 8).
Though God is almighty, He would neither force nor pull us into Him. He nudges us gently because He wants us to live a life where we walk in the rhythms of grace. Our life needs to have a rhythm. Imagine there is no rhythm in a song, and everybody plays in their rhythm. It will be chaotic and no longer can be called music but simply noise. Therefore, if we want to enjoy the rhythms of grace in our life, we follow his lead and respond to what He is doing. We must stop taking credit for God’s actions because we are saved by grace. We are setting ourselves up for failure when we emphasise what we did, whom we helped, or how we prayed.
Give the glory to God in strength and weakness, victory and failure, peak and valley. We see the Bible has not only recorded the strengths of the patriarchs but also their weaknesses. As much as the Bible talks about the victories of Abraham, David, Joshua, and Moses, it also plainly writes about their failures. So that in all through their strength and weakness, God is glorified. Since we are God’s workmanship, the work done in and through us is his responsibility. Only we can enjoy life when we let God glory in our lives.
The Bible says that the Lord created us for good works even before birth. Our mind expands with time, trying to understand what marriage or business would look like; however, God always knew our purpose and role.
We are God’s Masterpiece
After creating a masterpiece in which he puts all his energy, creativity, and resources, through his work the painter show off himself. No artist desires to hide their masterpiece. It is the expression of his life that he put on the canvas. When Paul says that we are God’s workmanship, it means that we are the expression of God. Our life is a masterpiece of God to resemble Christ in every aspect of our life. Even the weakness, those strokes, which feel like a failure, are a part of that masterpiece. Most of us love ice cream. Though all ice creams are the same, everyone prefers a flavour over others. Likewise, our essence will always be Christ, but the flavour is who we are. What God created us, our spirit and God’s spirit have become one now where the essence will always be Christ. Our life’s essence will always be Christ. The flavour that we bring in with our personality is what God has created us. Instead of feeling the burden to prove ourselves, we should know that we are saved by grace because God thought about us in his love and kindness. He decided to choose us. And because He has chosen us, He will also redeem us. The onus is now on God to give us everything required to become that masterpiece.
Psalm 23 says, “He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for his namesake.” His name is on the line. An iPhone that carries Apple’s name shows off the brand Apple. If something happens to the phone, if it starts malfunctioning, someone can write a blog or create a video and defame the name of the company that created it. Likewise, in our life, the name of God is on the line; that is why He restores our souls. He’ll do much more than we think we can and provide us with everything we require to walk on that path of destiny, which God already has for us. We do not know what will happen to us in the next five minutes. However, God saw it through and has given us everything we need to walk on that journey to reach our destiny.
Spiritual Blessings are Good Words
Ephesians 1: 3 (ESV)– Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
No amount of prayer or fasting can get us more spiritual blessings, as we are already blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Spiritual blessings come from the same Greek word for Eulogy, which means “good words.” We say good words about somebody to acknowledge them and their work when they die. However, God has blessed us with good works before the foundation of the earth. He did not wait for us to achieve whatever we thought we could.
Imagine if God had given us some money in our account, we would’ve done something with it. But what can we do with these good words? Words are powerful. It can do three things. One, words carry inheritance. When Jacob was being blessed by his father, Isaac, the only thing Isaac blessed was good words. Jacob didn’t have property papers or money when he left his house. However, he had those good words, which was enough because he knew that words carry inheritance. The words God has spoken over us can travel into our future and pull us into our destiny.
Even Jesus was blessed when he was a baby. His parents went to the temple, and there was Simeon, who blessed Jesus because God revealed to him that he would not die before seeing the Messiah.
Luke 2. 28-35 (ESV)– he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marvelled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
It took a prophetic word for the word to become flesh, not only of Simeon but Old Testament prophets like Isaiah.
Proverbs 18: 20,21 (ESV) – From the fruit of a man’s mouth, his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Secondly, words have the power to create or destroy. We need to learn to create good things in our lives and destroy bad things. If we are unsatisfied, it means we are not saying the right stuff. In his letter, James writes if we are heading in a particular direction, and want to change the course of our life’s direction, just say those words. To explain the same James uses the illustration of a rudder, though small, can direct the ship. Similarly, our tongue and the words it produces can drive our life. Therefore, we need to stop complaining and start speaking good words over ourselves.
Thirdly, words are powerful because words can restore anything that has been lost.
Isaiah 42: 22 (ESV) – But this is a people plundered and looted; they are all of them trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become plunder with none to rescue, spoil with none to say, “Restore!”
Anything that is missing or broken word of God has the power to restore that. These people are plundered and looted, trapped in holes and hidden in prisons because there is none to say restore. When we open our mouths and respond, there is power in our words that can restore. In English, we understand peace is calmness. But Biblical peace, that is Shalom, in Hebrew is aggressive. The peace of God says nothing is missing and broken in our lives, and there is nothing that we want.
Converting Spiritual Blessings
We need to understand that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. But we are living on the earth, so we need physical resources. So we need to learn to convert the blessings in our spiritual account into the physical account. Like we convert US dollars to Indian Rupee. The problem with many Christians is the lack of knowledge to convert spiritual blessings. Everybody is blessed with spiritual blessings, but not everybody operates in the physical blessings that God has for them.
2 Peter 1: 3-4 (ESV) – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
We have all things, but we have a conversion problem. If we can learn to convert spiritual blessings into the physical world, we will enjoy life and godliness that God has for us.
Genesis 1: 2 (ESV) – The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
The Hebrew word for the form of earth before creation is more descriptive. It means confusion, emptiness, chaos and without form. The spirit of God is hovering over it, brooding, waiting to, to act upon, to bring light, to bring order, to bring God’s kingdom, to bring righteousness, to bring his peace, to bring his joy. The picture in Genesis shows the spirit of God as pregnant with something it wants to deliver. Likewise, He is hovering over every confusing area of our life. Even before we know it, the spirit of God is there, pregnant with whatever we need deliverance from right now.
The spirit of God was waiting for the Word of God to bring the life of God. God can only exercise His power within the jurisdiction or boundaries of His word. Even though the Holy Spirit is there in our lives, He will not do anything unless the word of God is spoken. The word of God activates the Holy Spirit to do what He is already willing to do. But we have to say the word of God to activate what God has in store for us. It’s not that God is limited, but God in his love has limited Himself so that we can have the power and say yes and no whenever we want. So he’s waiting for us to say the word. In Genesis, we see the Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters in the spiritual realm, and God needed change in the physical realm. So, God spoke the word that could convert the invisible reality into the visible. Therefore, to convert our spiritual blessings into physical reality, we must speak the good words that the Lord has spoken over us.
God Speaks, We Echo
The Bible says the word of God is a double edge sword, one edge is what God has spoken, and the other edge is what we speak. The reason for things to happen when we speak is not because we are great. However, since God has already released the spiritual blessings, when we speak, we echo what God has released when we speak. Confessing the word is repeating what God is saying. In the portion where God takes Ezekiel to the valley of dry bones, He asks Ezekiel to prophesy. And we see Ezekiel saying the exact words that God says. Even though nothing happens when God speaks the exact words when Ezekiel echoes the words, things change. We need to know that God has designed us in such a way that when we repeat what we hear from Him, things change in the natural.
Joshua 1: 8 (ESV) – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
It’s not just enough for us to receive a prophetic word. It’s not just enough for us to hear something from God. We must complete the Word by repeating those with our mouths. Faith comes by hearing, so when we read the Bible, we also listen to it. Thus, it develops in us the faith to do what God wants to do through me.
One of the most important daily practices would be to begin the day by declaring the Word of God. Prepare by choosing a portion of scriptures that has the blessings of God and speak it over oneself, family, work and church. During these morning prayers, we align ourselves to the reality of God. We remind ourselves to submit to God, who sustains us, to lead an effortless life where the onus is on God. In the world, we see people who choose the wrong lifestyle and companies trying to attain pleasure. Indeed, we are created for pleasure, which is why God placed Adam and Eve in Eden (meaning pleasure). God wants to give us pleasure beyond what we see in the material. Because no matter how wooing the pleasures of the world, say sleeping with someone or watching porn are, they never satisfy us. The void we experience is because God designed us in a way where we can only be satisfied by him. When we take matters into our hands, we enjoy the duplicate copy or a clone of pleasure.
2 Corinthians 4: 13 (ESV) – Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak
We can say all as much as we want that we have faith. However, our faith will be ineffective unless we start speaking. Effectual faith speaks. The Bible says the righteous are as bold as a lion. If we take the voice away from a lion, it is as good as a cat. God wants to speak to us, through us, and over us so that we will respond by echoing or saying.
Fig and Mountains
Mark 11. 12-14 (ESV)– On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
Even though it was not the season of figs, Jesus cursed the tree, which seemed unfair. However, the fig trees that grow in that country when it has fruit also have leaves. So when people see leaves on the tree, it indicates that it has fruits. With the illusion of fruits, this tree had so many leaves, which means that the tree was malfunctioning. In other words, the tree was like a hypocrite, pretending to have fruits but having none. Therefore, Jesus curses the tree and leaves.
Mark 11. 20-22 (ESV)– As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.
Peter here is surprised, but Jesus is not because He knows the power of his words. Jesus did not think like Peter or take notes of how the fig tree would dry. He just spoke the words, and he walked off. Our job is not to worry about the “how”, but it is God’s responsibility. In the exterior portion of the tree, there might not be an immediate change. But like Jesus, we need to be confident that the moment we release the word, it starts affecting the spiritual realm because it affects the roots first before it becomes evident to the eyes.
Mark 11. 23 (ESV)– Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
We are not called to pray for God to change things in our lives. But we are asked to speak to the mountains. We pray to God for intimacy and transformation of our hearts, but to the mountains, fruitless fig trees, sickness, and poverty, we speak the Word of God boldly. Israelites only needed ten days to reach the promised land. However, it took them fortyyears because they revolved around the mountain. They were brought out from Egypt miraculously. However, they were so tuned to being spoon-fed that they lacked the courage to speak to the mountains like Joshua and Caleb. Our situations will not change unless we start to declare the Word of God.