By the grace of God and through our obedience to the good news of salvation in Jesus’ name, we have been born anew into the family of God. He has adopted us to be His people and sent His Holy Spirit to live within us, bearing witness with our spirits that we are His children whereby we cry Abba Father! (Romans 8.15-16).
In Jewish households, servants were not allowed to use the word Abba to address the head of the family. That term was reserved exclusively for the children. In Romans 8, Paul’s use of the term is intended to convey to us just how deeply the Spirit assures us that we are indeed children of the Most High God – our Heavenly Father.
Because He is our Heavenly Father, He loves us with a very special love – a fatherly love. He calls us His chosen people, holy and beloved (Colossians 3.12). He refers to us as a people for His own possession (1 Peter 2.9). Prophesying centuries before the cross, Zephaniah revealed the joy God would have with His redeemed and reconciled children: He will take great delight in you…will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3.17). God delights in us because we are His very own!
A Few Notes Concerning Apostasy
Apostasy – The word derives from Greek (apostasia), meaning “a defection or revolt,” from apo, “away, apart”, and stasis, “standing” – a “standing apart” or a “moving away.”
Contrary to popular religious teaching concerning the “security of the believer” and the “impossibility of apostasy,” the New Testament is filled with warnings advising believers of the possibility of falling from grace, falling out of favor with God, and the severe consequences should that happen – “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls” (1 Corinthians 10.12).
Matthew 13.20-22. Jesus warned His disciples that some believers would lose their salvation because of persecution, temptation, and worldliness.
Acts 8.18-24. Peter rebuked Simon, a believer, for his selfish intentions, informing him that such an attitude would condemn him.
Galatians 5.4. Paul wrote to the Jewish Christians in the churches of Galatia that if they attempted to be justified by the Law of Moses and persisted in requiring the Gentile Christians to observe certain parts of the Law, they would be severed from Christ.
Hebrews 6.4-6. The Hebrew writer warned of the “impossibility” in certain instances of renewing one who had “fallen away” to repentance.
2 Peter 2.20-22. Peter warned all Christians that if they forsook the commandments of God and became entangled again in worldliness, God’s wrath upon them would be worse than for one who never obeyed the gospel in the first place.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4.7-10)
This Week in the Word
Reading the Bible together in 2008
“The truth which is according to godliness” – Titus 1.1
Some people say that it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you do the right thing. However, Paul’s letter to Titus contradicts that sort of reasoning. He knew that people become what they think, and that everything they do is shaped by what they believe.
That’s why he urged Titus, one of the young preachers he had mentored and who was planting churches on the island of Crete, to “speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (2.1). He knew that correct living is the product of correct believing. Error can never lead to godliness. Only truth produces genuine Christlikeness.
In today’s world, many streams of thought lay claim to being “true.” Yet they produce nothing that even approaches the character, integrity, and humility of Christ. That’s why believers need to pay careful attention to the teaching they receive. Does it square with Scripture? Does it honor Christ? Does it acknowledge what Paul calls “the truth which is according to godliness?”