Sanctification Is Our Fruit

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

Romans 6:22

The word holy, like many other words used in the Bible, has been taken with a meaning different from the one actually given by the Word of God. In Romans 6:22, the apostle Paul indicates that sanctification, that is, becoming holy, is the fruit of those who have been delivered from sin. In other words, to be holy is a consequence of being saved. Knowing that salvation is obtained by grace, through faith, to be holy is our response to the undeserved favor that God made us.

The human tradition has a definition of saint very different from what the Bible says. For Catholics, the saints form the so-called triumphant Church and intercede before God for humanity, for the living on earth and for the dead in Purgatory: it is the so-called communion of the saints. All of them, even those who have not been officially recognized as such, have their joint holiday on All Saints Day, which is celebrated on November 1st.

The Catholic Church has a continuous formal mechanism to carry out the process of canonization of a person. Currently, the canonizations are carried out after a judicial process, called the Process of Beatification and Canonization, or simply the process of canonization. The Process of Canonization can be defined as the process that elucidates the doubt about the sanctity of a person. There are two ways to arrive at the declaration of canonization: the path of heroic virtues and the way of martyrdom. The process of canonization establishes the procedural doubt whether the candidate for saint has lived the Christian virtues to a heroic degree, or if he has suffered martyrdom for the sake of faith.

In addition, to reach the canonization requires the confirmed completion of one or two miracles. The canonization is carried out by a solemn papal declaration that a person is, according to the Catholic tradition, with all certainty, contemplating the vision of God. According to the same tradition, the believer can confidently pray to the saint in question to intercede in his favor before God. The name of the person is inscribed in the list of saints of the Church and the person in question is “elevated to the altars,” that is to say, he is assigned a feast day for liturgical veneration by the Catholic Church.

Now let’s see what the Bible says about it. Leviticus 20:26 says, And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine. God separated the people of Israel for Him and gave them the command that they should be holy because He is Holy. God did not order them to be saints to the dead but to the living. In Mark 12:27 the Bible says: God is not the God of the dead, but God of the living; so you are very much mistaken. Therefore, the saints of God are not dead but alive.

In 1 Peter 1:15-16 there is a call to Christians to be saints: but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” If you have already received Jesus Christ, you must now be holy, separated for Him. Do not wait until you die and a religious committee decides to call you holy, you have already been called to be holy at this time and the miracles do not do you but Him. God bless you.

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Seeking God with all your Heart

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:12-13

When we approach God with the right intention, always our prayer will be answered favorably. The very word of God in Jeremiah 29:12-13 confirms this, God hears us when we seek Him with all our heart. It is the guarantee to find God when we call upon Him and pray with all sincerity and without a hidden agenda. You cannot fool an omniscient God. Before opening our lips to ask, God already has read our heart discovering our deepest intentions.

James 4:2-3 explains why prayers are unanswered: You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. That’s the key, when we approach God with a selfish heart, asking only to satisfy our flesh or our vanity; obviously He’s not going to grant such a request type.

The vast majority of people seek God only to solve their problems. These problems are not always urgent needs of people, but sometimes are mere whim or selfish obsessions. In such cases, the search for God is not sincere and unless aim is to give honor and honor the Creator. It is a search for God firefighter, nurse God, the God banker, job seeker God or the God who brings you the ideal partner.

Seek God with all your heart involves going after Him for who He is not what He can give us. The nature, character and attributes of God must be the main cause to seek Him with all our heart. God is a spiritual being that exists by Him from everlasting to everlasting. Infinitely perfect, creator of heaven and earth, and sovereign Lord of all things. One of the most important revelations we can receive from the Bible is God’s character. The Bible tells us about God attributes, His ways of relating with humanity and His heart.

God is Father, says Matthew 6:9: In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. A true father is a protector, healer and provider not only the necessities of life but also identity for his children. God provides a place of safety for His family. God is all these things to those who receive His Son Jesus as Lord and Savior. John 1:12 says: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

We can be sure that God has many thoughts of love for us. We seek God with all our heart in the same way that the child seeks his parents. He, like our good Father, is it best to give us when our heart is clean and not contaminated by greed or selfishness. Matthew 7:11 says: If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! God bless you.

Looking unto Jesus

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

All things in life we propose would be impossible to achieve if we defocus. Keep the focus is vital to complete a university degree, succeed in business or succeed in any sport. In the Christian life it happens something similar. Our focus, our point towards which we must look at is our Lord Jesus Christ. When we let our eyes be diverted away, we will falter and we can even fall. Our eyes must be fixed on Jesus all the time.

In Matthew 14:25-31 we read a supernatural story about Jesus and His disciples:  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I have heard many different comments about this story. Some talk about fear experienced by the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. Others say that Peter was very impulsive and therefore jumped into the water. For others, Peter was just a loudmouth who at the moment of truth, he hesitated and cowered. The truth is that the intrepid Peter was the only one who dared to jump into the water and walk on it if only for a moment.

The interesting thing about this story is that while Peter had his eyes on Jesus, he ambled over the waters of a sea whipped by a strong wind. Only when Peter took his eyes off the Lord and he focused on the circumstances surrounding him was that he began to sink. The strong wind was always there, since before Peter dared to ask Jesus to let him walk on water. And with the presence of strong wind, Peter was able to walk. So were not the circumstances that sank him, but doubt and lack of focus.

The wind of our problems will be present in every day of our lives. Some days the wind is like a category five hurricane, other days will be a simple breeze caressing our faces. And the waters of life will always be there for us to walk on them. We walked on ground that is not firm, and I would say even you cannot call ground. Success or failure in our walk does not depend on the circumstances but our approach. What will fix our eyes on Jesus or our problems?

Today God is speaking to you who read or hear this message. We must walk by faith and not by sight. Therefore, our five senses must be directed to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. I cannot fool you saying that with Christ your life will be easier, but looking unto Jesus you will walk sure on troubled waters. God bless you.

Portrait of the True Servant of Jesus Christ

For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the off scouring of all things until now.

1 Corinthians 4:9-13

The text of 1 Corinthians 4:9-13 describing a true servant of Jesus Christ today might seem like a science fiction movie for many persons. The image many people have of a servant of Christ dictates far from a condemned to death, weak, dishonored, hungry and thirsty, naked, beaten, homeless, working with his own hands, cursed, suffering persecution and supporting all that. And it is because many who now claim to serve the Lord exhibited the opposite of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:9-13.

From the pomp of the great Catholic basilicas and cathedrals to the huge extravaganza of Protestant mega churches seem to ridicule the apostle Paul. The fineness of the robes of popes, cardinals and bishops or the elegant costumes designer of modern Evangelical “apostles” do see that these “servants” of Christ do not walk or naked and starving or thirsty, quite the contrary.

Will there be servants of the Lord today as described by Paul? Definitely yes, but chances are neither famous nor popular. I’ve met some very closely. It is unlikely that we find them in the great churches, rather they are in the streets carrying the Word of God to the marginalized. They are also common in countries where Christians are persecuted, like the Islamic nations of Africa and the Middle East, India, Pakistan and China. You can find them among the tribes of the Amazon rainforest or in the slums of the big cities.

The constant of every genuine servant is going to teach biblical truths as they are, without accommodating the gospel to the taste of people. The true servant of Jesus Christ call sin by its name, will preach repentance and be a champion of holiness. The servant of God is committed to the truth and will not promise the audience that their problems will be solved when converted to Christ.

This servant will turn the other cheek and wash the feet of his disciples, instead of using them as squires or bodyguards. And as the true servant does not manipulate the congregation with tithes and offerings, the bread will surely win the other hand while preaching the Word.

And if his dedication to the expansion of the Kingdom does not allow him to work secularly, it is likely to be suffering from hunger, thirst, nakedness and lack of a roof up frequently. His peers who walk in a distorted line evangelistic will close the doors of their churches for fear of being discovered. They were also curse and persecute.

We see in 2 Timothy 3:12-13 the difference between the false and true servant: Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. God bless you.

Learning to be Worthy of the Lord

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

Matthew 10:37-38

Many people live very aware of their family. That’s not bad; parents should ensure their children and give them the best, especially sowing good values. The children, in turn, have a commandment from God to honor their parents. In Matthew 10:37-38, the Lord clearly states that whoever puts father, mother, son or daughter before Him, is not worthy of Him; in the same way, who is unable to face the sacrifices involved following Christ, it is not worthy of Him.

I have met people who say they serve Christ, but who consider their family as untouchable. These people are experts in ministering to others when they have a sick child or their mother has died. However, when illness or death touches to them, they don’t find comfort in God. It is as if they told the Lord: “You can take care of my spiritual matters, but do not touch my family because I can take care of them better than you.”

Undoubtedly, these people put their family first than the Lord, which disqualifies them to be worthy of Him. Let’s turn to Genesis 22:1-3 to see Abraham’s attitude: Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Abraham obeyed the voice of God to whom he put ahead of his only son. In Genesis 22:10-12 we read: And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” At no time Abraham questioned God’s command but he was willing to obey.

Would you do the same as Abraham? Would you put Jesus Christ first than your children or your parents? If you become to Christ and your parents demand that you return to the tradition, would you do what your parents demand or you will stay attached to the biblical truth? If your children call for a meeting of friends at home the same day you’ve invited other brothers of faith to share the Word of God, would you stop your meeting to please your children?

I understand that serving the Lord is not easy and requires many sacrifices. Jesus never promised us that we would walk over a bed of roses but rather on the thorns of the roses. He always talked about taking up the cross and walk towards Him, but never said He would make us happy and prosperous. If His kingdom is not of this world, His servants need not be rewarded in the world which they do not belong.

If we achieve happiness and prosperity on this earth, praise God! But if not, also praise God! We learn to be worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ by putting Him first in our lives. Which neither our parents, or our descendants, and our partner, or our work, even we ourselves are above Him After all, He has already given more than we can give: his own life to save us. God bless you.

Born from Him for Doing Justice

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

1 John 2:29

Genetics is the part of biology that studies the genes and the transmission of hereditary characteristics. These characters passed from parents to their children. So, we can receive certain physical traits from our parents or grandparents and transmit them to turn to our children and grandchildren. Spiritually, when we are born again of water and the Spirit we will receive hereditary traits from our Heavenly Father. As God our Father is just, we are born again through Him to do justice.

Not all characters are transmitted from parents to children even all the children. For example, my grandmother had green eyes; but my mother, who was her only child, had them brown. Of the two sons of my mother, I inherited eyes the color of my grandmother, while my brother have his eyes the color of my mother. Of my children, only the youngest inherited the color of my eyes like my first two grandchildren, even though neither my son nor my daughter’s have that color.

God has many qualities and attributes. His Son Jesus Christ inherits all the attributes and qualities of the Father. However, we as His children inherit only some of them. It would be blasphemy to say that as children of God we will gain omnipresence and omnipotence. Nor can we pretend to be infinite and all-powerful as our Heavenly Father. But we are called to be as holy as He is holy, righteous, faithful, benevolent, and merciful and love as He loves us heirs.

In Leviticus 19:2 says: Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Through Moses, God demanded that His people of Israel were holy. But the requirement of holiness is not limited to the chosen people, we as children of God, are also called to be holy, as Hebrews 12:14 says: Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. About being right, it is what 1 John 2:29 says.

God expects us to be faithful and not we walk after other gods, which is the first commandment of His law: You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3). And the Lord reminds us, in Luke 16:13: No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. As children of God, we are supposed to inherit His faithfulness.

God is good and kind and commands us not lose heart in doing good, in the same way that He does. Galatians 6:9 says: And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. And in the same way that God is merciful, His children we are called to be too. Luke 6:36 says: Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Finally, we know that God is love, for His great love of the world He has sent His Son to die as a ransom for all mankind. And Jesus himself gave us a new commandment to all. In John 13:34-35 we read: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. We demonstrate for our spiritual DNA, of who we are children now, loving each other and doing justice because we are born of Him. God bless you.

The New Man

And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:24

Brand new clothes are very pleasant. It is rich smell that comes out of our clothes when we use them for the first time. The fabric texture is different from the used clothing which has been laundered several times. You feel different and others realize that we have new clothes. Spiritually, when we are in Christ, we must try to dress in the new man and enjoy the smell of God who comes from us so everyone will realize that there is something new in us.

More than a decade ago I met a young Colombian named Carlos, who had a personal encounter with the Lord. While in his first love with Jesus Christ, Carlos shared the good news of salvation to his aunt Lucia, with whom he lived. In turn, the aunt did the same with her husband Angel and the three became regular attendees at the same cell group which I attended.

I remember Mr. Angel very well in his infancy in the Gospel. He was the driver of a school bus and as good Puerto Rican; he was a close friend of the joke and had a great sense of humor. Soon he joined the service in the church as an usher and also he offered himself to operate the bus carrying members of the church to retreats. What he did not like was being involved a lot in the study of the Word because he was not much studied.

A few years later I stopped to congregate years in that church and later Carlos also moved with his family to another church. Time passed and one day I met Mr. Angel in a store and we started to talk. I was shocked with the new Mr. Angel in front of me. While he still retained his cheerfulness and good humor, the new man had enjoyed great spiritual maturity and look for the presence of God.

Today Mr. Angel is no longer with us as he was with the Lord; but I have very fond memories of him, especially of that meeting we had that day in the store. I saw it firsthand the meaning of Ephesians 4:24. Definitely the transformation of Mr. Angel did not come from him but was the creation of the same God in righteousness and holiness of truth.

As happened to Mr. Angel it should happen to everyone who has a true encounter with God. In the book of Exodus is told that the face of Moses reflected the glory of God after coming down from Mount Sinai. We are not the same before and after Christ and that is something that people will notice when we become to him. Naturally, who makes us new is God not ourselves.

What bring us to the new man? We’ll bring our willingness to be transformed, our resignation to remain being ourselves and let Christ who is leading the train of our lives. While we offer resistance to be changed, we will continue with the old clothes. Let stop resisting and let launch the new man. God bless you.