Our Value with God

by | May 31, 2017

God is highly invested in our faith refinement

Key Concepts

  • Faith is that which we believe in our hearts with absolute certainty.
  • Whatever we believe in our hearts will transform us; whether it be the truth or a lie.
  • God is highly committed to purifying our faith, and He will use all things to expose whatever is untrue or impure in our faith.
  • In the same way that God provided for our redemption, he also provided for the revelation of His truth and the purifying of our faith.

 

Faith is that which we believe in our hearts with absolute certainty. However, not everything we believe with our hearts is the truth. We can believe a lie with absolute certainty and it will—just as truth does—transform us into its’ likeness. All that we believe in our hearts make up our faith. This is why our faith needs to be refined—“tested by fire” (1 Pet. 1:7). The very fact that the Bible says our faith is in need of refining says that not all we believe is pure. God is highly committed to purifying our faith, and He will use all things—and sometimes even orchestrate our life circumstances to expose whatever is untrue or impure in our faith. Even if what comes our way is through the evil plans of wicked men, “…if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

He is so committed to the refinement of our faith because of what He has already invested in our redemption. He paid a very high price to purchase us and redeem us from the certificate of debt incurred by our sin. When the Lord died on Calvary, in Him we also die. When He rose from the dead, we too were raised with him in order to  “…walk in a new way of life” (Rom. 6:4). The realization of our death and resurrection, and of walking in this new way of life, will be achieved only to the degree that our faith is made pure. Our belief will either allow us to see this truth in reality, or hinder us from knowing it. In the same way that God provided for our redemption, he also provided for the revelation of His truth and the purifying of our faith, as it is written,

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, SO THAT you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9-10).

 

 

Diamonds in the Rough

When we came to the Lord in faith we are redeemed (purchased) for a great price. God saw great value in us even though we were like diamonds in the rough. As rough as we may have been, we were nonetheless still valuable diamonds. God saw great value in us, even before Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for our purchase. When people say things such as, “We are worthless and only have value to God because of Jesus,” they do not realize they are insulting God’s intelligence. They are in essence saying, “God, you made a bad deal at Calvary. You paid way too high a price for what you got in return.” The truth is, God the Father looked at you and me and determined that having a relationship with us was worth sacrificing His very own Son in order to bring it about. If we were not worth this transaction, then God got ripped off. Yes indeed, we were diamonds in the rough, covered with impurities, but nonetheless, still diamonds upon which God placed great value and was willing to pay a great price.

If I believe a lie that says, “I am worthless,” then I’m saying to God, “You made a mistake in the price you paid for my redemption.” God is incapable of making a mistake, and He knew what He was doing the day He asked Jesus to go to the cross.

 

The Cross Did NOT Determine or Increase Our Value with God,

Key Concepts

  • The cross did NOT determine or increase our value with God, but rather was the price He paid to purchase our redemption.
  • The death of Christ did not give us value, increase or even determine our value. The death of Jesus reflected the value God saw in us and what he was willing to pay. Jesus’ death was the price of our redemption, reflecting our value.
  • The cross made it possible for us to enter into a relationship with God, who already valued us greatly.
  • The cross did not change our value, but it did change us from what we were to what we are. We became new creations.
  • When you die your former state ceases to exist. We died with Christ and were resurrected with Him (Col. 3:1) and were granted a new heart and became holy children of God.

 

When God purchased us He was not surprised when He opened up the package. The cross did NOT determine or increase our value with God, but rather was the price He paid to purchase our redemption. God knew all, before going into the deal. He saw our sinful flaws before He made His purchase, but He also saw His image in the people He had created, and our ultimate potential, when He determined its’ worth. It was “…while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom. 5:6), so God knew exactly what He was paying for. It is vitally important that we realize that we had great value to God before the cross and retain this value after the cross.  The death of Christ did not give us value, increase, or even determine our value. The death of Jesus reflected the value God saw in us and what he was willing to pay. Jesus’ death was the price of our redemption, reflecting our value. The cross made it possible for us to enter into a relationship with God, who already valued us greatly.

The cross did not change our value, but it did change us from what we were to what we are. Prior to the cross, we were sinners by nature, separated from God, and “…dead in our trespasses…” (Eph. 2:1). We were the “old self, ” bent toward sin. However, after the cross, through faith we became new creations that were born of God’s seed, and our “old self” was crucified: We know that our old self was crucified with him…” (Rom. 6:6). The phrase “was crucified” denotes death that has occurred. When you die your former state ceases to exist. We were resurrected with Him (Col. 3:1) and were granted a new heart and became holy children of God.

 

The Heart Changed, Mind Remained Same

Key Concepts

  • Much of what we believed before the cross came out on the other side still intact and in need of refinement.
  • The cross removed our sinful condition and canceled out our “certificate of debt” (Col. 2:14), replaced our “heart of stone for a heart of flesh”(Ezk. 11:19), caused us to be born again and “partakers of [His] divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4), but most of our beliefs were basically untouched.
  • We became new creatures (new selves) with new hearts, living in old fallen bodies, with minds in need of renewal.
  • Our hearts are new and connected to God, our bodies are still connected to Adam (literally by DNA), and our minds are still programmed with lies.
  • We are not the beliefs contained in our mind nor are we the “earthly tent” in which we temporarily dwell. “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”(2 Cor. 5:1)

There is something that did not change because of the cross. The cross removed our sinful condition and canceled out our “certificate of debt” (Col. 2:14), replaced our “heart of stone for a heart of flesh” (Ezk. 11:19), caused us to be born again and “partakers of [His] divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4), but most of our beliefs were basically untouched. Much of what we believed before the cross came out on the other side still intact and in need of refinement. So we became new creatures with new hearts, living in old fallen bodies, with minds in need of renewal. Our hearts are new and connected to God, our bodies are still connected to Adam (literally by DNA), and our minds are still programmed with lies. What a mess, but what hope! He saw the value, made the purchase and has promised to complete the work He started (Phil. 1:6).

 

God the Master Lapidist

A person who professionally cuts and shapes precious stones is called a lapidist. When we first come to Christ and are redeemed, we are like “diamonds in the rough” in the hands of the master lapidist who will bring out the inherent and potential value hidden within each of us. This is His role and responsibility. He purchased us, knowing we were in need of refinement, and He will bring this about. The Apostle Paul made this clear when he wrote, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thess. 5:23-24). Bringing out the inherent value that God sees in the stone is the job of the master lapidist and not of the stone itself. We cannot shape and form ourselves; all we can do is submit.

As a side note, the impurities in the diamond are not a part of the diamond. Everything that makes up the diamond is pure. The impurities are the part that is not diamond. As God refines us, he is not taking anything away from us that is a part of us. He is removing the impurities—that which is not us. Everything that is us is pure, since we are holy in Christ. Anything in us that is less than holy is not a part of us. The Apostle Paul made the distinction between his inner man and his body, with its bent toward sin, when he said, “For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin, which is in my members” (Rom. 7:22-24).

I am not the beliefs contained in my mind nor am I this “earthly tent” in which I dwell temporarily. For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Cor. 5:1) We live in our house and need it to live in this world, but we are not the house itself. Someday we will be given a new and different house that God has built for us to dwell in our eternal existence.

In the meantime we will “…keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [We will] Set …[our] minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For …[we] … have died and …[our]… life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:2-4)—like a newly cut and polished diamond!

The truth is, we are “new creatures in Christ, the old has all passed away…” (2 Cor. 5:17); nevertheless, much of what we believe about ourselves does not match the reality of who and what we are in Christ. Whatever does not match the truth is the impurity that God is removing from us.

 

Holiness is Not a Feeling, but a State of Being.

Key Concepts

  • Our belief creates our reality, but when our reality does not match God’s, then something is wrong in our belief.
  • God wants me to know the truth of who and what I am with absolute certainty. He wants my belief to match the literal outcome of His redemption.
  • He has already invested His Beloved Son as the price paid for my transfer from the “…domain of darkness and into the Kingdom of His Son”(Col. 1:13), but He wants me to believe, and experientially know, this reality in my heart.
  • God has taken the responsibility for our total sanctification and is continually at work within each of us to bring it about.
  • His current work is refinement that results in the renewing of our minds, so that our belief and behavior might be transformed to correspond with what was accomplished for us at the cross.
  • God’s reality is the only reality that exists. Anything that does not match His reality is a deception.

God says we are holy, but we don’t always feel holy. He says we’re loved and cherished, but this doesn’t always feel true. He assures us that we’re cared for and all our needs will be supplied, yet we worry over our state of affairs. There is clearly a disconnect between what God has said concerning us (His reality) and what we believe and, thus, feel (our reality). All of this (and more) comes back to beliefs. These are impurities in the diamond. Our belief creates our reality, but when our reality does not match God’s, then something is wrong in our belief.

God wants me to know the truth of who and what I am with absolute certainty. He wants my belief to match the literal outcome of His redemption. He has already invested His Beloved Son as the price paid for my transfer from the “…domain of darkness and into the Kingdom of His Son” (Col. 1:13), but He wants me to believe, and experientially know, this reality in my heart.

So we see that God has taken the responsibility for our total sanctification and is continually at work within each of us to bring it about. His current work does not make us into something different from what we became at the cross; that is a finished work. His present work is about maturing/tempering the new self  (what we fully became at the cross) and about renewing our minds, so that our belief and behaviour might be transformed to correspond with the holiness accomplished for us, at the cross. Mind renewal is about exchanging one belief for another. However, we are not our beliefs. Our belief is what we believe that may or may not reflect God’s reality. We are who we are in Christ, whether our belief matches this reality or not. As our minds are renewed by the truth, our thinking begins to come into agreement with the truth that is already a reality in our inner man. God’s reality is the only reality that exists. Anything that does not match His reality is a deception.

 

Crisis and Difficulty Are Crucial to Refinement.

Key Concepts

  • God is using our life crises, troubles, and difficulties to expose what we believe, so He may purify and temper our faith.
  • The fire of refinement belongs to God and He is the manager of the flame.
  • We never have a bad day, but only days of opportunity to have our faith refined and our mind renewed.

God is using our life crises, troubles, and difficulties to expose what we believe, so He may purify and temper our faith. The fire of refinement belongs to God and He is the manager of the flame. Therefore, it is important for us that we re-frame the way we view our crises and difficulties. Instead of seeing them as something to endure, we need to start seeing them as an opportunity for mind renewal. We never have a bad day, but only days of opportunity to have our faith refined and our mind renewed. All of us have bad things that happen to us, but if “…God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32).  If we are unaware of God’s refining process, we may be caught off guard and even fail to benefit from it. Peter the Apostle warned the church of this when he wrote,

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)

 

Joy of Exultation

In the verse above, Peter says, “… keep on rejoicing, so that, at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” The analogy here is of a person purifying gold. As the gold is heated to its melting point, the impurities (or dross) come to the top. As the refiner pulls off and discards the dross, the surface will begin to glow and reflect with a mirror-like splendor. Because of its purity, the smelter looking into the molten gold is able to see his own reflection in it. This is true for us as well. When the revelation (the revealing) of His glory is reflected in us (being conformed into His image, (Rom. 8:29), we will rejoice with exultation! So in the midst of the fire, we can choose to rejoice in expectation of what is coming. Then, when his glory is revealed in us, we will rejoice spontaneously—this is the joyful fruit of the Holy Spirit.

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