He First Loved You

God has been pouring revelation into my spirit as I study for my B.A. in Biblical Studies, and, it’s been so edifying. He repeatedly gives me confirmation. I know that what I feel in my heart is from God. 
I’m currently studying the Old Testament. It’s important to read the entire Bible so that you may get a better understanding of Jesus Christ. He’s hidden in the OT and revealed in the NT. The entire Bible is God’s written love letter to us. 

This week’s focus is on the book of Exodus. 
“Exodus describes these two main events: Israel’s departure from Egypt (rescue) and Israel’s newly established alliance with God (relationship)” (Arnold & Beyer, 2015, p. 78).

“The 10 commandments and the other commands were a result of God’s grace and love for his people. He issued his laws to the nation after he had redeemed his people and established his bond of intimate relationship with him. The law served as a seal on that relationship. Throughout the Old Testament the law is a positive expression of God’s Will for his people. Laws are a part of life. Breaking them only hurts us and proves that God’s laws are just and true.”

“Obeying his law is the right response to God’s grace, not as a means of salvation but as the response to salvation” (Arnold & Beyer, 2015, pp. 86-87).
“God’s desire was for a “priestly kingdom and a holy nation” that he could indwell (Exodus 19:6 NRSV). The exodus from Egypt took place so that God could dwell in the midst of his people. The coming of God’s glorious presence into the newly constructed tabernacle forms the climax of the book of exodus” (40:34). 

“Eventually the temple in Jerusalem would replace the tabernacle as the habitation of God’s glory. Likewise, Christ came to “tabernacle” among us (John 1:14; Heb. 8:1-9:15). Now the Holy Spirit dwells within the church and has therefore fulfilled the ultimate purpose for both tabernacle and temple.”

“Exodus is about the salvation and preparing of the Israelites for life in the promised land. The gift of God’s presence is a prefulfillment reality.”
“The Sinai covenant became the principal symbol of an enduring relationship with God. The exodus and Sinai events are thus as central for the Old Testament as the cross is for the New” (Arnold & Beyer, 2015, p. 88).
*Reference: Arnold, B. T. & Beyer, B. E. (2015). Encountering the old testament: A christian survey. Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic—a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Having a relationship with God is so important to me. As a Christian, I need to be led daily by the Holy Spirit, hearing God’s Voice and acting on His Word. It’s not about works. By grace we’ve been saved (Ephesians 2:8). However, I believe that obedience to God is how the motives of our hearts are seen (Matthew 12:33; James 2:14-26). If we really love God, Jesus said, “keep his commandments (John 14:15).” 

I’m not judging those Christians who don’t have a full understating of God’s grace. I used to be one of those lukewarm Christians that was plagued with God’s judgement and anger. I wasn’t sure if I was going to heaven or if God even loved me. I let people dictate the truth about Christianity and what I should believe. 

Right believing results in right living. (Read my blog posts: “His Love Makes Us Want to Do Right,” and “Biblical Life Application“).
It wasn’t until I read the Bible for myself and sought the truth that I became lavished with God’s love. 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

“Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:5-7 NKJV

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

I’m so thankful for Jesus. I’m incredibly grateful for having a Savior. I’m so happy that it was Jesus who died for me because He is LOVE! There’s no flaw in Him. He’s altogether lovely! He does no harm to me. And God is a good, good Father. He’s perfect in all of His ways. He’s just, loving and true. He’s king, tender and merciful. He’s all that He says that He is. He’s not a liar. He’s not upset with me. He doesn’t condemn me. He corrects me, but He never scorns me. He’s…indescribable! There’s no words to fully express the fullness of His goodness. 

So I feel completely obligated to give my life away to Him. It’s a privilege to serve the Lord! I could be dead in my grave-in a burning hell. My soul could be lost. I could be depressed, confused, full of worry and fear. But, God…
So it’s my purpose to live for God. I LIVE TO WORSHIP HIM! #BibleJourney is my greatest desire. There’s nothing more satisfying then growing closer to God. There’s nothing else I rather do than to help people get to know God for themselves. 

“Grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Get to know him better. Give him glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NIRV‬‬
My God… I am burning with passion to see God’s glory. I just can’t understand why anyone who would receive God’s grace would continue to live apart from Him. How in the world did the Israelites see the greatest miracle ever and still doubt and ultimately deny God? He rescued them from their enemies, opened up the sea for them, allowed them to see their enemies defeated and miraculously provided for them on their journey to their own land. Still, they wanted to live in sin and out of His presence. That’s not right. The right response for salvation, is to know and love God. 
We were created by a loving God for His purposes. We were created to know Him by walking with Him on a daily basis. Being in His presence is not just a blessing, it is a necessity of everyday life. How amazingly blessed are Christians today to be recognized at God’s Church?! The Israelites had to build places for God’s presence to dwell. Today, our bodies are the Lord’s temple and His Holy Spirit lives inside of us (Ezk. 36:27; John 14:26; 1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Col. 1:27)! Jesus’ death ushered in the Holy Spirit so that we can come boldly to God (Heb. 4:16). He’s wiped away our sins so that we can be able to walk with God as Adam and Eve did before sin entered into the world (Rom. 5:11-12).

Exodus means “departure.” Yahweh saved His people (the Israelites) when He provided a way of escape out of Egypt (a land of sin and bondage). Jesus departed when He died on the cross to rescue us from the consequences of sin-bondage and death. God commanded the Israelites to have a relationship with Him. Today, the same God is still wanting an intimate relationship with His people (the Church).

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 KJV

“Now this is enteral life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3 NIV

Don’t merely accept salvation as a means to escape eternal death in hell. Accept Jesus because He loves you and wants you to love Him back. Accept Jesus’ love, and in return, let God’s love penetrate your heart and soul so that you may walk in love through the Spirit. Renew your mind. Live a transformed life. Be converted. Come out of the world and live out the holiness that God has given you. Let your life glorify God. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Be like Christ.

God gave the Israelites commandments to teach them how to love Him. Today, we look to the cross where Jesus hung to see how much God loves us. Friends, the right response is to love Him with your whole life. He laid down His life for you. Lay down yours and become like Him. 
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV

“We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NASB

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’” Matthew 22:37 NLT

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 ESV

Post originally published 4.2.18 on http://www.jenniferquetant.blogspot.com

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