Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of June 1, 2008

John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

The Lord did not offer Himself as the sacrifice that saves because He was forced to do it. He did it willingly. He had the power or ability to lay his life down and He had the ability to take it again. The Father gave him the ability to willingly offer Himself as the sacrifice that paid the penalty that we deserve because of our sins.

Today we have people giving their lives for noble causes. Some of them are doing it willingly and some are doing it unwillingly. While many of our servicemen and women have voluntarily joined the armed forces, once they join their freedoms are gone. So when they come back in a casket, there is always some reason to believe that they were ordered to carry out a mission that cost them their lives. So whether they gave their lives voluntarily could probably be argued in many cases. Doing things because we have a duty to do them is noble. Doing them because we want to do them out of devotion to a person or cause is much more satisfying and noble than doing what we do out of duty.

We who have benefited from the Lord’s voluntary free-will offering should want to serve the Lord in any way that He wants us to serve Him. In Romans 12:1, Paul says that it is only reasonable that we present our bodies as living sacrifices. A sacrifice is costly and usually requires us to give up something that is precious to us. In the case of a Christian, our body is no longer to be used for selfish purposes, but we are to dedicate it to the Lord so He can use it. Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice since they have been martyred to serve the Lord. Most have done it not because they were forced to give their lives but because they were willing to put themselves in harms way out of devotion to the Lord and out of devotion to those who need to be saved. Their sacrifice has been like the free will offering of Leviticus 1:3.

The Lord has asked us to show that they are believers by being baptized, but we don’t have to be baptized. Of course we won’t please the Lord unless we do get baptized, but the Lord will never force us to do what we should want to do voluntarily. If we get baptized because we HAVE TO, I doubt that we will have pleased Him. We should get baptized because we want to please the Lord. We don’t HAVE TO DO ANYTHING to please the Lord, but there are lots of things that we can do and should want to do of our own free will to please Him. We will not be making up our own minds as to what pleases the Lord, we will be asking Him to tell us. We will then do what he asks out of devotion instead of out of duty. Of course if we don’t want to please the Lord, that indicates that for some reason we don’t appreciate what the Lord has done for us. We may not be truly born again or if we are born again, we may be stubbornly living a self-willed life.

Many arguments that we have about what we have to do please the Lord would not be arguments if we were really devoted to Him. Instead of asking what we have to do, we would be asking what we are privileged to do. The Lord voluntarily delivered Himself for us. Is there anything that He has asked us to do that we do voluntarily and devotionally for Him? We can do the right things because we HAVE TO and that won’t be devotional worship. We can do things our way instead of His way because we WANT TO and that won’t be devotional worship, But the Lord must be thrilled when we do the things He has asked us to do because WE WANT TO and not because WE HAVE TO. That is when He gets our devotional worship which Paul says is only reasonable.

Bruce Collins

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