Great Things God Hath Done For Us
by Walter Olsen
Is it not true that we often compliment ourselves on the great things we have done for God? We may feel good about the use of our talents, our faithful ministry in the church, or our giving to the work of the Lord, and many other things. These things are good and necessary in our service for the Lord. And yet, what if we turn it around and ask what good things God Himself has done for us? Actually, this should be the first question considered.
Note especially the case of the maniac of Gadara. He was a man whom no man could tame because of his being indwelt with many demons. He was a wild man who frightened all who came near him. It wasn’t until Jesus cast the demons out that the man came to his right mind. We read about the keepers of the swine into whom the demons had been cast, “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind…”(Mark 5:15). Jesus said to the man, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (Mark 5:19).
Now, more than likely no one reading this study has had a demon cast out of him. Yet, if we are truly born again by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, should we not be able to tell of the great things the Lord has done for us and has had compassion on us?! Please note, this testimony of what the Lord has done for us is not first and foremost a communal thing. It is rather, a personal thing. Yes, many people may be saved at one time, but yet, each person is saved individually. Each one who has come to Christ for salvation should be able to tell what the Lord has done for him or her individually.
Now, let’s consider some o the things the Lord has done and is doing for each believer. Of course, the list will vary according to the needs of each individual, but there are some things that will be characteristic of all true believers, such as the following:
There will be a rejoicing for the forgiveness of sins. There may be a group rejoicing such as in the songs of redemption we sing. But even prior to that there will be an individual rejoicing. People rejoice in a group only as individuals have experienced the forgiveness of their sins. Jesus said to the disciples on one occasion, “…rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). There can be no greater rejoicing than to know that our names are written in heaven! We may rejoice together, but certainly we rejoice in our individual hearts.
Peter, in speaking of the Lord Jesus said, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Pet. 1:8). Anyone who has come to the place of believing in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his or her sins has come to the place of rejoicing. Of course, involved in this is seeing something of the enormity of our sins and the consequences of such. We rejoice not only in what we are saved to but what we are saved from!
When Philip had preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch, and after he was baptized, we read that, “…he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). Indeed, the forgiveness of sins by faith in Jesus Christ and rejoicing in such salvation are inseparably linked.
There will be a deliverance from the bondage of sin. Before salvation, there is a bondage to sin whether one realizes it or not. It is part and parcel of the human condition because of the fall in the Garden of Eden. It is a bondage that cannot be broken by any human effort, no matter how good and sincere are the intentions. Of course, sometimes some help may be realized along the way for such things as drug addiction, but the bondage cannot be broken by any human effort. The bondage is really a bondage to sin and only faith in Jesus Christ can break that bondage.
The Apostle Paul said, “Know ye not, that to whomever ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you, being then made free sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 616-18).
We live in an evil world, but we can rejoice in Jesus Christ, “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Gal. 1:4). Any one who is a true believer knows the difference between the wickedness of the world and the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He knows something of the oppression of sin in his own life and the wonderful deliverance found only in Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Peter spoke of this reality when he said, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:2-4).
The point here is that, as believers, we should be able to acknowledge and testify to the glorious deliverance from bondage to sin. This doesn’t mean we never sin, but that we are not held captive to its power. There is a difference in our life and it is one in which we ought to truly rejoice! It is something God had done for us individually.
There will be the blessing of genuine peace in one’s soul. This is not based on the teaching of any man or religion, nor on the “good” works we do to seek salvation, but on the assurance Jesus Christ brings to our heart when we trust Him as our Savior. Only Jesus Himself can bring this peace. The record is clear, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Jesus Himself said to the disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn. 14:27).
When one comes to Christ for salvation, the seeking for peace and contentment is over. The words of Jesus are pertinent here, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).
There will be a better acceptance of our circumstances. Life is not always easy; sometimes it is difficult indeed because of illness, accidents, family problems, major losses of life, and a host of other things. However, it is a comfort to know that the losses of this life are not the end of a blessed existence. First, we have the presence of God to comfort us in our losses. Paul reminds us, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (II Cor. 1:3-4).
Second, believers have the promise of an eternal inheritance, an inheritance that is far superior to anything we can claim on this earth. Paul spoke of this when he said, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). It is for this reason we are exhorted, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2). To the extent our affection is set on things on the earth, we will eventually suffer great loss.
As believers, we all need to learn this lesson. When we do , at least to some degree, it is a great personal gain. It is an inward conviction that, in spite of very adverse circumstances, the best is yet to be!
There will be a genuine hope, anticipation, of the future. For one who is not a believer, the future holds little, if any, genuine hope. As one sees his health, wealth, and the many things he may have set his heart upon diminish and fade away, he most likely will become despondent and fearful. Also, the world conditions may cause great concern as the foundations of our country disintegrate. For the believer, however, his hope is not based on the material things he once claimed as his own. Nor is it based on favorable world conditions. It is rather based on the promise of the Lord’s return.
The infallible word of God promises, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16-17). Now the really good news, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:18).
This hope and anticipation is something every believer should experience. It is one of the great things God, by His word and Spirit, communicates to each believer who walks in fellowship with Him.
There will be an inward assurance of the Spirit’s presence revealing something of the nature and character of God. The Bible says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness…” (Gal. 5:22-23). These are precious truths to believe, but they are also precious truths to experience in our walk with God. Experiencing God’s presence is a special gift to each believer. It is one of the great things God does for each believer.
Remember the word of the Lord Himself, “…if any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive…)” (Jn. 7:37-38).
Christianity is not a static religion! It is rather a glorious life, the life of the Lord Jesus Himself. Remember Paul’s words, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4).
Unfortunately, many churches have moved away from the truth of Jesus Christ Himself being the Christian’s life. Some have made the Lord to be a kind of an “add on” to their own religious agenda. Others have replaced the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ with a social gospel of good works, or with the building of some kind of a super church. Where that is the case, there will be no real communication of Jesus Christ to the life of the individual believer.
There will be the assurance that God answers our prayers. Yes, we know that God answers our prayer for salvation. We have the promise from the Bible, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). As we walk with the Lord, we also know that He answers our prayers on a daily basis. Because the prayers of believers are based on faith, we have the confidence that He hears our prayers. Faith is so essential. Remember, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
Prayer is not a blank to check to ask for anything we may want to satisfy our own selfish desires, but a confidence that as we pray according to the word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, He will give us what He knows is best for us. Actually, we can pray for anything as we yield the answer to Him.
There will be a genuine desire to bear spiritual fruit. When Christ comes into our lives, we begin to want to please Him. We desire to bear fruit that genuinely and truly honors Him. Bearing spiritual fruit is not just doing things in the church. One may do many seemingly “good” things that really are not the same as spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit is what God does through the believer for His honor and glory. Spiritual fruit is representative of the life of God. Indeed, it is something man cannot do apart from his relationship to God. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me…I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (Jn. 15:4, 5). Bearing spiritual fruit is truly a blessing of the Christian life.
One of the greatest blessings of being a Christian is knowing in our hearts and personal experience what God has done and is doing for us. If we are truly born again, we can attest personally as to what God has done and is doing in our lives. We wouldn’t want it any other way. There is no substitute for life, the life that only the Lord Jesus Himself can bring to our hearts and lives.
I am glad to report that I am doing and feeling much better since my recent accident of falling on the ice. It has taken several weeks, but the Lord had been so very good to me. I want to thank the many who prayed for me, sent cards or emails, and who ministered in other ways. I’m glad for the large Christian family we can all know and appreciate.
Special ministry has included preaching in my home church, First Baptist of Woodville on January 1st. I was a little shaky, but it went well.
Sometimes here in northern Wisconsin, we’re not sure what season we are in! It’s January, but we have moderated temperatures and shrinking snow - today! Not so nice has been the ice we have had on roads and sidewalks, including our parking lot at church!
We are busy in AWANA with the January activities of the “Grand Prix” car race getting clubbers attention and interest. It’s a blessing to see them sit so quietly and attentively listening to the weekly Bible story.
As we all know, we are living in a turbulent, uncertain world. As the Apostle Paul warned, “This know also, that in the last days perilous [dangerous] times shall come” (II Tim. 3:1). Later in the same chapter he said, “Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:12-13). There is really good news, though. The Bible says, “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God; which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth forever” (Psa. 146:5-6). When we have Christ as our Savior we need not fear the future as others who do not know Him.
Another comforting word is, “The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy” (Psa. 147:11). Thankfully, as believers, our safety is secured for ever. Yes, there may be some suffering here, but our God will see us through it all! Remember the words of Jesus, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jn. 14:1).
I believe we all need to read and meditate upon the word of God for ourselves. It is thus that we can have the assurance that King David had, “Unless Thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Psa. 119:92). Further, “Through Thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate ever false way” (Psa. 119:104).
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