God Is Able
P. G. Mathew | Wednesday, January 3, 1996
Copyright © 1996, P. G. Mathew
Christianity is the opposite of self-help. Christianity is God helping us, not our helping ourselves. In this study we want to discuss some scriptures that will encourage you to trust in God, who is able to help you this year and all the years to come.
In the book of Job we read how Satan guaranteed that Job would curse God if all God's blessings were removed from him. God told Satan that Job was blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil, and when Satan took away Job's blessings, what happened? Job did not curse; instead, he blessed the Lord. Why? God enabled him do so.
This is the issue. God enables us to do his will. God's plan has always been to take some sinners from the multitude of sinners and cause them freely to serve him, worship him, praise him, love him, and do his will. Satan might say, "No, it cannot happen," but it is happening. Throughout history there has always been a church which has been enabled by God to love and worship him wholeheartedly. Whether you are part of it or not, God has such a church, which is the salt of the earth and the light of the world. God's church is the company of those who are called out from the world of sinners to be the bride of Christ, re-created in the image and likeness of God.
Salvation is God's business, and God is able to do this by grace. God is able to make me do his will on my own volition. This is the work of God, and if that is not happening to you, then you must question your salvation. But those whom God saves will live for God.
God Is Able to Save
Those who come to God must believe God is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Heb. 11:6). Those who come to God must believe in his existence as Infinite Personality, as the self-existing, self-sufficient, eternal, almighty, omniscient, supreme, sovereign God who created the universe and maintains it. In Matthew 9:28 we read about two blind men who had come to Jesus for help. "When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, 'Do you believe that I am able to do this?'" This verse speaks about the ability of God. In other words, Jesus was asking these men if they really believed who he was and what he was able to do. Was he really able to save them?
That is the question, isn't it? If you are a Christian, you must intelligently understand who Jesus Christ is. You must know that he is the eternal God who took upon himself sinless human nature, who alone is able to save his people from their sins (Rom. 8:3, Matt. 1:21). In Acts 16:30-31 the Philippian jailer called out, "What must I do to be saved?" and the answer was given: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." Those who come to Jesus must believe that he exists and that he is the Savior. And when Jesus Christ saves you, he then causes you to become the salt of the earth and the light of the world--separate from the world, in other words. He calls you to be part of his glorious church. Jesus does not call you to a half-hearted Christianity that loves sin and Jesus at the same time.
Think about this. Do you understand who Christ Jesus, your Savior, is? Do you believe he is able to save you from your sins? Do you believe that he is able to keep you from falling and that he is able to present you before God without fault and with great joy? You must believe these things.
In Matthew 9:28-29 we read how Jesus asked these blind men, "'Do you believe that I am able to do this?'" What did they say? "'Yes, Lord.' Then he touched their eyes and said, 'According to your faith will it be done to you,' and their sight was restored.'" This is a picture of salvation.
If you are not a Christian, I say to you, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. He alone is able to save you. You cannot save yourself! Salvation is not some form of self-help, or a little bit of Jesus and little bit of myself together doing something. No! He does it completely and totally. He alone is the Savior.
God Is Able to Help Us through His Word
What should be our attitude toward the Scripture? Do we receive help from God's word? In Acts 20:32, Paul told the elders at Ephesus: "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." That is the gospel. The Scriptures are "the word of his grace, which can build you up."
Do you ever go about frazzled, fractured, confused, miserable, anxious, angry, or frustrated? To do so shows a poverty of grace. Such a person declares to all people that he or she did not eat the word of God's grace, this word that gives grace. Now,what do we mean by grace? Someone said grace is God's riches at Christ's expense. Grace is unmerited favor. It is divine ability given to people who have no ability. It is divine favor shown to people who merited hell and the wrath of God. And so the word of God's grace gives you grace moment by moment. When you eat this word, meaning when you read, study, and meditate on it, it nourishes you and causes you to be strong in the world. It causes you to resist sin and Satan and to walk a Christian walk. The word of his grace is able to build you up!
Do we avail ourselves of this grace? Regrettably, not as we should. We say we are busy. We do everything else required of us, yet often we do not appropriate this word of God's grace. But when we do not appropriate it, we are not strong. We become weak, angry, frustrated, and anxious. Is this God's fault? Oh, no. Our problem is that we have neglected the word of God. Deuteronomy 8:3 tells us that "man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." This word is given to us that we may eat it, believe it, and do it. Jesus said that if you hear and do his word, you will be like a wise person who built his house upon a rock--strong and immobile (Matt. 7:24-27)
Praise God for the Bible! When Paul spoke to these Ephesian elders, they only had the Old Testament scriptures. In 2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:14-16 we read about Timothy's mother and grandmother, who taught him the scriptures, meaning the Old Testament, which Paul says "are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The Old Testament spoke about Jesus Christ, and salvation through him, as does the New Testament. In these books we have God's word that is able. We are unable--weak, miserable, and wretched--but God commits to us his Scripture which is able to strengthen and build us up. The Scripture is food for our souls when it is received and acted upon.
God has given us the Bible, the gospel of his grace. That is why you should get up early and turn off the radio, the television, and everything else, and read the word of God. Give it your full and complete attention! When you do so, you are loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. You are serving God with all your strength. And when you listen to God, you are built up and edified. This is what it means to eat the word of God, to be nourished by it. When you feed on the word of God, you are strengthened so that you can resist the devil every day and he will flee from you. You are not manufacturing your own word. You resist the devil by the use of this wonderful word of grace, God's word.
God Is Able to Do What He Promises
God is able to do what he has promised. Look at Romans 4:20-21: "Yet [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised." The Bible is full of God's promises, but unlike the promises that we make, God's promises are true and he fulfills every one. Abraham believed God's promise that he would be the father of many nations. He did not waver through unbelief but was made strong as he believed in the promise of God, because he knew the one who promised it was able to perform it. Thus, Abraham could sacrifice his son when God required it. He knew that out of the ashes God would be able to provide him with a resurrected Isaac.
That is the faith required of a true Christian. If you are a Christian, fully converted and born from above, you will accept the word of God as sure and certain. There is no "if" or "but" about the Bible. It is the very word of God. The eternal God makes promises in his word, and he will keep them.
Look at 2 Corinthians 1:20: "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ." You see, the proof that God keeps his promises is Christ. Every promise God has ever made is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In Genesis 3:15 he promised that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. And in the fullness of time he sent his own Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to do so. In Christ every promise is fulfilled. Christ is grace. Christ is our salvation. That is why when we pray, we must pray in the name of Jesus Christ, because it is in Christ and through Christ that we receive answers.
So Paul says the Father's "Yes" to all his promises is Jesus Christ. No one can point a finger at God and say, "You have failed in your promises." He has not! If we accuse him of that, God will say, "I sent my Son, and he is the fulfillment of all my promises."
God Is Able to Help Us When We Are Tempted
As we live in this world, we are surrounded by temptation. Some people say, "You know, life is hard, and I am constantly tempted. This is a terrible world. When I go to school, I am tempted; when I go to work, I am tempted; when I drive, I am tempted. I am tempted when I go to the mall, and I am tempted when I come back. I am tempted all the time. What can I do?"
This is a problem, but the Bible tells us something about this problem. In Hebrews 2:18 we read, "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted"---that is speaking about Jesus Christ in his humanity--"he is able to help those who are being tempted." Here is a scripture that says that this Christ, this High Priest, this Mediator, this Savior, was tempted himself. He became a man, and he understands everything. He is able to help us in our temptation. There is no excuse that we can use to say that we sinned because we were tempted. This scripture stops all our arguments. Yes, we will be tempted, but there is one who is able to help us in our temptation. There is no necessity for a Christian to sin.
Look at 1 Corinthians 10:13. It tells us very clearly, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it"--in great victory! God will not accept your rationale that you were tempted, helpless, mauled, destroyed, and swallowed up, and therefore you sinned. No, Satan may come like a lion and try to swallow you, but he cannot swallow a true child of God. A child of God is helped by the Christ who died for him on the cross. This Christ will assist him at the point of temptation, that he may stand under it and not fall, that he may resist the devil successfully, and that he may praise the Lord his God for helping him in his temptation. God will make a way out for him by granting him the sufficiency of grace. God is able.
We need to stop looking for excuses. There is no need to worry about how terrible the world is. There is no need to worry about secularism, atheism, or the lack of religion in the marketplace of ideas. God is with us and Christ is for us. He has given us his word of his grace to help us. We never have to become angry, defiant, or arrogant, if we only understand that there is a God who is able to help us.
God Is Able to Make Us Stand
In Romans 14:4 we see that God is able to do something else. "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." God is able to make us stand. What does that mean? It means he is able to make us endure trouble joyfully, withstand temptation victoriously, and, finally, stand before our Master, Jesus Christ on the last day. How can we stand? God by his grace makes us able to do so. We are not standing on our own. We read how Job blessed the Lord in spite of all his losses. How could he do that? God enabled him. The Lord will make you stand, both now and on the last day.
This invalidates all our excuses. God himself is able to make us stand! In Ephesians 6:13, Paul said, "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." In Romans 16:25 Paul said, "Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel . . ." The Greek word for establish is sterixai , from which you have steroid, meaning something that makes you strong. God is able to establish you and make you strong in your spirit. What a wonderful word! A Christian does not have to be weak, wobbly, or somewhat unstable, never knowing when a little wind will make him or her fall. No, a Christian is well-founded, established and strong. Why? God is able to make him stand.
Some people want Jesus Christ to make them famous, healthy, and economically successful. If those things do not happen to them, they become wobbly, complaining, unhappy, and miserable. But real Christians do not trust in Christ in order to get famous or make money. Real Christians trust in Jesus Christ that he may save them and that they may worship and serve him. God will make them strong.
Jude 24 says, "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy. . ." God is able to keep us from falling. He is able to make us stand every day, until we arrive on that last day. If we are born of God, we will persevere. No one is able to make us fall, because Christ will keep us standing. He will present us to God the Father "without any fault and with great joy." God is able to do this for a Christian, and there is no excuse for unholy living.
In Hebrews 7:25 we read, "Therefore, [Christ] is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them." This great high priest, who has an indestructible life, has finished his work of salvation, and is seated on the right hand of God the Father, ever living and making intercession for us. He is able to save us completely! This is not some kind of tentative salvation, based on whether we feel saved today or not. He is able to save us completely.
God Is Able to Make All Grace Abound
Do we question that God is able? Read 2 Corinthians 9:8. This verse is written in the context of giving to the cause of Christ. Now, no one gives anything to the cause of Christ except from the abundance of God's giving to us in his Son, Jesus Christ. What does this verse say? "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." God is able. Can we ever say to God that he is not able, that Christ is not able, that grace is not able or that Scripture is not able? Oh, no. Here Paul says that God is able, and then he uses the word "all" five times in this verse.
"God is able to make all grace abound to you. . . ." This means God grants the multi-faceted grace--all of it!--that we require for our multi-faceted needs. Paul is not speaking about a mere trickle of grace, but rather, an abundance. God is able to bring rivers of grace gushing to you. Have we ever made excuses for our behavior? Sometimes we do. But when we do so, we are saying that God is unable. What does this verse say? "God is able to make all grace abound to you. . ."
When and where do we receive this grace? ". . . so that in all things," meaning in all situations, "at all times . . ." You are not without grace for even one moment of your life if you are a Christian. When you become a Christian you are brought into this abundance of grace in Jesus Christ, and it is ever flowing to you. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches." (John 15:5) Grace comes from the vine to the branches continuously. It is there for us, in all situations, at all times.
How much grace do we receive? Paul continues, "having all that you need. . ." God's gift of abundant grace for all things and all situations is all sufficient. When God blesses you, he blesses with all the grace you could ever need. Why? ". . .having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
What is this grace for? We are to abound in good works. Do you remember why Jesus cursed the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-22)? It did not have any fruit. It was covered with leaves, which indicated potential fruit, but its leafy show was all pretension and hypocrisy. There was no fruit. This tree was using God's resources for its own benefit. God re-created us to abound in good works, as we read in Ephesians 2:1-10.
We are saved to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, not ourselves. First Corinthians 15:58 says, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain." What is serving? It is loving God and our neighbor. We are to serve others at our own expense, producing an abundance of good works, to demonstrate to the whole world that we are Christians who love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves. We perform this service by means of his all-sufficient grace.
Do not look for excuses. God gives us all grace that we need in all situations at all times so that we may abound in good works and produce fruit, more fruit, and much fruit, for the glory of God the Father.
God Is Able to Destroy Both Soul and Body in Hell
What else is God able to do? We read in Matthew 9:28 that Christ is able to save, but in Matthew 10:28 we find a warning that he is also able to do something else. Jesus Christ is not only an able Savior, but he is also an able Judge, and so we read, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy"--in the Greek it reads who is able to destroy-- "both soul and body in hell."
This is an important verse. Let us understand that the same Christ who is able to save certain people by his grace and cause them to stand, who is able to keep his promises and supply them with all grace to abound in every good work--this same Christ is also able to destroy both soul and body in hell. How many people believe that Jesus Christ is to be feared because he sends the wicked to hell? This is a warning that we need to take seriously, and if we are not Christians, we need to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.
God Is Able to Answer Prayer
Finally, in Ephesians 3:20-21 we read, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
What else is God able to do? He is able to hear and answer your prayers. Oh, that is wonderful! God gives you grace every time you pray. God is able to answer your prayer, and if you are born of God, he will answer it. He will help you and guide you in the way you ought to go according to his sovereign determination. You have the freedom to pray anything you want, but God guides you in the way you ought to go. Why doesn't he answer certain prayers? It is grace. What if you ask for something but do not receive it? You should understand that it is grace. You may pray for a promotion but get a demotion. Why? God knows that what you really need is a demotion, because that demotion will bring you closer to him. Therefore, we can rejoice in this wonderful fact, that God will hear our prayers and do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. He is able and he will do it!
Self-Help or God's Help?
We need to make up our minds. We can rely on God, who is able, or rely on self-help. How do you want to live? If you don't want Christ, I would counsel you to self-help. Those who are into self-help don't read the Bible, the word of God's grace. They don't have to call on God in prayer. They can just go to themselves and their resources for help. But self will eventually fail them. A person can live by self, but self will not prove able to do what really matters. Therefore, I want to live by Christ and the word of his grace. I want to live by the help of this Mediator, this High Priest, who will help me in times of temptation.
God is able to save us. Jesus asked the blind men, "Do you believe that I am able to heal you?" No one receives anything from this Christ unless there is intelligent understanding concerning his person and work. You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. You must appropriate his grace through the Scripture. Just like food builds you up physically, the word of God, when believed and obeyed, will give you strength and fortify you. You must remember how God keeps his promises. You must say to God, "Do to me as you have promised in your word," and he will do so. He has already done so in the giving of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Not only that, God is able to help us in every temptation. He is able to make us stand and not fall at all. He is able to make all grace abound to us in all things at all times, that we may have all sufficiency to abound in good works. And this God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or imagine.
But all this is for those who are really born again. If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ, may God have mercy on you and open your eyes by the power of the Holy Spirit, that you may see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. This mighty Savior, Jesus Christ, alone is able to save, and he will do it!
Copyright © 1996, P. G. Mathew
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