To Know Your Christian Life

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid (Romans 6:14,15 KJV).

Friend, have you ever wondered how to know your Christian life?

Long ago, a ministry coworker trusted Christ. Weeks later, his mentor inquired, “Do you find it hard to live the Christian life?” My friend said yes. The wise man replied, “No, it is impossible.” As my friend grew disheartened, the man clarified, “You cannot live the Christian life. Only Jesus Christ can live His life!

Religionists have taught us to make ourselves holy so God will accept us. Water baptisms, commandments, penance, vows of poverty, prayers, confessions, and tithes are allegedly “stepping stones” to gaining God’s fellowship. “Faith without works is dead,” they always like to remind us (James chapter 2—Israel’s verses!). They erroneously believe that successful Christian living means our works (cf. today’s Scripture). We live in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2); therefore, we are under grace not law! Still, that does not mean that God does not care how we live.

Titus chapter 2: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Here is grace living. God gave you in Christ forgiveness of all your sins forever. What will you do? Keep asking for daily forgiveness—or just enjoy what He already gave you? He redeemed you; Christ’s blood paid to release you from sin’s slave market. What will you do? Ignore it and keep sinning? It is Christ’s life in and through you, not you living for Him (Philippians 1:21). Most believers have no understanding of grace doctrine; consequently, they are confused, burdened, and frustrated. When you simply rest in God’s provisions in Christ, though, what liberty, understanding, and joy. Christian living depends on God’s works! 🙂

For more information about Christian living, you may see: https://forwhatsaiththescriptures.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/lords-will-for-christians/.

NOTE: Having expanded upon the “Original 7 studies” for the fifth time, our fifth foundation (studies #2501-#2507) is now installed. Onward we press in maturity… and to #3000! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why ‘unclean until the even?’

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 1, 2018

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study by the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

Serving!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be by love serving one another.

There is a prevailing myth about the Gospel of Grace. When we quote Colossians 2:13 about total forgiveness of all trespasses,” someone immediately opposes with, “Grace is a license to sin! If I had complete forgiveness of all sins, I would live any way I wanted to live!” Oh, dear friend, you were doing that quite well before you came to Christ, yes? You were living “any way” you wanted to live long before you heard the Gospel of Grace. Be not silly in suggesting then that you need grace to sin!

Father God set us free from sin, not for us to then place ourselves back under its bondage. Immediately after writing, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20), the Holy Spirit anticipated an objection. We hear that protest even today. The Spirit’s answer 2,000 years ago is valid now as it was then.

Romans chapter 6: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Brethren, we are dead, crucified with Christ, risen with Christ, free from sin’s control. We do not have to serve sin! Now, we have been enabled to “serve God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9) and “by love serve one another” (today’s Scripture).

Selfless!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to live for the benefit of others, not ourselves.

“Sin” perfectly summarizes human nature: the middle letter of “sin” is “i” (also, “Lucifer” and “pride”). A sinner is, by nature, self-centered and self-willed. That is what makes human nature so drastically different from God’s nature. God’s whole controversy with man is that man does not live like He does: God designed man to reflect His life but man (namely, Adam) willfully chose to rebel and make a new lifestyle for himself and his ancestors, namely us (sinful living).

In stark contrast, as today’s Scripture indicates, Christian living is all about Christ living. How did He live on Earth? In total submission to His Heavenly Father’s will! Verses 6-8 capture His mentality: “[6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Romans chapter 15 amplifies: “[1] We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. [2] Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. [3] For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written [Psalm 69:9], The reproaches of them that reproached thee [Father God] fell on me [Jesus Christ].” Christ set aside His own desires and obeyed Father God’s will, all the way to the cross of Calvary (see Hebrews 10:4-13; cf. Matthew 26:39-44)!

When God Himself lived in human flesh, He was anything but selfish. Likewise, dear brethren, we follow Jesus Christ’s pattern—seeking the best interests of others, and not ourselves. “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24).

Silenced!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (2 Timothy 1:7,8 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to preach sound Bible doctrine.

Brethren, Satan has a two-fold strategy for hindering God’s will. In “phase 1,” he attacks the message. Remember, his first words in Scripture are in Genesis 3:1: Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Satan’s chief goal is to question (challenge) God’s Word, thus removing it as the authority. After repeatedly distorting the Bible, he outright denied it in verse 4. Satan effectually enticed Adam and Eve to corrupt, and thereby abandon, sound Bible doctrine.

If the saint maintains and defends sound Bible doctrine, not relinquishing it, then Satan begins “phase 2.” Satan’s objective here is to attack the messenger, to somehow silence him—through intimidation, hardship, embarrassment, discouragement, and so on. This is where we find Timothy in today’s Scripture. In 1 Timothy, he had dealt with false teaching in Ephesus. He has remained faithful to the grace message, having not compromised with the legalists. Satan has failed to get Timothy to pervert grace.

Now, in 2 Timothy (today’s Scripture), Timothy’s face is damp with “tears” (verse 4). He is crying, emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed by opposition and distress in the ministry. As Paul writes, pervasive doctrinal error exists now: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (verse 15). Most Christians have now abandoned Paul’s doctrine, preferring legalism and other heresies. Dejected Timothy has surrendered, having ceased (!) preaching Pauline doctrine (verse 6).

Paul, imprisoned far away in Rome for preaching God’s grace through Christ, is moved by the Holy Spirit to encourage Timothy to not be ashamed (today’s Scripture). “Timothy, remember who you are and where you came from. God’s power will get you through your situations. Share in those afflictions that accompany the Gospel! No matter what happens, boldly preach!” (Brethren, may we do likewise.)

Solace!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

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. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to enjoy the solace of the God of all comfort.

Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul at the lowest point in his whole ministry. Keep reading: “[8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” Did you sense Paul’s great depression in verse 8?

When the Apostle refers to his “trouble… in Asia,” that would have been something that occurred in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). On its western shore sat the city of Ephesus. Here, in Acts chapter 19, Paul had preached Jesus Christ and founded the church at Ephesus. You would do well to read the chapter sometime. Paul’s preaching the truth caused a revival in that spiritually dead, pagan city. With the idol-makers losing customers, they lashed out and caused a riot. Paul could have lost his life! Thankfully, God supported him physically (but most importantly, spiritually).

Saint, when you get “pressed out of measure” in ministry, “above strength, insomuch that [you] despair even of life,” you just keep on going! After all, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” If the saints of old found solace in the God of all comfort, then we will too!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

Shunned!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake (Luke 6:22 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be joyful when people shun us for our Christian testimony.

A dear brother in Christ once shared some very insightful comments about us separating from the world. If we have a Christian testimony—a life “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11)—the world will actually separate from us! That is, our sound Bible doctrine will drive them away from us. At that point, they will not care to hear or see us (they will have already discovered our affection and forcefully announced to us, “No thanks!!”).

“Stop talking about God so much! Only weirdoes study Scripture to that extent! Close that Bible and go away! You have a social/mental/developmental disorder!” We are outcasts: they want nothing to do with us. They see us as “fanatics,” “kooks,” “crazies” who need to be locked away forever in some institution. This is to be expected; marvel not, dear brethren. They said of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 10:20: “And many… said, He hath a devil, and is mad [crazy!!]; why hear ye him?” Festus said: “Paul, thou art beside thyself [a raving maniac!!]; much learning doth make thee mad [insane!!]” (Acts 26:24).

Since we who have trusted Christ Jesus have the indwelling Holy Spirit, He gives us desires natural (lost) people lack. They thus consider our behavior unconventional and farcical. First Peter 4:3-4 speaks of the Little Flock that will experience a similar “sticking out” in the evil world system: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:….”

If this is what we must endure, saints, then let us endure it with joy unspeakable. The world avoids us, but (most importantly) we have eternal fellowship with God.

Bible Q&A #475: “What did Jesus mean, ‘Take up your cross?’