Walking in the Spirit #3

Saturday, October 6, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, and this identity should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (verses 16,17). Notice how the Bible links our “flesh” (sin nature) to the Law. The Mosaic Law demands that we perform, and our flesh loves to perform because it can then boast, “Look at my religious ‘goodness!’”

As Galatians 2:16,17 said above, introducing the Mosaic Law into the Christian life is counterproductive: it creates a war, a struggle, between you and Christ, which is vividly described in Romans chapter 7. The Mosaic Law demands you perform to gain God’s acceptance (Deuteronomy 28:1ff.), while the Christian life is Christ performing in you the believer because you already are accepted of God in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:6). This is why Mosaic Law-keeping does not belong in our Dispensation of Grace. It “frustrate[s] [hinders] the grace of God” (Galatians 2:21), since God’s grace teaches us it is Christ, not us, who must perform to make us accepted of God!

Galatians 2:17 said, “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Holy Spirit does not lead anyone in the Dispensation of Grace to operate under the performance-based acceptance system of Judaism (Mosaic Law-keeping). If a Christian attempts Law-keeping, it is literally his or her own doing (not God’s doing), and it is done to their spiritual detriment (misery and defeat)! The indwelling Spirit of God leads us to enjoy the life we have in Christ, and we should walk by faith in His performance (today’s Scripture).

Walking in the Spirit #2

Friday, October 5, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, and this identity should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

Sadly, it is often assumed—even by some professing grace believers—that grace is a license to sin. Since “[we] are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14b), some erroneously conclude that we are free to live any way we want. Verse 15 cautions us, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!!].” God’s grace teaches us to “[deny] ungodliness and worldly lusts” and it teaches us to live “soberly, righteously, and godly” (Titus 2:12).

In Galatians 5:13, we are exhorted: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Christ has made us free from the burden of the Mosaic Law, the “yoke of bondage” (verse 1), a system of rules we could never keep, but this does not mean that God does not care how we live.

We are not under Israel’s performance-based acceptance system. Nevertheless, grace teaches us that God fulfills in us believers the righteousness the Law demanded. Never should we abuse God’s grace by using it “for an occasion to the flesh;” grace should never be (ab)used to promote selfish living (preferring to serve sin rather than serve God and fellow Christians). Verses 14,15: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (verse 16). We have new life in Christ, and when we by faith let Him live His life in us, we will not live sinfully and selfishly (today’s Scripture).

Walking in the Spirit #1

Thursday, October 4, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, which should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

Saints, from conception, we had an identity in Adam. Imagine, when we were still forming in our mothers’ wombs, God exclaimed, “They look so cute and innocent, but I know better!” As King David wrote, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). This identity in Adam caused us to sin, and thus we lived in rebellion against God and His will for our lives. We could not help but sin, for it was our very nature.

So, on Calvary’s cross, when Jesus Christ died, we died to sin, too. “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20a). Today’s Scripture explains that, as Christians, we “have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” The “flesh” here is the old sin nature, our old identity in Adam, and it was put to death at Calvary: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin [our Adamic nature] might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).

But, God did not leave us dead. When He resurrected Christ, He also raised us: “that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life” (verses 4b,5). We have a new identity in Christ, and this new identity will produce “newness of life.” “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 [physical body] I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Saints, we do not have to serve sin: we can walk by faith in our identity in Christ, and let Christ live in and through us. 🙂

A New Creature

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

As today’s Scripture suggests, when someone trusts Jesus Christ alone as his or her personal Saviour, he or she receives a new identity in Christ!

Although we could list more, here are five things that happen to a person the instant he or she trusts in Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary as sufficient payment for his or her sins:

  • Circumcised: God severs the old, spiritual, sinful relationship the individual had to Adam, and gives him or her a new relationship with Him, one no longer hindered by sin, but permanently maintained by Christ’s performance and mediatorship (Colossians 2:11-13).
  • Regenerated: The individual, once “[spiritually] dead in trespasses and sins,” is now given new life, eternal life, the life of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 2:1,5).
  • Indwelt: The Holy Ghost comes to live in the inner man of the individual, and He will use God’s written Word—which is studied and believed rightly divided—to transform the mind and heart, and ultimately the lifestyle, of the individual (Romans 12:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:14).
  • Baptized: The Holy Spirit baptizes the individual into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). This is not water baptism, but a supernatural baptism that the Holy Spirit performs (Colossians 2:12). This is the only baptism needed today, and it is the only baptism that saves us today!
  • Sealed: The saint is sealed by and with the Holy Ghost until the day of the rapture (Ephesians 1:12,13; Ephesians 4:30). Salvation is permanent, for Jesus Christ paid the price of our sin debt in full, and we can rest in His finished crosswork.

The individual is now a saint, one who is “holy,” separated unto God for the purpose for which He originally created him or her.

Saints, we are dead to sin, so let us walk by faith in our new identity, in our “new creature” status, the “one new man,” everlasting members of the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:15). 🙂

A Popular Promotion That Ought Not Be Coveted

Monday, October 1, 2012

“The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools” (Proverbs 3:35 KJV).

Today’s Scripture describes one highly popular “promotion” that ought not be desired.

Our world abounds with foolishness because God did nothing more than give sinful mankind over to what he wanted. Humans “knew God, [but] they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain [worthless] in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,… And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate [worthless] mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:21,22,28).

God values free will so much that, if someone does not want to think about Him, he or she is free to be a “vain” thinker, someone whose mind continually devises worthlessness (that bad thinking process then leads to sinful actions, which are graphically described in Romans 1:29-32).

Fools—that is, those who reject God’s will for them regarding salvation—seem to be successful in this life, but today’s Scripture will certainly hold true for them in the next life. The ultimate “promotion” of the ultimate fool—one who physically dies in his or her trespasses and sins, one who refused to trust Jesus Christ alone as his personal Saviour—is mentioned in Daniel 12:2: “[to awake/resurrect] to shame and everlasting contempt.” This is the eternal version of the “shame” referred to in today’s Scripture: bodily resurrected, condemned to the lake of fire, forever given over to think even more vain, foolish thoughts. Horrible—but you do not have to go there, friend!!!

“The wise shall inherit glory,” today’s Scripture also declares. Do you want honor (“glory”) rather than “contempt” (hatred)? Do you want God’s acceptance (heaven) rather than His righteous indignation (hell)? The wisest person is one who recognizes his or her ultimate failure as a sinner, and who will then trust Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for his or her sins.

Everlasting shame in hellfire—a popular “promotion” that ought not be coveted.

 

Expect the Adversaries

Sunday, September 30, 2012

“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9 KJV).

Hypothetically, if we are the Lord’s children, then we will have an easy life? Right? Wrong!

As one Christian brother expressed it, “God has not promised us Christians a rose petal pathway.” Contrary to the feel-good cliché “God wants you healthy and wealthy,” our membership in the Church the Body of Christ does not ensure our lives will be trouble-free.

While we Christians serve the Lord Jesus Christ, this world has never been and will never be His friend: “They hated [Jesus Christ] without a cause” (John 15:25; cf. Psalm 35:19). During His 33 years on earth, the world was very unkind to our Lord and Saviour. He was hated, belittled, and executed by His own people. The world will “love” Christ living His life in us to the same extent they “loved” Him living His life during His earthly ministry—not at all!

In the verse previous to today’s Scripture, Paul is staying at Ephesus until Pentecost. Today’s Scripture says that while Paul had opportunity to preach and teach in Ephesus, the satanic policy of evil had its men in place. Evil men, Satan’s cohorts, were eager to divide Paul’s audience and persecute Christians, including harming the Apostle himself. Today’s Scripture refers to Acts 19:21–20:1, when Paul preached against the pagan goddess Diana in Ephesus. Fearing financial ruin, the local idol makers anger the Ephesians and cause them to turn against Paul. This riot in Ephesus (present-day western Turkey) forces Paul to depart to Macedonia (present-day northern Greece).

The Philippian believers endured intense persecution, yet Paul encouraged them: “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God” (1:28). Do not fear or be intimidated by Satan’s evil world system. (“Satan” is a Hebrew word meaning “adversary.”) The devil is our adversary because he is God’s adversary. Thankfully, Satan’s tactics do not have to destroy us: God’s grace is sufficient for us to bear them (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).

Expect the adversaries, and expect God’s grace to endure them! 🙂

The Remaining Two-Thirds

Saturday, September 29, 2012

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34 KJV).

On average, you will spend one-third of your life sleeping. Of what will the remaining two-thirds of your earthly life consist?

In the context of today’s Scripture, it is noontime, and Jesus is tired from traveling, so He rests in Samaria by sitting on Jacob’s well (verses 5,6). His disciples have gone into nearby Sychar to buy food, and while He waits for their return, He speaks with a Samaritan woman who comes to draw water from the well (verses 7-26). (The Samaritans are not full-blooded Jews, so they and Israel usually do not associate with each other; see verse 9.)

As their conversation proceeds, the Samaritan woman learns that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah (verses 25,26). She quickly goes to the city to tell them of Jesus, and she comes back to Jesus with additional Samaritans (verses 28-30). Before they come to Jesus, His disciples finally return, and urge Him to eat (verse 31). The Lord replies, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (verse 32). His disciples then ask in verse 33: “Hath any man brought him aught to eat?”

Today’s Scripture is our Lord’s answer. The very thing for which He lives is not physical food: “My meat is to do the will of him [God the Father] that sent me, and to finish His work.” Our Lord has in mind the salvation of these Samaritans: “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (verse 35). Essentially, He is saying, “Look at the harvest of those souls!” (cf. Matthew 9:36,37). Later, many Samaritans believe on Christ, and He dwells with them two days (verses 39-43).

Saints, our Lord was consumed with fulfilling the work to which His heavenly Father had appointed Him. Can we say that about the remaining two-thirds of our lives? Are we walking by faith in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, allowing God to fulfill His will in us? Or, are we spiritually sleeping, doing nothing (Ephesians 5:14)?