Chapter 7 Continued from chapter 6
“Words taught by the Spirit” (1Cor.2:13)
An Email Ministry for the Glory of God
A series of Bible studies on
SALVATION IN CHRIST
THE ISSUE OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
PART A’: THE NORMAL SPIRITUAL LIFE
THE GENUINE BELIEVER (#1)
Dear friends! This chapter is extremely hard to accept and to “digest” because it describes most of the main requirements of the Christian character! They seem to be very demanding and discouraging! One could, no doubt, say: “Who can meet all these requirements? Who is perfect?” Humanly speaking, this is impossible! No man can ever live the teachings of Christ which are expressed for example in the “Sermon of the Mount” and in the commandments and exhortations of the apostles in their epistles. Without Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit nothing is possible (John 15:5)! Yes, but by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, everything is possible: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”, said the apostle Paul (Phil.4:13)! This is the reason why Paul was exhorting us to become his imitators.
This truth is confirmed by Jesus Christ’s own declaration. Here is the proof: “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat.11:28-30). Let us not also forget that encouraging and reassuring promise of God: “Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it (1Thess.5:24)! I would like to also draw your attention to another relevant and excellent promise of God: “The LORD shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exod.14:14). The only thing that He demands is the consent of our will: YES, LORD!
All the « musts » of the Christian life bring man to discouragement and even to depression. Yes, because the Christian life is supernatural! The natural man cannot live a supernatural life. He can, however, live that supernatural life when he becomes “supernatural…”! He becomes ‘supernatural’ when he is born of God! He is born of God when God activates His Word by the Holy Spirit in him. Of course, this spiritual birth cannot take place unless man accepts God’s terms. God’s terms are easy and feasible without any special effort and without having done any good work previously! It can be done even when one is in prison or handicapped or in good health! These conditions are: His sincere repentance; his sincere faith in His Word and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross; his trust in God’s love and character and to give his heart (his will) to His heavenly Father! No effort, not any good work before but just FAITH FROM THE HEART in God! Both our salvation and our spiritual progress is a matter of our heart (of our will)! The changed heart changes the facts and the evolution of life! Is the driving force which is pulling the wagons!
The man who is truly born of God lives like the apostle Paul who declared “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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 (Gal.2:20).
I wrote in one of my old messages (Chapter 7 of the series 4353):
<<< As sure and undeniable that Christ died on the cross and that He was buried and He was raised from the dead, it is also equally sure and undeniable, according to the Scriptures that:
- “…our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died to sin once: but in that he lives, he lives to God. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.6:6-11). I am not any more slave to sin but it is the Spirit of God that has delivered me and continues to deliver me from the law of sin and death. Moreover, it is sure and certain that:
- My sins are forgiven, that God justified me and that He saved me. “Juridically”, I am justified. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit! (Rom.8:1). >>>
Elsewhere, in the same message, I wrote:
<<< God is able also to SAVE US TO THE UTTERMOST that come to God by him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb.7:25) and that Faithful is He that calls us, WHO ALSO WILL DO IT (1Th.5:24). Because of our inability to believe correctly, it is done according to our incredulity! And another thing: The fear that we will continue to fall into the same sin or sins is an error and a trap, due to incredulity. We fear that our temptations are beyond our strength… That means that we do not believe in the promise of God, namely, that “…There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1Cor.10:13). In this way, it happens to you and to me according to our incredulity. That means that when we fall into sin it is of our responsibility…
<<< It is written that God has placed, at our disposal, all power necessary BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT to overcome the power of sin and temptations of Satan by which he tries to make us fall and imprison us in the slavery of sin. The Word of God proclaims that we are not anymore under the Law of Moses but under the alliance of grace. And the grace that God has given us is superabundant to help us to overcome the power of sin, power in order not to accomplish the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, as well as to resist temptations as well as the tricks of the devil. The Holy Bible invites us:
- To believe in every word of God and to trust Him without any exception;
- To reckon ourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom.6:11), and
- To remember that we were crucified with Christ, buried with Him and raised with Him and that now we walk in newness of life.
We must, therefore, being armed with the conviction that we have ceased sinning in order to live the remainder of the time of our life not according to the will of the world or the flesh but according to the will of God. The Bible invites us to believe that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin (Rom.6:6). We are delivered from sin. There is a word of God which knocks out this fear and false doctrine: “Why he is able also to SAVE THEM TO THE UTTERMOST that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them” (Heb.7:25). Jesus can save us perfectly, not only in the future but also now, from our passions and the slavery of Satan! Certain people teach that in spite of the fact that we are crucified, we can get down from the cross and do our own will! Foolishness! That foolishness is applicable to all those who do not believe in everything that the Bible says and/or because they have not presented their whole being as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, and are not transformed by the renewing of their mind, that they may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rom.12:1-2).
We died with the Lord, once-and-for-all to sin and we are now “in Christ” for God: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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” (Gal.2:20). And especially, the Bible invites us to believe that our love for sin is equally dead in us. This is why it is written, “Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1Joh.3:9). It has to do with the normal experience of each true Christian, and in particular, of each true worker of God!
Who is this, my old man, if not my sinful tendencies and their power over me? It is true that the power of the habit of sin exists: The attraction of sin which comes from our physical desires is strong and temptations of the devil exist and can be numerous and powerful. However, it is also true that the true believer does not take pleasure in sin; on the contrary, sin makes him suffer and he cannot stand it. And this is especially true when the power of the resurrection and the power of the blood of Jesus are always at his disposal! That is the reason why it is written in the book of Revelation 12:11: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death”. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Rom.5:20). “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom.6:14). Moreover, it is true that the Spirit Himself abides in the true believer, makes intercession for him with groanings which cannot be uttered. He abides in him and gives him power against sin; the true believer is also built as a habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph.2:22). He is no more slave to sin and its tyranny. That is why John, the apostle, says: “…let no man deceive you………Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother” (1Joh.3:7-10).
The apostle Paul exhorted the believers to become his imitators. If Paul lived always under the state of: “…for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Rom.7:15) or in other words: “I want to do what is good but I do not achieve to do it but I do what I hate”, or as it is written “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? …” (Rom.7:24), he would never have made all his exhortations. Quite the contrary, he exhorted the believers to remember that He thanked God through Jesus Christ our Lord… (v.25). Elsewhere he wrote “… the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom.8:2). In addition, he invites them to imitate his behavior as he had described in his epistles to the Corinthians and elsewhere, by telling them: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Php.4:13). Moreover, he proclaimed: “Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;” (2Cor.6:3-9).
May the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ be praised! Amen! >>>
In the previous pages of this chapter, some deep theological terms and notions were mentioned. The true believer, whether he understands them or not, lives them anyway! He knows and is sure and certain that God has saved him by His grace and he is being saved from his shortcomings, faults, deficiencies, imperfections, vices, etc., by his grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit! He loves to be corrected, to be taught and be guided by the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit has given him his Anointing! He knows he is “dead” to this world… With the Holy Spirit in his heart… all things are possible because he has been sealed with the Holy Spirit! Jesus’ nature is in him! The apostle Peter declares that by His exceeding great and precious promises we have become partakers of His divine nature (2Pet1:4)! God has circumcised his heart! He gave his heart to God because he trusted Him. Obedience and submission are words that many people cannot bear or hate! The true believer takes pleasure to obey and to submit his will to the will of his Lord Jesus Christ!
Nowadays, a great number of denominations and new churches have appeared on the international arena. They all claim that they have the best doctrinal teaching and that they harbor the best Christians! But who are the best Christians? My purpose in this chapter and the next one is to give a comprehensive description of the best Christian according to the Bible. Each argument is supported by the proper Bible reference! Someone might add additional characteristics.
I ask my readers to read these chapters carefully and not be discouraged, having in mind the encouraging words of the Bible that have been written in the previous pages, which constitute just a small part of God’s wonderful and encouraging promises.
Let not my reader forget what the apostle Peter wrote: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Pet.1:5-8). The new-born Christian does not have all these virtues right from the beginning of his new life. He has new life but does not know yet how he must walk… As time goes by, the Holy Spirit shows or reveals him his spiritual needs and teaches him how to claim them by faith and prayer! If the new believer obeys the action/guidance of the Holy Spirit, then, he begins to grow spiritually. The true believer admits with godly sorrow what is missing in his life, asks his Heavenly Father to meet his needs and to add in His grace all theses virtues day by day. The consciousness of his needs takes place, most often, at the moments of testing and of crisis. If the believer is thirsty for his spiritual growth, he will come to “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph.4:13).
To be continued…