Thursday, November 8, 2012

Greetings Friends,

In my last blog, I closed with the thought that being in Christ changes our position and pursuit.  We must learn to stop pursuing rules that only re-enforce pride and begin to pursue the very life of Jesus Christ.  By pursuing Christ, we learn to abide in HIM, therefore we enjoy all of the blessings of Grace. 

The apostle Paul said in Romans 1:7  “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

“Grace to you…” is that not the most precious thought.  Grace to you my friend.  Grace to you.  All of the riches of God’s amazing grace are available to you because you are now IN CHRIST.  In this blessing of grace is also peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The care of God for HIS own is more than tongue can tell.  The day you put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ a radical change occurred in your life.  It matters not that you were the chiefest of sinners or if you were a common sinner in need of forgiveness, but the fact is you were moved from being in Adam under the reign of sin and death into a place of Great blessing.  Listen to the Word of God.

1Corinthians15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Romans  3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Ephesians 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

1Thesalonians 4:16  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:

This is only a small sampling of the many New Testament verses which speak of our new position In Christ.  We are no longer in Adam.  We are in Christ.  Everything has changed.  Jesus Christ defeated the power of sin. He lived a sinless life.  He then showed HIS complete power over sin by raising from the dead.  

Romans 6:1-3  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?

When we were in Adam what was true of Adam was true of us.  Now that we are in Christ, what is true of Christ is true of us.  All of the provisions made possible by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ are now true of us because we are in Christ.

We died with Jesus Christ
We were buried with Jesus Christ
We resurrected with Jesus Christ
We are now seated in the Heavenlies with Jesus Christ.  WE ARE IN CHRIST.  And because this is true of us, we are to:

Romans 6:11-12 11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

As a Christian, we are not to allow sin to reign in us.  Our faith choice must be to turn from the old decision making patterns that we once made and choose to follow Christ.  When we were in Adam, our reasoning went something like this:

“If it feels good do it.”
“Well, nobodies perfect.”
“I am not hurting anyone but myself.”
“Stay out of my business.”

Now that we are a Christian, we should not argue from the standpoint of being in Adam.  We are not in Adam.  We are a new creature IN CHRIST.  I am forgiven.  I am loved.  I am justified.  I am redeemed.  I am blessed.  To be in Christ is to be in the place of blessing verses living in a place of condemnation. 

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death;

Do we not all remember how painful the wages of sin can be?  I remember the wages of drug abuse.  I remember the wages of drunkenness.  I remember the wages of non-biblical relationships.  I remember the wages of selfishness, pride, rebellion.  Do you remember?  If we know the wages of sin to be death to our lives, why do we choose to allow sin to reign?  We allow it because grace is made of none effect by out pursuit of religion instead of grace being strengthened by our pursuit of the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ died to sin, therefore, since I am in Christ I have died to sin and that needs to be my daily faith choice.  This needs to be my daily faith declaration.  We have lived the majority of our lives reasoning from the position of Adam, even after we were saved.  God calls us to speak the truth of God in our heart.  But how often do we hear Christians reason in this fashion.

“Well, nobodies perfect.”
“You have your sin, I have mine.” (As a matter of fact my sin is not nearly as bad as yours)

And then we have movements that will tell us, what the big sins really are?  The big sins are your clothes. (Which is the right one - Muslim dress for women, Amish dress for all, blue jeans with holes, blue jeans with no holes) 

Some would say:  The big sins are related to which bible you carry or what music you listen to or what books you read or what books you don’t read.  What people you have fellowship with and what church you attend.

All of these things take us away from our relationship with Christ.  We are IN CHRIST and HE is IN US.  HE is seeking to develop our lives, line upon line.  Truth upon truth.  Grace upon grace.  Mercy upon mercy. Until we bear HIS image.

2Corinthians 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The struggle is born from the fact that we are accustomed to living and making decisions in Adam.  Now that we are in Christ, we must choose not to allow sin to reign.  We must seek to be in communion with HIM; to walk in agreement with HIM, to worship HIM.

Romans 6:11-12 11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

When sin is reigning in our body, we obey it.  When sin is reigning, lust is raging and this sin must be starved.  As long as we reason as if we are still living in Adam, “Nobody’s perfect”, “I have my sin, you have yours”, we are causing the grace of God to fail in our lives.  As long as we reason from a position of being in Adam, we will make the grace of God of none effect.

Speaking the Word of God in our souls and yielding to it will build a tower of truth that will cause the deception in our soul to flee.  Building truth into our souls will take time.  But the joy of abiding in Christ is worth whatever sacrifice and surrender must be made.

The keeping of rules cannot develop spiritual life.   Consider for a moment the keeping of rules verses true spiritual disciplines.  A spiritual discipline is an activity by which we surrender our will HIS will.  For example, the action of prayer will not make a person spiritual.  Jesus declared that the Pharisee of Luke 18 prayed with himself.  Grace comes to our soul and life is born in our souls when we surrender to the truth of God by way of the power of the Spirit of God.  Prayer is being in fellowship with God as HIS Spirit illuminates truth to our soul.  The is the means by which the truth will make us free.  

Romans 3:20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 

The law teaches us that we fail.  We cannot keep the law.  This is why we need a savior and this is why we need to abide in the truth of Grace. To make up rules that tell us we are good enough is only developing and re-enforcing pride.  Please note, I am NOT talking about some kind of sin-less perfection.  If our Christian life centers around the keeping of rules to attain spirituality, the grace of God is being diminished.  Our passion and pursuit for the things of God will dwindle.  Our love, joy, and peace will become a distant memory.  I fear many Christians are failing the grace of God and therefore they loose their pursuit and they simply become religious.

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