Friday, September 14, 2007

So Walk In Him - Part 1

Colossians 2:6, is a terrific verse of the Bible.

"As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."

Now the only way to become a son or daughter of God is to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to believe in Him. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12)

This entrance into the family of God is accomplished by God's GRACE through faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)

We can’t brag about earning our salvation, because we didn’t earn it, did we? It’s completely based on God’s Grace, His undeserved favor toward us. It’s a free gift.

Good works are the fruit of our new life, and we are a new creation, with a new life. But no good works have any part in our receiving eternal life, or as the Bible calls it, being "saved". "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)

The salvation, the eternal life is an absolutely free gift.

Some say that’s not fair. It’s too easy.

"You don’t know the sins I’ve committed. You don’t know how I’ve spit in God’s face for so many years. It’s not just, it’s too simple. Why should I be saved through simply believing in Jesus?"

We naturally gravitate toward trying to earn acceptance, and that attitude resists the simplicity of God's grace.

Yet the Bible is clear: "But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5) "And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. . ." (Romans 11:6) No wonder John Newton's hymn, Amazing Grace, has such meaning to saved people of God!

So we received Him by Grace, didn’t we?

Well, let’s go back to our verse, Colossians 2:6, "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."

What role does God’s grace play in living and growing in Christ? What role does God’s grace play in living abundantly?

Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

"That they may have life... (that’s salvation, the new birth, the new creation, eternal life)

"...And that they may have it more abundantly." (that’s living as a believer AFTER our initial salvation.

What role does grace play in that?!

Well, it is VITAL to the Christian life.

Why? Why can’t I just pull out my Bible, find all the rules and laws for living the Christian life, and live it?

I’m tempted to just write, "OK, go ahead and try it." But I know better than that. I know from personal experience, from the experience of others, and from the Bible itself, that this makes a miserable Christian life. It’s what we call Performance-based Christianity, and it stinks.

First of all, if we make the Christian life about rules and laws, we will find ourselves constantly falling short. If we think we are successfully following the laws and rules, then we don’t really understand them.

We don’t understand how Jesus elevated the laws to reflect how holy and perfect God is. When He said that adultery included even the very THOUGHT of lust in our hearts, He put the cards on the table.

And if we try to live the Law way, we will always be thinking that God is angry with us, His children.

You may already think that God must be angry with you, either directly or by implication. Admit it.

You may even think when you are sinful or disobedient to the Word of God that God sees you as "wicked", and everyone knows "God is angry with the wicked every day", right?

Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon, "Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God" in the 1700's, and the picture has been applied to BELIEVERS and has stuck...

...with those who don't understand the difference between a Sinner and a Saint. Or who don't understand the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

Read Part 2

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