Last week, we ended the blog with the following:
We are not sinners saved by grace! We WERE sinners who ARE saved by God’s grace and are now called saints by God. Saints practice righteousness and are habitually/repeatedly seeking God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness. We are aware of our sinful nature (flesh) and do not make excuses for it, nor do we make provision to fulfill its desires. We now have a choice –
Romans 8:1 (KJV) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
We now can live above sin and please God through Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Please take notice of the last part of Romans 8:1, “…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” It is very clear to me that “who walk not” presents the principle of “free will.” To restate – when we were in our lost spiritual condition, we were slaves to sin, unrepentant, and blinded to the realization of our sinfulness that kept us in a state of separation from God.
Romans 6:19 – 20 (KJV) “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. (Emphasis Added)
We were the “offspring” of God by virtue of the fact that He created Adam and Eve “by hand” and we are their descendants; however, we were not His “children” – we were, in fact, His enemies.
Romans 8:5 – 9 (KJV) “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Emphasis Added)
When Jesus Christ became the Lord of our lives through spiritual birth, we were lifted (resurrected) from our lost, spiritually dead condition and placed into a position with Christ in the heavenly realm!
Ephesians 2:1 – 6(KJV) “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Emphasis Added)
Because of this, were given a new perspective – everything became new!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (Emphasis Added)
When Jesus manifested Himself after His resurrection He was hard to recognize – He was glorified! Mary thought He was a gardener because she didn’t expect to see Jesus alive. When Jesus entered the room where the disciples were gathered, with the door shut (locked) because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders’ reprisals, they did not immediately recognize Him – they weren’t looking for Him!
Thomas wasn’t with them at this appearing; therefore, when they told him of it, he doubted and made the demand that unless he could touch the nail prints in the hands of Jesus and see the wound in His side, he would NOT believe! He wanted “proof” that Christ was alive!!
That is exactly what the unbelieving world is demanding. If we preach a Risen Savior, Jesus Christ Who was crucified, died, buried, and arisen from the grave, where is the proof of His living? We have no physical proof of this – NO ONE knows for sure where His empty tomb is located; and, much of Christianity seems to be obsessed with celebrating His death more than his LIFE!
The “proof” of Christ’s resurrection is in the life of the true believer. Paul said, “…he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The phrase, “All things,” means NEW – practices, perceptions, persistence, professions, preferences, passions, and personalities. We become new because we are in Christ and He is in us. We become new because, like Jesus, we “died” and have experienced a “resurrection” wherein a “change” took place.
Galatians 2:20 (KJV) “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.” (Emphasis Added)
This is why we call being a disciple of Christ, living the life of a disciple, living the Christ-life. This means that we “be-live” the fact that Christ is manifesting His virtues, victories, and values in and through us. We are real-life witnesses of the Living Savior!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (TMSG)“Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!” (Emphasis Added)
Again, our premise is that we are no longer sinners, we are saints who used to be sinners, but now we are saved through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Sin was once our lifestyle; but, since Jesus Christ has become our Lord and Savior, we have been set free from the bondage of our sinful nature and have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life of overcoming temptation and sin – just like Jesus did!
Many will continually teach that no one can live above sin except Jesus. The correct way of saying this is, “No one can live above sin without Jesus!” As Galatians 2:20 states, “…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. (Emphasis Added) This means that the same faith Jesus has (had) we have available to us as well.
You may well ask, “How are we going to possibly live above sin and its dominion in our lives?” The answer is simple – it really is – “Just the same way Jesus did!”
John 5:19 (KJV) “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (Emphasis Added)
John 5:30 (KJV) “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (Emphasis Added)
Now, ponder this thought for a moment – “Jesus was ‘dead’ before He went to Calvary!” It is apparent to me, by the Scriptures stated just previously, that Jesus did not seek to please Himself in anything. Jesus sought neither the accolades of the people, nor the approval of the priests. He sought only to please His Father.
When Jesus spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane, He did not seek to prepare Himself for the death He would experience on Golgatha’s hill, He sought for an alternative to being separated from His Father in the process of providing for our salvation by His obedience!
As Jesus walked through the streets of Jerusalem to ascend to the “place of the skull,” the fact that He bore His cross pronounced to all that witnessed it that He was a “DEAD MAN WALKING!” He was dead already – dead to Himself, dead to the political system, dead to the religious system, dead to the people, and dead to popularity – He only walked to the pleasure of God the Father! Walking to the pleasure of His Father required that He live above the effectiveness of sin’s temptation.
What kept Jesus from falling into the traps and temptations of Satan’s snares? All we need do is review Jesus’ response to the first recorded temptation Satan threw at Him:
Matthew 4:4 (KJV) “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Emphasis Added)
Do you see that Jesus was saying that life comes from the Word of God? That’s the secret! After all, we are what we eat! We’ll take this up again next time.