Followers of Christ Have CGCD

We live in an abbreviated society with many associations. We are described and labeled by our distinctions and dialect, our degrees, doctrines, diseases and disorders.

The description of the life of a follower of Christ is a wonderful thing, definitely not a disease or disorder, but a distinction. Let me explain according to the initials CGCD, the abbreviation for Conviction, Guidance, Commitment and Discipline.

Conviction
One becomes a follower of Christ by the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Jesus taught His disciples that when He left them to return to His Father He would send the Holy Spirit ~ the Spirit of truth. He would supernaturally birth them into His kingdom (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3-4).

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

A follower of Christ is convicted. As the Spirit woos and wins us, we receive the guidance of the Spirit of Christ for new and eternal life.

Guidance
Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (john 14:6), promised that the Spirit of truth would guide them into all the truth. This is how He becomes our Shepherd.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:12-13

Commitment
The Spirit of truth is the “Spirit of the Lord”
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
He leads us by His hand of mercy to follow Christ, to offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” to serve Him (Romans 12:1-2).
He leads us to full commitment and obedience to Him, to the truth, and to actively seek His kingdom and righteousness.

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,” Romans 6:17

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

Discipline
With commitment comes discipline as He establishes us as His own. We learn to discipline ourselves as we live under the discipline of the Holy Spirit and His Word.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
Proverbs 12:1

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:19

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Hebrews 12:6-9
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11The apostle Paul in his letter to Titus encourages him to be “hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined (Titus 1:8).

He says of his own life, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3

As followers of Christ we are His special people who gladly accept the description and label as He, by His Grace and His Word, makes us peculiar to the world. No others but those of His family have the life of Christ in them. What a joy it is for people to ask what makes us different, so that we can share Christ with them.

Gracious Father, you have made us precious in your sight. Let us wear the label for your glory. Make your Spirit within us contagious with joy and an excitement that overflows, to your glory and praise. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran, DDC (Devoted Disciple of Christ)

images: Google

The Reason and Season for Contentment

Jesus is the reason and the season for contentment. We cannot say this strongly enough.
We looked at the role of God, the Father, last week. We will look at the role of the Holy Spirit next week.

Why are we centering on Jesus, the second person of the Trinity? There are many reasons.
(I have to, at this point say as I remind myself, everything I write is something the Lord is teaching me. At this point in our writing about contentment, I am excited about what we are learning.)

Our last post on Jesus could not be enough. Remember John’s last statement of his gospel, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” So, if you want to be richer and content with what God has prepared for us as His children, don’t skim this article, but stay with me to hear what He wants us to know.

With a Christian worldview, we see through the eyes of the church, the body of Christ. He is the head and we are growing up into Him as we continue in His Word. We are set free from the bondage of ignorance, the power of death and sin, of fear and the world’s influence.

How is this possible without Jesus Christ? We would still be in our sin, and in the chaotic upheaval of the world. I doubt that the world would still be here. At the precise time that was planned, He was born into this world to fulfill the promises that had been made. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Why are Jesus’ followers not rioting, and complaining? Jesus makes the difference.

How the Trinue God Works His Plan and Power on Earth

Let’s look at how His plan is established in Jesus His Son. God, the Father sent His Son to make the difference ~ between the world and His kingdom ~ a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness under the law, fulfilling every jot and tittle.:) His life is the center point of God’s plan.
He is the Son, whose life we are given through his death and resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Since His ascension and ruling at the right hand of the Father on our behalf, He is calling those who are His to live in union with Him. This life is a new life, a supernatural life, in a new relationship with Him and the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit working all things according to His will and covenant with His people.

Let’s look more closely: God, the Father  + God, the Son + God, the Spirit = The Trinity.

Take away God, the Son ~ We would not know God the Father, nor would the Holy Spirit have been sent to us.

From all the Biblical references we see how the Father focuses all things on His Son. We understand that the whole of God’s Word, from beginning to end, is about Jesus Christ, the promised, living, dying, living, ruling and reigning Messiah. He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega.trinity

We do not have room or time to include all references to Christ, but only a few that relate to His role, His relationship to the Father, the Holy Spirit and to us. I would ask that you reply with the references that you know.

The first promise of the Messiah, Conqueror, and Savior ~ Genesis 3:15
Promise of a Son ~ Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

He is the image of the invisible God ~ “for by Him were all things created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:15-20

 “Making known to us the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose,
which he set forth in Christ

as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:9-10

John, the Baptist’s witness of the Son ~ Matthew 3:11
The Father’s witness of His Son ~ Matthew 3:17; 11:27; 17:5; 1 John 5:6-12;  John 17:1-7, 24;
The Holy Spirit’s witness of the Son ~ John 14:26; John 15;26; John 16:7, 12-15

“He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.

All that the Father has is mine;
therefore I said that he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
John 16:14-15

We have only begun to scratch the surface. There is layer and layer, precept upon precept of “the way, the truth, and the life” that is ours in Jesus Christ, our Lord. All that we need for life, godliness and contentment is all rolled up in this one “ball of wax” and beyond us, to discover what is ours in Him. He is the center and root of all things blessed and beautiful, filling and overflowing with the goodness and grace for all that we need. All that is precious, amazing, and fathomless is promised in Him, revealed and fulfilled in those who are His children.

The Season for Contentment

Because Jesus Christ holds the secret, the means and the power for all things for contentment, we must continue to keep our eyes, ears and all our senses on Him. He is the reason for our contentment. Therefore, the season for our contentment in Him is year-round, never ending, now and forever.8a98b22c4e447787d8764dd91bbbad54

Gracious Father, We thank you for your plan for true life, in and through Jesus Christ, who is to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, who upholds all things by the word of His power, who sits at your right ruling and reigning until you have put all things under His feet. We praise you that your greatness and power in Him is unsearchable. Thank you for this unspeakable gift of grace and life in Him, now and for eternity. Open our eyes to see and live in the wonder of who and what He is to us as your people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Reminders For the New School Year (Part 3) ~ Seeking

Matthew_6-33What is the difference between the things of the world and the things of God? What separates the kingdom of the world from the Kingdom of God? The things of the world are visible, easily seen, tempting and influencing and aiding our lust for these things.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16

Remember my granddaughter’s reply to my question of why children go to school?~ “To get a job, make money, and buy what we want.”
Education, knowledge, work, and money are the stepping-stones to satisfying the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. In these the adversary of our souls does his work and rejoices with us whenever we can afford (or buy with a credit card) a new product that we have seen advertised. If purchases are just to fulfill our desires he can claim us for himself and the kingdom of this world.

Spiritual Need
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus speaks of the reality of God’s law for humanity; the essence of true life as God created it to be. He interpreted God’s commandments as He meant them to be understood and practiced in this life.

Jesus was revealing to the common people of His day a picture of successful living. He was here to transfer the written law from stone and paper to the human heart and life.

“Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32

It is here that He emphasizes what God’s children should be seeking first; showing that their desires should be for something higher than this world offers, because our Father has already planned these things for us. He points out a specific difference in the life of the masses compared to life in the kingdom of God. The world’s concerns are only for the things of this world, and not for the things that God wants for us.

Jesus told His disciples that it was the Father’s pleasure to give us the kingdom; not just part, but the whole.  All this He promises for our eternity with Him, and prepares us for it here.

What It Means to Seek
The word “seek” in the New Testament means to look for something that is hidden. To seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness is to desire and continue to seek until we find what is hidden. In Part 2 ~ Asking ~ we saw that we are to ask for the Holy Spirit and for wisdom. With the Spirit of wisdom we have the guidance to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

When God created us in His own image He created us not just as physical beings, but also as spiritual beings, with needs for both. When we seek only what we need physically we are still poor and needy. We need bread and water and clothing and shelter, but the physical things are temporal. If no other life were promised to us these would be all we needed and would be enough, though they would have to be continually replaced.

In Matthew 4 Jesus is tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread. Although He could have done so, Jesus answers him from Isaiah, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

The words that proceed from the mouth of God are given to us by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, which inspired the words of God to be written brings us to His Word, The Holy Bible, and guides us to find there the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The things of God and His kingdom are promised for us here and also for another life which is spiritual and everlasting, though now unseen to the human eye. They are eternal, never wearing out, never needing to be replaced.

Even as all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus Christ, so is the righteousness of God. We cannot earn a degree in righteousness; we cannot work or purchase it. We must, in faith, receive it as the Father’s gift to us and live in humility, praise and recognition of what Christ has earned for us.

 Righteousness is the law of His kingdom, and found only in Jesus Christ His Son whom He sent to bring His kingdom to earth, and through it to gather His people to Himself, for now and eternity. Christ is the King, who will reign until He has put all the enemies of this world under His feet, including all our desires of the flesh and for this world. He came to separate His people from the world, to prove those who belong to Him. He came, lived to fulfill all righteousness ~ the law of the kingdom ~ and to give His righteousness to us, who by His Spirit seek and find what He desires for us.

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1

A formal education takes us through fourteen years of learning how to seek and acquire the kingdoms of this world. College and extended training adds more ability to fulfill the American Dream. How many years do we seek God’s word to find His kingdom and His righteousness, and to praise Him for providing us with all that we need for this life and for eternity with Him?

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” Psalm 105:4


Knocking

 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

 Sometimes we may begin a search for something, and because it is not easy for us to find, we give up and settle for less than our heavenly Father has prepared for us.

When Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock it is with this in mind. He knows our tendencies to look for the easy way of this life, and thereby miss the greater life of the spiritual things. We ask in prayer, we seek through His Word, both of these in the power of His Holy Spirit. When by His Spirit He begins to teach us and to reveal His kingdom to us He works a greater desire in us to earnestly seek Him and all that He promises in His Word. We knock when with the whole heart we desire His presence, His power and wisdom above everything else, and at whatever the cost.

Knocking: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsts for thee, my flesh longs for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” Psalm 63:1

Answer:  And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6

He reveals a kingdom and a life that is greater than any we have known here. Our thoughts and desires are changed. We begin to hunger and thirst for His righteousness, and knock at the door of His heart until He opens the doors of heaven to us.
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Gracious Father, I have but one heart, one desire, one life here and forevermore. You have made it a heart for yourself. Fill it with your Spirit, Holy and Righteous. Transform me by the renewing of my mind through your word, and conform me to the image of Christ, your Son. Write on my heart, every thought, every word, and by your will work in me every deed that proves I am yours, a child after your own heart.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Why and What of Where We Are

In light of all that has happened in the first half of this year it behooves each of us to stop and examine our own hearts and lives. What begins as a small secret sin, when brought out of the closet, can sometimes mushroom into acceptance by the highest court of the nation. If they had known the meaning of sin Adam and Eve would have thought theirs to be a little one, and yet their actions plummeted the whole world into a state of enmity with God. Jesus’ simple message to us all, is the same today as in His day, “Unless you repent, you, too shall perish.”

Perception and Perspective
Seeing where we are, corporately, and individually, may determine where this nation will be in the future. Perception, being the understanding of the way things are, not from our own viewpoint, but from an outside source, gives us a true perspective of the whole picture. Discernment comes, not from our own viewpoint, but from a greater source than our own. Input from God’s Word gives us the right perspective of where we are, why, and what we are to do. From the beginning God has made it known that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from His mouth. (Matthew 4:4) There is no true life without it. God’s written word was Jesus’ means of resisting the tempting of Satan in the wilderness. He did not sin because He always relied on the word of His Father. He lived in complete obedience so that He could deliver us from this wilderness. He said that heaven and earth may pass away, but that His Word would never pass away.  His Word is the law that judges our thoughts, words, and actions; but also the power that brings us to the law of liberty and new life in Him.  It is His means to guide us and to check us as we continue to live in this world.

Where We Are
The apostle John wrote in one of his letters these words, “the whole world lieth in wickedness ~ in the power of the evil one.” (KJV and ESV)

The apostle Paul wrote, “ the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7

This is where we are; in the middle of darkness and decay.  God has already pronounced His judgment against this world.

Why does the world continue to reject His Word and His Son? Because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) We, too, who claim Christ as Lord, and yet live in disobedience to His word, are blinded. God’s people, the nation of Israel, faced His judgment for their own sins. They profaned His name, His Word, and His Sabbaths; and were taken captive to another land because of their disobedience. We, as God’s children cannot point our fingers at others and blame them for where we are as a nation. It is in times like these that He brings us all to account, to prove who and what we are. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

It is in times like these that we learn the difference in God’s kingdom and the kingdom of the world.
It is in times like these that God’s Word becomes precious.
It is in times like these that God in His goodness brings His people to repentance.
It is in times like these that God’s people forget their differences and band together for the truth that is ours in Christ.
It is in times like these that we pray for God’s presence and power to be seen in the world.

Who We Are
Discerning the changes in this world and responding Biblically depends on what God is doing in our own lives. Our hopes for a better world lie in how we, by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5) We need not fear what the courts of men and the world pass as law, but true perception enables us to fear, with wisdom and love, the final court of judgment that will come in God’s timing according to His Word.  I am glad that He is the one appointed as my judge; for He is my only Savior, the one who has redeemed me from my sin, and the King who sits at the right hand of the Father, ruling and reigning until He has put all enemies under His feet. His Holy Spirit, the greatest power in heaven and earth continues to rule in the hearts and lives of His people.  This we shall see this as the antithesis proceeds to its end.

What are we to do?
With perception from God’s Word we view the world with a right perspective ~ from God’s point of view.  We persevere, knowing that He is preserving and protecting His own in the middle of this wilderness. The following verses have served to help me remember that I am but a sinner saved only by His grace, and in need of constant awareness of where I am in this pilgrimage to a new world of righteousness.  Continually seeking “His kingdom and His righteousness” with faith and assurance through Jesus Christ we stand and live in the truth of His grace.  We prepare as soldiers of the cross for the trials and tribulations that He, as “the author and finisher of our faith,” leads us through; with prayer and supplication for all saints.

 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober , and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1 Peter 1:13

 “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:21-22


“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:12-14

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast to the word of life.” Philippians 2:12-16

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  According to your promises, keep us, your children, from the evil one; bearing the fruit of your Spirit. Give us fervency in prayer, and a diligence in the study of your Word. In the middle of the chaos let us live joyfully the abundant life in Christ that He gives so that others may see a distinct difference in your light and the darkness of this world, and be drawn to Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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“US” in RighteoUSness

As in life, so, in Bible study and the preaching of God’s Word we sometimes stray off the main path, forgetting where and how we started, and losing sight of our purpose and goal.

So, before I post my notes on Romans 14, I want to again look back to our starting point, and look forward to the purpose that Paul set in the beginning. This will give us a better understanding of where we are in the application of Paul’s letter in this chapter.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:16-17

The first point we remember is that it is the power of God through His own word ~ the power of the gospel by His Holy Spirit ~ that brings us as sinners from our horrible state, to faith and repentance to live in the state of righteousness. In faith the righteousness of Christ is revealed. The nature and disposition of Christ is exemplified in those who believe. The power of God is able to bring His people to Himself with the purpose of our living in “obedience of faith.” This purpose for Paul’s letter to the Romans was stated in the first and last chapters.

“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:” Romans 1:5

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”   Romans 16:27

The power of God brings us into the state of being “righteous” in Christ. Being “righteous” means that we are not only “right” in Christ, but that we are actively living righteously; seeking and praying to do what is “right” in God’s sight through Jesus Christ, our righteousness. (Hebrews 13:20-21; 2 Corinthians 5:21) This is obedience of faith. This active obedience is proof of the gift of faith that is by His grace working in us. Everything focuses and keeps us riveted and holding on to Christ and not our own work or abilities.

With these thoughts before us, focused on Him, let us get back to this path of righteousness with Paul in chapter 14. He has brought the attention to what it means to fulfill the law; of doing what is right, and of obedience to God. He has in the previous chapter zeroed in on this, in the main area by which all our righteousness is expressed.

All of the law was based on love for God and for man. That which man was unable to do by the law was made possible through the power of God in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Again, man’s ability to love as God means to love, through the law or the gospel, is not possible for man, but only by the power of God working in the lives of those He has brought to faith and repentance through regeneration. This great love that Paul spoke of in Romans 13 is shown to work out in relationships between believers. The love is initiated by God.  In Christ that love penetrates, is spread abroad and forms a new heart, saturates, and perpetuates this love toward God and toward others.

Called to be Servants, Not Judges.
He speaks to the whole church in Rome; to the weak and the strong in faith. The main principle of love makes no distinction in relationship with Christ. When He is the center of the body of believers each one is answerable to Him. The state of righteousness excludes none who are seeking to serve Christ through faith. We live in Christ, in His righteousness, to serve Him and one another. We are clothed with His righteousness so as to exclude all self-centeredness. Therefore, in differences of opinion, we do not strive to make our liberty known, so as to influence those who are weaker in the faith to sin against their own conscience. In private life we may be free to indulge in a freedom not yet known to a weaker brother; but not exercise such a freedom in public; which is to exercise our pride. Neither is free to judge the other for what they do or what they do not do. We are not called as judges, but as servants. To keep another from stumbling we, in love and humility think of Christ first, and what would glorify Him, and by out actions build up our brother in Christ.

The main point in Romans 14 that keeps us on the path of righteousness, progressing in our obedience of faith, is verse 17.

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Where there is righteousness there is peace. If we are actively seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness our life will not be about food and drink. Peace and joy in the Holy Spirit follow the fruit of love that He produces through us.  

The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:18
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Dear Father, you knew our need before you created us. Continue to work in us this love, joy, and peace that is ours in Christ, by the power of your Holy Spirit, for your glory and more joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Jesus Never Had to Say “I’m Sorry”

He came to do the Father’s will.

In humility and obedience He fulfilled all requirements of the law.

He personified the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

He then was crucified, taking our sorriness upon Himself  ~

~ So that He might say, “Father, forgive them.  They know not what they do.”

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Humility and Sin ~ Chapter 8

To benefit by all that Andrew Murray wrote on this subject we must each read this for ourselves. What I am attempting to do with this review of chapter 8 of Humility (PDF) is to combine this with Romans 5:12-21 after the preaching of our pastor’s August 31 sermon.

After studying Murray’s concerns for our humility we see the main purpose for his writing the book. He is trying to get us past our sin in Adam to our relationship with Christ in His gift of righteousness and grace.

We can never forget that we are sinners saved by grace but we do not continue in our sin, nor do we habitually draw attention to ourselves seeing only the sin side of man. If we understand Paul’s writing in the letter to the Romans we are reminded of the depravity of man by which the sin of Adam plunged the whole human race. But more, and far above this reality, is the continual teaching of the greater work and nature of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, in whom we are raised from death in Adam to life in Him.

Disobedience, sin and death came through the first son, Adam, even before the law; before God told other men what they should and shouldn’t do. We who live, after the fact and since the law was established, share in the life of another Son, an obedient Son; through whom forgiveness, and righteousness is ours. But do we believe this and by faith receive this gift; and after it is received know and live this life that is in Christ?

Grace and Humility
As Murray points out, using Paul as the example, true humility is not being humbled because we sin. True humility is living in light of the grace that has saved us from our sinning, while still remembering that we are sinners, saved by God’s grace. We are not saying that we never sin, but that we are no longer under its power. We do not continue sinning as if Christ has not saved us from it. When we understand this we will increase in faith and the humility of Christ.

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“The very essence of grace is to deal with and take away sin, and it must always be so. It is not sin, but God’s grace showing a man and constantly reminding him what a sinner he was, that will keep him truly humble.

I fear that there are many who have sought to humble themselves by strong expressions of self-condemnation and self-denunciation, and yet have to confess with sorrow that a humble spirit, accompanied by kindness, compassion meekness, and forbearance, is still as far off as ever. Being occupied with self, even amid the deepest self-abhorrence, can never free us from self. It is the revelation of God, not only by the law condemning sin, but by His grace delivering from it, that will make us humble. The law may break the heart with fear. But it is only grace that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its second nature.”

Many I talk to are struggling in their faith and growth in the Lord. They seem not able to overcome their doubts and fears.  Some say that they are “hanging in there:” others say, “I am surviving.” Many are depressed and anxious about life.

Where grace abounds there is life, abundant life that overcomes sin and humbles us as we look to Christ, seeing His victory for us over sin. We should be thriving, even in the middle of the madness in which we live. I understand where these are. I too have struggled over the years, prayed, and waited. I am now, at the age of 75 seeing a tremendous growth of the power of God’s grace in my own life, more than I ever asked for; and it is astounding and phenomenal. As Jacob said to God, “I have waited for thy salvation.” It is ordered in His timing and in His way through His everlasting covenant for His people, who are brought to Him through Christ.

A New Level
A few days ago a friend made reference to her daughter’s piano teacher who is taking her daughter “to a new level.” Music students rate themselves as “beginner, intermediate, or advanced.” Not many go from beginner to advanced, but from one level to another as they are trained and practiced in what they are being taught. This can be applied to our lives as disciples of Christ. Does not our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us to a new level of wisdom and understanding of His grace? If so, we will find ourselves more humble than we can imagine. We will be filled and enabled to thrive on the abounding grace and the abundant life that He promised.

As we continue to see our need, to desire this abounding grace, to pray and believe as we wait on Him, He will not fail to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us.
Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now live, should be an ongoing process as we pray, read, study, meditate, and wait. We should be advancing in our faith to higher levels of knowledge and holiness. This is a process working in us that will not exalt us, nor of which we can boast, but rather one that will humble us more and more.

“It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.”


Dear Father, you, the God of all grace, have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ.  You do not leave us to grow by ourselves.  You know what we need ~ grace and more grace.  Work in us according to your own good pleasure that we may witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.   Amen.  

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