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Archive for July, 2012

I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that I don’t want to be someone who is always against something.

Whatever that may be, against this sin or that sin, against particular lifestyles, against a particular denomination or Bible version, all the different ideas and subjects we Christians can get into that end up taking away our main focus….Christ.

Jesus told us in the New Covenant that His commands were to love God and love others.

We don’t have to agree with everyone to love them, we obviously all have our convictions of right and wrong and we aren’t expected to change or give them up. We don’t have to focus on those convictions or try to prove our reasoning to others. We are told to love others no matter what. We are not responsible for converting people, that is God’s job. We are told to love them.

When Jesus walked the earth, He didn’t spend a lot of time with the religious people. He was out with the sick, despised, neglected, and sinners of the day.

I know I did it for a long time, thought I was better than others because I went to church, felt I had to stay away from those who didn’t believe because their sins would rub off on me. I would always hang out with my church friends and stay away from the worldly people.

I would spend more time trying to prove my points and my beliefs, telling people what was wrong and what to stay away from, than the time I spent talking with God or reading His words.

Obviously God calls us to follow Him and that is going to be in different ways for each of us. But to spend more time arguing, condemning, trying to prove what we feel the Bible states, pointing out people’s mistakes and shortcomings, doesn’t really help.

When we begin to understand the freedom we have in Christ, and start living through grace that Christ provided, we can be free to love and accept all those we come in contact with each day. We can show them the love of Christ by allowing the Spirit to live through us.

Don’t worry so much about who is right and who is wrong. Don’t always be against something. Be for Jesus. Be for love. Take up your cross daily and follow Jesus. Let Him be the central focus of your life and allow His love to flow out of you and touch those around you.

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A lot of us grew up in organized church and were taught that we needed to live by the 10 commandments to be pleasing to God.

Fortunately, I have come to realize that this just isn’t true. Many well meaning people over the years taught this, but I am finding that they were mistaken. Christians today still want to combine the New Covenant with the Old Covenant, and that just don’t work.

There are a few places in the New Testament that refer to following Christ’s commands, but we need to take a look at just exactly what are His commands. We find that Christ’s commands in the New Testament are something different from the 10 commandments of the Old Testament.

Another thing we need to remember is that the New Covenant doesn’t start where men have divided up the Old from New Testament. The New Covenant starts at the death and resurrection of Jesus. For the 33 years that He lived on this earth, He was following the Old Covenant laws, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law ” Galatians 4:4 (NASB). I think this is where a lot of us get confused.

Once Christ lived and fulfilled the Old Covenant, He became the perfect sacrifice needed to provide forgiveness to us. We were unable to live up to the standards set by God, and we still cannot do it. It is by grace that we are saved, and because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we are new creatures in Him. We now have an inner man that is righteous in God’s sight because of grace. We are no longer required to try and live up to the 10 commandments and all the law, rules and regulations of the Old Covenant. In fact, under the New Covenant we are told that if we try to follow the law, we are under a curse, “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Galatians 3:10 (NASB)

The Old Testament Commands have been fulfilled in Christ. The New Testament Commands we are told about are John 6:28, 29 “They said therefore to Him, what shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent”;  John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another”;  John 15:12 “This is My commandment that you love one another, just as I have loved you”;  and John 15:17 “This I command you, that you love one another.” (NASB)

Jesus Commandments continue in 1 John 3:23 “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us”.

The commandments of Christ are based on the grace He provided for us at the cross. We never could live up to the Old Covenant with its rules and regulations. Christ did live up to the law and fulfilled it. He is the only one who could ever do so. It is because of His grace that we no longer follow the Old Covenant teachings. Once we accept Him and the grace He provided, we become new creatures and no longer have the sin nature controlling us. Our inner man is now perfect and righteous in His site, we have become the righteousness of God, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB).

Enjoy the freedom you have in Christ. We don’t have to worry and strive to fulfill any law other than the law of loving God and loving others. Don’t worry that this freedom with lead you to sin. We have died to the law and the power of sin. We now live for Christ out of love, not out of obligation, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13, 14. (NASB). This gives us a new freedom from the sinful lifestyle. We are new creatures in Christ.

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