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Archive for August, 2012

You ever notice how many cars go by with Christian bumper stickers on them?

Seems like it is much easier to show our faith in God by bumper stickers and outward signs that it is by living our life under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

When we accept Christ, we receive forgiveness for our sins, past, present and future. We are crucified with Christ, dead, buried and then raised up again as new creatures in Him. The Holy Spirit comes to live within us and God now sees us as holy and righteous because He sees Christ in us. It’s what is on the inside that counts.

Jesus told the Pharisees that the outside of their cups were clean, but inside they were full of dead men’s bones. Hopefully that isn’t the way a lot of us are.

Because of Christ and the Grace He provided, we are clean on the inside, holy and righteous in His sight. Not because of anything we did, but because of what He did. Jesus paid the price, we get the benefits.

There is nothing wrong with being excited about our faith in God and wanting to show it with bumper stickers and various outward things. The main thing is that we take up our cross daily, follow Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to live in us so that the true qualities of Christ will shine out of us.

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We Christians want to be known as followers of Christ. We all go about it in different ways. Most of us feel that if we can preach in public, be a pastor, evangelist, missionary where we can tell others about the Gospel message, we will be known as good Christian people.

Others feel if they can give regularly to their church or programs to help the poor, they will be known as good Christians.

Many will base their identity in Christ on their works and all the good things they can do to show that they are good Christians.

Others will consider how much they can promote how good of a Christian they are, and how much they can condemn those who aren’t Christians.

Basically all these are a waste of time. First, we are saved by Grace, it is a gift from God and there is nothing we can do to earn it or pay for it.

Second, the only way that Jesus says we are to be known as His disciples is by the love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jesus commandments in the New Testament are ‘believe on the one who God sent’ and ‘love others as you love yourself’ (1 John 3:23). When we try mixing the New Testament commands with the Old Covenant law, we are getting away from the true Gospel of Grace and we are getting away from loving one another as Jesus meant.

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Hell fire and brimstone, eternal damnation…..which sin is going to cause this for you? None of them! There is not one sin that will send you to hell. We have all sinned and we have all fallen short of the glory of God. But God made a way for the sinful nature to be destroyed. God made a way we could be forgiven. No, it isn’t the 10 Commandments. It isn’t in doing at all. The only thing that will cause an eternal separation from God is rejecting Jesus and the sacrifice He made by dying for us and our sinful nature.

So, does God love the one going to hell just as much as the one going to heaven? Absolutely yes. God is love and He loves each and every one of us. He sent His Son to die for all of us because we are all sinners. He provided the way for our salvation because He loves us and we were completely unable to provide salvation for ourselves. Obviously not everyone is going to heaven just because God loves them. It is our choice now to accept that gift or not. Unfortunately many people do not accept it, but God still loves them all the way to hell.

In regard to being perfect and righteous in God’s sight, this is the basic theme of the New Covenant (Colossians 1:22 NASB). When Jesus lived on this earth, He lived under the Old Covenant and He became the only person who lived under the law and lived a totally perfect life. Because of this, He became the perfect sacrifice that was required to fulfill the law and take our sins to the cross. When Jesus said ‘it is finished’, He was saying the old covenant was fulfilled and our sin problem can be taken care of.

When we accept, believe and confess Him as Savior, our old sinful nature is crucified and buried and we are then raised up as new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Obviously that doesn’t mean we are perfect and righteous on our own. We still have a mind that needs to be renewed daily, and we have a body that is made from the earth, but our inner spirit man is now a new creation and no longer has the sinful nature.

Spiritually speaking, when God looks at us He sees Christ’s blood covering and cleansing us of all sins. Romans 6:5-7 says ‘For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin’.

Galatians 3:27 states ‘For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ’, and I Corinthians 3:16 tells us ‘Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you’? The Spirit of God isn’t going to dwell in unrighteousness. God no longer lives in a building like in the Old Testament, but now lives in us, His Church.

In Colossians 3:3 we are told ‘For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God’. Spiritually speaking, our inner spirit has been made perfect, not by our works, not by obeying the 10 commandments, not by following the Law, but by Christ taking our sin nature to the cross. It is by Him giving us the gift of a new nature and putting His righteousness in us. Ephesians 2:6 says ‘and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’. Spiritually speaking, we are seated at the right hand of the Father. Ephesians 1:20 ‘which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places’.

‘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. Obviously all this is spiritually speaking. While we are here on earth in our natural bodies, we still deal with temptation and sin because of our minds and our natural bodies. The good thing is our spirit within, spiritually speaking, has been renewed and we now have become righteous and holy in God’s sight because of Jesus (Hebrews 10:14). What a fantastic gift of grace that Jesus has provided for us. Our part is to accept this great gift and take up our cross and daily follow Him.

We all know the physically, we live in this word in physical bodies and with minds that need to be renewed. But spiritually, our inner man was made new when we accepted Christ’s gift of grace through the cross. Our sinful nature, our sins past, present and future, were crucified with Christ and buried with Him. When He rose from the grave, it symbolizes us rising from a sinful nature to a new creature in Christ, holy and acceptable because of His grace (Ephesians 1:4).

We need to focus our thinking on this spiritual fact that we are now holy and righteous in God’s sight, we are seated with Christ in heaven at the right hand of the Father. We should fix our minds on things above and put our trust and hope in Christ who has purchased our salvation and given us the gift of grace.

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