April 9, 2019

 

Every so often it is good for me to contemplate my faith and in what I am placing it. I place my faith not in a what, but in a who. My faith is placed in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is no surprise to anyone who knows me; nor is it a surprise to me. The reason for the occasional assessment is to be sure that is the way I am living my life and progressing in maturity.

 

It is easy to fall into a pattern of doing things and forgetting the true focus of becoming the express image of Christ. When the activities overtake the focus, it is easy to slip into some form of law and legalism. The first clue I often notice is a type of arrogance that is expressed as dogmatic belief when in a conversation. Whether I am correct or in error is not the first issue. The problem is that the arrogance does not give off the aroma of Christ. To the contrary, it is alienating. If this signal is recognized early on, there can be a quick recovery for me and a restoration to the one with whom I am conversing.

 

If the arrogance goes unchecked, it becomes a law unto itself in that it dictates my behavior as if I am once again enslaved to sin. This is not beyond repentance and restoration but depending upon the length of time and the number of encounters during that time, there may have been several offences committed. Obviously, the longer it is allowed to continue, the more there is to repent for and to restore.

 

Faith is something that must come full circle and sin interrupts the circuit. Faith is a gift from God. The object of my faith is Christ Jesus. Faith comes from Christ, is given to me as I allow Christ to live in me, is exercised as I allow Christ to live through me, and it returns to Him as it is manifested and glorifies Him as a testimony. As this happens, Jesus is my all in all. But, when sin interrupts the circuit, I am acting as if Jesus is my all in some. Sin has taken the place of something that I did not entrust to Christ. In this example it would be an issue with my ego, or pride. Another red flag for this is the act of being self-defensive. Learning to endure attacks or accusations, even falsehoods, is another lesson.

 

Saving faith is a gift from God. Jesus Christ is our gift from God.

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

 

Upon my salvation, Christ Jesus took up residence, He lives within me.

 

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

2 Corinthians 13:5

 

My behavior should reflect that at all times. This is not a legalism however; it is not to live by the law. This is a Galatians 2:20 lifestyle.

 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

 

I still have this fleshly body which requires me to live by faith, but that faith is Christ in me. So, I tend to think that my faith is a who as well; Christ Jesus. This now goes beyond the faith that saved me as it pertains to the way I live my life and the activities in which I participate. He is, or at least ought to be, one with me. That is, Christ in me and me in Christ. This is the desire of Jesus as He prayed the high priestly prayer.

 

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they all may be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they may also be in Us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

John 17:20-21

 

This is the express desire of Jesus, the Son of God, the Man upon the Throne. I am to become the exact representation of Christ. This is not to say that I am or will become God; I am not and will not. I am to be the reflection of His glory. I am the body of Christ; an extension of Him and His ministry of reconciliation. By seeing Christ in me, others can be led to Jesus for their salvation just as I was led by other saints who were His representatives.

 

It is easy to allow confusion to enter in when we look at the flesh rather than the spirit, especially in our immaturity. It is only as we mature that we are able to discern the things of the Spirit. It is through growing in maturity that we learn to fully entrust ourselves to Christ in every area of our lives. Maturity comes as we gain knowledge of Him and apply that in our relationship of knowing Him, finally giving ourselves completely to Him. We progress to become an extension of Him; becoming one with Him. Rather than praying for greater faith, we need to pray for greater revelation of the Christ that will become a greater realization in us. Revelation is good, but realization is life. Realization is revelation that comes alive within us.

 

This is the faith that puts an end to the law and allows for freedom and abundant life. Christ is the end of the law for the believer.

 

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Romans 10:4

 

The law cannot save a soul nor forgive a sin. We are justified by faith.

 

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:20

 

There will be those who will argue with this, to be sure, how the law still exists. I, however, will stand on the scripture that speaks plainly. First, Jesus states that the Law and the Prophets depend upon love.

 

And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:37-40

 

Paul states that the Law is fulfilled in this love.

 

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:14

 

God is love. Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is God. Christ Jesus is love. If I am to be the exact representation of Christ, then I ought to operate in love and do it completely, in every area of my life.

·        The Law revealed my sinfulness

·        The Law is only good for pointing me to the Savior

·        Having believed, I no longer have need of the pointer

·        Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets

·        Christ living in me and through me, by faith and through love, fulfills the Law

·        The Law, the ministry of death, is of no further use to me

 

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?

2 Corinthians 3:7-8

 

In a sense, the Law has been transformed into a promise for me. As I no longer need to sin, being no longer a slave to the Law, it is now a promise that in the fullness of Christ I will no longer do the things that the Law forbade but failed to prevent me from doing them. The Spirit of life will allow me and help me to do good and to not sin, whereas the Law failed.

 

My freedom is not a freedom to sin, but a freedom from enslavement to the Law, that I may have the abundant life in Christ Jesus. In Christ, I have been set free from sin.

 

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Romans 6:1-7

 

Jesus obtained this for all who will believe, that is, through faith in Him and His sacrifice on the cross, the shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of our sin.

 

For the death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God.

Romans 6:10

 

By faith in Christ, I am dead to sin. The Law no longer has power over me. Now I can truly go and sin no more. But should I stumble in the flesh, there is forgiveness in the grace of God.

 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

 

But in the spirit, being begotten of God unto eternal life, I cannot sin.

 

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.

1 John 3:9

 

This is the beauty of living by faith in Christ Jesus. Sanctification is moving from salvation to maturity; becoming the exact representation of Christ.

 

Lord Jesus, give me a greater revelation of You and bring it to a greater realization in me.

Lord Jesus, be my all in all!