Monday, June 20, 2011

United Together in the Likeness of His Resurrection

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of resurrection. (Romans 6:5) This fact requires that we apply our full measure of faith to this reality. For if the "mystery" spoken of by Paul concerning our being one with Christ and the Father is true and it most certainly is; then when Christ died (we died with Him) and when He was raised "by the glory of the Father" (we were also raised with Him).

We are told in scripture that because of this great truth that we should walk in the "newness of life." (Romans 6:4)  You and I as Christians have not only died to and for sin through our Savior Jesus Christ, but we are also raised again in the newness and glory of our Lord.  Walking in the newness of life is referring to our living our lives in such a way that the very life of our Lord Jesus Christ would be made real through our lives.  For not only are we in Christ-but Christ is in us! (Hallelujah)!  He is made real in us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We have been born again and are new creatures in Christ Jesus.  The first-fruit of the new creation who now have the privilege of living our lives so that Christ's life might be lived through our lives. How then are we to "walk in this newness?" We do so by submitting to and obeying the Holy Spirit as we are instructed and taught by Him according to the written word of God (the Bible).  For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). This then is our duty as Christians; we are to commit to knowing our Lord through His word and revelation of the Holy Spirt. When once we know, we then are to do the will of our Father. Amen

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Baptized into His Death

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Romans 6:3

In this glorious verse we are told how Christ has delivered us from sin. For if we have been baptized (or entered into oneness with Christ) then we have also been baptized (entered into oneness with His death).  So as Christ died for Sin as a sacrifice-so too we (who are made one with Christ through the Holy Spirit), have also died for and to sin as well.  This is the mystery of our salvation! As Christ died to sin in the spiritual realm; we also died with Him.  Therefore sin is no longer accounted to us by God.  We are made perfect in Christ.  This spiritual reality was purposed by Christ Himself in John 17:20-22. Let us take a moment to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the great truth of our death to sin through Christ as a result of the spiritual miracle brought about by Jesus as described in the above mentioned verses.

" I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; (this is in reference to future believers-meaning us). that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which you gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as we are one."(John 17:20-22).

By faith you and I are made one with Christ-thereby freeing us from the judgement of sin. Hallelujah!! and again I say Hallelujah!  Praise His wonderful name!  It is because of the miracle of our being made one with Him that we have been set free from the curse of sin.  Do you believe that today?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spiritual Mysteries

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory (I Corinthians 2:7)

Scripture speaks about essentially two great mysteries and the apostle Paul alludes to them many times throughout the gospel.  These two great mysteries center around salvation and sanctification. More specifically the mysteries spoken of are descriptive of how both of these great spiritual accomplishments were made possible through the death of Jesus Christ.  We are told in the bible in John 14:20; Colossians 1:27; John 17:11 and John 17:21-23; that we are one with Christ and His Father. This then pertains to the great mystery.  Paul tells us that after Christ was resurrected that the mystery became a reality and that all of the gospels prior to Christ pointed to the fulfillment of God's purpose through Christ. However, the understanding of the significance of Christ's death, burial and resurrection in relation to the salvation and sanctification of mankind was not made known to man until the Holy Spirit made it known to Paul and the other disciples after Christ's resurrection. 

I will now use the illustration used by God's servant the late Watchmen Nee from his book "Ordinary Christianity"  He uses the following example to illustrate the great mystery of Christ in Us and Us in Christ.  "If one had a cup of tea and added sugar to that tea-the two would become one."  That is to say, that we would have a sweetened tea.  Once that we combined the two, (short of a chemical process perhaps of adding heat); we would find it impossible to separate them.  When we drink the tea we would not be able to distinguish the difference (individually) between the tea and the sugar.  The two (both the tea and the sugar), will have become one. From that point whenever you experienced the tea you would experience both elements (the tea and the sugar) which previously were one.  We are told in scripture that as "believers" that we are one in Christ and God and as such are inseparable.

This admittedly inadequate description of the mystery of our being one in Christ Jesus-leading to salvation and sanctification, will hopefully help our minds to grasp the reality of this immutable fact.  The fact being that Christ is in us through the Holy Spirit!  What a glorious reality which has profound implications!

Monday, June 6, 2011

You Have Jesus!

I was just meditating on the word and the Holy Spirit encouraged me with this thought and I want to pass it on to all of you. The world has coined a phrase for some people which is humorous and in some cases is definitely true. This popular phrase says "that you need Jesus!" indicating of course that the targeted person has problems or issues that require our Lord. Well this morning the Holy Spirit reminded me and I am reminding you-that you have Jesus! Hallelujah! ......Christ in you the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in you body and in your spirit, which are God's. I Corinthians 6:19-20

God was just reminding me of the awesome privilege that we all have knowing that the living God dwells in our body and therefore we have the opportunity to glorify Him in our body and spirit today. What a wonderful mission!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Christs' Buyback Program

Many of us are familiar with the efforts of law enforcement agencies to encourage criminals and others to turn in their weapons by purchasing them. Essentially there are no questions asked of the people who bring them in.  They simply have to come and bring their weapons.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is making a similar offer to all of mankind.  He is asking us to bring our sinful lives that He has already paid for through His death on the cross.  All we have to do is to trade in our lives for a new life (His life). Most Christians have the wrong notion about the program.  Somehow they think that Jesus wants to purchase their sinful lives and return it back to them-new and improved. That is not the deal however, He wants to exchange His life for our old life.  The Holy Spirit is in the business of negotiating an exchanged life for the life of Christ. He is not in the business of changing our lives. Will you bring your life to Christ today?  He is waiting-no questions asked!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Reality of God's Presence

Does your daily life reflect the reality of God's presence in you? It is not in the great things that we are witnesses of "Christ in us," but rather it is in the everyday interactions with our co-workers, spouses, family members and friends, that it will become evident.  The opportunity to serve one another, love one another and submit to one another while on this earth is God's spiritual lab whereby you and I learn to "walk in the Spirit" (Romans 8:4).

Walking in the Spirit means first acknowledging that the Spirit of God lives in you. When the Paul spoke to the church of Corinth, he provided them with a solution to their unbalanced and immature spiritual lives; that solution was for them to know that their bodies were a temple of God.  Have you reflected on this fact in your life?  Have you meditated on the incredible fact that the living God resides in your heart.  This single reality should immediately lead us to a place of holy reverence towards God. Christ is not offering us a changed life through His death on the cross, but instead He makes available to you and I an exchanged life. It is His Holy life and His loving Spirit that we are to offer those whom we deal with on this earth.  Too often as Christians we try to offer our abilities, and our human kindness to the world and these are but counterfeit and temporary at best.  Christ died on the cross so that He would be made real in each and everyone of our lives and in turn that we would reflect His life to everyone whom we come in contact with.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Christ-realization vs Self-realization

Today as we seek to live our lives for Christ; let us do so with the right strategy in mind.  Let's approach our day to day tasks and situations with courage and the certainty that Christ resides in us.  Our responsibility is to realize the actuality of Christ in us. We are told in Philippians out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

This is not an instruction for you and I to go out and try to become good enough to get into heaven.  It is not an exhortation for us saints to become Holy through self effort or zeal.  Paul here is encouraging us to focus ourselves and our eternal life strategies on working out the reality of Christ within us, rather than focusing on "self."  It is in essence instructions for us to pursue a life of "Christ-realization" instead of a life of "self-realization."  We are not saved through or by "self," but through and by Christ.   Philippians 2:13 makes it very clear that our salvation is entirely of Christ and that He is the author of our desire to do what is right and holy as well as the means by which it will happen. "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for Hi good pleasure."

The hard work for us as Christians today is not in learning how to live a sin free or perfect life (for although we all confess that this is impossible-we spend an extraordinary amount of time trying to do just that), but in learning to allow the life of Christ to exhibit Himself through us. Our work is to know Him through His written word (Bible) and the revelation of the Holy Spirt. Hebrews 11:6.... for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  The secret to "Christ-realization" is for us to begin a life of diligently seeking Christ through His word.