If you, being a follower of Jesus Christ, were to write a testimony of what difference Jesus Christ has made in your life, what would that say? Surely, each of our testimonies would be as individual as we are, but there should also be a common thread weaved throughout all of them.
The Lord Jesus led me to read Ephesians 2 (Select vv. ESV).
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Vv. 1-3
One part of this common thread should be that we WERE dead in the trespasses and sins in which we ONCE walked… Notice with me that this is past tense, both positionally and practically, i.e. we are no longer dead in our sins, destined to hell, nor are we any longer enslaved to our sins.
We were dead in our sins, without hope, but then we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. Thus, we died with Christ to sin and we were resurrected with Christ to newness of life, to be lived to his righteousness. Now, we walk (conduct our lives) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit, and no longer according to our sinful flesh. This is not saying we will never sin again, but that sin should no longer be our master.
When we were dead in our sins, we followed (walked in) the ways of this sinful world, we were under the power of Satan, and we lived in the passions of our flesh. This was our lifestyle. It was what motivated us, drove us, moved us. It was what consumed our energies, thinking and behaving. We were given over to self-pleasure, and we indulged in what our flesh desired.
But, now that we have been saved, by God’s grace, through faith, and we have been born again of the Spirit of God, and set free from sin, we should now be motivated by the Spirit of God, by the Word of God, and we should be passionate about the kingdom of heaven, and that should be what consumes us and what our lives are given over to, not over to the flesh.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Vv. 4-7
Another part of this common thread that should be weaved throughout all of our testimonies is that we have been made alive in Christ Jesus, for Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He didn’t just deliver us out of slavery to sin, but he gave us new lives in him, created to be like God (in his likeness) in true righteousness and holiness. He didn’t die just to save us, but to transform us!
And, this should give us hope! And, the hope is that Jesus Christ gave his lifeblood on that cross not just to forgive us our sins, but to eradicate sin from our lives, i.e. to free us from our chains! Our salvation is not just an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we die, but it is God freeing us from our prisons and giving us a new lease on life; a new start.
Satan no longer has any power over us. Sin has no power over us. We don’t have to give in to temptation. Jesus has given us the way out, the escape! We just have to take it!! He will empower and strengthen us to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to live godly and holy lives pleasing to him. So, we don’t have to struggle with sin, regularly giving in to the desires of our flesh.
We can live and walk in victory, not necessarily in absolute sinless perfection, but daily, by the Spirit, we can be putting to death the deeds of the flesh and yielding control of our lives over to the Spirit of God within us. For, God’s grace to us is not just forgiveness of sin and heaven when we die, but it is a new life, in the Spirit, free from the control of sin, and free and empowered of the Spirit to now walk in righteousness and holiness.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Vv. 8-10
Lastly, at least one other common thread in our testimonies should be our acknowledgment that we can’t do any of this in our own flesh. If we are to be victorious over sin, and walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, we must be in Christ, by faith in Him, born again of the Spirit of God, washed in the blood of Christ, and cleansed from our sins.
First, God draws us to Christ, then he persuades us to accept his salvation into our lives, by faith, and as to his will and purposes for our lives. We are, thus, moved of the Holy Spirit to repent of our sins, to yield our lives to Christ, to leave our lives of sin behind us, and to walk in the ways of the Lord. The Holy Spirit changes our hearts, and he gives us new lives in Christ Jesus, but only as we surrender our lives to his work of grace in our lives.
Then, he strengthens and empowers us to resist Satan, to flee temptation and to walk in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. His grace, in fact, teaches (instructs) us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return. Yet, all of this comes from God, and not from our flesh.
There is nothing we can do, in our flesh, to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Only by God’s grace, through faith in Christ, are we saved from our sins, set free from slavery to sin, and reborn of the Spirit of God.
So, although the works of our flesh will never save us, nor will we ever find true freedom in them, our salvation is not absent of works, but they are the works of the Spirit, which God ordained for us that we should walk in them, yet empowered by God, strengthened by his might, and led by the Spirit. We must always acknowledge this, that we are totally dependent on God for the breath of life, for salvation, for deliverance from sin, and the power to walk in freedom and in holiness, and to no longer be enslaved to sin. Amen!
I Sing of His Mercy / An Original Work
Based off Psalm 32 / April 10, 2014
Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven
By the blood of Jesus Christ.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does
Not count against them; freedom found.
When, in silence, I did not confess
My sin to You; had no strength.
Then I owned up to my sin and
You forgave and cleansed me within.
Therefore let the godly pray to You;
Draw near to You; grace they’ll find.
They will not be o’ertaken by afflictions,
But in Christ peace abounds.
Lord, You are my hiding place.
I find my refuge in You secure.
You protect me from all evil.
You give songs of vict’ry in You.
Lord, You teach me to walk in Your ways;
Counsel me in love, I know.
Help me to not be stubborn and
Unwilling to follow in Your truth.
Thank You for Your love and mercy.
I put my trust in You always.
I rejoice in my Lord and
I sing of Him throughout all my days.
Friday, December 15, 2017, 8:55 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, that you have given us all we need to live godly lives, holy and pleasing to you, and free from the control of sin over our lives, as we yield control of our lives to you.