When you believed in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of your life, what difference did that make in your life? What immediately changed? How was your life different from what it was before you believed? Or, did believing in Jesus make a significant difference in your life?
And, then, as you have progressed in your Christian faith, what changes has God made in your life? How have you grown in your walk of faith? How has he matured you, pruned you, and purified you? What significant lessons has he taught you? Or, are you still living at ground zero?
The Lord Jesus led me to read Colossians 2 (Select vv. NASB).
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Vv. 6-7
Our Christian faith is not to be “status quo.” We are not to settle just for having been forgiven our sins and having secured our eternal destiny. That is not the end of it all. That is just the beginning! For, Jesus didn’t die just to save us, but to change us; to transform us; to make us into a new creation.
I am continually amazed at the number of people who claim Christ as their Savior, and heaven as their eternal home, but whose lives are not truly given to Jesus Christ, nor is he even much on their radar at all. He is not truly their Lord. For, many just go through religious exercises, church services on Sunday, the sacraments, the religious holidays, tithing, etc., but then just live their lives however they want with little regard for God at all.
Yet, when we receive Jesus as our Savior, we also receive him as our Lord (owner-master). The fact that he redeemed us means that, with his blood, he purchased us back for God from our sins, so our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want. We are to honor and glorify God with our lives now. Not only does he live within us, but we are to walk in him, by faith.
Our walk is our lifestyle. It is how we conduct our lives day in and day out. It is the things we do, the things we say. It is our attitudes, our values, and it is how we treat other people, too. It says whether or not we really believe what we profess. For, if we truly believe it, we will live it, but not in our own strength, but in the strength and power of the Lord.
So, do our lifestyles reflect Christ? Or, do they reflect our human flesh?
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. V. 8
There are many liars and deceivers who have infiltrated the church, who have come in through another door other than Jesus Christ. They have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. They disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, but truly they do not serve Christ, but their own stomachs. Their gospel is of the flesh, not of the Spirit. It has elements of truth to it, and it may be even half right, but it is half wrong, which makes it a lie.
They may teach that Jesus died to take the punishment for our sin in order that we don’t have to be eternally condemned. They may also teach that he was resurrected from the dead in conquering death, Satan and sin. And, they may teach that it is by God’s grace, through faith, and not by human works, that we are saved from our sins and have eternal life with God.
But, what most of them are not teaching is that faith in Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness. It means that, when we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, that means that we now walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, for if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17).
Yet, these liars and deceivers will try to convince you that God makes no requirements of you at all – no repentance and no obedience, i.e. no death to sin, and no living to righteousness. Yes, this is the work of the Spirit in our lives, but we must cooperate with that work of grace in our lives. We must daily put off that flesh and put on Christ, walk in the Spirit, and not live to gratify the cravings of our sinful flesh – empowered by the Spirit.
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Vv. 9-12
“In Christ” does not merely mean that we prayed a prayer to receive Christ. In him means we now live and walk in him. We are his and he is ours. Our every breath of life is of him and for him. By him we live and move and have our being. He IS our life! We are complete in him. He has given us everything we need to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him. We are not lacking in anything. We have no excuses whatsoever for continuing to walk in sin, in sinful lifestyles, still addicted to sinful practices.
In him, we didn’t merely go through some religious rite or ritual. We didn’t merely go through some external form of receiving him as Savior of our lives. In him we didn’t just adopt a religion or a creed. In him, we died with him to sin, and we were raised with him to newness of life, to be lived to his righteousness. He changed us. He turned us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified (made pure) by faith in Jesus Christ.
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Vv. 13-15
Jesus changed us from caterpillars into butterflies. It is called metamorphosis. We don’t add Jesus on to our old lives of living in the flesh. In him, we become something entirely new. The old has gone. The new has come. This is not to say we become instantly perfect, though. We don’t. But, we are delivered out of the darkness and we are now brought into God’s wonderful light, and now we must walk in that light he gives us.
Some people have this idea that, although they have been saved from the punishment of sin, they are still in bondage to sin, and that Satan still has control over their lives, and so they walk like they have not been set free from their sin. But, Jesus wants us to know that he conquered Satan and sin, and if we are in Christ, sin should no longer have mastery over us, for Jesus set us free! So, in the power of God’s Spirit living within us, we can walk in freedom and in victory over sin. Amen! And, that should give us much cause for praise to our Lord!
So, live and walk as though Jesus truly set you free! Don’t believe Satan’s lies that he still has power over you, or that there is a question as to who is going to win this battle. Jesus already won! Just believe it and walk in it!
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!
Saturday, December 23, 2017, 8:08 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, that you set us free from our slavery to sin and that you have empowered us to now walk in freedom, and to follow you in your ways and in your truth. Amen!