Called to be Holy
1 Corinthians 1:1-3 NASB
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
As believers in Jesus Christ, his followers, we are called of God to be holy, unlike (different from) the world, because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. Through faith in Jesus Christ, via the Holy Spirit, we are made holy, set apart unto God and unto his service. We are called out of the world of sin to live lives which are separate from the world and unto God.
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” John 15:19 NASB
Do we really grasp the significance of what this means? I know that, for a good portion of my life, I did not. I did to a certain extent, but not fully. Yet, I was still considered an odd ball, even in many Christian circles, because I took God and his Word seriously, at least most of my life, I did. And, the closer I got to my Lord, and the more removed from worldliness I became, the more the worldly, even in the church, separated themselves from me.
If we have grown up in worldly families, and we have fellowshipped mainly with other worldly Christians, in a country where Christianity has generally been accepted, so far, and where the church has really not had to go through much in the way of persecution, we may have, early on, accepted a more worldly “Christian” viewpoint and lifestyle. And, so this whole concept of separation from the world and living wholly unto God and to his service may not be what we came to understand the Christian life to be about.
Thus, we may have to be reeducated with regard to what we truly signed up for when we decided to believe in Jesus Christ and to become one of his followers. We will, thus, learn that Jesus didn’t die on that cross merely to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we leave this earth. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness while we still live on the earth.
If this world truly is not our home, and heaven is, then our lifestyles, while we live on this earth, should reflect that in the here and now. We should live daily as though this earth truly is not our home, but that Jesus is, i.e. that he is truly what our lives are all about. He is our life!
Called into Fellowship
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 NASB
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are saved from our sins, not just so we can go to heaven one day when we die, but so that we can be in fellowship with our Lord and live for him while we are still on this earth. Thus, we need to live on this earth as though heaven is truly our home, and not the earth.
We are to live in the world, but we are not to be of the world, like the world, doing the same types of things as those who are of this world, being like the world in thinking, belief, values, attitudes and practices. The world should consider all of us as “odd balls” because we don’t believe, think, speak and act as they do.
Instead of spending much of our free time, if we have free time, thinking about how we can entertain ourselves – consumed with what the world has to offer us – our thinking, attitudes, speech and actions should be centered on Christ, on his Word, on his kingdom work, and on ministering his love, his grace, and his gospel message to the world about us, and on helping other followers of Christ to mature in their walks of faith in Jesus Christ.
Our focus should not be on this world, on possessions, entertainment, and all else this world is throwing at us on a daily basis. Instead, Jesus Christ should be the focus of our lives. His values and his eternal kingdom should be our mindset, and what we work toward. We need to see his heavenly kingdom as not just a place where we go when we die, but as the central point of all that we do while we walk this earth. This is what it means to be in fellowship with our Lord. Fellowship is not something we just do for a short period of time each day or once a week, but it is ongoing, 24/7.
The Wisdom of God
1 Corinthians 1:17-25 NASB
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
All that is of this world is going to one-day pass away. Our Lord and His Word, though, are eternal. They will last forever. They are what matter most in our lives, and in the lives of other people. So, we should be about living for the Lord, separate from the world of sin, living holy lives pleasing to God. And, we should be about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to all who would believe in Jesus.
But, this gospel is not “gospel lite.” It is not “fast food.” It requires death to sin and self and living with Christ to righteousness. It makes no compromises with the world of sin. It teaches total surrender to Christ and to his service and departure from the world of sin.
God’s grace, in this gospel, is not freedom merely from the guilt and punishment of sin, but this grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return.
In fact, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), then we are liars, and we don’t live by the truth. For, if we walk according to the ways of our flesh, we will die in our sin, not have eternal life with God. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live with Christ for eternity.
This is the message of wisdom that is of God. It is considered foolishness to those who are perishing in their sins, but to those who are truly in Christ, by faith in Him, it is the power of God to transform them from death to life, from the power of Satan to God, so that they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ.
So, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:2-4 NASB).
Not Our Home
Jonathan and Emily Martin
We are foreigners, we are travelers
To a country of our own…
We are making our exodus
Out of this world of sin and death…
Oh… this is not our home
Oh… we’re headed for the kingdom
Monday, May 21, 2018, 6:09 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. May we take it to heart, and apply it to our lives. In Jesus’ name I pray these things. Amen!