Riverside Peace

Philippians 2:1-2 ESV

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

In Christ Jesus

So, for this to work, we have to first of all be “in Christ.” So, what all does that entail? Well, first of all, “in Christ” means we are crucified with him in death to sin that we might live with him to his righteousness; that we might walk (in practice, in lifestyle) in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Thus, we must consider ourselves as dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

Also, being in Christ means we are walking (in practice, in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, and not according to (in agreement with) our human flesh. Our minds are set on God, on his Holy Spirit, and on his divine character and will for our lives. Our minds are set on obedience to him and on holiness, godliness, truth and righteousness. And, they are not set on (determined toward) fulfilling the lusts of our flesh.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:5-8, 14 ESV; cf. Rom. 8:1-17).

Participation in the Spirit

So, what does it mean to have participation in the Spirit? Well, we have to have first of all been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have to have been transformed in our inner being away from a lifestyle of sin to walking in obedience to Christ and to his holiness, which is the working of the Spirit of God in those who believe on Jesus Christ with genuine faith. For, this is what it means truly to be “born again” of the Spirit of God.

So, first of all God the Father draws us to faith in Jesus Christ, and he grants us repentance leading to eternal life and the faith to believe in him for salvation from sin. And, since this faith is not generated in our own human flesh, but it is divinely persuaded and is a gift from God, then it submits to Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, it repents of sin, and it turns to God to walk by faith in obedience to his commands (Jn. 6:44; Ac. 11:17-18; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Eph. 2:8-10; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17).

But, this is not a one-time deal, over and done with, we live however we want from that moment forward, and one day when we die we all get to go to heaven. This is continuous, ongoing until the day that we die. For, belief in Jesus is not just past tense. It is present tense and it is continuous until the end of time. And, believing in Jesus is always accompanied by true repentance and a choice to leave sin behind us to follow Jesus in obedience.

It is a continual hungering and a thirsting for God and for his righteousness, and it is a continual drinking (participating in and partaking) of his Spirit, and the Spirit’s work of cleansing us not just from the punishment of sin, but from our addictions to sin. For, Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He died, not just to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

And, the Holy Spirit of God will continually fill us to overflowing with his life, the life of God living in and out through us, i.e. with rivers of flowing water coming from our hearts (Jn. 7:37-39). And, we will be at peace with God in the sense that we will no longer be under condemnation, and that we will be reunited with God in true fellowship with him. And, we will be filled with his peace and joy and assurances of life with him for eternity, beginning when we believe in him initially, and continuing on until he takes us home.

Of the Same Mind

Ok, so then what is this “same mind” that we are to have with one another? It is the “riverside peace,” i.e. the peace we have with God when we agree with God and with His Spirit (when we are on his side) regarding sin and righteousness and holiness. It is the mind set on the Spirit of God and not set on the flesh. It is the mind which surrenders to the Lordship of Christ instead of resisting him and his commands. And, it is the mind which is believing, and is thirsting after, and is coming to Jesus, and is drinking from his river of living water, i.e. of his Spirit unto eternal life with God.

It is not the mind of human flesh or of human leaders who are listening to the flesh of man instead of to the Spirit of God. Thus, we are not to be united in mind with anyone who is not likeminded with Christ and with his Word and with following after His ways and His truth.

Thus, the “same mind” we are to have with one another is the mind of Christ. Thus, it will have the same beliefs, attitudes, values, and morals as Jesus has.

It doesn’t necessarily mean we will be perfect in this life, or that we will never sin against God in our thinking or in our actions, but it does mean that our lifestyles are now given over to following our Lord in his ways. And, daily we are dying to sin and self, and daily we are, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh and we are putting on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. And, God is conforming us to his likeness one day at a time.

Philippians 2:3-4 ESV

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Selfish Ambition

Selfish ambition is in contrast to what we just talked about regarding being in Christ and participating in His Spirit and being likeminded with Christ and with one another who are also of the same mind as Christ. So, selfish ambition resists submission to Christ as Lord, and it makes excuses for and “cop outs” for continued willful sinful practices, too.

Selfish ambition is all about self, and what self wants, and it is not interested in what God desires or what he requires of us. Selfish ambition is perfectly alright with believing in Jesus Christ, though, if “believing” means that it does not have to leave sin behind to follow the Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will, and if it just gets a free ride to heaven.

Thus, many who are living their lives for selfish ambition, but who want the promise of heaven when they die, have altered the gospel message so that “in Christ” just means that you “prayed the prayer,” and that “participation in the Spirit” merely means you have “believed in” Jesus Christ by inviting him into your heart to save you from your sins.

Now, don’t get me wrong here! I am not mocking prayer or the belief that when we trust in Jesus Christ that he truly does come into our hearts, by his Spirit. What I am saying is that many people living for selfish ambition have removed from the gospel what it means to be “in Christ” and what it means to “participate in the Spirit” so that they can go on with their sinful lifestyles while consoling themselves in their sin that God’s grace covers it all.

Thus, they have erected temporary shelters which are collapsible and which are like broken cisterns which do not hold water. And, they have done this through cutting out of the gospel what they don’t like, and by adding in or focusing on whatever will console them in their sinful practices. But, this “shelter” of theirs, i.e. the salvation they promise, is not eternal. It is of this world, and it is perishing right along with them.

In Humility

It takes humility for us to truly come to faith in Jesus Christ. For, we have to own up to our sin, we have to repent of it, we have to leave our lives of sin behind us, and we have to follow our Lord in obedience to his commands. We have to submit to his Lordship, swallow our pride, and let him now be king of our hearts, and surrender control now over to him.

And, it takes humility, too, to tell people the truth about the gospel, and to expose the lies for what they are, because then we are truly not seeking after our own selfish interests, but we truly are caring about others more than we care about ourselves. For, when we tell people the truth, and we expose the lies, we don’t make a lot of friends. We make enemies, just as Jesus did when he told people the truth about their sins.

So, if you truly care about others, and you truly want what is best for them, then tell them the truth that faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness. For, only there will they find perfect peace.

God is With Us

An Original Work / June 11, 2019
Based off Psalm 46

God’s our refuge. He is our strength,
A present help to us when in pain.
Therefore, we will not be afraid,
Although the earth beneath us gives way.

Though the mountains be moved to the sea,
Roaring waters abound so free,
And the mountains now tremble so,
We will not fear, God is near, we know.

God is with us and He makes glad
The hearts of all who to Christ have fled.
Christ is in us, so we’ll not fall
When on our Savior our hearts do call.

God will help us, as mornings arise,
To be faithful to His design.
Nations raging, and tempers flare.
Our God is with us. We know He cares.

Come and see the works of the Lord.
He’s armed for battle with His great sword.
He’s the Word, and He is the Life.
He gives us strength in all of our strife.

Be still and know that He is our God.
He’s exalted where’er He trods.
The Lord Almighty, with us still;
The God of Jacob, our citadel.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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