Before you were born again, did you ever ask what you would need to do to become a Christian, and were told there’s nothing to do, just accept the gift? But then after accepting this gift of salvation you were told what you need to do to live the Christian life. Have you ever been told to be Christ-like, to live as Christ did on earth, to live by all of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels? That is an impossibility for any of us, since no one can live the Christian life except Jesus.
Example: Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, you have heard it said, do not murder. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother and calls him a name shall be in judgment for murder. And whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. He tells us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Ask yourself… who can do that? (References: Matt 5:21-48)
The Sermon on the Mount is an unattainable goal for the human race to attain through their own efforts. It is however a promise of what will happen in us when Jesus Christ has changed our nature, by putting His own nature in us at salvation.
All of our Lord’s teaching while here on earth, including the gospels, was teaching under the law of the Old Testament because He had not died on the cross yet. Hebrews 9:16-17 (NASB) makes it very clear. “For where a covenant is (also known as a will or testament), there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.” Jesus’ teachings, including the Sermon on the Mount were before His death on the cross.
Are you getting the picture here? All of Jesus’ teaching was meant to be applied to the new life He puts within you at salvation. His life! No one can live the “Christian life” apart from Jesus, living in and through you. Jesus makes this perfectly clear when He said “I am the vine; you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Many Christians don’t understand that we need a life, not a list. It is easier to follow a list of do’s or don’ts, but a challenge to yield to the new life within. Yielding is about a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ living His life in and through us. (Life on the vine.)
Believing by faith that your old life is gone and your new life is now hidden with Christ in God is the truth of God’s Word. The temptation we have however is to add our own worldly abilities, talents, and skills to the mix, so that it is no longer Jesus Christ plus nothing, it becomes Jesus Christ plus us and all of our good works. Remember, Romans 3:12 tells us, “…no one does good, not even one.” Now, the Lord does work through our talents and personalities, but it’s Him. That’s “The mystery of our faith, Christ in us the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) What an amazing God!
LIFE LESSON: If you are a born again believer, you have been given the very nature of Jesus Christ. You are a new creation. It is not up to you to improve yourself, but to recognize and apply the truth concerning your new identity. The fact is there is nothing we can do to become more right with God. It has all been taken care of by Jesus Christ on the cross. Our place is simply to receive His gift and then abide in the reality of His indwelling life. Jesus Christ is not only in your life; Jesus Christ is your life. It’s not about our good works, it’s Jesus Christ plus nothing. Mature and grow in Him.
Thank you for partnering with this ministry through your prayers and financial support. Happy father’s day to all our fathers.
Growing in His Grace