Bible Lesson 69

Improving Our Christian Walk, 3rd in series

In this lesson, we want to continue in our study about improving our Christian walk and becoming more like Jesus Christ as we live our daily lives. Our scripture for this lesson (Colossians 3:1-17) exhorts us that since we have been raised with Christ (Romans 6:4), we should seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. It tells us to ‘set’ our minds on things in heaven rather than on things here on the earth. That scripture goes on in verses 3-17 to tell us what we should do to live in such a way to glorify our God. If you are truly saved, born again and obedient, which all true believers are ‘.then the old you, the Adamic nature in you is dead and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Everyone needs to understand that living the Christian life is not simply an option, and it is not a recommendation!

All truly saved people will put to death their sins, which includes but are not limited to fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness because these are all sins of selfishness and are counted as idolatry. Sin is an offense to our holy God and He will not tolerate sin in the lives of His children. The least sin that has not been under the blood of Jesus Christ will send the person guilty of that sin to hell for eternity.

There will be no sin or no sinners in heaven. Now, if we are thinking people, we have to ask ‘What must we do to be saved” The answer is that we must be ‘called out of the world by God, predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, justified, and glorified’. That means that we must have had that ‘supernatural work of God in true salvation’.

Possibly someone who is reading this has thought to themselves, well that’s what happens when we join some church, but that is seriously wrong and we need to make the distinction between being a church-member and being a Child of God. Our joining some denominational church makes us a church-member; it does not make us a Christian. Only when we have been radically changed by the work of God in and on our lives are we saved; because only then are we fitted for heaven and equipped by God to occupy heaven.

God’s purpose in salvation is to take a fallen creature, turn it into a creature, with all it’s sin and rebellion, under the control of the Holy Spirit, and empower that creature to live a life that will be glorifying to God. God saves people who can and will ‘stand on the promises of God’; He does not save anyone to simply ‘sit on the premises’. Beyond that, God influences and empowers everything that happens in the life of that one who is saved. We are called by God, quickened by God, given the gift of grace and faith, regenerated, justified, sanctified, and glorified, and none of it is contributed by the person that is being saved. Only after God has worked our salvation do we begin to cooperate in living in such a way as to work out our salvation.

All too often we have been willing, to begin with a Creator God, who simply spoke and the creation took place, but once past that we begin to want to run the creation and the Creator. How often have I heard from some church-member, ‘I chose to be saved, I chose God rather than Him choosing me’. I normally do not say to them ..’ well now you need to fall at the foot of the cross and cry out to God to come and save you’! You see dear friend and brothers and sisters, true salvation, requires a new birth.

So ask yourself, when you were born to your natural parents, did you have any input into who you would be born to, or when you would be born or where you would be born’ You know that you absolutely did not have one thing to do with your natural birth, so how could you possibly have anything to do with your supernatural rebirth.

We have told you in various places that God does all in salvation. He paid the sin debt of those who would believe and obey (Hebrews 5:8-9). He chose (elected) those who would be saved, before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). That should not cause anyone who reads this to be concerned that they was perhaps not elected to salvation; because God did not tell us who he had elected, did not place any mark on anyone, or anything else.

The only way that anyone can know if they were personally elected is to be able to completely submit and commit themselves to God through His Son Jesus Christ, as they obey whatever He has said to us in the Word of God, the Bible. Everyone that was elected before the world was created (sometime in eternity), will be saved at some point in time; and their salvation will be because God chose them, not because they chose God, (Ephesians 1:4; John 13:18; 15:16; 15:19; Mark 13:20; Acts 9:15; Revelation 17:14; Numbers 16:7; Psalms 33:12; 65:4).

The genesis of Salvation begins with the effectual call of God upon the heart, mind, and soul of the person who is to be saved, by the Holy Spirit. This is a call that as we said is effectual, and those who receive the effectual call will come to God through Jesus Christ and will be saved.

(Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 9:13; Acts 9:15; Romans 1:1,6-7; 1st Corinthians 1:1-2,23-24;7:17; Galatians 1:6; Ephesians 4:1-6; 1st Thessalonians 2:12; 4:7; 2nd Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2nd Timothy 1:9; 1st Peter 1:15; 2:9,21; 3:8-9; 5:10; 2nd Peter 1:3; Jude verse 1; Revelation 19:9).

So far we have found in the Word of God that we are chosen and then called by God to come to Him, out of sin and away from the world. We continue to live in the world but we do not live like the world. We were chosen before the foundation of the world, and we are called at some point in time by the Holy Spirit.

Then we find in the Bible, that we have to be ‘quickened’ by the Holy Spirit; because we are dead in trespass and sin and unable to commune or connect to God (Ephesians 2:1-3,10; 1st John 5:11-12; 1st Peter 5:10; John 17:2-3; John 5:25-26). We saw that we are then given two gifts that only God can give to anyone, the gifts of Grace and Faith. We are saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16; Romans 3:21-26; Romans 4:16; 5:1-2, 21; 11:5-6; John 1:14-18; 2nd Corinthians 12:9-10; Titus 3:-8).

In the process of saving any person that is ever saved God regenerates us because He puts us to death with Christ in salvation (Romans 6:1-6; Matthew 19:28; 2nd Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5). As sinners, before our regeneration, we are creatures who have been judged and found wanting by God; and God has no communication with us.

Once God begins salvation in us we are quickened, given the gift of grace and faith, regenerated and reborn in Christ and God then looks on us as Just. We are justified because in our salvation God the Father imputes to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ, because of our faith in Christ. (Romans 3:24; Romans 5:1, 9; 1st Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:7). Most consider Justification and Sanctification to be hyphenated, they come in a package; because no one is ever justified that will fail to be sanctified. (Acts 26: 12-18; Romans 15:16; 1st Corinthians 6:9-11; Hebrews 10:14).

The last stage of our salvation will be fulfilled in heaven and that is glorification. The Bible makes it clear that flesh and blood cannot inherit heaven so there has to be a period at the resurrection when our bodies will be glorified (fitted for heaven. (1st Corinthians 15:50; Romans 8:17, 30). Salvation is all of God and all that is required of those who are saved by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, is that we are commanded to work out our salvation with fear and trembling ( Philippians 2:12-13).

Now, how do we work out our salvation, and work out there refers to the daily walk of the Christian? It includes Bible study, a meditation on God His Word, the practical application of the commands, precepts, and teachings of the Word to our lives, prayer, and focus on God and His work in us and on us as we live, and witness, for Him.

It does not mean that we can add anything to our justification and salvation. Jesus Christ has done everything that was needed to quench the Father’s wrath against the sin of those who obey. We must walk humbly with God as we live out our lives here on the earth (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). We live the way that God has said we are to live in the Bible, and we always have that fear of displeasing or offending our Great, and Glorious Creator God.

Let me make it clear right here for those who have decided that God is not to be feared, God does not need or require any of us, and He could as He did in the time of Noah, destroy all of us, and begin over. If you think God is not a God who remembers what He has said and has attached, not only punishment but consequences for all sin, then you are focused on the wrong god.

We are blessed in that we live under grace and that we are not subject to being stoned to death for breaking any one of God’s Ten Commandments. However, that does not mean that there are no consequences to sin. We can ignore God’s command about our body is the Temple of God because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and we can smoke like a freight train for 40-50 years and burn up our lungs.

That will not keep God from saving us and adopting us into His family; but He does not remove the consequences of our sin, by giving us a new set of lungs! All sin has a consequence and it will affect those we love, those who are friends and even neighbors, and worst of all it will offend our Holy God. We should fear a God who sent the plagues on Egypt, including the death of every firstborn male that was not protected by the blood of a sheep marking the doorpost of the houses where they lived. We should fear a God who merely spoke and created the worlds and the heavens that we know. We should fear a God who can not only kill the body but can put the soul into hell for eternity (Matthew 10:28).

We should fear a God who destroyed the entire creation in Noah’s time because of sin. We are warned that ‘ ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Hebrews 10:31. We are always at our best when we operate under the knowledge and tension that what we do is being observed by the One who will Judge us and assign us to either hell or heaven (Psalms 11:4-5).

In being what God would have us to be as His Children we have to begin with the Bible. I know that if I were to ask most people today, do you read your Bible, that most would give a half-hearted ‘Yes’; but that doesn’t get the job done. There is much more to reading the Bible and understanding it than most of us want to consider. We must begin in our Bible with certain firm beliefs, first, we must believe that it is the Word of our Creator God, and then we must read it as if it was spoken to us by God. We should read short offerings and stop and meditate on it for a time to see what message God has for you in those verses, and there is a message to us in all of the verses.

We should handle the Bible as we would a personal letter from heaven; because that is what it is. We should think about what we received from our reading and then pray and thank God that He has revealed it to us. If we find some verses that we cannot take a message from, we need to pray and ask God for illumination of those verses and if we do that in a humble spirit, God will answer in His own time, so learn to wait on God.

Bible study is not something that we do in our spare time, we need to set aside time to read and study the Bible every day, at least 45 minutes to an hour. If you cannot spare that amount of time for your time alone with God, you are too busy and when we get too busy to spend time with God, God will reschedule your time and you may wish you had made time. I think it was Flavel, who said ‘The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering, and the most comfortable way of dying’.

Read the Word of God, whether you want to or not, and read it as if it were the only food that you will receive for this week (1st Peter 2:2). God gave us His word to warn us of the coming judgment and about sin and its wages (Romans 6:23). The Bible is where we find faith, and God says of His Word, that ‘Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God’ (Romans 10:17). Once you perfect the reading of God’s word and you apply yourself to gain practical knowledge from it, the Holy Spirit will begin to work with you; but you must be willing to submit yourself to His mind (Romans 8:-6).

I don’t know exactly how God will work in your life to save you, perhaps He will do it in a flash of light, kind of like he did Saul of Tarsus, or He may do you as He did me, by driving me to read and study His Word for three years. God gave me, a man who knew that there was a Bible but had never done much about learning what is taught, an unquenchable thirst to read and know what it was about.

God would not let me rest and I read day and night at least a lot of the days and nights and for the first half of those three years I argued with what I found there, but I could not stop reading. After many months of reading and questioning the Word, God began to show me the answers to my questions and at the end of that exhaustive study period, I realized that He was God and I was not and that I was lost and undone and without hope, headed for an eternity in hellfire. I fell before Him and asked Him to save a wretch like me and if He saved me that I would attempt to make Him a good hand. He saved me and assured me, and I have, in the power that He gave me, tried to do everything I could to glorify Him.

I know from experience that there is power in the Word and power in the blood and power in the lives of those who truly know God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Now, how about you’ I just told you my story and it is about a beggar who found some bread, and as I write these lines, I am a beggar that wants to share this heavenly bread with other beggars. I cannot tell you that you will be saved, that is between you and God, but what I am telling you is that the Christian life and the perfect peace and assurance that you are in the will of your Creator is worth the effort.

I believe that one of the most hateful things that go on in our society and our churches today is that of people who are not willing to allow a person who comes under the conviction of their sin, to repent and work it out between themselves and God. Too often we want to jump in and keep them from having to deal with their sins before a holy God. We don’t like tears and gnashing of teeth and true godly sorrow and so we assure them that they are saved and pick them before they are ‘ripe’. We always seem to be in a hurry, but God does not normally rush into things, so take your time to know God and know what He requires of you and make sure that only the Holy Spirit of God assures you of your salvation

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob