The Perfect Christian

Is there such a thing? Of course not. That’s why Jesus came:

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father… Gal. 1:3, 4. NKJV

The world doesn’t get that. It wants to crucify you as well, when you come up short. They want to see you fall. One of the ways that they do that, is by trying to dilute your faith:

…there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. Gal. 1:7 NASB

In fact, no one, on their own, is perfect in anything. So, we needn’t be perturbed by the opinions of the ignorant, with regards to of our spirituality. We know that we can become a perfect Christian in God’s eyes because of the cloak of righteousness that Jesus provides to all His followers. We also know that on this earth, we are humans who make mistakes. Thank God that we aren’t judged by them (because we are made immune to His wrath through our continued faith in Christ, and our continuing practice of confession and repentance:

…we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ… Gal. 2:15 ESV

There isn’t anyone who could live in perfect obedience to all of the Mosaic laws. We slip and fall – repeatedly. So, we do our best to obey those that we can, and humble ourselves before Christ for the ones we can’t:

For through the Law I died to the Law and its demands on me [because salvation is provided through the death and resurrection of Christ], so that I might [from now on] live to God. Gal. 2:19 AMP

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” Gal. 2:20, 21. NASB

The apostle Paul speaks of the ‘curse’ of the Mosaic Law – because its function was to bring an awareness of one’s sinful nature. (Gal. 3:10) Yet, in and of itself, the Law offered no solution for overcoming our tendency to indulge our flesh. Instead, it showed us where we were helpless, and our need for divine intervention to achieve the righteousness required for entering the kingdom of God.

That same righteousness is offered to all people, who place their faith in the saving power of the blood of Jesus. Indeed, the ultimate purpose of the Mosaic Law was to point us towards that necessity:

It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made… Gal. 3:19

The seed was Christ – who brought the Mosaic Law to its final evolution. The original law was given so that people would know what constituted ‘transgressions’ against God, and that having such knowledge would place some restraint upon the would-be perpetrator.

The Law itself was not bad. How could it be? It is the word of God. But its relationship to God’s children changed with the advent of Christ:

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer in need of a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized have put on Christ. Gal. 3:24 – 27. ESV

No one can be justified by the impossible task of obeying every letter of the Law. So, as a follower of Christ, we let that insurmountable task ‘die’ in us and accept what Jesus did – how He filled that gap from what we are, to what we can ultimately become: a righteous child of God. We are justified by faith – period. How so?

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Gal. 3:6 NASB

Faith.

There is a spiritual transformation that takes place upon salvation, and it does not require that the recipient perfect their flesh. Can’t be done. It’s like this: we do our best to live by God’s laws, and Christ will free us from the curse of the law when we stumble in it. He stands between God and His child and says, “It’s okay, I’ve paid the price for this one.”

Even during this life, sends us help to minimize those stumbles:

…walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. Gal. 5:16 AMP

…if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal. 5:18 NASB

So, next time someone tries to find fault with you for your imperfections, explain why you’re covered. After all, what a great opening for evangelizing, yes?

Goodnight and God bless.

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Two-Sided Salvation – part 6

Often, those who reside on the side of life prior to salvation are plagued with faithlessness. Why? Many of us are raised in this world with a ‘scientific’ viewpoint; i.e. ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Yet a plethora of the population believes in the ‘Big Bang,’ while not ever contemplating that it takes some kind of ‘faith’ to believe that the universe and how we got here was resulted from a series of random events.

Many take for granted that every time they flip the light switch, illumination will result – even though electricity, for the most part, cannot be seen.

Lack of faith can produce several deleterious results. For example, what if you don’t have faith in a hereafter? If you haven’t noticed, this life flashes by in heartbeat. Moreover, it is chock-full of trials and tribulations, with no true path for navigating them or rising above them. To make matters worse, the world’s concepts of happiness yield fleeting results at best. Contentedness is a rare commodity.

What if you don’t have faith in love? It’s hard to possess sometimes, given the inherent shortcomings of our humanity. We can’t trust most people to put other’s welfare above their own. And again, the world provides so many destructive paths that lead to failure in love.

If you don’t have faith in yourself, life will be doubly hard. Life keeps coming at you whether or not you are prepared to weather it. If you don’t know how, you’ll view yourself as weak, flawed and unacceptable. Hardly fertile ground for growing relationships. Instead, you can find yourself in isolation, depression and subsequently suffering from all the self-destructive activities one dives into to suppress them.

If you don’t have faith in God, who then are you going to turn to deliver you out of this mess?

That’s where salvation comes in. God has been waiting for you since before your first day of life on this earth, yearning for your return to His original purpose for you:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved (Jesus). Eph. 1:3 – 6. NKJV

God had every intention of delivering you from the world and its ways and its consequences. He built it into your path. And the gate to the path is Christ:

In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty of our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the richness of His grace which He lavished on us. in all wisdom and understanding [with practical insight], He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Christ, with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages] – to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny – we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory. Eph. 1:7 – 12. AMP

So, God wants to draw you to Himself but He cannot do so unless you are holy (sinless). Can we of ourselves come into His presence in that state?

…for there is no one who does not sin… 1 Kings 8:46 NKJV

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are like filthy rags… Is. 64:6 NKJV

Thus, not only are we sinful, our best efforts to atone for them are for naught. But praise be to God, you can see that He has made us ’acceptable’ in His grace through the blood of Christ that pays the price for our transgressions and gathers us into His love for eternity. That is the gospel message, that is salvation.

Notice though the last line of the scripture, we who were the first to hope in Christ; (emphasis mine). ‘Hope’ equates with ‘faith.’ If you have no faith in Christ, who He is, what He’s done and His gospel, you will have no salvation. The consequence is that at the end of time, you will be placed into the category of what Jesus says are ‘goats’ that He gathers in HIs left hand:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’…Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ “… Mt. 23:31 – 34 & 41. NKJV

Doesn’t sound like a great outcome for those goats.

Bottom line: it takes faith to receive salvation. So, what is faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 NASB

Faith is the hope in things that are not tangible to our five senses. And faith is required to have a relationship with God:

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and act He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. Heb. 11:6 AMP

We can’t even approach God without some measure of faith. When we possess that faith, the love of God confers upon us our salvation – totally by His doing, not by any efforts of our own:

For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). Rm. 3:28 AMP

The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct or the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). Mk. 1:15 AMP

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Jn. 5:24 NASB

It’s all about the faith, because if you don’t have it, you cannot be delivered from that stain of worldly dross:

“…if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 NKJV

We need the faith, but how do we get it? That’s the best part!

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… Gal. 5:22 ESV

…let us with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ. Rm. 10:17 AMP

Thus, God gives us a free gift of faith that He created through His Son, which is delivered by the Holy Spirit and nurtured and strengthened when we immerse ourselves in the hearing of the gospel.

God never leaves us hanging. Once, Jesus came upon a boy that was suffering from demon-induced epileptic seizures. The boy’s father asked Christ to cure the him if He was able. Jesus replied:

“All things are possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23 ESV

The father immediately responds, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mk. 9:24 ESV

And Jesus healed the boy.

So, not only do you receive divine faith when you ask for it, Jesus makes sure you have enough.

Have faith.

Goodnight and God bless.