Tag Archives: walking with Jesus

Jehovah Tsidkenu

The Lord is our Righteousness.  Does that make sense?  If that’s true, what about all the commands for us to live righteous lives?  What about the sense of failure that we feel all the time?  Why don’t I feel righteous?

Could it be that the Lord simply asks us throughout His Word to live according to the righteousness that is already ours?  Yes!  We can’t earn it by working hard or create it by any amount of good works.  We can’t be righteous on our own.  Only when He enters us, when He is our life, do we become righteous.  And then He is our righteousness.

And could it be that the evil one is afraid of people who walk and live in righteousness?  Yes!  He does all he can to promote that sense of failure.  He even uses churches and preachers when he can.

And could it be that I have lived so long under condemnation that I find this truth hard to believe, especially when applied to daily living?  Yes!  I have been taught to judge myself and accept myself on the basis of my actions and thoughts.  In Christ I must learn to judge myself and accept myself by His actions and His thoughts toward me.  In other words, I am righteous and acceptable and loved.

No wonder they call this the good news!

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How righteous are you?

I really should start taking surveys.  I wonder how people would answer that question?  I know what some would say: “Not very!”  Most people don’t really accept that their sins have been washed away and that they stand in perfect righteousness before God.

How righteous are you?  If you belong to Jesus, you are as righteous as He is.  In fact, He is your righteousness.  In Him, you are the righteousness of God.

 

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

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Walk in Him

As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him Colossians 2:6

I am in Christ and Christ is in me.  Those may be the most powerful words of identity that you will ever read.  This is the relationship the Scriptures teach.  This is what it means to be a Christian.  The very life in me is His and the desire of my heart is to discover more and more of Him in me.

Many centuries ago a prayer was discovered that has come to be known as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.”  Obviously, it was attributed to St. Patrick, but we don’t know for certain who wrote it.  The idea fits so well with our consideration of walking in Christ that I thought I would share my favorite part of the prayer.  You can look up the rest for yourself on Wikipedia or several other places online.  This is the prayer of someone who understands what it means to walk in Christ.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

How could we ever forget that the center point of the Christian life is Jesus Himself?  To live our days as believers is to walk in Christ.  He is our strength.  He is our wisdom.  He is our love.  He is our life.

You came to Jesus with nothing except your need.  He gave you everything.  So, now walk through your days in the same way.  Trust Him to provide, to produce, to protect.  As you received Him, so walk in Him.

Thoughts?  Comments?

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Walk in Wisdom

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.   Colossians 4:5

 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,   Ephesians 5:15

 These passages are challenging for those who are under grace.  We are to walk in wisdom, circumspectly, not as fools.  The particular context here, explained in the Ephesians passage and referenced in the Colossians passage, is our relationship with the world and the people of the world.  There are practical dangers for the people of God in this world.

Let’s be sure we are clear on this.  I do not believe that the temptations of the world can cause us to lose our salvation or to fall out of favor with God.  But I do believe that those temptations can affect our marriages, our health, our relationships, and many other parts of our lives here and now.  For example, I see a lot of joking about alcohol among those who celebrate the freedom of grace.  That may be innocent enough, but we cannot forget that alcohol holds a serious trap for many people.  I sometimes see grace folks flirting in overt ways.  I am not a prude, far from it, but I do know that there are dangers in flirtatious relationships.  We do not want to deceive ourselves.  Not everything is safe for us.

Legalist teachers are very aware of the dangers of this world.  They would use these verses to call us to be very careful as we walk and they would be happy to provide us with rules so we could walk rightly (according to their standards).  We don’t need this.  We simply need to follow our Lord.

The call of Jesus is not for us to watch our steps.  In spite of the sound of these verses, it would not be helpful for us to try to live by a set of rules.  It has not worked and will not work.  So the believer is not called to watch where he or she walks, as though you and I could somehow discern the dangers for ourselves.  Instead, we are called to follow Jesus.  We are to watch where He walks.

Imagine that you are walking through a minefield.  The mines are carefully concealed.  The person with you knows the path through the field.  What should you do?  Should you try your best to walk carefully through the minefield, always aware of the danger?  Or should you watch the person who knows where he is going and follow him?  Seems simple, doesn’t it?

So walk in wisdom by following Jesus.

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Should believers repent?

So, does a believer need to repent?  In many churches the call to repentance is repeated every Sunday, no matter who is present.  Believers and pagans alike are warned of the consequences of sin and called to repent of their evil works.  But does a believer need to repent?

There’s so much to say about this.  It is no wonder that many believers lack assurance of their salvation.  If they hear the call to repentance every week, they can only assume that they either are not really saved or that they have somehow lost their salvation during the previous week.  If they are conscientious, they probably respond to the call each Sunday and hope that this time it will stick.  But, because they have been conditioned to think that any sin will endanger their salvation and because they continue to struggle against the flesh patterns in their lives, they never find the peace and rest Jesus offers. 

But does a believer have to continually repent in order to stay saved?  Certainly not!  Jesus saves and Jesus alone.  Our salvation is based on his actions, not ours.  I can’t initiate my salvation and I can’t maintain it.  Salvation is a fact based on a relationship with God through Jesus.  Sin may not be consistent with that relationship or the life that comes from it, but neither is it able to nullify that relationship and life. 

On the other hand, it is important for a believer to understand that he no longer has to sin in order to meet his needs.  In fact, sin causes all kinds of problems that the Lord would have us avoid.  He loves us and He hates sin because sin hurts us.  It usually also hurts others, and the Lord wants us to reflect His heart to others.  So a continual “change of thinking” is important for a believer.  Because the flesh is a learned and long-practiced system, we have to unlearn it in order for our daily lives to consistently reflect the love and holiness of God.  The Christian life is necessarily a life of introspection.  The serious believer opens his life to the Spirit and asks the Spirit to reveal wrong thinking and the actions that come from it.

So, we have a problem.  If we preach repentance to believers, they will almost certainly lack assurance simply because they will assume we are talking about getting saved.  Yet, the Scriptures continually call believers to new thinking, the thinking that is consistent with the mind of Christ.  My suggestion, and practice, is to use the word, repentance, for a call to salvation and to call believers to “walk with Jesus.”  I believe that those who seek to draw near to their Lord will know what actions and attitudes are inconsistent with a relationship with Him.  Because the Spirit is active in their lives, the call for change will be spoken into their lives.

Does a believer have to repent?  No, not by my definition.  But a believer should cultivate new thinking, a rejection of the flesh patterns of his life and an open heart to the leading of the Spirit.

Thoughts?  Questions?

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