I Need Input

I really, really, only want your feedback with this post. I think I’m on to something, and I need to hear from you.

Tell me, when I say: “How to live the Christian life?” what comes to mind? If someone gets up to teach a class at church and says, “I’m going to teach you how to live the Christian life,” what would you expect to hear?

Work That Does Not Work

We got a new bird feeder! I love it. It’s squirrel proof. They step on the perch and the bird feeder goes to work. No matter how hard the squirrels work at getting the bird seed, all their efforts are without effect. All their work, does not work.

The way you get in is the way you go on. We get in by grace through faith, we go on by grace through faith. Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians to stress that the Christian life is one of grace and faith. He scolded the Galatians with, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ….” He told them, “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” That’s “grace,” not “salvation.” An important point to note.

The word that is translated “severed from” is more literally translated “made of no effect” or “non-work.” It’s like when you type for hours on your computer and then shut it down before remembering to save your work. You worked, but the results are gone, as if you did no work at all.

The same word is used in Romans 6:6 with regard to our old nature and the flesh. “Our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with.” The tendency of the flesh toward its old sin patterns is made of no effect by the cross.

It also appears in Hebrews 2:14 where we are told that Jesus took on flesh and blood and went to the cross so that “through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is the devil.” Through the Cross of Jesus, Satan is made of no effect.

We, on the other hand, are made of no effect when we try to go on by a different means than the way we got in. When we start seeking our justification in actions, deeds, doing, works, rules, or law, we have moved away from resting in His finished work on our behalf. We have moved away from, or fallen from, grace. We have moved away from the cross. We are made of no effect. All our efforts fail to produce the desired results. Our work does not work.

Do you feel powerless in your walk with the Lord? Do you find it impossible to always be holy, to always do the right thing? Great!¬†Faith is not a system of religious beliefs. It is not a set of rules. It is not a denomination or a religion. All those things may fit a dictionary definition of the noun “faith.” None of them are what it means to “faith” God. Glory in your weakness. It is there that His ability shines through. Quit trying to do His work in your strength. There is no better place for you to be than in absolute dependence on the Father. That is faith.

Rest in Him. Depend on Him. That is death to self. That is the cross in the daily life. Walk in the grace that saved you. You may very well likely find yourself doing the same work you are doing now, but in His strength and ability and not your own. It will be a work characterized by inner peace, not emotional turmoil, striving and burnout. You may struggle, but it will be the struggle to rest, not the struggle to work.

The Greek word usually translated “power” is dunamis. It means natural ability, or inherent capability. Consider God. What is He capable of doing? How powerful is He? What are His abilities?

Now, whose ability would your rather operate in, yours or His?

1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “The word of the cross is to . . .¬† us who are being saved . . . the power of God.”

Our old nature is made of no effect by the cross. Satan is made of no effect by the cross. When we get away from the cross, we are made of no effect. But through the cross, the daily resting in Him and not ourselves, we find the very ability of God at work within us.

Profoundly Simple, Simply Profound


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Profoundly Simple, Simply Profound

Okay, so God’s the “prime mover.” He reaches out to man and provides a means of reconciliation. He calls us to Himself. He provides atonement for our sins. He wrapped Himself in flesh and opened the way for us to abide in His presence. Our part is to cease from our own efforts – whether to run from Him or to Him – and rest in the work He has accomplished for us. He loved us before we first loved Him. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.

Colossians 2:6 says, “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus, so walk in Him.”

What does that mean? The key is in the little words: “as” and “so.” They both basically mean “in the same manner.” It means the way you received Him is the way you walk in Him. In other words, “The way you get in, is the way you go on.”

hallelujah

Is it not true that you had to reach a place where you realized that you did not, and could not, please God? You needed a savior because you could not save yourself. Before you ever reached that awareness, Jesus had done everything necessary to secure your salvation. So, you ceased from all your efforts to save yourself. You stopped trying to make yourself pleasing to Him. You rested in what Jesus had already accomplished for you. That’s what we all have in common as Christians. It does not matter what your “testimony” is at that point. You may have come from a life of degradation and unspeakable evil. You may have been a murderer, an adulterer, prostitute or frequent customer of prostitutes, or a thief. You may have been cruel and brutal. You may have been a drunkard or drug addict. You may have been a victim of one of those evils. You may have been a little child who never did much of anything wrong. You may have never seen the inside of a church. You may have been in church since you were old enough to be taken after your birth. To become a Christian, at some point, you realized God loves you, and did all that was needed for your salvation. You stopped striving in your own efforts, and you rested in His work. The way you get in is the way you go on.

You went to the cross. You saw that Jesus died for you. It was not only His place of death, it was yours. You died to yourself. Like the seed that falls in the ground and dies, you died to your “seedness” in order to become what He made you to be. You died with Christ. Dead men do not work. The way you get in is the way you go on. Go to the cross daily.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God; not as a result of work, lest any man should boast. By grace through faith. By His doing. Not of works. The way you get in is the way you go on.

God does not intend for you to live the Christian life in your own strength. It is not a life of striving to be pleasing, or acceptable, or to appease God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. The righteous shall live by rules? No. The righteous shall live by faith. The way you get in is the way you go on.

You get in by the cross, you go on by the cross.

You get in by grace through faith, you go on by grace through faith.

You get in by ceasing from your own efforts and resting in His finished work on your behalf; you go on by ceasing from your own efforts and resting in His work.

Does this make sense? Do you know that God really does love you, because He chooses to? Do you understand the value He places on you? Do you realize, that was not just for when you got saved (got in) – it is for today, and every day as you walk in Him (go on in Him)? Feel free to raise questions, or to share how learning this made a difference in your life.