Spiritual Minded

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. “ Rom 8:6

Introduction

Being spiritually minded for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness is a matter of life and death.  Apostle Paul said in Rom 8:6, “to set the mind on the flesh is death but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”  The phrase “set the mind on the Spirit” includes our attitude and not just the mindset.  It resonates the image and disposition of mind that is driven by the Spirit.  It exalts, values and cherishes God. 

Spiritually minded believers sees people and thinks with a relentless God consciousness. 

At NCCkl, we yearn to be spiritually minded at all times.  How to be spiritually minded  and experience the Kingdom peace on earth?

 

  1. Realization 2 Cor 4:16-18

We ought to realize our outer nature is wasting away and the inner nature must be renewed by setting our minds on things that are above.  A lack of awareness of the transformation within us would lead to a life of hopelessness and despair.  A spiritual mind brings forth the true realization  of our identity in Christ.

 

  1. Purity Mt 5:27-29

We ought to take radical steps to keep our minds pure for the Holy Spirit to dwell richly in our hearts.  God inspires spiritually minded believers that are pure and sincere to do great exploits for His glory on earth.  Purity of mind is an indispensable character trait that cannot be compromised if we want to serve His Righteousness and Church with boldness and power. 

 

  1. Joy Ps 43:4

We ought to make God the gladness of all our joys.  It simply means  that in all our joys God should be the gladness of the joy.  Every joy should  become a joy in the Lord.  If joy  cannot offer a  taste of who God is and be cherished, then it is unspiritual joy.  The joy  of the Lord is our strength to live a Kingdom life on earth through the Holy Spirit.

 

  1. Sober Lk 8:14

We ought to remember Jesus’ warning about what chokes spiritual life.  It is an undeniable fact that cares, riches and pleasure of carnal life hinders spiritual vitality.  The cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for worldly things enter in and choke the  spiritual mind and cause it to be unfruitful.  

 

  1. Delight Eph 5:2

We ought to ponder what is good to God and what He delights in.  For we must be the aroma of Christ to God.  God’s delight is not in our strength or power but He delights in those who hope in His steadfast love and grace.

 

  1. Companion 1 Cor 15:33

We ought to be friends with spiritually minded people.  Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Bad company often corrupts spiritual mindedness. 

 

  1. Eternity 2 Cor 5:8

We ought to ponder on our life that will very soon be without a body.  How attached are all our joys to our physical body?  Think about how short life is.  Man is like grass and all his achievements are like flowers of the grass.  The grass withers,  achievement crumbles but the Word of God remains forever. 

 

  1. Alive Gal 5:24

We ought to remember that we who are baptized into Christ by faith at the River Jordan have been crucified with Christ.  As such, we died to all passions and desires of the world.  The basic key to spiritual mindedness is a deep sense of knowing that we have died and risen in Christ, having forgiven and justified.

 

  1. Suffering 2 Cor 5:8-9

We ought to accept God’s appointed suffering as discipline to bring about greater spiritual mindedness.  It is for discipline that we are to endure.  God is treating us as His children.  For the moment of discipline may seem painful rather than pleasant but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

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Peace In The Midst Of Warfare

Blessed be the Lord my  Rock,  Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle—.”   Ps 144:1

Introduction

God’s elect who place their faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection are living on earth  in the enemy’s territory.  As a result, we experience spiritual warfare and ought to be always on the alert.  The enemy comes in like a flood, trying to fill us with doubt, fear and discouragement.  He tries to bring division in our relationship. 

However, only those who trust in God’s righteousness are able to walk in peace and experience victory. 

If we want to be peacemakers, agent of restoration or a communicator of the Gospel,  we must be clad in God’s armor. We must also understand the seriousness of spiritual warfare.  How can we walk and maintain peace in the midst of an unrelenting attack from the enemy?  It is possible to walk in peace only when we  adhere to:

 

  1. We must be a lover of God first and then a warrior.

Jesus must be our all in all.  We must concentrate on our relationship with Him.  Abiding and intimacy are two indispensable components.  We must cultivate and harness our relationship with Jesus to maintain peace at all times.  The enemy is crafty and he knows where our power and weakness lie.  Deut 6:5

 

  1. We must develop a life of praise and worship.

Worship is a powerful tool for spiritual warfare.  I personally find worship to be my greatest strategy in seeing breakthrough in all circumstances.  Prayer and worship infuses peace into  our inner beings.  God opens the door for His grace and peace to come into our hearts when facing adverse situations.  Ps 18:46

 

  1. We must persevere and resist the devil.

The enemy is intent to stop us as we move forward in the things of God.  We need perseverance to maintain peace at all times.   After all we are living in the enemy’s territory and are bound to be oppressed by evil forces.  However, we are empowered to destroy the work of the devil in Christ.  In fact, Jesus destroyed the work of the devil through His baptism and death.  More so, at His resurrection, He sealed Satan’s defeat forever.  We ought to take our stand against the enemy, not give any ground and retreat.  We must resist the enemy and draw near to God.  James 4:7-8

 

  1. We must handle adversities in God’s way and with His peace in the midst of difficulties.

The enemy brings on discouraging thoughts, false reasoning, doubts and disappointments.  He tries to steal our peace.  If we choose to trust God’s Word and strengthen our intimacy with Jesus, then the clouds of darkness will soon disappear. The godly relationship  will eventually lead us to a sustained peace.  It is part of God working in us to test our endurance so that we may mature and know how to maintain peace  in all circumstances. Eph 6:10

 

  1. We must thank God even in adverse situations because He is stretching us.

God is developing our spiritual muscles so that we may be able to maintain peace in the midst of spiritual warfare.  It is God’s plan to strengthen our faith and confidence on His ability to mature us.  No matter how difficult it may be, we must continue to believe His love will see us through.  God loves us.  This is why He permits whatever trials we may be facing.  It is for our good.  We must see adverse circumstances from God’s perspective and let His peace rule in our hearts.  Col 3:15

 

Conclusion

We must not walk  our spiritual lives with our own strength.  Listed above are some of the ways that we can maintain God’s peace in the midst of warfare. Let us live a life of total dependence on God by loving Him and standing firm on His Word in order to maintain peace in our inner beings.

 

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Kingdom Peace

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid..”  John 14:27

Introduction

Kingdom peace comes to God’s elect through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism. death and resurrection.  Furthermore,  only those who are established in the righteousness of faith and trust in the Word of God experience the kingdom peace.  Nearing the time of Jesus’ captivity and death, He gave a message to His disciples that all of us yearn for : “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid..”  In reality, our hearts do become troubled because we live in fear of safety, health and finance.  Sometimes the slightest aggravation can upset us for the rest of the day.

I call it ‘kingdom peace’ because ‘outer peace’ in the world is always short-lived and fleeting.  This condition arises as an outcome of sin and its pervasive grip on us.  Kingdom peace has nothing to do with the circumstances and events of the world.  In fact, if we are divinely born and divinely nourished, even turmoil could permeate a purer heart peace, also the heavier the griefs, the more serene kingdom peace reigns within our hearts.

How then can we have this kingdom peace in our spirits?  Isa 26:3 gives us an answer :  “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

  1. Source

Kingdom peace in a born again spirit originates from God.  Our mind is the governing seat of power of our body.  What is in our heart or whatever emotion is vying for control, signals are sent to and from  the brain after which we take some action.  Rightly so, Isaiah tells us that for kingdom peace to come,  our mind must be focussed on the Lord.  Who is the source? Jesus Christ.   The point of governing in the Lord is important because in any governing seat of power we want to have the right person in control.

Most of the time we think we are in control but when we get angry, anger may take control of us.  Often even God’s elect may lose the kingdom peace for a moment.  Isaiah is saying we ought to keep our mind steadfast in order to maintain kingdom peace in our spirit at all times. 

Therefore, if we want kingdom peace to reign within us, then we must allow the Prince of Peace to be in charge.

 

  1. Focus

Isa 26:3 claims that God will keep us in kingdom peace when our hearts and minds are focused on him.  However, staying focused is no simple matter because we are constantly distracted by other carnal thoughts and desires.  Often we talk about attention deficit disorder among children but it is also rare for us to keep our attention focused on anything for long.  Still the jewel of kingdom peace requires a mind fixed on God.  Isaiah highlights that the key for a focused mind is in trusting God and His Word.  Unfortunately, too many unanswered prayers, too many reversal in one’s life, too much pain and difficulty can cause more distrust that causes us to doubt God.  Trust in the Lord is an indispensable ingredient to maintain a high level of focus on God to attain kingdom peace.  There is a statement that the psalmist made about the kingdom peace,  He says in Ps 119:165 “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.”  Kingdom peace resonates when we love God and negate our own emotions and feelings.  Only God’s Word must reign supreme in us. 

 

  1. Trust

It is a sheer vain effort on ourselves to attain kingdom peace without placing total trust in God Who is in control of all things.  Kingdom peace is a divine gift that only Jesus Christ can give according to His will and pleasure.  God wants to give kingdom peace to God’s elect who have put their confidence and trust in the Gospel Word of God’s Righteousness.  Only those who steadfastly abide in this Salvation Truth are demonstrating genuine trust in God’s love and His Word.  God’s elect who trust in Jesus Who is the Prince of Peace and the source of control  will enjoy a sense of peace in matters that pertain to God’s will and purposes.  When we constantly operate within the mind of God instead of our own desires, a greater opportunity of experiencing the kingdom peace is made available from the Throne room of grace.

 

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Christ Glorified In Us

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  1 Cor 10:31

Introduction

God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection have long understood that we exist for the glory of God.  Furthermore, we know that the ultimate purpose in life is only found in our Maker and Redeemer.  The chief end of every person, the purpose behind their being is to glorify and enjoy God.

The glory of God is often described as God’s beauty and pre-eminence. We cannot add to God’s glory but we can reflect or magnify His glory in our lives.  Apostle Paul puts it in the most practical way possible when he says “so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  Now, how do we actually do this?  We glorify God through :

 

  1. Appreciation

Christ glorified in us  when God is set as the highest in our thoughts and mind.  We ought to have a venerable esteem of Him.  We glorify God when He is exalted in mind and heart.  We glorify when we find God to be greater than all things created or imagined.  God is glorified in  us  when  we  admire  Him  for  His  person,  work  and  promises.  Ps 97:9

 

  1. Adoration

Christ glorified in us when we ascribe worth, praise and worship to Him in spirit and truth.  Divine worship must be rendered according to how God Himself has appointed in the Word.  The gathering of the saints in the Church on the Lord’s day is one of the primary way we glorify God but this feeds into both private and family worship as well.  Ps 29:1-3

 

  1. Affection

Christ glorified in us when we love Him.  The love a Christian has for God is born of the Spirit and flourishes in faith.  It is only small when our faith is small.  God is glorified in us when  our love for Him is true.  This love is exuberant, not a few drops but a stream.  We love Him with all that we are.  Mt 22:37

 

  1. Abide

Christ glorified in us when we obey Him out of a sense of love.  This is when we abide in Him and serve His Righteousness.  God is glorified in us through good works done in faith.  God is pleased with such works not because they are perfect but because they are the fruit of faith and are perfected by His Son, Jesus Christ. John 15:8-10

 

  1. Advance

Christ glorified in us when we testify to His person, work and worthiness in our words.  We ought to advance the Kingdom of God by sharing the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which has the power to save lost souls.  Greatness of God is reflected when we share the Gospel Word, bear witness to His grace on our lives in all its form and confess His sufficiency in all our afflictions for His glory.  1 Pet 2:9

 

Conclusion

How is Christ glorified in us?  When we allow Christ to live through us at all times.  In our days of peace,  in days of hardship, in the valley of the shadow of death and in the pasture of comfort. 

We were predestined, called, justified and raised to heavenly dignity  to magnify God’s glory in all our lives.  Rom 8:29

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The Ultimate Finish Line

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”  Heb 12:1

Introduction

It is an undeniable fact that most races are not won by the swift but one that endures to the end.  The born again in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection should not allow anything to distract them from crossing the ultimate finish line.  Like a race, our lives have a precise beginning time and a distinct ending point.  Like it or not, we are all in a race from birth to death.  There are many Scriptures in the Bible that describe life as being like a race.  One of the biggest challenges in this life of faith in the righteousness of God is to stay focused and motivated till the end. 

The ultimate finish line for our race  in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness is our glorification in Christ. 

Let us examine this word ‘glorification’ deemed as our ultimate finish line.

 

  1. What Is Glorification?

Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection and the full realization of salvation.  Rom 8:30  Glorification is about victory.  Eph 1:18-23  We shall share in this victory through our inheritance and glorification with Christ.  Rom 8:11, 15, 16-17, 29, 1 Cor 15:54-57  Glorification is about change in both physical and spiritual.  Implying our entrance  spiritually  into  the presence of the Lord at death  and our entrance physically into the presence of the Lord at His return.  1 Thess 4:13-18  In 1 Cor 15:35-57, Paul describes the process of our physical change that relates to our body that would become like Christ.  Our bodies will go from weakness to glorification.  Basically, glorification speaks about the newness of life in Christ Jesus.  Rom 8:19-22, Rev 21:1-8

 

  1. Preparing For Glorification

It is imperative for born again children of God who have received perfect remission of sin and the indwelling Holy Spirit by faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness to cultivate endurance to the end.   We ought to follow Christ and others who have gone before us and ended their race in glorification.  In the process we ourselves are able to lead others to the ultimate finish line.  Endurance is cultivated by our life of faith in the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness.  Our preparation for glorification is further strengthened and cultivated through our earnest anticipation of Christ’s return to take us home for eternity. 1 Cor 9:24-27

 

  1. The Hope Of Glorification

Paul in Rom 8:31-39 highlights three important factors that solidifies our hope of glorification.  Firstly, in vs 32, Paul declares that our inheritance in the saints is inevitable.  God is faithful!!  Secondly, in vs 34, Paul affirms that our Savior Jesus Christ,  Who redeemed us from the curse of the law, sin and slavery to Satan is undefeatable.  Jesus reigns!!  Finally, in vs 37, Paul confirms that our victorious redemption through Jesus’ baptism and death is inescapable.  God is love!! The hope of glorification is the fulfilment of our perfect salvation in Christ Jesus with the sealing of the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the ultimate finish line.

 

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Be Glorified

Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” John 12:28

 

Introduction

The word ‘glorified’ is commonly used in some of our songs today.  After all, the word ‘glory’ appears hundreds of times in the Bible.  The original Hebrew and Greek words that are translated as ‘glory’ or ‘glorified’ implies beauty, to be lifted up, to shine, pure, worship, magnify, royal splendor, majesty and perfection. No wonder it is hard to pin the word down!  It takes a word full of meaning to describe our Great God. 

Jesus glorified God through His baptism, death and resurrection.  John 12:23 

When Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, His disciples could not have imagined the horrible event that was about to take place.  The disciples probably pictured something that could seem ‘glorious’ to them, something like Jesus being crowned king in the Temple.  How could Jesus be talking about His own death?  How could glory ever come out of death.  John 12:27-28

Jesus knew that His baptism and death would tell the world more about God than any other event. God is love. 1 John 4:16   God’s love is flashed in all its glory through the baptism of righteousness that Jesus received from John the Baptist at the River Jordan where He shouldered the sins of the world and subsequently died on the cross for all man.

 

  1. Baptism And Death Of Jesus

The baptism and death of Jesus are two indispensable components that fulfil God’s Righteousness.  When Jesus cried out, “Father, glorify Your Name!…..His Father answered audibly…..in a booming voice.  Then a voice came from Heaven, “I have glorified it and will glory it again.” John 12:28   God glorified His Name for the first time when Jesus received His baptism from John the Baptist as the Lamb of God from Heaven Who takes away the sins of the world.  Mt 3:16-17  Then God glorified His Name again when Jesus died on the cross and three days later rose from the dead to secure our justification of faith in the righteousness of God. 

 

  1. Our Baptism, Death And Resurrection In Christ Glorifies God

We have no ability to give glory to God with our sinful nature.  If we hope to  glorify  God, the  first step is to baptize ourselves into Christ by faith so that our old self can be put to death with Christ.  Jesus said, “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed but if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  The man  who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  John 12;24-25.  Jesus was telling the disciples that in the Kingdom of God a glorified new life comes only after death.  God predestined sinful man to enter into Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection by faith to attain glorified life.   God gave His glorious Son for us.  He asks us to give up our lives for Him so that He may give us a glorified life on earth  and eternity through His indwelling Spirit.  Paul describes this in Romans 6:3-5. 

 

  1. Spiritual Baptism

Baptism gives a wonderful picture of what happens when we put our faith in Christ’s baptism of righteousness when John laid his hands to pass the sins of humanity at the River Jordan.  In fact, all man were literally united with Christ in the spirit at that moment by becoming one in union so that all the sins committed from Adam to the last man can be carried by the body of Jesus to the cross for atonement.  This spiritual dynamics is foreshadowed in the sacrificial system of the OT.  Jesus experienced death for every individual person.  Heb 2:9   In a very real way, our old self dies and a new glorified self in the spirit is resurrected. 

Baptism is a burial.  Burial is for the dead.  We would not bury something that is still living.  At the same time, we would not fail to bury something that is obviously dead.  Being lowered into the water in baptism is a symbolic act that represents our old self has been put to death.  Rising up out of the water represents the resurrection from the dead to a new glorified life by faith in the Righteousness of God.  This new glorified life in the spirit begins because we are baptized with Jesus in His death and resurrection.  It is a new life that will glorify God throughout eternity.

 

Conclusion

It is unfortunate that many Christians today are trying to die on their own apart from having faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  This is why Jesus said, “You must become like a little child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Mt 11:3   Whether we are 4 or 94, I hope we can see that spiritual baptism (union) as the key to a glorified life in Christ.  It is the most meaningful way we can respond to God’s Truth of Salvation by baptizing ourselves into Jesus’ death and resurrection.  The point is, baptism gives glory to God by showing that we have united with Him as divine  glorified children.

 

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Christ Walk, Our Example

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”  1 John 2:6

Introduction

Christ’ whole life was lived in dependence upon the Father Who worked in Him by the Spirit.  He related every circumstances He faced to the Father’s ability to handle it through His humanity.  He could have walked any one of them of His own divine strength but for the sake of the example He wanted to leave us, He did not.

John said of Jesus, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as Jesus walked.” 1 John 2:6  Jesus Christ walked with His focus on the Father and the Father worked through Him by the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

The believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection ought to walk with a focus on Jesus and He will work through us by the same Holy Spirit Who indwells us. 

 

  1. How Can We Do This?

We must first know that the Holy Spirit has taken up permanent residence in us the moment we put our faith in the baptism and death of Christ.  Rom 8:9 says that not to have the Holy Spirit in us is tantamount to not being a true believer in Christ.  The Holy Spirit Who dwells us is a person Who is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son.  Secondly, we should know that sin grieves the Holy Spirit but doesn’t cause Him to leave us.  Eph 4:30   Jesus promised, “I will never desert you nor will I every forsake you.”  Heb 13:5  The third thing we should know is that it is one thing for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us but quite another thing for Him to fill or control us.  God wants us to be continually filled with the Spirit.  The only way we can have this happen is to decide who runs the show in our lives.  We need to make a once and for all decision to give the title deed of our lives to God.  This does not mean that we are always going to do what God wants us to do.  It does mean that we have come to a point in life where we have safely assessed what God has done for us through Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  We acknowledge that God has given us eternal life, put us into His forever family, given us an inheritance with His Son and made us kings and priests forever.  Now we can say with confidence, ‘I can trust a God like that.  If we give our life totally into His keeping, He will know how to handle it and do the best with it for His glory.’

 

  1. I Know Who Holds The Future

Ever since  I met the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, I have this attitude: I don’t know what the future holds but I know who holds the future.  I believe this is the  attitude that God wants of us if we are going to have a life continually filled with the Spirit.  However, we ought to mean it and  give our life to God this way because He will be serious about taking it.  We will be saying, ‘Lord, I want Your will, even though I don’t know now what it will be.’   As we get to know God in this intimate way, we will discover that we have not made a risky deal.  God’s will for our life will go far beyond our wildest dreams.  As God has been waiting for a blank cheque from us so that He could begin to fill in His marvelous plan and purpose.  God wants us to decide who is master for our life.

 

  1. Walking In The Spirit

Sometimes it gets a bit confusing as to just how we are to live the new creation life.  First we read that we are to be filled with the Spirit and that will give us the power we need.  Then someone comes along and speaks of walking in the Spirit and tells us that will keep us from sinning.  Someone else has found that walking by faith is a secret of Christian living.  Just what is the formula anyway?  Is there some point in our Christian lives where we must have a special encounter with the Holy Spirit which will alter the course of our lives and the way we live?  I strongly believe that a true believer in the baptism and death of Jesus has received the perfect remission of sins to have  the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead his life.

Let me share what I feel the Word teaches about this.  Paul’s exhortation to the believers to be filled with the Spirit  Eph 5:18, to walk in the Spirit Gal 5:16 and to walk by faith 2 Cor 5:7 all refer to the same principle of the believers coming to the conclusion that one can’t live for God.  We must trust the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life in and through us.  For many Christians the realization that the Holy Spirit wants to and is able to live the Christian life through us is such welcome news that when we begin to experience victory instead of defeat, we are literally overwhelmed.  God does not want to give us a one-shot exposure to His power, however.  He wants to give us a new pattern of living where He fills us moment by moment with new life and spiritual energy.  Any encounter with the Holy Spirit which does not produce a whole new life is not the walk in the Spirit or fully of the Spirit that the New Testament teaches. 

 

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The Guilt Trip

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;

and I will not remember your sins.”  Isa 43:25

 

Introduction

When a person becomes a true believer in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, he is born into the family of God and out of the family of Satan.  Satan does everything  he can to keep us blinded to the offer of perfect remission of sins but at NCCkl we have thrown off his shackles and gone from death to life.  This has absolutely infuriated Satan and each time someone responds to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness by faith, it is a slap on his face. 

However, after being saved, one of the most successful tactics Satan uses in neutralizing  Christians is to get them to dwell on all of their failures.  Once we begin to feel guilty about our performance in the Christian life, we are no longer any threat to Satan’s schemes.. He moves in on our blind side and steers us in the direction he wants to keep us ineffective and unproductive in the Kingdom of God.

There is nothing Satan likes better than to get us started on a guilt trip.  

 

  1. Human Frailty

The weakness of human flesh is the number one reason why Christians fail in their relationship with God.  We are always aware that in many ways we fall short of what we should be as Christians, it is only natural to assume that God must be displeased with our performance.  The more we let God down, the more we assume His anger until such alienation sets into our minds that is virtually impossible for us to enjoy fellowship with God.  The pitiful tragedy is that all this is just in our minds.  God is not mad at us!  I want to say something loud and clear, in no uncertain terms : “He has now reconciled us in His fleshly body, through death, in order to present us before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach”.  Col 1:22   Can we think of another human being, including ourselves, who views us as totally holy and blameless?  I can’t!  Yet, in God’s eyes we are already perfect, not will be but are!  This is not a status which is given on a temporary basis while we try to become worthy of it as Christians.  Once God put us into union with His Son, we become clothed with His Righteousness and God sees us as holy and blameless because that is the way He views Jesus.  Experientially we may be quite imperfect but our acceptance in God’s eyes is never based on how we perform but rather on the fact that we are in Christ and God accepts Him perfectly.  Knowing these liberating facts on a moment by moment basis is the most important factor in living a life pleasing to God.

 

  1. Sin Syndrome

First, we knowingly sin.  The inevitable result, when we fail to relate the sin to the baptism and death of Jesus, we develop guilt.  Guilt always leads to estrangement.  There is the syndrome : sin, guilt and estrangement.  Now man cannot live with guilt and he tries to deal with guilt in one of two ways, both of them wrong.  If he is a type who does not have a particularly sensitive conscience, he tries to justify himself.  He makes excuses and offers valid reason why he did something.  When we justify our actions, the result will be a feeling of lost fellowship with God because deep down inside we know that we have not been honest with ourselves or God.  Another way man deals with guilt and it is equally wrong is to condemn himself.  He sins over and over in the same area, guilt sets in and then he begins the guilt trip.  Satan just sits back and relaxes when he gets us going on a guilt trip.  A Christian caught in the guilt trip will begin to seek to do things for God in the energy of the flesh to appease God for the sense of guilt.

Saturating our minds on what Christ has accomplished through His baptism, death and resurrection is the only Gospel Truth that sets us free from this guilt trip. 

 

  1. Satan Blinds Us From The Baptism And Death Of Jesus

Satan would like to blind us from all the wonderful truth found in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that saves us by grace through faith.  In fact, he keeps trying to blind us everyday.  We may not even realize it but the number one reason the power of God is short-circuited  in our lives is that we have never learned what the baptism and death of Jesus means on a day-to-day basis.   The baptism and death is the continuing basis of God accepting and forgiving us.

 

  1. The Believer’s Defense Attorney

It is the Lord’s desire that His children live godly lives and not sin but our omniscient Father, knowing our nature, made provision for his erring children .  The Apostle John, in writing to the new believers of the day, said, “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin.  And if one sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2   The Word ‘propitiation’ means to turn away deserved wrath by the satisfaction of justice.  What Christ did by His baptism of righteousness and death on the cross was to bear the compounded wrath of a Holy God on every sin that would ever be committed by every man who would ever live.  God poured out all His anger that He would have against our sins on to Jesus as He hung on the cross.  Now God has set Himself free on a perfectly just basis to keep on dealing with us in love, even when He disciplines us.

 

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How We Are Made Holy?

because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Pet 1:16

Introduction

When God decided to make man, He picked up a handful of dust and shaped it into a man.  Then He breathed into this creation’s nose the breath of lives and man became a living soul.  Gen 2:7  Two kinds of life were born that day, soulish life which started the heart beating and blood flowing and created the soul and personality of man.  The other, spiritual life which became the human spirit in man and enabled him to communicate with God Who is spirit.  These two kinds of life found their home in the physical body of man and there was harmony in their inter workings. 

When man sinned, his capacity to communicate with God ceased and a deadness developed in man’s relationship with God.  The tragic result of this was that the soul and body of men were now left without a spiritual monitor and their whole development excluded the enlightening and restraining power of God.  Instead of being God centered, man became self centered.

 

  1. The Restoration

The restoration of our spirit begins the day we believe in Jesus’ baptism and substitutionary death for us. 

The moment we receive the perfect remission of sins by faith, our nonfunctioning human spirit is finally revived and given a new source of spiritual life, the Holy Spirit. 

The Bible pictures the unregenerate man as ‘walking in darkness.’  That is why he can’t see that all the things he tries to substitute for Jesus in his life are only delusive counterfeits.  When Adam sinned, his spirit became darkened without God’s inner illumination.

 

  1. The Light

At the heart of God’s plan to regenerate men was His intention of restoring the light to the darkened spirit of man.  Apostle John pictured Jesus as the One Who would bring the light back to man.  “In Him (Jesus) was life and the life was the light of men….He was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” John 1:4,9   Peter said the same thing of Jesus when he wrote of Him as the One Who has “called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  1 Pet 2:9b  The greatest authority on the subject of ‘light’ was Jesus Himself.  He called Himself as the Light of the world.  “He who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12  

 

When a person is born again by the baptism and death of Jesus, the light really goes on inside him.  For the first time he is able to understand the things of God and the spiritual realm.  He believes by faith that through the righteous act of Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, one is now sanctified and made perfect (holy) forever through the perfect offering of Christ. Heb 10:10, 14

 

  1. Walk As ‘Children Of Light’

It is because we had been given this inner light that Paul admonishes us in the way he does in Ephesians 5:1-8.  There he talks about a number of sins that unregenerate man freely participates in.  Then he says “. do not be partakers with them, for you were formerly darkness (unholy) but now are light (holy) in the Lord, walk as children of light.” Eph 5:7-8   This is a terrific description of born again believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  If there is anything this dark old world needs is light.  That is why Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven.” Matt 5:16

 

  1. The Sixth Sense : Faith

When a man is born again, life is restored to his spirit and there, in the ‘inner man’ he is able to understand what holiness is and how to attain it.   The things of the spiritual realm are no longer unreal and alien.  The Holy Spirit come to take up residence in our recreated spirit and reveal the works that God had accomplished to make one holy and pure by faith alone.

 

The restoration of spiritual life gives back to man what Adam lost.  It is called  the ‘sixth sense’, faith.  Faith is the eyesight of the spirit.  It causes us to reach out to God to know Him and who we are now in Christ.  Faith enables us to believe that what God says about us is true and absolute.  The body has its five senses that make the material world real and the knowledge man gains through them is called ‘human viewpoint’  of life.  The intimate knowledge of God can only be known through the sixth sense, faith and it is called the ‘divine viewpoint’ of life.  Only the person who has been born again has a sixth sense enlightened and have both these viewpoints in him.  The unregenerate person has only the human viewpoint

 

These two viewpoints of life are very often in conflict with each other.  Both the recreated human spirit (the sixth sense) and the flesh (the five senses) bombard the soul (mind) with their viewpoints and these two are almost always opposed to one another.  We ought to decide which viewpoint of life is going to dominate us in order to know how God has made us holy and experience the spiritual blessings bestowed to us in Christ. 

 

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How the Spirit sanctifies?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor 5:17

Introduction

As a sincere believer in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, we may say, ‘well, God said I am sinless, righteous and have victory over sin and Satan because of my union with Christ but yet it doesn’t come out that way in my daily experience.’  We wonder if there is something wrong somewhere!  More than likely there is something wrong and it probably has to do with a failure to understand the difference between our new eternal position in Christ and our daily experience of living the Christian life. 

One is what we are in God’s estimation and the other is what we are in practice.  A clear distinction must be made between these two relationship which each believer has with Christ. Our new position or union with Christ is a legal status which we have with God and it becomes absolutely true of us the moment we believe in the baptism,  death and resurrection of Christ. 

Our day to day living of the Christian life here in this world is the experiential side of redemption.  It varies from moment to moment, depending on whether we walk with the Spirit of God or let our flesh dominate us.

 

1. The Flesh Is No Friend Of God

The actual substance of the flesh is not what is usually meant by the references to it in the Bible.  It generally refers to a principle of rebellion against God that is permeated all that we are in the Old Man. It is so unreformable that God did not even try to salvage it in the new creation. God simply pronounce it hopelessly rebellious and then proceeded to lay down the principles of how we could live in victory over it.

Whatever is wrapped up in the concept of the flesh, all men have it.  It is only realm that unregenerate man can operate in, since soulish life is the only kind of life they have.  The born again of the water and the Spirit has the flesh but it doesn’t have to live and operate in that realm because he is also  alive  in  the  realm  of  the  spirit  by  virtue  of his spiritual rebirth.  Eph 2:1-3 

God has a very dim view of the flesh whether it is believer or an unbeliever.  This is because the flesh has a very dim view of God.  In fact, Paul  says it is hostile to God and anyone who operates consistently in the realm  of  the   flesh   cannot   please   God.  Rom  8:7-8    A  mind  that  is  habitually controlled by the flesh is evidence that the person is still spiritually dead. Rom 8:6;Rom 7:18 It is obvious that these verses indicate that there is a ‘fallenness’ about us that is inherent in the flesh.  This rebellious streak is sometimes spoken of as ‘sin’ as in 1 John 1:8.  All men are born with this curse and it is not removed from us when we were born again, although victory over it is made available to us.

 

2. The Two Sides Of The Flesh

At the Fall,  when our spirit died, the body and soul merged together to comprise this spiritual foe we know as the flesh.  It includes the ‘attitudes of the flesh’  as well as the ‘works of the flesh.’ These two sides of the flesh continue to manifest themselves through the life of the believer to the degree that he allows his soul to dominate him rather than his spirit.

 

a. Attitude of the flesh 

The ‘attitude of the flesh’ are all the ideas, plans, schemes, imaginations and good works which proceed out of the human mind without the Holy Spirit being the source of them.  They can be either good or bad, as the world views such things but in God’s estimation they are all unacceptable because the flesh is the source of them not the spirit.  This ‘attitude of the flesh’ are sometimes hard to detect because they deal in the realm of ideas and thoughts which often times seem so noble.  However, this soulish activities always have self somewhere at the center.  Self-confidence   and self-reliance are two notable traits of the soul.  The world applauds these and they seem like such admirable qualities but God says, they indicate a reliance on the flesh rather than on the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

b. Works of the flesh

The ‘works of the flesh’ are often referred to as the ‘lust of the flesh’ and this refer to the sins which are stimulated by the fleshly drives and passions.  These traits are easy to spot in a life because they are usually pretty gross and overt.  Paul list some of them in Gal 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness and revelries…”

 

3. The Flesh Is Tricky

Where the believers of the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness get tripped up is in not realizing that the flesh is not only the sin tendency but also the self tendency.  It is easier to spot the overt sins that originate out of the desires and demands of the flesh.  However, the ‘attitude’ sins of the flesh are much more subtle and it often gets undetected in the  Christian domain.  That is because ‘only the Lord knows for sure’ what the source of the attitude is.

 

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