Monday, November 14, 2011

The Beginning and the Continuing

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:6-7).

That which happened when our relationship with God began through Christ must continue as we subsequently live the Christian life.

This raises the question: what in fact happened when we believed in the Lord Jesus? While the details of our experience of salvation are personal to all of us, the essence of beginning our relationship with God involves several common and elemental aspects of truth.

First, we realized that the Gospel offers a Savior who promises to be all that we need Him to be, and do all that we need Him to do.
"Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58).
"He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him" (Hebrews 7:25).

Salvation begins by God giving a more than adequate Savior, and then communicating to us the fact of so great a gift. Christ is, and Christ can. Upon this basis, the Holy Spirit then communicates to us a corollary truth, namely, we are not, and we cannot.

"Ye were sometimes darkness, but not are ye light in the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8).
"All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Before we believed, we "were" darkness, that is, our very essence was wrongly constituted. Rather than our spirit serving as "the candle of the Lord," we were enshrouded with the blackness of being "alienated from the life of God" (Proverbs 20:27; Ephesians 4:18). Subsequently, our doings were wrong, including our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, words, actions and relatings to God and man. We were not, and we could not.

Salvation resulted when we accepted the truth of both realities. That is, God's I AM and I CAN united with our I am not and I cannot. We believed with our hearts the facts about our Lord, and about ourselves. Into the acknowledged void of our emptiness and inability, the abundant fullness and power of the Lord Jesus entered, providing forgiveness, newness of life, and the establishment of living relationship with God. He graciously provided, we freely received, and a powerful work of grace resulted.

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him." The glory continues as we walk in truth, or rather we experience "the hope of glory," which is "Christ in you" (Colossians 1:27). The soil in which salvation was planted - "rooted in Him" - serves as the same soil in which our new life thrives - "built up in Him." Him. Him. Him! Christ is the I AM and I CAN. We remain the I am not and I cannot. However, in the wonder of Divine/human relationship, God's being and ability inhabits and empowers us to to degree that we are and we can!

"Without Me, ye can do nothing... I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me" (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13).

That which happened when we initially believed in order to be saved remains that which happens our Savior reveals Himself in our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, words, deeds and relationship to God and man. He provides, we receive, and the saving grace of the Lord Jesus results in manifested leading and enabling.

Our spiritual enemies continually seek to distract us from the dynamic of the Savior's all sufficient and encompassing salvation. We must therefore often encourage and challenge each other to remember that the grace that birthed us is the grace that matures us. Again, that which happened when eternal life in Christ Jesus came to us must continue as eternal life in Christ Jesus leads and enables us. He is. He can. We are not. We can't. But by Him, in Him, and through Him, we are and we can! This is salvation in it's inception, its perpetuation, and its... well, there is no culmination to an eternity of the glad anthem sung by those who rejoice in the salvation of Christ only, Christ always, Christ forever!

"We also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you."
(II Corinthians 13:4)
"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
(I Corinthians 15:10)

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