Tuesday, April 29, 2014

“The Condemned and the Converted”

    Two classes of people exist in the world, the condemned and the converted.

    “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
    “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

    Similarities and difference characterize the two groups.

    Both were originally born of Adam’s race, and thus conceived in the sin inherited from our original forebear.   Through unbelief, the condemned remain in their plight.   God’s grace, however, spiritually rescues and births the converted into a new family, headed by the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:17; II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 3:15).

    God deems the condemned as “dead in trespasses and sins.”   Conversely, He declares the converted as “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:11).

    The sins of the condemned remain their own despite the work of the Lord Jesus “for the sins of the whole world.”  The sins of the converted are forgiven, never to be accounted to them in the sense of condemnation and wrath (I John 2:2; Romans 4:8).

    Both companies still sin.  The origin of such in the condemned, however, involves both spirit and flesh.  The converted, in contrast, sin as the result of yielding to the fleshly lusts of the law of sin in their members (I John 1:8; Romans 7:17-25; Ephesians 2:3).

    The condemned cannot save themselves from the mastery of sin.  The converted did not and cannot do so either, but rather freely received - and continue to receive - the grace of “the Author and Finisher of our faith,” the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:7-8; Hebrews 12:2).

    The  condemned “live and move and have being” in God, while also receiving “life and breath and all things” from Him.  They do not, however, know or appreciate this.  The converted live in the same beneficence, while seeking to offer perpetual praise and thanksgiving to the One whom they recognize and affirm as the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift” (Acts 17:25-28; Psalm 107:1-2; James 1:17).

    The list could go on and on, if space permitted.  We close, however, with perhaps the most consequential characteristic that separates the two classes.  The Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ dwells in the converted as the free gift of God’s grace, thus fulfilling their very reason for being.  Sadly and tragically, this is not the case in the condemned, who thus exist in the dark unreality of not being what they were made to be.  Christ thus serves as the defining issue of the condemned and the converted, either by His presence or absence.  May our Heavenly Father increase our knowledge of His Son’s preeminence.  And may He influence those in our world who do do not recognize the Lord Jesus as Creator, Redeemer, and the very Life of life (Romans 8:9: Colossians 1:27).

“This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
(I John 5:11-12)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
(Psalm 100:4)

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