Friday, July 22, 2016

"Stand, Walk, Run"

"Stand, Walk, Run"

     Past failures, a present sense of weakness, and fear regarding the future tempt born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to disregard the abundant provision for life promised in Scripture.  

    First, consider just a few of the Biblical affirmations that assure us of God's enabling through the Spirit of Christ.

    "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (I Corinthians 1:30).
    "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).
    "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20).
    "His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature" (II Peter 1:3-4).
    "All things are yours… and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (I Corinthians 3:21; 23).
    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).
    "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).
    "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7).
    The Biblical affirmations of such grace could go on and on if space permitted.  Believers exist as super-charged vessels of faith and faithfulness, as energized through the indwelling Spirit of the Christ who overcame all things.  No excuse for sin or failure ever sufffices for anyone so graced with the presence of the living God.  We can indeed "do all things through Christ", and our expectation should be of our Lord leading and guiding us to trust and to obey.  "My expectation is from Him" (Psalm 62:5).

    Such truth notwithstanding, the fact of the matter is that we do not always walk in the light of reality and the resident power of the Holy Spirit.  "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8).  Faith and faithfulness, despite their overwhelming potential in God's trusting children in Christ, do not just happen.  We must respond, and the question arises, "How do we live in accordance with the truth of Christ, and of our being in Him?"  Again, many Biblical answers present themselves, but one particular aspect of God's enabling comes to the fore.  The answer addresses the matters mentioned at the outset of this essay, namely, past failure, present weakness, and fear of the future.

    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand" (Romans 5:1-2).

    The justified believer, blessed by peace with God through faith in Christ, also has access to our Lord's grace for the life to which our He calls us.  We "stand" in this grace, thereby making possible our God-enabled capacity to "walk in the Spirit" and "run with patience the race that is set before us" (Galatians 5:16; Hebrews 12:1).  The potential for overcoming resides in the power of Christ's indwelling.  We  trust and submit ourselves to the Lord in order to "have access by faith into this grace".  We must increasingly know this truth because we can be sure that our spiritual enemies are well aware of "the power that worketh in us".   They cannot steal such enabling, but through discouragement and distraction, they tempt us to disregard God's grace for overcoming the challenges of life.  Again, previous failures, present trepidation, and portents of future peril tempt us to disbelieve the truth of our Lord's abundant enabling.  Like the Israelites of old, believers can view themselves as grasshoppers in the presence of giants (Numbers 13:33).  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Dwelling within our born again spirits is One so infinitely vast that Solomon declared, "The heaven of  heavens cannot contain Thee!" (I Kings 8:27).  Moreover, our Lord promises to not merely dwell in us, but to walk in us (II Corinthians 6:16).  Every challenge pales in comparison to the God by whom we stand, and through whom we walk and even run as we " look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

    "Access by faith."  What will we believe about our lives, ourselves, and most importantly, our Lord?  Who will we believe?  How we answer these questions, first in the doctrinal sense, and then in practical everyday matters of life, determines whether we walk and run in the grace of God, or rather ignore "the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus" (II Timothy 1:1).  Much is at stake, both for ourselves, and for those with whom we live our lives.  Indeed, we stand by faith, we stand in grace.  May we also walk and run thereby and therein.

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
(Galatians 5:25)
"Run, that ye may obtain."
(I Corinthians 9:24)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "In the world ye shall have tribulation.  But be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world."
(John 16:33)



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