The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Ye Were… Ye Are… Walk"
Even the worst moments of unbelief and disobedience in the life of a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ do not change the "new creature" we are in Him (II Corinthians 5:17). The Apostle Paul's assurance and reproof of the wayward Corinthians confirms the truth that our being is unchanging even if our steps are sometimes unworthy of our Lord and His presence in our hearts and lives.
"I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ, that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 1:4-8).
"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (I Corinthians 3:1-3).
Had we seen the conduct of the Corinthian assembly of believers, we would have been shocked to read Paul's declaration that God would "confirm them unto the end." Their being and their walk so conflicted that despite the fact they were "in the spirit," they continued to "walk as men" (Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 3:3). Thus, Paul asked a rhetorical question that actually addressed the heart of the Corinthian believers' reality: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16).
When we trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit enters the innermost depths of our being and therein changes who and what we most deeply are.
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
Our bodies may look the same. Our personalities may retain much of their inherited and learned traits. And some ways will abide, so long as they do not conflict with God's will. However, when we believe, the Holy Spirit births within our hearts a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). Who we are therein is not who we were. The presence of Christ changes everything regarding our innermost being and identity. "Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).
This is blessed truth, blessed truth of God's grace in the Lord Jesus. However, it is also challenging truth. Every excuse for sin dissolves in the bright and burning light of the new creature we are in Christ. No temptation we will ever confront us that transcends His enabling presence in our hearts. We can always trust and obey. Moreover, such faithfulness is always the truest delight of our hearts. "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22). We do not always do so, of course, and like the Corinthians, truly born again believers can descend far into ways of darkness that totally conflict with "ye are light in the Lord." We can walk according to who we were rather than who we are. However, our walk does not affect our being. What we do or don't do does not alter who we are in Christ. Again, of the carnal Corinthians, Paul affirmed, "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).
We must know the difference between our being and our doings. The latter must flow from the former. Who we are in Christ should guide what we do through Christ, and for Him. Thus, we must know the miracle of grace God performed in us when we trusted the Lord Jesus. We must realize He freely gave to us the "newness of life" that makes possible thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions that correspond with the character of Christ, and with our innermost character as spiritually birthed by Him. "Ye were… Ye are… Walk." Being leads to doing. Knowing the new creature we are in Christ makes it far more likely we will live in accordance with He is, and who we are in Him. And knowing that our being does not and cannot change prepares us to more consistently walk as the children of light we are through the Christ of light who dwells within us as the Life of our lives.
"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
(I Corinthians 3:16)