Becoming Christian, Part Three: More on Relationship

The common misconception about God, and Christ Jesus, is that He is somewhere out there in heaven. We pray to Him something like spiritual long distance hoping He hears us and will answer our prayers. Nothing could be farther from the truth for true Christians. I’ve written a lot about what constitutes a true Christian, but for the sake of those readers who are reading this blog for the first time, a Christian is someone who is totally committed to Christ as his or her personal Savior, who loves God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength, and does the will of the Father in heaven (Matthew 12:49,50; Mark 3:34,35. See also: Romans 8:6-11; Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 5:3-19; 13:18-23). For these people, Christ is living within them, and they in Christ. Jesus prayed in the garden “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory that You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one, I in them, and You in Me” (John 17:20-23). God intended us to be a trinity of soul, spirit and Christ just like He is of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. See my previous blog on the trinity of man.

Living in Christ: Jesus tells us “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or, ‘See there!’ for indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (John 17:20,21). In other words, We live in Christ (Ephesians 2:10), and He lives in Christians, which fulfills the God-intended trinity of humans. And, Christians are Jesus’ brothers and sisters through adoption into God.

Adoption: Paul uses the concept of adoption in his book to the Romans because they would understand the reference to Roman law on adoption (Romans 8:14-17, 23: See all of Chapter 8). Roman adoption law at the time made an adopted person a part of the adoptee’s family just as if the person was born into the family. He or she received a new name, and all previous debts incurred before the adoption were wiped out. The adoptee started fresh with a new life in a new family. The person’s old life no longer existed. Likewise, when a person is born a second time into God (John 3:16,17) He becomes a new person in Christ, spiritually reborn. The old life is passed away, all things become new. The Christian is no longer held accountable to God for past sins (though perhaps to man-made law), because in God’s eyes the Christian is a new person. Jesus paid the penalty for the person’s sins on the cross, and by His grace and through faith, gave him or her new life through His resurrection.

Heirs: If adopted, then heirs (Romans 8:17). Christians become joint heirs with Christ to the kingdom of God: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). We are made heirs by God’s grace, through our faith in Christ as Savior (Romans 4:14-17; Ephesians 2:8-10). The Christian is “justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to he hope of eternal life” ( Titus 3:7; Hebrews 6:13-19). Christians are heirs with Christ to eternal life in heaven with God through our faith in Him as Savior (Hebrews 11:9,10; James 2:5: see 1Peter 2:7).

One mind with Christ: We are, then, in Christ and He in us, and we a are spiritually one with all other true Christians. And since all true Christians love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength and put Christ first above all else in life, they become one in mind and purpose with Christ. What His plan is for the world becomes their plan for the world. This plan is foundationally the Great Commission to go forth and make disciples in all nations-which includes your neighborhood, by the way. You, as a Christian, are heirs to God’s promise of eternal life with Him in Heaven. And also His guidance and help in carrying out His plan for your life here on earth: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these: Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith” (Matthew 6:28-30).

We should not be overly concerned with our worldly needs, but seek first the kingdom of God, and what we need will be added to us by God. This does not mean we should just expect God to provide everything for us. That would be tempting God, which violates His commandment (Matthew 4:1-7; Mark 1:12,13; Luke 4:1-4). He works through us as His ambassadors, which includes our working for our livelihood in the world. We should, though, do that work in a way that glorifies God and brings others to Him, because they want for themselves what they see in us. And what they see in us as Christians is His light shining out from within us.

Here is a point to consider carefully: Christ lives within us, and us in Him. He is with us always, even to the end of this age, so whatever we do in this life not only reflects what others see of Him. It is, of course, impossible for us to live without making mistakes. It’s a matter of intent, and our will being in harmony and resonance with His will. Then we are doing what He wills for us to do. If we are not doing what he expects of us, then we would be dragging Him through the filth of our willful sin. But He withdraws for us in that case. We can’t expect his help and guidance, though He will chastise us and try to steer us back onto the narrow path.

I have said before, as has Joyce Meyer, Billy Graham and others, that it is what we do in private, when we think no one sees, that shows up who we really are. But we are never alone. God sees us all the time, and angels are watching over us, and see what we do. That thought may cause you to stop and think about cleaning up your life, of changing who you really are. And, there is no better time than right now, this minute, to start sweeping out the trash in your life, of cleaning up your act, as the expression goes. What is Christ going to see in your life from now on? Remember, too, that whatever people see in you is what they think of Christ, because your His ambassador here on earth. This Son-day morning is a perfect time to start.

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