Are You Safe in Christ?
To be converted means to be changed from the normal way you and I have always thought and acted to a new spiritual led, way of life.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh (or the pulls of the flesh) but after the Spirit. Verse 4: “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. Verses 6-7: “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is hostile against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:1-7).
Paul is simply telling us to continue in this new way of (that is the Christian way) life, but to depart is death.
To be guided by the Holy Spirit means to be guided by the sound wisdom and love of God. You and I were not born with this type of mind, but to have the mind of God requires a miracle from God.
A holy and spiritual mind must come from God alone, because only God has it to give. Notice Romans 7:14 “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am fleshly, sold under sin. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (v. 18).
The Apostle Paul finally realized and so should you and I that we don’t have the power to do what is right. We all need to realize just as the Apostle Paul did that in our flesh dwells no good thing. We can sometimes will to do good, but we cannot perform it of ourselves.
There is a law which governs the human carnal action in man, and it wars against the converted spiritual mind.
Job was a perfect example of a man who was proud of being upright, fearing God and shunning evil, or so he thought. Job tried to obey God according to the ways of human righteousness, notice (Job chapter 29:1-25).
Verse 1, “Oh that I were as in months past. As in the days when God watched over me. When His lamp shone upon my head. And when by His light I walked through darkness. Verse 5 “When the Almighty was yet with me. When my children were around me.”
Verses 12-25 Job talks about all the good things he had done. But Job had to learn the hard way that his righteousness was nothing but filthy rages before God, and he did learn.
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eyes see thee. Wherefore, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).
The point is this: if we, in God’s church, try to serve God in our own righteousness and exalt ourselves in God’s sight, then it is time we abhor ourselves and repent. When we are in the flesh, the passions of sin (and the course that is our human nature) brings death.
Now, when you and I were baptized we entered in a sense into a vow with God. When baptized we are taking a vow to bury the old self, to bury the flesh in a watery grave.
You were then raised from that watery grave, but you didn’t raise yourself, did you; you were figuratively raised from that death to a new life dictated by the Spirit and will of God. For a better understanding of this read chapters 6-8 of the book of Romans.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid, how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:1-3).The next verse tells us why: “For if we have been united together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”
This one verse tells us what this Christian life is all about. The question is: how many of us are trying to raise ourselves up out of that watery grave of death?
What we should be doing is depending upon God to raise up that new person; a person that is no longer headstrong, and follows the old desires but is led by the Holy Spirit.
The old self was only symbolically buried; our part is to keep it buried. God’s part is to impart the new life. To be safe in Christ Jesus, we must continue to resist our carnal pulls, if we don’t’ we break that vow of baptism.
But how do we do it? “Pray all the time, asking for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18 Jerusalem Bible).
The Apostle Peter tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion, walking back and forth in the earth. What is Satan trying to do? He wants to see if our thoughts turn again to self, and our carnal desires begin to secretly rule our life again.
If we allow Satan to do this, then our baptismal vow would be neglected, and possibly be forgotten, so that the Spirit of God would no longer fill us.
So what is God’s part in this agreement? “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). God would supply us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Now God did not promise to remove our fleshly desires, but He did promise that if we resist Satan’s temptation, and resist those fleshy desires He would draw near unto us.
“Be humble then before God, but resist the devil and you’ll find he will run away from you. Come close to God and he will come close to you” (James 4:7-8 Phillips Modern English). By doing this; God gives us His spiritual desires and nature. What is God’s spiritual desires and nature? Why it is love in action. It is Godly Father-son-relationship.
Now this active love between God and you must exist forever. “But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved” Matt. 24:13).
How many of us have fallen into a weak spiritual condition?” Does pride swell up in us, are we offended or get our feeling hurt if we are not exalted among the brethren?
Sometimes our spiritual weaknesses take another form: maybe we are constantly seeking the desires of the flesh, struggling to get ahead. Do we have problems that weigh us down; so when we ask God for help we get no answer.
Maybe we have been overlooking something: “But what about the feuds and struggles that exist among you, where do you suppose these come from? Can’t you see that they arise from conflicting desires for pleasure within yourselves? Submit yourselves therefore to God: draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep, humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).
Do we really understand what James is saying? Real repentance means keeping the old self buried. True humility will always be accompanied with thankfulness to God. Are you thankful to God for opening your eyes to His Truth? We have been called to be part of the Firstfruits to enter the Family of God.
Just look at modern Christianity; by the thousands they worship (in their own minds) Jesus Christ, singing and offering up praises to God; but they are not safe in Jesus Christ, they are not real Christians; and it doesn’t make any difference how good these people may be. They are searching for Christ, but God has not called them, but He has called you. So rejoice in your calling, no matter what part of the body of Christ He puts you in.
“So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him. And he who invited you and him come and say to you, give place to this man, and then you begin with shame to take the lower place” (Luke 14:7-9).
We, in God’s true church should rejoice that we have been bidden to the marriage of the Lamb, rejoice in the strength and love of a perfect all-powerful and merciful Creator who delivers us from our weakness.
Let us take pride in God’s strength, if God is our strength who can overthrow us? When we draw near to God and He to us, notice what happens:
“Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh. That they may walk in My statues and keep My commandments and do them, and they shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Ezk. 11:19-20).
The question is, are we resisting God, if so we need to quit doing that: God is our Master Potter; we are the clay in God’s hands; God will use the power of his Spirit to mold and shape us; let God do his thing.
But why is it necessary to lay down our stiff will and do the will of God? So that we may walk in His statutes and keep His ordinances and do them. “And they shall be My people and I will be their God, God’s will is reflected in His law.”
We must allow God’s Spirit to soften our hearts; when we do this; we come to have the mind of God; we come to be in harmony with Him.
We don’t argue with God; we don’t want to do something else; we will be of one mind saying: “Thy will be done, O God, not mine.”
If we are safe in Jesus Christ; then we should set out to seek and obey God with all the zeal we can muster. To be safe in Christ we much have faith - faith is one of the most important assets we can receive through the Holy Spirit.
“Thus he shows for all the ages to come the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness he has expressed toward us in Christ Jesus: For it is by grace that you are saved, through faith. This does not depend on anything you have achieved. It is the free gift of God, and because it is not earned no man can boast about it. For God has made us what we are, created in Christ Jesus to do those good deeds which he planned for us to do” (Eph. 2:7-10).
God has caused circumstances in this world to try us; even strike out at us and fill us with fear and trembling, unless our faith in Him remains firm. Our family and friends may turn against us; say evil things against us because we have chosen to obey God.
As we watch world events; we can see that laws are being enacted to stop us from preaching the truth:
“But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you: they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name” (Luke 21:12.
When this begins to happen, will we have the courage to endure? Only through faith in God can we endure their wrath and scorn. Church brethren can treat you coldly, and it can try our faith in God. Don’t allow the faults of others to instill doubt in God.
Since we are not perfect yet; just what will it take to separate us from the love of God? Will tribulation do it; what about distress, or persecution, famine or nakedness or peril, or sword?
Paul tells us: “As it is written, for thy sake, we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Rom. 8:36).
If we are truly converted; and safe in Christ Jesus, then we should be able to say what Paul said: “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.”
How about it brethren, is your faith that strong? If not then steps must be taken to strengthen it. There are two things we can do (1) Ask God in prayer for more faith (Luke 17:5). (2) Read the Bible and think about what you are reading; also listen to God’s word being proclaimed by the ministry.
“So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).
Never once has God told us that this life would be easy: “Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it: but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
Are we truly wise and spiritual enough to choose the way of life? We cannot begin to have God’s Spirit of wisdom until we learn to fear God and keep His commandments (Prov. 1:7).
Keeping of God’s commandments is also love (I John 5:3). Solomon tells us “get wisdom along with understanding (Prov. 4:7). How do we get wisdom? James tells us “you ask for it from God” (James 1:5).
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words and treasure my commandments with thee so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding. Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding, If thou sleekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures. Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:1-4)
How do men search for silver rand gold, do they have a passion about it? If we search for God’s wisdom and understanding as passionate as men do for gold and silver then: “shalt thou understand righteousness and judgment, and equity, yea, every good path: (v. 9).
Is this how we are seeking God’s Holy Spirit, His wisdom, His faith, His laws of love? Do we pray often and earnestly, do we search the scriptures for reproof and correction for instruction in righteousness?
Is Jesus Christ our Shepherd? As we walk through this life with the threat of dishonor, ridicule and death ever before us? If Jesus Christ is our rod and staff, by which He chastises and corrects us, is that a comfort to us?
Do we thank God that, even in the presence of our enemies, he sustains and keeps us? If we have not grown in these areas as we should: then we need to dedicate our heart to overcoming and growing in the Sprit and character of God.
The most important thing he has given us to do is to seek His Sprit, His wisdom, His faith, His love with zeal which proves we really want it. We must seek to live a life filled with and led by the Spirit of God.
Be zealous that we do not neglect the things that God has given us to do. Serve God, not with high-mindedness but with meekness so that we are pliable in the hands of our Creator, the Master Potter. Then, you will be safe in Christ!