The secret to healthy Christian growth lies with recognizing, keeping in mind at all times what Christ has done in you, doing in you and for you Col 3:2, Rom 8:5-6.
What He has done in you?
This fundamental gift, has been received because of our belief in Christ’ sacrifice that jump started our relationship with God. God commands man to worship Him in spirit and in truth but without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ it would have been impossible Mark 10:27.
By His gift of regeneration (Christ coming to indwell in your heart), you have been forgiven the sin (Adamic sin) and your sins. You have now been presented to God blameless before the mercy seat called the throne of grace or the holy of holies where only the high priests in the Old Testament could appear. And, they could only enter after many sacrifices, obedience to the law and a rope tied around his waist. A lot of “work” had to be done by the high priests. This is appearing before God by works.
Yet, the high priests was not totally accepted by God because their purification was done with a less than a perfect blood which, had to be repeated over and over again Heb 10:1. This cleansed their outward sins but “the sin nature” was still there. Their consciences were not sprinkled Heb 9:9. They didn’t experience regeneration. They needed Christ! Yes, a Savior.
All the high priests who died before Christ’s sacrifice, waited for Christ to come down to Hades to save them. Praise God for his faithfulness! Jesus did after His sacrificial death and eventual resurrection.
You and I have not worked hard for our salvation (regeneration) we have only received this gift by His grace through His gift of faith Heb 9:14. This call for joyful dancing more than gaining the whole world Matt 16:26. Christ has taken you into the most holy place as the new and true high priest forever.
What He is doing in you:
Teaching and Propitiating
Through the Holy Spirit, He is teaching those He has brought into the father’s presence how to imitate Him to love the father. He is not bringing ungrateful and rebellious people into God’s presence—those who will live without loving God. Remember that the conscience of the old high priests, the priests and all the people was not sprinkled clean but ours is and it affords us grace in an increasing measure to love (fellowship intimately) with God as He desires.
Recall that rope was tied around the waist of the high priest when he must appear before God in the most holy place. This signifies the law of commandments reminding him to tip toe and obey without any possibility of mistakes or sinning else he dies instantly. This is so because the sacrifice he did before entering God’s presence covered him only once—it did not continue to propitiate while he is in God’s presence.
But, in your case and mine, the once sacrifice of Christ, presents us totally accepted and yet continue to propitiate for us. Praise and thanks be to God! Therefore, the new rope (law of the Spirit of life-Jesus Christ Rom 8:2) is still around our waist not as a law of commandments by which we may die and be drawn out but rather, as a lamp to our feet– teaching, reminding and enabling us to walk in love with our God and with men Mark 12: 30-31, Gal 6:10. All of these, bring the fulfillment of Deut 6:5-6 in the heart of those regenerated in Christ Jesus John 4:23-24 .
See what great and awesome thing Jesus has done for you and me. His power is exploding inside us (His people) and, if we don’t grieve the Holy Spirit—He’ll live out the beauty of Christ through us. The devil cannot stop it but we surely can by having no regards for His Treasure in us. That is the reason we’re admonished not to grieve or deny Christ. How will you respond?
What did God require from the high priests and all who could appear before Him?
You shall love the lord your God with ALL your heart, your soul and body. Jesus Christ did exactly that! Submitted His spirit, soul and body to God on our behalf so that He might bring many sons (those who will submit spirit, soul and body) to God because of their love for God. A love the power of Christ has put in their hearts towards God. This is a love that utterly hates darkness and actively resist it.
When God demanded love from His people, He actually demanded many things e.g., patience, kindness, hope, justice, long suffering, endurance in faith, truth, humility and casting off of jealousy, boasting, pride, rudeness, irritability, and unforgiveness 1 Cor 13:4-7. The core that holds those things together is this “does not demand its own way” (1 Cor 13:5) but follow after the way of the Spirit (which love) Rom 8:6. It will mean, when the Holy Spirit says to us to react in this way or that way, we will obey without minding how it makes us feel or appear in the eyes of others.
The way of our soul (self), must surrender to His way and ways. This is the reason Christ has sprinkled our consciences. Pure conscience exudes the grace of God.
When we unwisely relate the great passage on love in 1 Cor 13 to only our human relationships and leave out God who is our first love, we end up with our own interpretation of what love is and use it as a weapon for selfishness, trickery and sin.
If we fail to practice those virtues towards God, we cannot practice it rightly towards men.
Therefore, we can see the following counsel from 1 Cor 13 for a healthy growth:
1. Be patient with God for His due season to fulfill the things He has promised.
2. Trust in Him at all times under every circumstance.
4. Don’t be rude to God. We don’t nickname Him (the man upstairs).
3. Walk humbly with God.
4. Forgive God. This may sound funny but many get mad with God Luke 7:23.
5. Set self aside— give up your own ways for His ways.
He that loves God abandons his or her own way of doing things and aligns to God’s way. This leaves us with a total dependency on God which is, exactly what He wants from every one of His sons. Those who grow in this, God call them friends.
With fresh understanding, let us apply 1 Cor 13 to our relationship with God and then to the household of faith and beyond. This way, we will be in for a great season of faith, hope and love that last forever 1 Cor 13:13. Amen