If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. But all things are of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17,18 ASV)
The all-inclusive rule of the new creation is that “all things are of (out from) God.” Concerning this fact the Apostle Paul uses the word “but” – “But all things are of God” – as though he would anticipate, intercept, or arrest an impulse to rush away and attempt life or service upon an old creation basis, or with old creation resource. The great question then is: What does it mean that all things in this new creation are out from God? What kind of a life will such a life be? To answer that question adequately would be a very comprehensive task and the most revolutionary thing conceivable.
To begin with, we should have to be settled regarding the difference between the old and the new creations, and then as to how far-reaching that difference is. In addition, we should need to see that God has put these two creations asunder, utterly and forever, and however gracious and forbearing He may be with us in our ignorance and slowness of apprehension, He never accepts the overlapping or intertwining of the two. Then there would be the further need of an inward, intelligent judgment and power by which we are made aware of the Divine veto upon the one and energy toward the other….
It is not what is done for God that will last, but what is done by God. The measure of spiritual value is determined by the measure in which God promotes it, not the measure of human activities according to human judgments and energies in the name of God.
Seasoned exhortation from T. Austin-Sparks taken from “All Things in Christ” CHAPTER 7
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. (John 5:39 NIV)
Ministry is the expression of Life, and not the taking on of a uniform and a title. Once I thought that to be in the ministry was to go into a certain kind of work, to come out of business, and, well, be a minister! So one got into the thing. Many, many are laboring and toiling in it, breaking their hearts, afraid to leave that order of things, lest they should be violating what they conceived to be a Divine call. Many others cannot get out of it because it is a means of livelihood, and they too are breaking their hearts. It is all false. Ministry is not a system like that. Ministry is the expression of Life, and that is but saying in other words that it is the outworking of the indwelling of Christ. Disaster lies before the man or woman who ministers on any other ground than that. When the Lord gets a chance in us, and we really will trust Him on that ground and take our position there, He will show us that there is ministry enough for us; we shall not have to go round looking for it. The real labor so often is to get us down to that ground, the delivering of us from this present evil age even in its conception of the ministry, unto the heavenly ministry.
The Lord Jesus is our pattern. You see the spontaneous ministry, the restful ministry of that Heavenly Man. I covet that! It does not mean that we shall become careless, but it does deliver us from so much unnecessary strain. That is how it should be. May the Lord bring us to it; the heavenly Man with the heavenly Life as the full heavenly Resource.
The laughter continued! This laughter is not the “funny laughter” that is peculiar to any theological group. It is just good old laughter but God was in it. They all laughed and laughed then, it went quiet. The silence that followed was remarkable. You could hear a pin drop.
Then, the sister walked to the middle as they all gazed at her, wondering what had just made them all excited, calm, peaceful and full of joy. At the same time, they were eager to know what their sister not their “sinning sister” had to say. She greeted them and started to sing a song they all usually enjoyed. It called their hearts and minds to the beauty of living their lives on earth together in love and deep reverence for God and for the hope of eternal life together with Him, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the saints written in the bible and those who had been amongst them that have slept in the Lord.
As they ended the song, another song was raised. They continued singing different songs for a while and then, one of the “righteous sisters” came to the front and stood with her. The “righteous sister” said, “As we were laughing, God spoke to me” but she was quickly interrupted by the voices of the others, “please tell us what our Lord said!” Then she said this, “He told me that I am forgiven the sin that has defeated me all along, and that it will not have dominion over me again”.
Suddenly, one after the other, they all came out to affirm that God told them the same thing as they were all laughing.
As the place settled again into silence, everyone’s eye was again on their previously known “sister sinner”. They exclaimed, “please beloved, tell us what you wanted to tell us before, the Lord moved us to testify of His forgiveness of our hidden sins and victory over the sins through His grace”!
The sister broke down, weeping for joy and happiness! She told them the story of her encounter with God which was exactly the same thing they had experienced while laughing. Their gathering together henceforth was never the same. The song “Bind us together with love that cannot be broken” was reawoken in the fellowship.They learnt to be patient, love, pray, exhort and admonish one another. They learnt to differentiate between those whose determination is to remain in sin so that grace may abound from those who are standing against sin in their lives, asking and learning to overcome it with His grace in them.
Their motto became, “lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path”.
All His ways are perfect, merciful, holy, righteous, peaceful, and joyful and crowned with love. “He will not let His people remain in corruption”.
Let all who love the Lord say, “all His ways are just”. Amen.
A woman became a Christian and was full of excitement, peace and joy. Not long after, she noticed she had an immense struggle with a particular sin. She fought to overcome this particular sin that had mastered her but to no avail. However, she did not change her theology concerning the sin she was struggling against. She didn’t want to be enslaved by this sin. But, how would she be free is the question she didn’t have an answer to. She had enjoyed reading and hearing that Christ has set her free, fair enough! Her thinking remained, “but I have not touched or handled it. I want its reality in my own life!”
On this particular day, she woke up in the morning not battling the sin but weeping bitterly over this sin that has defeated her to no end despite her fighting against it. Unknown to her was the fact that this day was going to be a remarkable day for her, because God came to her and said, “You’re forgiven, it shall not have dominion over you again”. Being overjoyed, the woman rushed out to fellowship with her Christian brothers and sisters whom she had always desired to please by living clean and well. Seconds after joining the ongoing meeting, the conversation and preaching topic changed to the sin she had been known for in an attempt to condemn her. No one had been her “brother in Christ” to notice that this sister was not enjoying the sin; the sin held her bound. Saleh!
This sister that God has forgiven and given grace or power over the sin exploded into prolonged laughter. As she laughed on, the “righteous brothers and sisters” busied themselves with thinking unrighteous thoughts about her— “God is unto her to kill her now for her persistent indulgence in the sin” but, she continued to laugh and before long, one after the other, everyone including the “righteous brothers and sisters” joined in the laughter.
The devil never gives up easily in his effort to derail saints and to keep those outside Christ from ever getting to receive Him. He will use any means possible. He is desperate if we care to know—that is, if we still believe that there is a Satan at all.
While in the past, he used the usual kind of hypocrites (those who are hard on others but soft on themselves); he has long included a special kind of hypocrites.
These special kinds of hypocrites are increasing by their numbers in this generation like never before. Special kinds of hypocrites! What is that?
Now, we have those who are in Christ (especially preachers) who will not touch or go near sin under any heading— they love Jesus, fear God and rely on the Holy Spirit to live their lives. They don’t kid with praying fervently, don’t just read the bible but study it deeply, pursue love with their hearts because they fear God and understand that everyone without exception will reap what he or she sows Galatians 6:7, Revelation 14:13. So, they are quite aware that God’s justice cannot be bribed by a cover up with “born again” façade Matt 7:21, John 4:34.
But, in spite of all the wonderful virtues they have as listed above, when it comes to their work (serving the church) and reaching the world with their ministry and spiritual gifts, they become smart with God because they want followership. They want to be reckoned with in the religious world. They want to be identified with a prestigious camp (theological niche). Therefore, they teach tactically the devil’s lies about Christ’s doctrines (watered down) in such a way that they themselves don’t secretly believe and live as they prescribe for others to. They live their lives better in accordance to Christ’s true doctrine for His honor and their safety but tell others to believe and live less by the watered down doctrines of devils. No Christian is above being tempted in this matter.
Is, preachers who teach others that they should worship God based on their love for God, faith, His grace etc but cleverly exclude the fearof God in the list Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 16:6. They unlike the usual hypocrites are hard on themselves and soft on others mainly for the sake of followership. Meanwhile, these are preachers who are prepared to lose everything they own including their own lives and (actually have been tested as such), and in those times of their trials and temptation, the very thing that crystallized their love and faith in God and His grace they found is their fearof God’s wrath.
The Fear of God
While faithful and victorious Christians in every generation knew/knows that love for God is a main pillar for persevering by faith and the grace of God, none denies, none should deny the truth that their literal fearof God’s wrath was/is also, a crystallizer during the times of their severe trials and temptations Matthew 10:28.
This matter is not to be overemphasized. We just need to mediate over the subject and let the Holy Spirit converse and teach us what to believe and how to live.
To have faith and love towards God and grace is wonderful but, minus fear of God, we are prone to worship and persevere during our times of trials and temptations in our own ways and not His. This is why many times, we as Christians give blanket testimonies—we can’t state the nitty gritty of how God delivered us from our trials and temptations because we cut corners.
The words of R C Sproul hits the mark in this regards, “God absolutely requires that He be…worshipped in a way that He commands, not according to the way we prefer”.
Cajoling people into our churches with watered down doctrines and slick testimonies have hardly been helpful.
Our command is to tell of the gospel (testify of the person of Christ) to the lost, those enslaved by Satan and their own desires. If they believe as His Father draws them, they will be saved, cleansed, infused with incremental grace, and exposed increasingly to the depth, height, width and length of the visions of Christ as savior, Lord, prince of peace, provider and eternal Father. These activities of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart, overshadows his or her soul and bears out of their body the fruit of the Spirit not our own righteousness. This leading of His Spirit in and about the believer and the Church, is our safety against deceiving spirits in these last days as it has been from the start of the church of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Let those who have the Treasure in their earthen vessel indeed, look closely to themselves, examining their doctrine and walk carefully with all manners of prayers and in regular fellowship with other believers 2 Corinthians 4:7, 1 Timothy 4:16NLT, Hebrews 10:25, Colossians 3:16.
To fear God without loving, reverencing, praising, giving thanks and proclaiming His Son Jesus Christ unashamedly amounts to nothing 2 Kings 17:33, Exodus 1:17, 21.
As we hold faith towards God, love, reverence, serve and fearHim, May His grace, peace and joy abide with us all!