Sunday, October 04, 2009

Proving What is Acceptable Unto the Lord

Galatians 5 is an illustration of good vs. evil. In Galatians 5 verses 16-21, we learn how the evil of various sins keeps us from walking in the Spirit of Christ.

Then, Galatians 5:22-25 describes the good that is achieved by the fruit of walking in the Spirit.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Paul is instructing us that we first must live in the Spirit, before we can walk in the Spirit. What solid truth this is! If we do not live according to the fruit of the Spirit of God, how could we ever claim to walk in His Spirit?

The answer is: we can't!

It is only with God indwelling within our hearts that we can truly walk in what He declares through His Word - the good that results in following Christ, who alone, is righteous.

What is good?

Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. When we walk in such things as those, notice that the Bible states "against such there is no law."

The law was set into motion in order to show us our sinful nature and to get us to realize that without Christ's sacrifice for our sins, we would not (and could not) EVER be forgiven for them. It is through giving our whole selves over to Jesus Christ that we become His own. And when we are His (e.g. we belong forever to Him) it is then that the miracle of crucifying our own flesh can happen.

Ask anyone who is born again in Jesus Christ how they have been miraculously transformed into a new person! The "affections and lusts" of the past in their lives have now been tossed aside, and they are now a new person in Jesus Christ.

Such transformation happens as a result of sanctification. this is something that occurs to the Christian for the rest of his/her life. We will never completely "arrive" on this side of heaven, but as time goes by we discover that the old desires of the past are now meaningless to us. Eventually- they are destroyed! The desire to do them does not exist anymore. The old self has become transformed into a new life in Christ!

Notice that there is one negative "fruit of the Spirit." It is called longsuffering. The Bible is an honest book. The truth is declared throughout its pages and even Christ himself told us that we would endure longsuffering here on this earth.

Jhn 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What a paradox that verse is! Jesus speaks to us of having peace - despite the fact that we will have tribulation (trouble) in this world.

So, why (and how) can we be of good cheer?

Answer: Because Christ has overcome the world!


Precisely because of his sacrificial death on the cross for our sins!

I was reading in Max Lucado's book - "Traveling Light" - that even when the time for our physical death on this earth arrives, it pales in comparison to what Christ endured for us on the cross.

Lucado explained via a story. He mentioned that in Psalm 23, David wrote, "Yea though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me."

Then, he asked a child who was fearful of the concept of death (something that we are all destined to do) if he would rather be run over by a bus or by the shadow of a bus. The child answered - "the shadow of the bus." Lucado continued to explain that the child answered correctly. And, it is because Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself and that Christ experienced the "run over by a bus" kind of death, that we wouldn't ever have to experience such a death. Instead, we will pass through "the valley of the shadow of death." This is another way to say that we do not die spiritually because of what Christ has done for us! What a marvelous Savior we worship and belong to!!

I thought that was a great analogy to put forth the point that Christ's sacrifice for our sakes was the greatest event in human history! And, his subsequent resurrection from the dead shows us that his word is absolutely true! We can confidently trust him with our very lives!

No other spiritual leader ever claimed to die for the sins of mankind. No other savior could prove exactly who he was by rising from the grave. Jesus was the only one who accomplished that!! Therefore, we can trust him wholeheartedly with our lives! We can trust in his promises! Like this one:

Jhn 14:2
In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Jhn 14:3
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

The book of Ephesians, Chapter 5 discusses the fruit of the Spirit. Verse 8 informs us that were all "sometimes[in] darkness. But now, as born again Christians we are now "light in the Lord." The light [meaning holiness, righteousness] shines from Jesus Christ! To walk as children of light, we are to be reflectors of HIS LIGHT [righteousness, holiness]! This is why no one can brag about anything within ourselves. All glory, honor, thanksgiving, and worship belongs to Christ alone!

Here's a verse that humbles each and every believer:

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

But we are brought back from our uncleanness through the Lord:

Eph 5:8 ¶ For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Eph 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Reference: Blue Letter Bible

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