Monday, February 13, 2017

What Is the Christian Life?

Titus 3:4-7

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  NIV  Bible Gateway.com

   The Christian life is just that - a life, not simply a set of rules. Sadly, a lot of churches preach Christianity as a list of dos and don'ts. Then faith looks like a formula: Jesus' saving grace plus doing good things minus doing bad things equal righteousness. Most of us have enough problems without worrying about whether we're following the extra-biblical rules of a church.
   A man-made formula for righteousness runs counter to scriptural teaching. Not only did Jesus condemn the Parisees' heavy-handed religion, but He Himself offered liberty through grace ( Matt. 23:1-4; John 8:36). Neither keeping God's law by self-effort nor adhering to extra rules makes a person free. Legalistic believers are in bondage and growing ever weaker.
   When a person accepts the saving grace of Jesus Christ, he or she receives a new life. (See Rom. 6:4.) This is not an uptight lifestyle of doing good works. A believer is a changed person - the same body but a transformed mind and heart. Christ lives through you. His Holy Spirit flows into your spirit just as sap runs in a grapevine. It's like getting a spiritual blood transfusion! Strength pumps into places where weakness once prevailed. Why rely upon your frail self when the courage and power to follow God's will are available through Christ?
   ... Depend upon Him to change you from the inside out, and trust that He will. Jesus is your life. He will never get tired of transforming you.
Stanley, Charles F. "What Is the Christian Life?" In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living September 2016. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries. page 31.

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