THE GLOVE!

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In the Amplified Bible, Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

I’ve talked about how the Christian life is Jesus’ life…period!  It’s a life of total and radical dependency on Jesus to live His life through us.  It is this phrase, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” that I would like to illustrate.

I have a leather glove sitting here on the table.  If I told the glove to pick up my Bible and move it to the other table what would happen?  Nothing!  Exactly!  No matter how much I might teach it about it’s fingers and thumb and teach it how to pick up the Bible, it is still powerless to accomplish this simple act.

This is precisely how the Christian is to live.  The hand IN the glove is indispensable to the function OF that glove.  We are the glove; Jesus is the hand.  The glove takes on the strength of the hand to do what needs to be done.  The glove as I illustrated, is absolutely useless without the hand.

We too as Christians are effective and truly alive because the life of God was put back in us when Jesus came in to take residency. Only hen we surrender to Him and by faith allow Him to live His life can we experience real living!

The glove without the hand beautifully illustrates dead religion.  No matter how “pretty” or “righteous” we may look or how many religious things we may “do”, it is all empty and dead. It doesn’t matter if you’re the preacher, elder, deacon or anyone in “church” if you are living/acting in your own power and or initiative it is for naught.

Jesus is the only one who EVER lived the Christian life and He is still the only one who can live it today…through YOU and me as we by faith allow Him to do so.  Don’t you think it’s time we display to the world what Jesus looks like by abiding in His life in us?

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STOP TRYING!!!

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Oh to live in “victory”!  The longer I walk with Jesus the more I realize how rare this is in the Body of Christ.  Yet, it IS the very life our Father intends for us.  Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.”

    When I consider how many of true believers are not experiencing Jesus alive living in us who IS our only “hope of glory”, my heart breaks.  My heart saddens because I lived like this for sooooo long!     What is sad is that the TRUE gospel is so simple yet so profound. It is simply this: (1) the FINALITY of the cross – He reconciled us while we were His enemies and (2) the REALITY of the resurrection – He rose to give us HIS life!

    Hudson Taylor (5/21/1832 – 6/3/1905), who was a missionary and founder of China Inland Mission discovered this realty WHILE in China as a missionary.  He wrote the following in a letter:

 

“…to find your heart all taken up by Him; to be reminded of His love by His seeking communion with YOU at all times, not by your painful attempts to abide in Him.  He IS our life, our strength, our salvation; He IS our wisdom and righteousness, our sanctification and redemption; He IS our power for service and fruit-bearing, and His bosom IS our resting- place now and forever…”

 

    So, how do we then live and experience this victory?  The apostle Paul said this in Colossians 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, {so} walk in Him,” and again he says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

    We walk (live) just like we got saved…by grace through faith… period!!!

    Again here is what Hudson Taylor had to say about this:

 

“How then, is this faith increased?  Only by thinking of all that Jesus is and all that He is for us: His life, His death, His work, Himself, as revealed to us in His Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts.  Not a striving to have faith, or to increase our faith, but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need – a resting in the Loved One entirely for time and eternity.  It does not appear to me anything new – only formerly misapprehended.”

 

May we REST in Him today!

Thank You Brother!

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small-butterfly-flapping11Have you ever wondered if there are people you have impacted with the gospel, but never knew about it?  

     I know I have, and the Lord has blessed me a few times on the receiving end when someone expressed thanks for touching their lives and I didn’t even know it.

     Well, this is why I would like to bless someone.  There is someone who has had a profound effect on my life, and I wanted to say thanks in a public way.

     Bob George of People to People Ministries was truly a God-send in my life.  Back in the fall of 1993 I began listening to his radio show, and I was instantly blown away.  I remember thinking, “I’ve never heard anything like this.”

     Up to that time, I lived a life of bondage going from defeat to defeat rather than victory to victory.  I had absolutely no idea what it looked like to walk in freedom.  Well, I was captivated by his book Classic Christianity and I will never forget the day I got to chapter 4. 

     I broke down and wept when I realized that as a Christian I have a new life and it is Jesus life being lived in and through me.  The concept of the exchanged life overwhelmed me.

     Although the “grace life” began captivating my mind and heart, it’s sad to say this but I was so steeped in legalistic thinking that it still took a good 7 years until I began to experience real transformation.  I discovered that sometimes it hard to shake all those lies.

     I could go on, but I will spare you.  I just wanted to say,

 

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart Bob!  You have been and still are a huge blessing in my life and the reason why I am now walking in freedom and victory. I love you brother!”

 

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LET HIM DO IT!

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When we talk about “being saved” I think we often forget or maybe we’ve never been taught that our salvation has three tenses or parts to it.  They are as follows.

– I was saved when I believed in Jesus;

– I am being saved as the character of Jesus Christ now becoming manifested in my life; and

– I shall be saved when at last, in resurrection life, with a glorified body; I stand in the presence of the Son of God fully glorified forevermore.

It is the second part of our salvation that I would like to address.  The term for this is sanctification.  This is a term and concept that is often misunderstood.  Here is a fantastic definition:

“Sanctification is the appearing of the characteristics, the perfections, of the Lord Jesus in terms of your human personality.” – Oswald Chambers

Mr. Chambers absolutely nailed it!  It is a growing process by which Jesus manifests Himself more fully in us AND through us.

It thrills my heart every time I reflect on the reality that it’s all about Him.  He started it (I was saved not of myself but as “a gift”); He continues it (sanctification) and He completes it (glorification.)

So, we see that our becoming more “like Christ” is about His work in us and His work through us as we trust Him by faith to live out His life.  It reminds me of Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for {His} good pleasure.”

It’s not by my effort, my cleverness, my determination, my discipline, etc.  It’s ALL Jesus!  He gave His life TO ME!  It was the Great Exchange.  I exchanged my filth and imperfection for His wonderful righteousness. 

So, rather than wear a bracelet that says “W.W.J.D.” to remind me to behave properly.  God is calling me to live a life of faith in the finality of the cross (sins were fully paid for) and the reality of the resurrection (I have a new life).  It’s the difference between wrestling about trying to “get it right” and resting in Him.

This motivates me to be more and more consumed with Jesus and all that HE is in me; to live each day with a grateful heart in all that He has done and is doing.  Faith simply says, “Thank you!”  This is normal Christian Living.