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Stopping bad habits isn’t what gets you submitted to God; it doesn’t earn you a place in Christ nor make you appear great before God. While it’s important to live an upright life and have a good report before men, what makes you stand right with God is very different. This is not to say it doesn’t matter anymore what you do, when you are in Christ, He makes you lead a good life before men. The Bible says we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) but we must watch it! We were first of all created, we weren’t doing good works before we were created, we were created for a reason and the knowledge of who you are is paramount to understanding the purpose of your making.
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I needed to lay the above foundation so that what I am about teaching can be void of all controversial inclinations. I want to show us that while moral instructions aren’t terrible, it doesn’t produce any result in a man without Jesus. The commandments of Moses were all moral instructions, showing man how to live upright, bringing definition to what sin was and leaving man at the mercies of the feeling of guilt for transgressing the law. Of what good does it make to tell a man how terrible he is and yet not offering him a way out of his situation? Of what use is it to tell a harlot “you are a harlot! It is bad!” without showing her a way out of her addictions? She knows she is a harlot, she knows it is bad but she feels that is the only thing left for her to do with her life and as long as there is no alternative, she isn’t ready to depart from it. What if she was told “it is not good to be a harlot but there is a better life you can live”, believe me, she will be eager to know what that better life is.
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All through our childhood stage, we were threatened with a lot of punishments when we break rules, we were told what to touch and what not to touch, what to do and what not to do! Certain times we even had no knowledge of certain sins until it was introduced to us and still got commanded not to do it! We would feel remorse, get afraid and feel very bad for misbehaving but we still couldn’t stop misbehaving, we hate it but our body finds pleasure in it!
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I remember vividly how I have been punished for several offences, I would promise myself never ever to do it again, I would try for just few days but before I knew what was happening I was in it again… I hated it but I still couldn’t overcome it unless certain condition provided alternative for me. For instance, if I had wanted to steal money to buy something and I suddenly got money from someone, I may decide not to steal again. So, my good works then was often based on certain conditions or fear of punishments, they weren’t good works anyway because in my heart I had stolen it! This was the kind of situation the Jews were faced with, they were held bound by the law, the law sure did cut certain excesses but it never dealt with the root of the matter.
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Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:14 “But their minds were made dull. For to this day the same veil remains when the Old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away” while Paul was writing concerning the Jews and how the law wouldn’t make any better out of them, we can comfortably see from here that no instruction, no discipline and no amount of trials would reconcile man to God except in Christ. Our life in Christ is much more important than our physical life and our life in Christ can direct how we live our life in the flesh. This is because it is in Christ that the discovery of who we are is made and like I said in the beginning of this article, the knowledge of who we are is paramount to understanding why we were made and taking actions to that regard. Now, the law wasn’t showing men who they are, it was rather telling them how terrible they were by their inabilities to obey it.
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But it was different in Christ, in Him we were first of all created so that we can live out who we are. In Christ, we received supply and therefore we can meet the demands but in the law and outside Christ, we are forced to supply what we don’t have. The Bible says “…for it is God who works in us both to will and to do”, He supplies everything to us so that we can live it out effortlessly. This is why Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:12 “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold”, this is the same boldness the word communicates when it says “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), we can also be bold to say “in Christ, we have a greater glory, the glory of the new covenant. This is the boldness that we have in Him, in which we can approach the throne of Grace without fear of condemnation, not minding we might have erred. Men may not be satisfied with us because they look at human character and flaws but God is satisfied with us because He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and our heart is changed in Christ, in Christ we received a new clean heart, in Him we are born of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23) and God cannot see anything else but our clean heart.
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This is not to suggest God isn’t pleased when we showcase His character to the world by living a decent life but God loves us with a perfect love that sees no wrong, so God has decided to see His righteousness in us and that is who we are, the righteousness of God. The Bible tells us “God is love” which means we can only get the definition of love by looking at His character. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:5 “…love keeps no record of wrongs” and yet says in verse 6 “love does not delight in evil…” So we can see God from here, while God doesn’t keep the records of our wrong doing because He loves us, He doesn’t want us to walk in evil and that is what our response to His love should be like. We will never want to walk in evil if we love Him, we will rather rejoice in the truth!
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Now we can see that in Christ, we are God’s own people. It is not like God rejects you if you don’t surrender to Jesus but you are the one who rejects God this time. There is no other way to God except Jesus of which He said “no man comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6). Now we can see that good life begins in Jesus and not in any other means, not by our own righteousness which is filthy to God.
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I said we can only discover who we are in Christ, once we come to Jesus, we are made and then we begin to know more of who we are. The more we know, the more we do. We can’t do without knowing because we become what we know. The Bible says 2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”. Can you see that? First, the veil that limits us and makes our mind dull is taken away in Christ. In Christ the mystery of godliness is made known to us and as we keep studying and meditating on God’s word which is the only way to know more, we keep getting transformed into God’s image. This transformation occurs in our mind not in the Spirit because in Him we have a perfect Spirit but a mind that needs constant renewal. We keep building that consciousness of who we are as we keep beholding God’s word and we see ourselves living great lives for God. As long as we are consistent with our meditation in the word, God’s glory increases in us consistently and this glory comes from the Lord who is also the Holy Spirit in us who teaches us all things and brings all things to our remembrance!
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Now you see, there is a higher life in Christ!
Our obedience to the laws of the land and organizations may make us outstanding people in the eyes of men but it doesn’t secure us a place in God. We have been called to live in peace with men and to also live in peace with God. We can only achieve this in Christ because the moment we receive Jesus, the nature of God which is love is shed abroad in our heart (Romans 5:5) and as long as we stay in tune with the Holy Spirit we can live great lives. The ultimate commandment is love and this happens when God’s love has been transferred to us.
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God bless you.
#GracefulGeorge

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