2005-01-02 - Two Questions
Psalm 1, Part 5
"But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe. For there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:21-24).
The only one God knows, that is, who He will have a relationship with, is the righteous. The wicked can look to Him for nothing but eternal judgment. The individual is given the opportunity to choose his way, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Only the righteous can look forward to an eternity with the Lord. And the unrighteous have only an eternity of separation, in Hell, to look forward to.
So there are two questions which must be asked here. First, there may be some who wonder: "Am I are counted among the righteous?" Paul says, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures "" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then "if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
Next, as believers, we must ask: Are our lives typified by the "Word Distinctive?" God's word needs to fill two areas of our walk. First, it must be an integral part of our daily life. Like the tree planted by the stream, we must be immersed in God's word. We cannot put out fruit, if we have no sustenance. It is amazing how much of a struggle it can be to read the Scriptures on a regular basis. Even for myself, it is a struggle to study the word, other than in preparation for teaching. One thing that has worked for me is to have the One Day Bible, which if used regularly is set up to get through the Bible in a year.
However, our focus can't simply be to get through the word; we must continually apply it to our lives. This means it isn't enough to read the word. We must study it. Take every opportunity placed before you to get into the word. The most important thing is to get into the word with the involvement of the Holy Spirit. The local body must encourage believers to grow in love, and in study and application of God's word in their lives. One of the joys of being part of a family, is that we can hold one another to account, to help one another.
"and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing ear" (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Second, if we see God's word as all-important, then we must be willing to share the gospel as the Lord leads us. Outreach isn't an option, but a requirement of the walk of the believer. We are not called to go out and get converts. First, because it is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to convict someone unto salvation; second, the role of the believer is more complex than giving out the message of salvation. We are to take those who come to know the Lord and to help them grow and mature as believers. This takes the accurate use of the Word.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20).
To be continued.
Comments or Questions?