Have you ever pondered on what It means to bear the name of Christ? In other words, do you ever think deeply on what it means to be a Christian. As I was meditating on the biblical facts of Christianity, I began to think about the incredible reality that has been given to us (you are part of “us” if you have repented of you sins and trusted your life to Christ by faith).
The Bible tells us that every single person has sinned against God and has rebelled against Him. Now, some might be thinking that my statement is too strong, that they are not living in rebellion against God. You might argue that you live a respectable and good life. But, there is something that needs to clarified. To live a good and respectable life, a life full of good deeds, love, giving, and sacrifice for others, yet to do so without recognition of God as your Sovereign Lord and Savoir is an act of rebellion against the Creator of all things and the One who defines good, love, giving, and sacrifice. We all must admit and confess that we have not given God the glory, attention, worship, and worth that He deserves. More often than we would like to admit, we operate our lives as though we are God. We glory in self, give attention only to what we want, praise other things or self more than God, place more worth in things like health, kids, and activities than we do God. Thus, we are all guilty of rebellion against the One True Holy God.
BUT, the wonderful news is, is He has offered us His forgiveness. For each person who will admit their rebellion and sin against God, and then turn to Him and ask Him for mercy, He will grant it to us by calling us to place our faith in His Son Jesus, who paid the penalty for our sin. The Bible says that penalty is death (Romans 6:23). In Jesus, and in Him alone, can God justly forgive a sinner of their sin. Sin must be punished. It is only just that it is. This should make sense to us since we demand justice when we are wronged. Whether we seek justice wrongly by seeking revenge, or we seek it rightly by pursuing it through the justice system, we all demand justice to be done. God does too! And He is the just Judge who gives out the proper sentence according to the offence committed. Due to the fact that we have rebelled against God (the most supreme being possible to sin against), we deserve eternal death. God being the just Judge He is, would be right in giving us this sentence. Yet, in His mercy He offers us Jesus His Son. If we will humble ourselves and admit our sin and the punishment that we deserve, yet at the same time are willing to turn from it and place our faith in Jesus, not our good works, to make us righteous/just, then we will be saved. What an amazing thing!
But, it is much more than this! Think about this for just a minute. Believing in God is so much more than forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is a wonderful and freely thing, but that is only looking at one cut of the diamond. If we are believers in Christ, then we are:
– The elect of God (Romans 8:33; Titus 1:1)
– The children of God (John 1:12)
– Co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)
– The redeemed (Galatians 4:5)
– God’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9-10)
– A spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5)
– Regenerated/Reborn to a new life (John 3:5; Titus 3:5)
– Adopted into God’s family (Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5)
– The Church (Matthew 16:18; 18:17; 1 Corinthians 1:2)
– The Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27)
– God’s witnesses (Acts 1:8)
– A chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)
– Citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20)
– Pilgrims\Sojourners (1 Peter 2:11)
– The righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
– Salt of the earth, light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16)
– Fishers of men (Matthew 4:19)
– Followers (John 10:4)
– Disciples (Matthew 28:19; John 8:31)
– Servants (1 Peter 2:16)
Now, that makes faith in Jesus something beautiful to gaze at and think upon!
But because these things are true for those that has trusted in Christ…
– We should walk in holiness
– Be committed members of the church
– Obey God’s word
– Put away sin
– Share our faith
– Love others
– Forgive others
– Keep our mind and heart focused on eternal life
– Walk carefully in this world
– Do not love the world or the things in it, but love God
– Continuously pray (talk) to our Heavenly Father
– Be serious about our Christian walk
– Proclaim biblical truth
– Passionately study and learn God’s word (alone and with others)
– Worship God often (alone and with other believers)
– Be joyful in all circumstances
– Confront sin (in ourself, in others, in culture) with a spirit of gentleness
– Deny ourselves
– Make God the number one priority in our lives
– Use our money, time, energy and talents to make disciples of all nations
– Regularly repent of sin
– Constantly praise God for His grace
– We should not waste our lives on things that will not make a difference in eternity.
– And more, and more, and more…
In other words, these are the minimum implications. To reduce the Christian life to less than this would be an insult to God Almighty and a denial of who we are as His children, His church, and His people.
Many Christians find their “joy tank” running on empty simply because they know the facts of the first list, but are not living out its implications and applications. They have decided to seek joy in living for other things, rather than finding it in Jesus Christ. There is only one problem with living that way. It disappoints us. Why does it do this? Because when God saved us, He did so in order to call us to a better life. A different life. A life led by Him. A life with Him. A life focused on eternal things, not earthly ones. Many are living disappointed because the focus of their life is on temporary things. Earthly things. Things that were never designed to give us everlasting joy. Therefore, even though they know who they are as believers of Christ, they do not act nor feel like they are. And there is no reason they should. For they are not walking by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). Their faith has stalled. It is stagnant. It is on the verge of being non-existent. BUT it does not have to stay that way. If they will humble their hearts and turn once again their passion and focus to the Lord Jesus Christ, and start living out by faith the implications and applications of who they are in Him, then their joy will return, and their joy will be full. See, living in the Christian hope never disappoints (Romans 5:5).
The blessings and privileges of being and follower of Jesus are enormous. The applications and implications are numerous. My lists are not complete. There is much more the word of God tells us.
SO, what is the point? Simple. If we are to delight ourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4), then we must ponder and act on these things. In other words:
CHRISTIAN JOY comes from realizing the first list and living out the second list. If we forget the first list, we will find the second a burden or meaningless. BUT, when we personalize the first list, there is GREAT JOY in keeping the second.
JOY! Do you want it? Then take some time to ponder on God by reading His word. Realize the truth of who He is. The truth of who you are in Him. Then begin applying by faith the reality of the gospel. If you will, you will find His joy in you, and that joy will become full!
“If you keep my commencements, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” – John 15:10-11