Dealing with the reality of our salvation

Posted by Mark Labuschagne on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The realities of life is something we all have to face. We need to understand that the things we go through are exactly that, "life" and I believe if we can understand this, and even though we do not have to accept everything we are faced with, understanding this fact, in my opinion, makes it easier to face various trials and tribulations and deal with them as and when the need arises.

Dealing with self-righteousness

Living the Christ-life only becomes reality when we surrender unconditionally to the will of God in our lives. First of all the word of God tells us in Rom 10:9-12 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. It is my understanding that when we do this by faith, we are saved and delivered from all things that would beset us and our lives, now surrendered, belongs to Jesus Christ.

The next step is to remind ourselves that we have been saved by His grace, made alive through Christ and not by our own efforts or works.

Eph 2:1-10 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

When we followed the ways of the world, we were only living for ourselves and our self-righteous thinking that our good works only served to keep us away from the truth and God's righteousness. Paul writes, Rom 10:1-4 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

So it is the act of love, Christ's love, that reconciled those who confess and believe that Jesus is Lord of their lives and no longer live for themselves. 

Dealing with sin

There are many who have given their lives to Christ, yet continue to struggle with sin. It is important that we learn not to focus on the sin, but on the righteousness of Christ for in doing so, we soon learn to see ourselves as free. You will continue to live a life of condemnation if your focus remains sin. However, if your life is hidden in Christ, then we see ourselves free from sin, living by grace. 

There are many in the church who continue to see the sin and not the Christ. The focus is on the sin and I have learnt the very thing we meditate on, we become. Romans 7:15-25 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 

Christ's death and resurrection set the standard for our righteousness and reconciled us with the our heavenly Father enabling us to break with the traditions of the flesh as we live for God. Isa 43:25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

1 John 3:6-10 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

The struggle therefore is not in the heart but in the mind and we have to see ourselves as healed and delivered from the past, no longer a slave to sin and now free to worship God in spirit and in truth. 

Live for Christ, walk in the spirit

So, when temptation comes, we do not focus on the sin, we now remind ourselves who we are in Christ. 

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16) Today’s big question: how do we walk in the Spirit?

As we look at the context, we can see how Scripture defines walking in the Spirit. In the previous verses, Paul told the believers in Galatia to use their freedom in Christ to show love rather than living in sin (Galatians 5:13–14). 

We continue reading and learn that “the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another” (Galatians 5:17). So, simply put, walking in the Spirit is the opposite of walking in the flesh. 

What does walking in the flesh look like? Well, Paul gives the answer in the next few verses, listing numerous “works of the flesh.” Then he states that “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19–21).

This does not mean we are saved by our works; Scripture makes it clear that salvation is by grace and through faith alone in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9).

But we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, emphasis added). For this reason, Scripture often commands us to test ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) and analyze whether we have the fruit of the Spirit in our life. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:9–10, ESV)

The book of 1 John was written as a comfort to believers (1 John 5:13). However, 1 John powerfully challenges any who claim to believe in Christ yet live in unrepentant sin. Giving a lip service to Jesus Christ as Lord can be easy, but in order to give life service, we must surrender ourselves fully to God. The Apostle Paul wrote about this: 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1–2)

As our minds are renewed and conformed to the perfect will of God, we will “walk the talk” and produce the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22).

Today’s big idea: to walk in the Spirit is to deny the flesh and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Pray this prayer: Father, help me to surrender myself to You, and help me walk in the Spirit.

Our love for our Father

Mark Labuschagne We are a vessel set apart, cleansed, emptied, consecrated; just standing, waiting every moment for God, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit, to work out in us as much of the holiness and the life of His Son as pleases Him We worship Him only!

Ministry Bio

Mark Labuschagne At the age of 12, God called Mark to ministry and for the last 44-years his desire to stay true to this calling remains his passion. It was in the desert place, the road less traveled that God gave Mark a prophetic voice and sent him to the nations. In his 30 years of ministry, Mark has traveled to 60 countries and has seen the hand of God move in amazing ways in the hearts and lives of those he was sent to. He has a special love for the USA, a nation that he has visited and traveled extensively for over some 20 years. He currently lives between South Africa and Botswana and is an accomplished pianist, a sort after speaker, a respected preacher and seasoned prophet who desires to see the Kingdom of God established in the hearts of people across the earth. Married to Andi, they have two children, Carey 30, now married to Matthew and Ryan 28, engaged to Chantal, with Arabella their first grand baby and a cat named Tiga...