It Comes Down To This
Life is filled with many opposites. This is not necessarily a problem except when it comes to spiritual comprehension. We know by experience the difference between hot and cold, old and new, light and darkness, high and low and many other such things. We live safely by knowing the difference between opposite things.
Spiritually, we live righteously and victoriously by knowing the difference between spiritual truth as related in the Bible and the conclusion of our own minds and hearts. There is an immense deference between what is related to us by the Holy Spirit and what is the product of our own imagination.
In this article, I would like to discuss the difference between the truth revealed in the Bible and made real by the Holy Spirit and the conclusions of people’s own mind. This is so important because our relationship to God is at stake, both for time and eternity. Also, our witness to others is at stake. When it comes down to this, what are some things we need to give great attention to before it is too late? What will eventually be proved by God to be true. What, eventually, do the following things come down to?
Do we live by revelation or by reason? By revelation I mean the truth of God revealed in the Bible and brought to the believer’s heart and mind by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is much more than an accumulation of writings by human authors. The Bible is he very word of God. Paul exhorted Timothy, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:13-17). The Word of God is eternal and cannot be broken; it is forever settled in heaven.
To live by revelation is to believe the Word of God as given to man by God Himself. It is thus to order one’s life by the teachings of the Bible as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. It is to come to a place of heart surrender to the Lord so that we can begin to comprehend the truth of God’s Word.
It is easy to be confused if we do not walk in fellowship with Him. The Psalmist said, “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psa. 73:3). Because ungodly men seem to prosper in the world, they often come to false and dangerous conclusions. “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment” (Psa. 73:6). It is sometimes easy to be jealous of the ungodly. This was the thought of the Psalmist, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood their end. Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedest them down into destruction” (Psa.73:17-18). Indeed, it is a knowledge of God and His Word that enables one to see clearly. Yes, it comes down to this, either we see clearly the truth of God’s Word or we stumble at it and suffer the consequences!
Do we live by faith or fear? When we come to know the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we begin to know what it is to live by faith. Indeed, the Bible is clear that we are saved by faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yours selves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any mans should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). The Christian life begins in faith and continues in faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Yes, there is much in life to fear. This has always been true, but especially is it true today as we see the prevalence of crime, the threat of war, and the diminishing of God given authority. If one did not know the Lord as Savior, fear would reign in his life continually.
For the believer, however, peace can reign in his heart regardless of the circumstances he lives in. Of course, there is a natural fear all live with such as the fear of heights, the fear of fire out of control, or the fear of crossing a busy highway. This is given for our self protection. Without it, many of us would not be here! But beyond that, the believer can live in peace regarding such things as the circumstances of his life and what the future holds for him. Indeed, he can live without fear because of his relationship with God and the truth of His Word. However, If a believer is not faithfully studying the Bible for himself, he will not personally know the peace of God in his daily life.
Note some of the Biblical truths regarding faith as opposed to fear. David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” (Psa. 23:4). David had to walk through many places of great danger, but it was the presence of God that gave him a sense of safety! God said to His people Israel, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).
The promise of God to each believer is, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7). Note that the antidote to fear is the love of God in the believer’s heart, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (I Jn 4:18).
So it comes down to this for each one of us is, “Are we living by faith or by fear?” To live by fear is a very uncomfortable way to live. We have no assurance for the future and we feel threatened by so many things. To live by faith is to have God’s presence and assurance that He will care for us in every circumstance of life. It is to face the future with confidence knowing that God is already there and that He knows every obstacle we will face. It is to trust Him with our future and to rest in His loving provision for us.
Are we broken or barren? By being broken, I mean being broken for our sins. It is the conviction that comes to our souls when we are confronted with our sins by the Holy Spirit. It is coming to the conclusion that Paul came to when he said, “For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing…” (Rom. 7:18). It is then bowing at the cross of Jesus Christ and confessing our sins before Him. It is to see our sins for what they are, an abomination in the sight of God. It is significant that life comes out of our recognition of our death because of our sins! Being broken means coming to the place where we recognize that we are unworthy of any approval before God because of our sins. This does not mean that God loves us less, but that we have no approval before Him because of who we are or what we do. Our acceptance before Him is totally of Christ Himself. A glorious truth!
Now, brokenness is the path to fruitfulness. Many Christian have never come to the place of being broken for their sins as believers. Thus, they live a carnal, or as the Bible calls it, a fleshly life. It is a life lived for the pleasure of self with little real concern for the presence and will of God in their lives. As a result, their lives are mostly barren of any real spiritual fruit. They assume because of conformity to certain expected rules of living they are living a fruitful Christian life.
Living the Christian life is not the result of what we do on our own for God. Living the Christina lie is a matter of abiding in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we fail to see this, we fail to see the essence of the Christian life.
Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples” (Jn. 15:4-5, 7-8).
So, it comes down to this. Either we are spiritually barren in our Christian life, or we are bearing fruit for Him. I pray that the cross of Jesus Christ might be large in each of our lives that our lives might be fruitful for Him. How sad to live out our Christian lives with little or no thought of the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives! If this, however, characterizes our life, we may still come to Him in faith, confess our sins, and begin to know His glorious presence in our lives! We can then know the joy of bearing fruit for Him.
Are we in a state of rest or restlessness? Yes, it comes down to this; either we are knowing true rest in our souls or we are experiencing spiritual restlessness. When one comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he begins to know genuine rest. He knows that he is a sinner, but he also knows that Jesus died and rose again that all of his sins might be forgiven. Such faith brings a sense of rest that nothing else ever could. The believer has rest because the hostility towards his sin is forever put away. The Apostle Paul said, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross” (Col. 2:13-14).
It should be noted here that even though one is a believer, he will not have the fulness of rest in his soul if he is living in known sin. True rest comes only when one knows in his heart that his sins are forgiven and that he is thus walking in fellowship with God. When a believer permits sin in his life, he will not know the fulness of God’s peace. Thank the Lord for the His promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9). Indeed, either we are knowing rest or restlessness in our souls.
Is our worship one of fellowship or form? Worship is a very important part of the Christian life. If one is truly born again by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, he will know something of true worship. Worship is matter of the heart in appreciation of what Jesus did for him when He died on the cross. Before salvation, he was destined to eternal separation from God knowing only the judgment of God. By faith in the finished work of Christ, he has passed from death unto life. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn. 5:24). It is this knowledge based on faith in Jesus Christ that prompts true worship. There is so very much to be thankful for!
Genuine worship is not something practiced only on Sunday, but is a continuing attitude of the heart.
Conversely, worship can be a form, something taught and practiced apart from true conversion. Such “worship,” though intended to be directed to God, usually lacks a sense of true joy and thankfulness. It is a form practiced rather than fellowship with a living Savior! Of course, if people are born again by faith in Jesus, worship may take some different forms.
Is our spiritual comprehension one of truly beholding the truth of God or blindness? By beholding is meant the matter of truly believing, seeing, and comprehending the truth of the Bible. Many people have attended church for years, even had daily devotions , but have never personally come to faith in Jesus Christ. Many people, in spite of their religious experience, have never had their eyes open to the truth of the Bible. That does not mean they don’t know much of the Bible, but that they have never personally trusted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
The truth of the Bible can only really be taught by God Himself, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said to the disciples, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient that for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you…Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth , is come, He will guide you into all truth…” (Jn. 16:7-8, 13).
So, in reality, it comes down to this, either we know Jesus Christ by faith and are thus taught by the Holy Spirit, or we do not know Him and so never come into the knowledge of the truth. Many may disagree with this, but I believe it is the teaching of the Bible. I Don’t want to live by the whims of man, but by the revelation God has given us in His Word, the Bible.
Are we rejoicing or regretting? When one is saved and living for the Lord, there is great cause for rejoicing. Such a one can look back on his life without so much regret. On the other hand, the believer who has not been living faithfully for the Lord can only look back on his life with many regrets. Thank God for His invitation to us to come to Him for forgiveness. As we do so, we can begin to experience the true joy of the Lord!
Are we living or lost? It really and finally comes down to this, are we alive in Christ or are living our life on the basis of our own whims and desires apart from God and so living in a state of spiritual death? I cannot emphasize this point strong enough!!! Man, in spite of his good intentions, religious doings, or self made righteousness, cannot make his own way to heaven. One either has life in Christ or he does not. There is no middle ground. The Biblical record is very clear. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I Jn. 5:11-12).
So, one either has spiritual life in Christ or he does not and so is lost. To be lost is to be without the presence of Christ for eternity. Jesus said to the 12 He sent out, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
In so many areas of life, it finally comes down to that which is really important. All else is insignificant compared to that which is really important. Jesus warned, “For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away” (Luke 9:25). Thank God for the conviction of the Holy Spirt who reveals to us our sins that we may come to Him in faith and find that which is eternally important!!!
We have enjoyed the month of August. The weather has been quite nice and we have had some good and much appreciated rain.
If we are believers, we should thank the Lord for being saved from the corrupting influences of sin in our lives. Granted, we still deal with the temptations of sin, but there is a way of forgiveness and cleansing. For those who know not the Lord Jesus as their Savior, the influences of sin are present and powerful. The only One who can break that power of sin is the Lord Jesus. The message of Peter is so helpful here, “According as His divine power hath give unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:34).
The above is more than a theological truth to be studied and forgotten; indeed, it is the evidence of the life of Christ that defines the Christian life and makes it to be one of blessing and fruitfulness.
To me anyway, the time seems to be passing so quickly. Certainly it cannot be long until the Lord’s return for His church, the body of Christ which includes all who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. There seems to be a special rush to the fulfillment of prophecy. The Bible’s prediction of a one world government, one world economy, and one world religious system is being fulfilled before our eyes!