The Christian Way of Life
A Christian is a new creature, part of God’s new creation (2 Cor 5:17). The first fruit of this new creation is Jesus Christ Himself (1 Cor 15:20). With His resurrection from the dead (1 Cor 15), He is the first Man to experience a glorified body (1 Pet 1:21). He authoritatively reigns over all creation, heaven and earth (Mt 28:18). Jesus Christ is the God-man, who is Lord of all (Acts 10:36; 17:24).
The continuing work of making things new is operational in the resurrection of the souls of God’s chosen people (regeneration). God the Father and God the Son send God the Holy Spirit, to baptize and indwell the regenerate (Rom 8:9, 11), who the Spirit causes to be born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). This is in accordance with God’s predetermined plan (Acts 2:23), for the benefit of His predestined elect (Eph 1:4-5).
The indwelling is actually Christ living in His people (Gal 2:20), willing and working His good pleasure in them (Phil 2:13), who are called, “believers.” This is not a passive occupation. God is actively causing His people to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). This includes His causing them to know His covenant of grace (Ps 25:14) and causing them to walk in His statutes (Ezek 36:27).
The life of God in the soul of man is dynamic. God has chosen to abode in the hearts of sinners (Rom 5:5, 8; 2 Cor 5:5). He has given them His mind (1 Cor 2:16). His abiding presence powerfully influences the will of His people, who are also called, “slaves of Christ (Eph 6:6),” and “slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:18).”
Having moved them from death (Eph 2:1–3), to life (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13), there is a new life to live (Rom 6:4), as servants of a new covenant (2 Cor 3:6), made adequate by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, which is the will of God for the Christian (Rom 15:16; 1 Thess 4:3, 7; 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2).
Growing in holiness is a work of God’s grace (He does it!) that employs means. The means of grace are known from the Scriptures. The Bible is taught to God’s adopted children (Rom 8:15, 23), by the Helper and Comforter (Jn 14:26), who guides them into all truth (Jn 16:13). God’s Word is the Word of truth (Ps 119:160; Jn 17:17), which reveals that God is true and every man is a liar (Rom 3:4).
The written Word powerfully sanctifies the Christian into conformity to the image of Jesus Christ (Jn 17:17; Rom 8:29), the perfect representation of God (Col 1:15), who took on flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14). He is fully God and fully man, having the full nature of both. God is impeccable, which means Jesus was a man without sin (Heb 4:15). He always did what was pleasing to His Father (2 Pet 1:17), and the ambition of the saint is to please Him, as well (2 Cor 5:9).
The work of God, in fitting the Christian into Christ’s mould, is impossible for men (Jn 15:5). Like crafted stones, fitted for a glorious temple, so is the Christian being fit into his or her place in Christ’s church, the temple of the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:21–22). In other words, we are created in Christ Jesus, for Christ Jesus, by Christ Jesus.
The evidence of the Christian’s conversion is the abiding presence of the Spirit and His holy work, both in and through the Christian (Eph 2:10). These good works, of God’s Spirit, manifest in the faith of the Christian. You will know the Christian by her works (Jas 2:17–18), which display her faith. These works are strangely obscured from the view of God’s vessel of mercy, being prepared for glory (Rom 9:22). Simply put, the Christian labors unaware and is often oblivious to the impact. This restrains the sin of pride. Honor and glory are rightly ascribed to the Spirit of Christ.
The slave of Christ is most joyful when he is boasting in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:31), who is glorified by His church, bearing witness of His good works (Acts 1:8). As the Son of God is glorified in His body of saints, this brings glory to God the Father, who is revealed most clearly in Jesus Christ.
The preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2) is a demonstration of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:4), who powerfully converts sinners into saints by the Word of the Cross (1 Cor 1:18), which the preacher proclaims without being ashamed (Rom 1:16–17).
As God adds to His holy nation of royal priests through this humble method (Acts 2:47; 5:14), He also reveals the Christian way of life to His redeemed people that He has made for His own possession (1 Pet 2:9). He who began this good work has promised to finish it (Phil 1:6). His wisdom and power cannot fail to achieve what He has purposed (Eph 3:11). This is the blessed assurance of God’s beloved children (Rom 5–8).
The Christian life is Spirit-led and Word saturated (Ps 119; Gal 5:16, 25). Christians are rightly called, “people of the Book (Bible)” because the knowledge of God is found there. The regeneration of the heart is complemented by the renewing of the Christian’s mind. The choices of the will are made, in light of God’s truth, and increasingly resemble those of Christ (although not perfectly in this life).
The Christian way of life is the life of Christ manifesting, as a good work of God that cannot help but bear witness to lost sinners in a world of darkness. It has a sure course because the One who sits in the heavens and does as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6), has promised to accomplish what concerns His people (Ps 57:2; 138:8). Christian, fear not, God is with you and for you because He is in you and will never leave nor forsake you. This is Good News for those who believe in and experience a better way of life, now and forever.
Spokane Valley, Washington
June 29, 2022