PART 2 TESTIMONY
PART 2 TESTIMONY
Do You Know How God Sees You?
Do You Know Who You Are in Christ?
Now that we have become a Christian, how should we be thinking about ourselves? Do you continue to think of yourself according to a particular pattern of behavior, or are you learning how to think about yourself in light of God’s new perspective concerning you?
Let’s begin by answering the following question.
How did God think about us before we were saved?
Children of disobedience
Ephesians 2:2-3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Since we were born, our condition was that of spiritual death, being separated from God, and as such, we regulated our life within the sphere of trespasses and sins11 in this moral and immoral atmosphere in accordance with the ruler of the demons. It is the spirit (the evil tendency; the disposition) of such that influences the children of disobedience (those who are disobedient in their nature; the unregenerate). The apostle Paul further stated to the saints at Ephesus that at one time their way of life was like the unrighteous, the unregenerate, who were habitually performing of acts that satisfy the passions of the evil nature and of the evil thoughts, thus a fulfilling of those desires.12
So, before we were saved, we were known by God as being the children of disobedience, the children of wrath, i.e., as those who were unregenerate.
How else were we characterized before we were saved?
Please go to the book of 1 Corinthians.
And such were some of you
1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
We are told that the unrighteous (the unsaved; those not related to Christ; those who did INJUSTICE to others and attempted to do it under the sanction of the courts13) will not enter into the Kingdom of God (the Kingdom of God on earth; the church on earth). And neither will the rest of those mentioned, but not because of their sin, but because they were not saved. There are some sexual tendencies or inclinations mentioned here that those, who don’t know God, could be engaged in such as those who are fornicators (those who have sex outside of marriage), adulterers (sex with someone who is not your husband or wife), effeminate (a male prostitute; the passive … partners in a homosexual relationship14), and abusers of themselves with mankind (active partners in a homosexual relationship15). What I wanted you to notice was that those who were not saved were addressed as being unrighteous and/or by the sexual tendency or inclination in which they were engaged.
So, now that we are Christians, how does God see us or talk about us differently?
Stay in 1 Corinthians.
But ye are washed
1 Corinthians 6:9, 11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Before we become aware of the words God uses when He talks about us, we need to know the basis for His divine name calling of us, which is founded on our new condition that took place at salvation. The apostle Paul tells the converted at the church of Corinth that some of them used to practice some of the overt sins mentioned, however, at salvation three things happened to them as to their spiritual condition.
●First, they were washed.
They were baptized into the Christian faith being identified with Christ in His death and burial, thus being separated from sin’s power. Likewise, they were identified with Him in His resurrection and became a new creation to walk in newness of life by the same power that raised Him from the dead.
●Second, they were sanctified.
They were separated from common, earthly, or sinful uses, to be wholly employed in the service of the true God.16
●Third, they were justified.
They were accepted as righteous, having entered into a new relationship with God.
What we can deduce is that before salvation such were some of us. However, all things have now become new. Who we used to be in the sight of God is different. This doesn’t mean that we are not susceptible to committing sins, but we have a new standing with God, a new nature, the indwelling Spirit, and the Word of God to help us learn how to be an overcomer in these areas.
Now that our condition in the sight of God has changed, what words does He use when He talks about us?
Please go to 2 Corinthians.
All things have become new
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
We are described as being a new creature, a new creation; a new being, a new person on the inside.17 And as such, those things that characterized the pre-Christian life18 have disappeared, and our whole sphere of being has become new, whom God the Father owns as his workmanship, and which He can look on and pronounce very good.19
The next stop will be the book of Galatians.
Thou art no more a servant
Galatians 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
This tells us that we are no longer servants to sin or owe servitude to obey the tenets of the Mosaic Law. At salvation, we have become sons, adopted sons, adult sons positionally – as God declares it; a member of His family. And because we are His sons, we are heirs who possess God Himself, who can partake of His nature, and who possesses every spiritual blessing to which we are entitled. Beautiful, isn’t it. Do you think of yourself in this manner?
Go forward to the book of Ephesians.
Ye are no more
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Who are we, as this verse so beautifully put it? We are no longer those who had no kind of rights like the unconverted Gentiles when they left their country and entered the territory of the Jews, but when conversion took place, we are not only as those who belong to the same community with the same heavenly citizenship of the Christianized Jews, but we are also of the household of God, i.e., of the same family having all equal rights, privileges, and advantages; as all, through one Spirit.20
Is this helping you with respect to how you should see yourself and thus expect the same perception by your fellow believers?
The final question is when we operate in sin, does the sin characterize us, i.e., as being a fornicating Christian, an adulterous Christian, a lying Christian, a gay Christian, etc.?
Let’s begin by going to the book of 1 Corinthians.
Unto babes in Christ
1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
The apostle Paul is informing us that a Christian can be characterized by the nature in which they are operating, which would essentially signify the level of their spiritual growth or walk with God. He said to the Christians at Corinth that he could not speak unto them as unto spiritual, i.e., spiritually mature, as those who allow the Spirit to teach him (them) and direct him (them) by feeding on the Word.21 Unfortunately, he had to speak to them as those who were carnal, i.e., characterized as spiritually immature as evidenced by being wholly under the influence of his (their) sensual …nature.22 The reason given for them being in this state was that they had a want of capacity to digest and assimilate good strong food of truth.23 And as such, they were considered to be like children as relates to their understanding of Christian teachings,24 i.e., they lived on "Bible stories" and not Bible doctrines.25
What else do the scriptures have to say about us when we are operating in sin?
Please go to the book of 1 Corinthians.
If any man that is called a brother
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
It is possible for a Christian to habitually engage in certain sins such as those committed by a fornicator (a male prostitute; a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse26), or covetous (greedy), or an idolater (one who eats things offered to idols), or railer (slanderer; someone who speaks insultingly or abusively of others27), or a drunkard (addicted to alcoholic consumption), or an extortioner (one who carries off the possessions of another by force28).
If a Christian commits any of these sins, could they be called by others as being a fornicator, covetous, etc.? The answer is yes, however, who they are in Christ and the sin they are committing and subsequently the classification of the Christian committing it are to remain separable.
There is another verse which tells us that if a Christian commits criminal behavior, then they could be charged as and being so.29
The final verse to be looked at is found in the book of 1 Peter.
Let none of you suffer
1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
The apostle Peter is imploring fellow believers that hopefully none of them would be charged and as being so30 a murderer (homicide), a thief (confiscation of property was not to be compensated for by theft31), an evildoer (some other kind of criminal action toward others), or as a busybody in other men's matters (breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage;32 one who pries into the affairs of another; one who attempts to control or direct them as if they were his own;33 "bishop" … of other men's matters - of things that do not concern him34).
If we commit certain criminal offenses, we will be charged and determined as being someone who commits such. If we steal, we will be referred to as being a thief, but there is no such thing as a thieving Christian. In Christ, all things are new. Regrettably, we still have a sin nature, and at times we operate in it. This doesn’t change who we are in Christ, and neither does it describe who we are in Christ. I hope you get the point. So, start changing the way you think about yourself.
God doesn’t consider you or me as being a fornicating Christian, an adulterous Christian, a lying Christian, a gay Christian even when we are engaged in such behavior. So, stop thinking about yourself as such. Learn how God thinks about you and reflect upon this. Learn who you are in Christ and begin to appropriate this divine perspective. Learn how to replace a false perception of yourself according to the passions and inclinations of the sin nature and replace them with the true perception of yourself according to God’s Word.
This brings us to the place of addressing the final comment made by a believer in the Hillsong church, which was, “… people don’t recognize that any relationship that I have with a man is part of God’s plan and that it would be full of love, equal to any other.”35
There are two things to consider. What is God’s plan for my life and what kind of sexual relationships does the Word of God condone? We will begin by attempting to answer the first question, and that is, what is God’s plan for my life?
11Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.
12Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.
14The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament 1989, 10 January 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
15The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
16Adam Clarke’s Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2004, 15 January 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
17IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 20 January 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
18UBS New Testament Handbook Series Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 25 January 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
19Adam Clarke’s Commentary.
20Adam Clarke’s Commentary.
21The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
23The Pulpit Commentary.
24UBS New Testament.
25The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
26Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 01 February 2019
27UBS New Testament.
28Greek-English Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 10 February 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
29Robertson’s New Testament Word Pictures Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 15 February 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
30Robertson’s New Testament.31Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.
31Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.
34The Pulpit Commentary.
35Sex Abuse & Gay Conversion Therapy.
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