PART 3 TESTIMONY

Tue, 11/08/2022 - 8:45am

PART 3 TESTIMONY

Do You Know How God Sees You? Do You Know Who You Are in Christ?

Now that we have become a Christian, what 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?

Let’s find out by going to the book of Ephesians.

 

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 sins12 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 acts] that satisfy the passions of the evil nature and of the evil thoughts, thus a fulfilling of those desires.13

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.

 

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 courts14) will not enter into the Kingdom of God (a heavenly newness of life; God’s kingdom within; formed anew by the Spirit). And neither will the rest of those mentioned, not because of their sin, but because they were not saved. There were some sexual tendencies or inclinations mentioned here that some, who didn’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 relationship15), and abusers of themselves with mankind (active partners in a homosexual relationship16). What I wanted you to notice was that the ones 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.      

 

1 Corinthians 6:11

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; the basis of which is founded on our new condition that took place at salvation. The apostle Paul told the converts 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 by the Spirit 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 in order to be able 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.17                         

 

  • 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 in the sense of committing sinful actions. However, all things have now become new. Whom we used to be in the sight of God is no longer. 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 or any areas of weakness.

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.      

 

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.18 And as such, those things that characterized the pre-Christian life19 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.20

How else are we looked upon by God? The next stop will be the book of Galatians.

 

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 possess 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.

 

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 puts 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 our 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.21

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.

 

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.22 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.23 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.24 And as such, they were considered to be like children as relates to their understanding of Christian teachings,25 i.e., they lived on "Bible stories" and not Bible doctrines.26           

What else do the Scriptures have to say about us when we are operating in sin?

Please go to the book of 1 Corinthians.

 

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’s 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 intercourse27), or covetous (greedy), or an idolater (one who eats things offered to idols), or railer (slanderer; someone who speaks insultingly or abusively of others28), or a drunkard (addicted to alcoholic consumption), or an extortioner (one who carries off the possessions of another by force29).

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 is to remain separable. I hope that you understand what was just said. A verse that supports this perspective is found in the book of 1 John.

 

1 John 3:9

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

This is a very interesting verse pertaining to the committing of sin by a Christian. It says that whosoever is born of God (is permanently spiritually alive) does not continually choose to commit sin because God’s seed (divine life) abides in him/her. And furthermore, the child of God cannot sin because sin can never spring from whom a Christian truly is. So, this is telling us that a Christian can’t sin, whether habitually or not, in terms of who they have become at salvation because this spiritual reality separates the sin from the believer’s position in Christ.      

After reading this, a Christian might think they can never sin. This is indeed not the case. Another way of saying this is, when a Christian is walking in the Spirit, he/she cannot sin. Sin can never spring from the divine life or nature received when we are operating in it. Remember, at salvation, we receive a new nature, but this doesn’t remove the old sin nature. As to our identity, there is a clear difference between saying that a Christian is committing fornication than saying that he/she is a fornicating Christian. I hope that this helps in better understanding this distinction.

There is another verse that tells us that if a Christian commits criminal behavior, then he/she could be charged as and being so.30

The final verse to be looked at is found in the book of 1 Peter.

 

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 so31 a murderer (homicide), a thief (confiscation of property was not to be compensated for by theft32), 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;33 one who pries into the affairs of another; one who attempts to control or direct them as if they were his own;34 "bishop" … of other men's matters - of things that do not concern him35). 

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 will 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 in this way. Learn how God thinks about you and reflect upon it. Learn about who you are in Christ and begin to appropriate this divine perspective for yourself. Learn how to replace a false perception of yourself according to the passions and inclinations of the sin nature and replace it 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 evangelical 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.”36

There are two things to consider in attempting to address this comment. 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?

 

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Endnotes

12 Weust Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.

13 Weust Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.

14 Barnes’ Notes.

15 The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament 1989. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 10 January 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

16 The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.

17 Adam Clarke’s Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2004. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 15 January 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

18 IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 20 January 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

19 UBS New Testament Handbook Series Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 25 January 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

20 Adam Clarke’s Commentary.  

21 Adam Clarke’s Commentary. 

22 The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.

23 Barnes’ Notes. 

24 The Pulpit Commentary.

25 UBS New Testament.

26 The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.

27 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 01 February 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

28 UBS New Testament.

29 Greek-English Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 10 February 2019   ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

30 Robertson’s New Testament Word Pictures Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 15 February 2019 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

31 Robertson’s New Testament.

32 Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.

33 Dictionary.com.

34 Barnes’ Notes. 

35 The Pulpit Commentary.

36 Sex Abuse & Gay Conversion Therapy.