Alive With Christ

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Friday, October 10, 2014, 9:44 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “In Keeping Them.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 2 (NIV84).

Made Alive

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 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. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 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. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~ Eph. 2:1-10​

All of humankind is born into sin. Spiritually we are dead, and we are alienated from God. We are controlled by our flesh and by the power of Satan and sin over our lives. In this sinful state we follow the ways of this sinful world and the ways of Satan, though we may not recognize that is what we are doing at the time. Our desires and passions are thus for the things of this world and are not for the things of God, and so we seek after and we make it our practice to indulge in what our fleshly nature craves. By nature we lie, steal, cheat, hate, disobey, deceive, mistreat others and then try to cover up our sin so no one sees. And, so, we don’t deserve God’s grace, but we are deserving of his wrath, instead.

As followers of Jesus Christ, this should speak of the way we USED to live, and should no longer be representative of our lives now that we have been crucified with Christ by God’s grace through faith. This is not to say that, in Christ, we will now live in absolute perfection and that we will never sin again. We will! But this should no longer characterize our lifestyle, i.e. how we conduct our lives on a day to day basis. This should no longer be the standard operating procedure for us, but it should be the exception to the rule. Daily, by God’s grace, and in the power and working of the Spirit within us, we should be putting to death the misdeeds of the body, and we should be walking in the Spirit and no longer fulfilling the desires of our flesh (See: Ro. 6-8).

Thanks be to God, by his great mercy, he provided a way for us to be saved from this slavery to sin and for us to walk in Christ’s holiness and righteousness. God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to earth to take on human flesh, to suffer as we suffer and to be tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin. He was hung on a cross to die, although he had done no wrong. Yet, in his death he took upon himself the sins of the entire world. He crucified and buried our sins with him, and he rose from the dead triumphant over sin, death, hell and Satan. Amen!

Thus, by God’s grace, he made a way for us to be set free from the curse and punishment of sin, and slavery to sin, and he set us free to come under the control of his righteousness, instead. It is by his grace, through faith, that we are saved. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our salvation. It is not by our own works that we are saved, lest we should boast that somehow we attained it by our own human effort. Our salvation is a gift from God, paid for by Jesus’ blood shed on the cross for our sins. Yet, we must receive this gift by faith. This faith involves submission to the cross of Christ in allowing the Spirit of God to transform us in heart and mind so that we willingly die with Christ to our sin, and so we are given new lives in Christ to be lived in the power and working of his Spirit within us.

Being Built

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. ~ Eph. 2:19-22​

Although, at one time, we were separate from Christ, and excluded from the body of Christ - the family of God - and we were without hope and without God in the world, we have now been brought near to God by the blood of Christ (See: vv. 12-13). Amen! So, we are no longer alienated from God and his people, but we are fellow citizens with his household, i.e. with his family members who are comprised of all the other children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. So, we now have family all throughout the world. That’s a HUGE family!

This household is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the chief cornerstone. So, what does this mean?

A foundation is a basis (main component) upon which something is built. The apostles and the prophets were men in Biblical times who were called of God to be his messengers in teaching his truths, in instructing the people of God in righteousness and holiness, in calling people to repentance and to faith (or renewed faith) in God, and in warning God’s people against wandering away from their faith, of false teaching, and of judgment. The words they were given to speak from God were written down for us and are the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, so they are the words of God, and are included in the Bible.

So, the basis for what we believe, and for our standards and morals by which we live our lives, and what gives us our messages of hope, counsel, instructions, corrections and encouragement for daily living are God’s words, which were written down for us by the apostles and prophets. His words lead us in the way we should go. Through them we gain wisdom and understanding, and we learn to be discerning about good and evil. Sometimes his word chastises us when we have gone astray, and at other times his word refreshes our souls when we are saddened or weary.

So, since our Christian lives are built (shaped; formed) on the basis (source) of God’s holy word given to us by God via his messengers, we need to be in his word daily, reading and studying the scriptures, listening to God speak to our hearts, and then we need to do what his word teaches us, for it is not just in the knowing that we develop in our walks with Christ, but in the doing of what his word instructs us to do.

This spiritual building would not exist, though, without Jesus Christ who is our chief cornerstone. He is the basis for our faith, the one who holds us together, and who is central to our lives and to our salvation. Without his shed blood on the cross for our sins there would be no building. Our very being depends completely on him. Without him the building would collapse. He is the heart and the center of our lives. Yet, He is not just the guiding principle for our lives, but HE IS our lives! So, we must honor him in all that we do.

In Keeping Them / An Original Work / June 3, 2014
Based off Ps. 111:10; 19:7-11

Stand in awe of your Lord.
Harken to His teachings.
Follow where He leads you.
Live for Him today.

Through Him you gain wisdom;
Knowledge; understanding.
To my Lord belongs all
Worship and my praise.

Perfect is the Word,
Refreshing souls in His love.
His commands are faithful,
Guiding us each day.

Joy comes to the heart of
Those who love His teachings;
Follow His instructions.
He will light their way.

Abide in the Lord, and
Obey His commandments.
His Word is more precious
Than all of our gold.

By His Word He warns us,
Comforts, and implores us.
When we follow His Word,
There is great reward.