I believe I have come to the end (at least for now) of the Walk Worthy series of writings. Long time coming 🙂 We as believers in this dispensation of God’s free grace are called to a vocation, an ambassadorship, while we exist here in this earthly vapor (James 4:14). Paul, again and again, exhorts us to walk worthy, specifically because of what God in Christ has “worked” on our behalf. By now we know for certain that our salvation is not by any works we have done; that being under the law brought us only to the knowledge of our sin condition and worked death in us, as the penalty of sin is death.
Romans 7:5… “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
We who are saved into the body of Christ have believed and trusted the glorious gospel of Christ; and thus sin and the law have no dominion over us.
Romans 6:14… “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Romans 6:17-18… “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”
We are now the servants of righteousness, no matter how we act here in this world. As our good works do not gain us favor with God, nor our evil works can separate us from God.
Romans 8:38:39… “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Our salvation in Christ, the cross-work of Christ, has made us such. We are absolutely and perfectly complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). The law has come to a temporary end. Christ has nailed the law, the old covenant, to His cross…
Colossians 2:14… “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;”
…in favor of the new covenant for Israel; and absolute liberty and freedom for those in the body of Christ (Galatians 5:1). Let’s examine that a bit more closely as I AM saying that the body of Christ is NOT a part of the new covenant (and that will sound strange to most). To Israel, the new covenant is written in Christ’s blood and put into effect at His death. The writer of Hebrews (God) says to the Hebrew believers:
Hebrews 9:15-17… “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
The new covenant states that no longer will Israel have to attempt to rely on themselves in the following of the law to “become” righteous as they did in time past (Deuteronomy 6:25); but that God will “write the law in their minds and hearts” by way of Holy Spirit empowerment, that they will be made able by God to follow His law perfectly! The law in all its perfection will return with the return of Gods Israel.
Hebrews 8:8-11… “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued NOT in my covenant, and I regarded them NOT, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will PUT my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, from the least to the greatest.” See also Jeremiah 31:31.
We see this beginning to take place in the early Acts period in the Jerusalem church. Amazing things were taking place because of that Holy Spirit empowerment! Yet, when national Israel ultimately failed to recognize their prophesied Messiah, God cast them temporarily aside (Hosea 1:9-10, Romans 9:25-26) and called the Apostle Paul to try to talk some sense into them; AND to reach out to the heathen, whom were left without any pathway to God in the world by Israel’s apostasy and their blaspheming (rejection) of the Holy Spirit, whose work was made manifest to them in myriad signs and wonders committed by the twelve Apostles AND Paul. Indeed, so severe was the law program and the following of commandments that if Israel did not “bring forth fruit” (ultimately, converts (repentant’s) to the Christ of Israel – God) they would be cast into hell. John (the greatest prophet – Luke 7:28) says to Israel in:
Luke 3:7-9… “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth NOT forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
Praise God that we are not under such covenant agreements! Should I, in my current ambassadorship, NOT bring forth fruit, I do NOT have hell to fear, but lack of reward. Paul speaks to us, the body of Christ, in:
1 Corinthians 3:14-15… “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
We will all (all those saved by Paul’s gospel of grace) be purified by this saving, cleansing “baptismal” fire at the judgement seat of Christ after we perish from this world. But no matter our effectiveness here (as we are all different), we shall be with Him in eternity simply because we obeyed that form of doctrine, the gospel as revealed unto Paul. Amen.
As one saved by grace and come unto the knowledge of the truth of all Christ has done on my behalf; and seeing that I am NOT under the law, how OUGHT I to walk (not, MUST I walk) in order to bring forth fruit (or converts, believers) to the Christ, NOT of Israel and the law (who will return someday in wrath and vengeance) but in this period of grace and reconciliation to the whole world (2 Corinthians 5:19)? The differences in the aspects of Christ to these two groups (1: Nation Israel/Gentile nations and, 2: body of Christ, neither Jew nor Gentile) is as different as the effect of the law versus the effect of grace upon a man.
Romans 7:6… “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Grace is an “inside out” transformation of a man, while the law has an “outside in” effect. Coming to realize what God in Christ has done (through Bible study), a man begins to allow the Holy Spirit to work within himself and starts to desire internally to serve his Lord. While the law commanded that “ye must“, grace says “ye ought“…! Desire comes from within and the law comes from without. We serve in newness of spirit and NOT by the letter of the law!
Jesus says to Israel in Matthew 6:15… “But IF ye forgive NOT men their trespasses, NEITHER will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Outside – in. Law commands.
While Christ through Paul says to the body in 2 Corinthians 2:7… “So that contrariwise ye OUGHT rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.” Inside – out. Grace compels.
Such is a rather stunning difference, no? How do we (the body of Christ) “get away” with such? We are completely forgiven of course!
Colossians 2:13… “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your fleas, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you ALL trespasses.”
How else does Paul say we OUGHT to be engaged with the world?
1 Thessalonians 4:1… “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”
As we have received the gospel of our salvation from Paul, to please God today, we ought to follow him!
2 Thessalonians 3:7… “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
We ought to work for a living. Why would Paul say such a thing to these otherwise very faithful Thessalonian believers? Lets examine what Jesus told His earthly followers, Israel.
Matthew 6:31-33… “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
These men did not have to concern themselves with necessities such as food. As God fed the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) with mana from heaven, so too did He miraculously feed the multitudes of Israel with bread and fish. If these men would seek first the Kingdom of heaven, which was Christ among them (Luke 17:20-21), their father in heaven would miraculously provide them their daily requirements of food, water and clothing! God is not working in this way with believers today… today we must work if we desire to continue to exist.
Paul says the stronger brother in the faith ought to bear the weaker brothers infirmities.
Romans 15:1… “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
WE OUGHT TO SPEAK THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST…
Ephesians 6:19-20… “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Colossians 4:2-4… “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
How SHOULD we behave ourselves?
We should walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4).
We should not serve sin (Rom 6:6).
We SHOULD NOT be ignorant of the mystery (Rom 11:25).
No flesh should glory in His presence (1 Cor 1:29).
Our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Cor 2:5).
He that preaches the gospel should live of the gospel (1 Cor 9:14).
We should keep under our sinful bodies and bring them under subjection (1 Cor 9:27).
We should not lust after evil things (1 Cor 10:6).
We should not have fellowship with devils (1 Cor 10:20).
We should care for one another (1 Cor 12:25).
We should not trust in ourselves (2 Cor 1:9).
We should not live unto ourselves but unto Christ (2 Cor 5:15).
Our minds should not be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3).
We should do that which is honest (2 Cor 13:7).
We should please God and not men (Gal 1:10).
We should remember the poor (Gal 2:10).
We should obey the truth (Gal 3:1).
We should glory only in the cross of Christ (Gal 6:14).
We should be (are) holy and without blame (Eph 1:4).
We should be (are) to the praise of His glory (Eph 1:12).
We should not boast in ourselves (Eph 2:9).
We should walk in good works (Eph 2:10).
We should be (are) fellowheirs with Christ (Eph 3:6).
We should understand Paul’s estate (Phil 1:12).
No man should beguile us with enticing words (Col 2:4).
We should suffer tribulation in this world (1 Thes 3:4).
We should abstain from fornication (1 Thes 4:3).
We should know how to possess ourselves in honor (1 Thes 4:4).
We should (will) live together with Him (1 Thes 5:10).
We should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12).
We should be: “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from ALL iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13-14
This, my brothers and sisters, is not a comprehensive list of all the things Paul would have us do. I don’t think such is possible to collect. How could one collect and name all human behavior? It is but a beginning of what will begin to happen to a person when once he realizes all Christ has done on his behalf.
The keyword here is LET; we SHOULD be humble and…
Philippians 2:5-16… “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
Note carefully that Paul is NOT telling us to “work” FOR our own salvation, as He is speaking to the already saved Philippian believers. He is showing them how to “work out” the salvation they already possess with fear (awesome respect for) and trembling (to consider that the unsaved will spend eternity in hell) toward God.
Walk worthy indeed.
Amen and amen!
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