Summary: “Therefore, my beloved, as you 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 who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12-
We greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”. (Psalm 118:24) Let us rejoice and thank the Lord for His institution of the Holy Communion and His revelations on the importance of becoming a believer and “persisting to the end”. Many people today believe that going to Church, becoming a member of a Church, paying of tithes and giving offerings makes one a believer. They believe that these are some of the many ways to God. They try to apply physical things to spiritual ones and because the world says there are many roads to Rome, they believe there must also be many ways to God. They would rather believe what the world teaches than what Christ teaches and Christ clearly declares “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) There may be many ways to Jesus Christ but there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ who became a man and paid the price for our redemption.
Step One: The believer is a new creation
a) All have sinned
Jesus Christ died to make the believer a new creation by giving them a new spirit. God created man a spirit. We are spiritual beings, we possess a soul, and we live in a body. When Adam yielded to sin, his spirit died and all of us have inherited Adams dead spirit for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).
b) Christ paid the penalty for sin
Christ died in our place to pay the penalty for sin “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. (Rom 6:23) Christ died to give us a new spirit for “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”. (John 3:17)
c) We are saved by grace
Sin led to death but “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16) God gives us a new spirit to become a new creation not because of anything we have done but because of what Christ has done for “By grace are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8)
The sacrifice of Christ has made it possible for God to create a new spirit in us for “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive”. (1Co 15:22) We are made alive with a new spirit that is holy and blameless. Our new spirit needs to be holy and blameless for the Holy Spirit to come and live in. As a new creation we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Spiritually we are made whole but our soul, our thinking, our emotions and our will remains the same and it is up to us to renew our minds with the Word of God so that our soul and body can be aligned with our spirit.
Jesus Christ has fully paid the price for us to be made righteous and become children of God. He took our place and bore the full judgement of God on sin so that we could take His place and live His life.
Step Two: The believer has a new life
a) It must conform to a new mindset
The believer as a new creation cannot continue with his/her old life. He has received a new spirit and must renew his/her mind to lead a new life. The mind is renewed by continually hearing the Word of God until one’s actions are in accordance with what the Word of God declares.
b) A renewed mind overcomes fleshly desires
A person’s fleshly desires can only be overcome with a renewed mind. The flesh is a way of thinking that is contrary to the Word of God and leads to an ungodly way of life.
c) A renewed mind is the mind of Christ
The renewed mind is a way of thinking that conforms with the Word of God and leads to a godly way of life. It is having the same mind with Christ and submitting to His authority. It leads to a life of humility, love, selflessness, and concern for those in need.
Repentance is to change the course of his life, from acting contrary to the will of God to conforming to the will of God. The parable of the two sons reveals that both of them needed repentance. The first son, initially refused to obey his father but later repented and carried out his father’s will. The second son, agreed to do the will of his father but failed to do so. The first son represents the wicked and rebellious who repent and carry out the Fathers will. The second son represents the self-righteous who are interested in impressing others and see no need for repentance. The second son is a picture of the religious leaders who publicly give the impression of obeying God but do not carry out his commands. A self-righteous person may convince many people that they are righteous and close to God but they cannot deceive God. If this parable is making you feel uneasy today, it is because you are making the same mistake the second son made. Are you behaving like him? Are you self-righteous and giving the impression that you are close to Christ? Do you attend Church regularly, take part in bible study, pay your tithes and give offerings just to make a good impression and impress others and yet refuse to obey God?