THE PROCESS OF THE CHRISTIAN JOURNEY. Lesson #4. The process of the Christian life can be described in stages that flow from one stage to the next.
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We see this in the physical realm where there are points in time that we describe the same person as a baby, a child, a juvenile, a teenager, a young adult, an adult and a senior.
We cannot pinpoint an exact time when any of these stages are completed, but we are aware that growth is taking place.
1). Living in Relationship With
2). Becoming More Like Jesus Christ
3). Living More Like Jesus Christ
We Must Have A Relationship With Jesus To Be Saved
Most humans are hung up on the false idea that we earn acceptance from God by being members of the right religion, practicing the teachings of that religion and doing a sufficient amount of good works. The Scriptures make it clear that acceptance by God is not based on religion and good works but on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”John 3:
Then Jesus explained what the dividing line is between the condemned and the uncondemned,
John 3 ends with an explanation of the dividing line between those who have (spiritual) life and those who don’t. . .
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36. (See also 1st John 5:11-13).
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?---unless indeed you are disqualified”. 2nd Corinthians 13:5
If we desire to have assurance of our salvation it is absolutely essential that we establish a personal relationship with Jesus.
On the night before His crucifixion Jesus gave the promise to His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to live within them. (See John 14:16, 17).
He also promised that although He would bodily be with His heavenly Father in Heaven He and His Father would come and live within them. (See John 14:18-23).
The following Scriptures are clear:
The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus:
“. . .That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. . .”Ephesians 3:16, 17.
“. . .The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of the mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:26, 27.
“Now he who keeps His (Jesus Christ) commandments abides in Him and He (Jesus) in him. And by this we know
that He (Jesus) abides in us, by the
Spirit whom He has given us.”
1st John 3:24. (See also 1st John 4:12, 13).
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.”
Jesus will come and live within any person who in sincere faith gives Him an invitation to do so.
On that night before His crucifixion Jesus made this truth crystal clear.
“Abide in Me, and I in you, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”John 15:4, 5.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
“Dear Jesus, we have another day to walk together. I know that as long as we stay in close fellowship that Your purpose and Your power will flow through me.”
Our example of perfection is Jesus Christ. We look into the Scriptures to learn about the God/Man, Jesus Christ.
We ponder the examples He set and the teachings He gave. Our goal is to become like Him.
The apostles, Paul, Peter, and John, inform us that Jesus was without sin.
(2nd Corinthians 5:21; 1st Peter 2:22 and 1st John 3:5).
The writer of the book of Hebrews confirms this in Hebrews 4:15.
Hebrews 2:17, 18 gives us the reason why.
We are informed that Jesus was made perfect through sufferings in Hebrews 2:10and 5:8, 9. It is probable that the followers of Jesus will experience progress towards the goal in the same way.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus taught His followers to have the goal of perfection.
“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”Matthew 5:48.
Bible scholars differ on their understanding and teachings on the Sermon on the Mount. May I simply describe these teachings as “the perfect spiritual and moral standards of the Kingdom of God.” We must understand that to this day the church has existed in The Kingdom of God In Mystery Form.
“To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God…” Mark 4:11.
(See John 3:3-7; John 14:2, 3; Luke 10:20; 1st Peter 1:4).
As citizens of God’s Kingdom we are to embrace the moral and spiritual standards of the Kingdom of God while battling a fleshly nature warped to some degree in every aspect. Along with the apostle Paul we say,
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on . . .” Philippians 3:12.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body...”Philippians 3:20, 21
With a glorified body like Jesus we will rise to the level of perfection for all of eternity.
The more we learn about Jesus and the attitudes and actions He taught the more we embrace the practice of the apostle Paul,
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him”, “. . .For the love of Christ constrains us. . .”2nd Corinthians 5:9, 14.
“Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a present far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life my all.”
“to be well pleasing to Him”.