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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Act as God's Chosen One

Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

What if I acted like I belonged to the Lord when I came to church but didn't do so everywhere else? Would that make my faith a sham? I believe so.

Yet, I have so segregated my life that preach the message of a changed life while living a life devoid of any identification with Him. My life in Christ must (note that I didn't say should) be reflected in the way I treat others wherever I am. This includes the person who has cut me off in traffic, the department store clerk who cares very little if I ever find what I am looking for, the rude repairman who overcharges me or anyone else that would naturally cause me to act like I don't know Christ. Acting like I know Christ just has very little value when things are all peace and happiness. True Christ-likeness comes when I continue to remember who I am even when things and people are contrary.

Forgiveness has no value until there is something to forgive, love has no value until there is a reason not to love and peace has no value until there is war.

I personally paid my way for most of my college bills. I worked in a bank as one of those college jobs. I held lots of money during my college days. Some days I would might pay out or take in deposits totally $100k in cash. But this money had no value at all to me. It wasn't mine. I couldn't use it. The only money that had any value to me was in my own bank account and it was only valuable because of the college bills it would pay. The money would have had no value if there was nothing to buy. The need gave the value to the money.

The need of Christ-likeness gives value to my walk with the Lord. It is the application which gives a virtue value. It is the lack of applying that virtue which indicates that it isn't so valuable and may not be in the possession of the one who has claimed to have it.

Thus, the richness of the word becomes so valuable to the one who remembers who he is in Christ. The word is both for me and for others. My reading of it isn't intended for my sole usage. I am to live it and share it and be it so that I can gently call other believers back to who they are.

Then, I do all that I do in the name of the Lord. I have taken His character. I am His royal representative.

I just can't forget who I am. I am a chosen one.


Anthony Chia said...

Are there expectations on believers? Sure there are. To me, it is ridiculous to think that God does not have any expectation on believers on how we think and act; how can it be that we can do anything we want, relying on God has set us free, or do nothing, relying on God can do all things. How can we not have to change at all, of how we think and act! Does everyone need Jesus? Yes, if that is not the case for you, there is no need for Jesus.

Can't it be that every single change we need, has completely been met by Jesus, already, purportedly for the reason that Jesus did say, "it is finished"? There are those who have been over-simplistic and over-emphasize Scripture's saying that we are a new creation or that we are perfect in righteousness, or having the mind of Christ. While it is true that we are a new creation, and we are righteous, and we are having the mind of Christ, it isn't we have been completely reprogrammed; it isn't we are no more able to, as in impossible, to be unrighteous, in our thought and action; and it isn't we have no more need of our mind (the way we think) to be transformed.

Scripture is loaded with prescriptions of how believers are to think, how to discern, and how to act or not act, or to live out their lives. Scripture talked about pigs going back to dirty mud, and dogs, to their vomit (2 Pet 2:22). Why talk about these going back? Because it is possible to be going back to these; it is not impossible; God is not oxymoron.

There is no need to ask us to focus on what is right, what is pure, what is good, what is lovely, what is admirable, what is praiseworthy and what is excellent (Phil 4:8), if we are unable to (no longer able to) focus on the ways of the past, of the time before salvation, ways conformed to the world-system perpetuated by Satan.

If it is not possible to sin any more, why in the world, does God want to leave in Scripture, Heb 12:4, that we should resist sins, at least to the point of shedding blood?! If we cannot be unholy or unrighteous, why does the Apostle Peter want to record (1 Pet 1:16), "Be holy as I am (God) is holy.

If there is no more to righteousness, why does Jesus left us this: Seek first, the kingdom of God and it's righteousness, .... (Matt 6:33)? If we could not be unrighteous or unholy in what we do, why does Scripture still need to exhort this (1 Pet 1:15), "In all we do, be holy."

Would Jesus do anything unrighteous? So, do you have, directly and outrightly, the mind of Christ when you (and I, too) act unrighteously? You didn't ever act unrighteously since your conversion; don't lie?! Who really did Scripture said knows the mind of God? He is the one who is always righteous. Who is He? He is the Holy Spirit. You and I do not YET have the full mind of Christ, directly and outrightly; we have it via and through the indwelling Holy Spirit. And for that to work, we got to be be abiding in the Spirit, be yielded to be led by the Spirit.


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

So, you see, it is we have to CHOOSE to think and live the ways prescribed by God. We still have our free will or volition. It is because of Christ Jesus's works, of His victory on the Cross, and the giving of the indwelling Holy Spirit, that we are able to be victorious in living, NOT the natural ways of the world, but be supernatural, living the ways of God, which often are contrary to the ways of the world we live in, for the fallen world system has been corrupted by the ways of Satan, in his attempt to draw men away from God and our worship of Him, our God and Creator.

When the first Adam was created, he was created righteous, and he had to choose; he had to choose to do God's will and desire; and it was when he chose (together with Eve) to do the contrary, listened to the Serpent in contradiction to God's directive of not to eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that Man got into a mess, that got passed down the lineage of Man to us, that we, too, have become unrighteous, even from birth. The second Adam, Jesus, though righteous, still had to choose, and chose, always, to act righteous, that He could come out of His living on earth, victorious, victorious over Satan. Scripture had this, put in 1 John 3:7, not for no reason: "the man who practises righteousness, is righteous, as He (Jesus) is righteous." How was Jesus righteous? He was righteous in that He practises righteousness, always.

The righteous 1st Adam had to choose, and to choose agreement with God (righteousness) and to act accordingly, despite he was righteous; but he did NOT choose to act righteously at the temptation in the Garden of Eve. The righteous Lord Jesus, when He, in His earthly ministry, had to choose, chose agreement with God and acted accordingly, Now, despite Scripture's overall counsel points to, we are to follow after Jesus, to be like Jesus, we still have stubborn preachers who play down the need for us to choose and act righteous as the way to be victorious in life, in God's eye.

It is indeed we have to act as a chosen one. Who are the chosen ones or people? With Gentiles included, everyone who has come into salvation is a chosen one or God's chosen people; you and I, believers, are God's chosen people. We are expected by God to think and act in keeping with the character of such - chosen people of God. As a new creation, we are new in that we are to think and act from a new value-system or perspective; and this new perspective is the Kingdom's perspective which we are to imbibe over time, hopefully as quickly as possible. It is we as one who enters into a separate Kingdom need to imbibe, and not, as those preachers in error, suggest, the values completely implanted into us, even though the Holy Spirit is indeed implanted into us, and it is from Him that we are to imbibe from, even as the written Word continues to be our source for that Kingdom values or perspective, as the Word is forever.

Preachers who indiscreetly push for being, at exclusion of first encouraging imbibing the Kingdom values or perspective, learning by practice, is telling people to run before they learn to crawl and walk! God did NOT put us immediately to the being; we have to work out our salvation to get to the being (Phil 2:12). That was what the Apostle Paul was doing with his epistles with such texts as this Col 3 and Eph 4:17-32. Paul kept underscoring not to return to our former way, because it is possible to go that way, but that will not be in keeping with salvation.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions