Are you a good Christian? What is a good Christian? Well most would say that a good Christian is someone whose life is patterned after Jesus Christ. They help the poor, they pray, they go to church regularly, they tithe to the Church, they give offerings to missions, they are good people.
Is that it? Can you tick that list? Or if you are honest you say, ‘No I am not a good Christian…I try to be, but I fail more often than not.’
This problem of failing at the Christian life is universal. Believers all over the world have the same experience.
We begin our walk with Jesus riding on a wave of euphoria..sins forgiven, a new heart, loved by God and the Church…comforted, blessed….but as time goes on we find that we still struggle to overcome old sinful habits…or they come back to enslave us. Even after 25 years I am still tempted in different areas and fail to overcome.
Now we can respond in a few ways to failure.
We can beat ourselves up for failing again and commit ourselves to trying harder next time. We can fill our mind with scriptures, songs, prayer, worship, fasting, …we can get very busy with Church stuff….all in the effort to feed the spirit man and not the flesh man. We may figure that that was the problem that caused our fall. We were not busy enough about the Father’s business! We must get very busy now!…So we go to every meeting and prayer meeting etc. We may decide that it is because we are not fasting regularly….so we begin fasting….or not praying enough…or reading enough…or tithing…or giving offerings…or any number of things!!
We may want to re-dedicate our backslidden, lukewarm heart to the Lord…so we go down to the altar call in front of all our peers in church and get prayer when the call is given for “all those who want to re-dedicate themselves to the Lord” is given. The prayer given to the broken hearted sinner is something like—‘O Lord, help this brother to walk in obedience to you…help him to forgive himself and to not fall into the same sins Father…O father strengthen him to walk with You and to live above sin today.’ Sounds pretty normal doesnt it? It is normal…but it is not going to help that Christian one little bit!! Neither will all his efforts at praying more, reading more, fasting more, being in more meetings, shouting more, repenting more and crying more tears. None of these things are of ANY VALUE against the indulgence of the flesh- But a new creation.
Col 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—
Col 2:21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”
Col 2:22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
Col 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
There is absolutely nothing you can do to make yourself a better Christian. There is no such thing as a “Good” Christian. No one is good but God…and any goodness we have is Him, in us. We are to have no confidence in the flesh–even religious flesh—especially religious flesh!
Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
Only the New Creation is able to live the Christian life…except he does not live it as if he is trying to…He just IS LIVING IT. It is the Life of Jesus that is the New Man..the new creation…His Life has prevailed to open the seals…His life has overcome all obstacles…it did overcome , it does overcome and it will continue overcoming. His life is our life because we were crucified with Him….this is what we do not understand or readily accept.
Say it: “I have been crucified with Christ…it is no longer I that lives , but Christ that lives in me…and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.”
It is not about trying to be a good Christian. The moment we try..we are condemned.
It is about accepting God’s final verdict upon our Old Man. Accept that I died with Christ…was buried with Him. Now I live unto God by or through and in the faith of Jesus…which is in me….working in me to do and to will for His good pleasure.
God will bring an end to all boasting in our lives. God will not allow any flesh to receive the glory. Only Jesus lives the life…for He is Life…He does not try to live right …He rests in the Father, and the things He sees the Father do, He does.
Religion is a constant merri-go-round of frustration. This is designed by the Father…until we get sick and tired of it and throw our hands up in the air in disgust. Christianity does not work! It does not avail anything…it has no ability or power- Zilch!
ONLY THE RESURRECTED NEW CREATION AVAILS–IS ABLE-TO LIVE BEFORE GOD.
So it is not a matter of trying, but believing that you are that new creation. For if you have been born again, you ARE THAT NEW MAN. Christ in you is the power of God to live before Him blameless.
His life is a blameless life—fully satisfying to the Father…that life is given to you as your own. He is to be received…and the to learn to abide in Him through faith.
Learning to walk in the new man that we are–involves coming to see, really see that there is no value at all in trying to be a good Christian.
Does that mean we do the opposite, and go out and sin? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
That is the point! How shall we?! We do not live under sin or the Law any longer. We live unto God..we are in the spirit NOT the flesh. We have been made children of God…we have died..we have put on Christ. God did this for us..and He continues doing the doing for us by His mighty power working in us.
So today, do not beat up on yourself for another failed effort at Christianity…You failed? Good! This is God wanting you to see that there is no victory to be found in trying…..only in abiding and believing.
Going down to the altar call will do nothing…it will just keep the show going….week after week there are people coming down to the altar for the same things…being humiliated and ashamed of themselves.
No need for this! Recognise that your flesh will never change. Agree with your adversary/accuser and stop trying to be good….instead declare that you are filled with all His goodness and righteousness…..declare you are forgiven all your trespasses…you are accepted in the beloved…you are a new man..a new creation by HIS DOING not your own. Kick self pity in the head by refusing to give into the repentance message that comes from the accuser. The Accuser would have you begging for God’s forgiveness every Sunday….crawling into the meeting on your belly like he does. The Father in the Prodigal son story in Luke 15 did not even mention the son’s sins. Not once! The emphasis with the Father is that you and I are FOUND SONS….we are found. Self pity wants us to beat ourselves up so we try harder, or earn Gods help….but God ignores all that. He continues saying you are found…you are found…My son..my daughter is home again.