There seems to be no lack of teachers or preachers who are ready to tell you what a Christian should be and how he or she should attain that status. There have been volumes and volumes written on how to attain what the Bible says about being a Christian.
To that end I would like to share what the Holy Spirit has shown me and maybe it can help you in better understanding the Bible and what its’ purpose is in your life.
What is the Bible?
Just about everyone who is the least bit familiar with the Bible will answer that it is the Word of God. Some will clarify that further by saying that it is the inspired Word of God. Of course, both definitions are correct. Those who have studied and applied it regularly will add to that, that it is the infallible inspired Word of God. “Infallible” meaning that it is correct and without error in all that it says.
There are many who will say that the Bible is a great book but that it is no different from any of the other “so-called” holy books of the world. This is a point where Christianity diverges from all other religions. That is not to say that Christianity tries to put down other “holy books” but that it declares that the Bible is the true declaration of man’s spiritual situation and the only true remedy for that situation. For this reason, all other religions and approaches to mankind’s problems are consistently opposed to Biblical teachings.
You will find these things true in relation to how to attain eternal salvation, relationship between sexes, sexual orientation, demonic activity and many other things. Christianity is unique (along with Judaism) in its approach to its structure of civilization. Because the Bible teaches that there is one and only one way to attain right standing with the Creator, it has to stand alone.
The key to better understanding the Bible
As was stated above, there have been libraries of books written on how to understand the Bible and how to apply it to the daily Christian life. It is my hope to present a scriptural approach to reading, understanding and applying the truths of the Bible. We shall use the Bible to prove the Bible.
Let us begin by looking at James 1:22 and following. It says, “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his face in a mirror. For he beholds himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
Look at Galatians 5:22-23. It says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there is no law.” The last phrase in those verses means that there is no law that you can keep that will cause these fruits to be evident in your life. In other words, You can not set up guidelines or rules or practices that will cause you to develop these traits. These are the fruit of the Holy Spirit. You are not capable of growing them apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 2:21 confirms it. “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid:for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
If we understand James and realize that our righteousness is not of ourselves and that the Word of God, and especially the New Testament is a mirror into which we look to see who we are in Christ Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says that “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creation.” To find out what that “new creation” looks like and what he does, we must look into the mirror of the Word of God. The mirror shows us what we are, not what we are supposed to be.
For centuries the mainstream Christian establishment has been in the business of setting up standards and goals to which Christians should strive for. In so doing they have established a new set of laws by which a Christian’s life is judged and determined to have grown and advanced in the Christian life. As we have seen in the scripture, this is not the method that God has set forth in His Word. Galatians 6:15 states it clearly: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” The “circumcision” here refers to the keeping of the law, or a law. So, it is not your measuring up to a given set of rules or following certain practices that makes one a Christian, it is whether you are a new creation in Christ Jesus. The reality is that you and I could never measure up, no matter what the standard is. Jesus is the only One that could measure up and He has already done it. If you are in Him, you have already measured up to God’s standard. No following of rules or man made plans can cause you to be anymore favorable in God’s sight than you are right now in Christ Jesus.
The Mirror of the Word
So, when you read the Bible it is not for the purpose of what you must strive to attain, but it is to look into the mirror and see what you are in Christ Jesus. As I said above, you can not do anything to be more favorable in God’s eyes than you are right now in Christ Jesus.
We saw in Galatians 5 that the Holy Spirit bears fruit. He does not need you to develop that fruit. You can not do that in the flesh. This is fruit which only the Holy Spirit can produce. If this fruit is not evident in your life, I encourage you to take an honest evaluation of who is running your life. If the fruit is not evident,(and it will be evident if the Holy Spirit is there) then I encourage you to invite the Lord Jesus to come and take control of your life and fill you with the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 2:20 describes what happens when you do this: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet, not I but Christ lives in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” All the weight of trying to “live the Christian life” is taken off your shoulders. Now, you can relax and begin looking into the “Mirror” and seeing what you are in Christ Jesus.
I hope that you are beginning to understand that God does not expect you to “measure up” or work hard to please Him. If you are in Christ Jesus, you are totally pleasing to Him. He has come to live in you and you will see the fruit which He bears being produced in the life you are living.
The Bible is not given for you to have another set of rules for you to strive to attain or to ask God to “help you” to reach. He has already done everything in Christ Jesus that needs to be done. For you, or me, or anybody to think that we can add to what God has done in Christ Jesus, would be a slap in God’s face. He has given His best. And it was more than enough.
Begin to read the Word of God and use it as a mirror to see who you are in Christ Jesus.
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