TRUE CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

SATISFIED CHRISTIANS

Satisfied Christians are “static Christians.”  “…there is a carnal root ruling…they are living more after the flesh than after the Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p16).

FATHER, being satisfied is such a dangerous position.  Instead of being spiritually united to CHRIST some are outwardly attached to Him, possibly only by a one-time profession of His name and a halfhearted attempt to adhere to His cause (ref#241, p120).  I pray for anyone who sees himself in the following words:

“We’re satisfied with a little bit of biblical literacy.  We’re satisfied with occasional moments of ministry.  We’re satisfied with manageable debt that allows us to put a few coins in the plate.  We’re satisfied that we’ve been married for a while and it doesn’t look as if we’ll break up soon.  We’re satisfied with a bit of a grasp on the theology of Scripture.  We’re satisfied with faithful attendance at the weekend services of our churches.  We’re satisfied with quick morning devotions. We’re satisfied with a little ministry experience.  We’re satisfied that we don’t act out most of our lust and we don’t communicate most of our envy.  We’re satisfied that in our disappointment with God, we don’t walk away.   We’re satisfied that we can harness a good bit of our fear of man.  We’re satisfied to use most of our material resources to make and keep ourselves comfortable.  We’re satisfied to be mere consumers of the work of the church rather than committed participants in it.  We’re satisfied with hearts that occasionally wander and with thoughts that contradict what the Bible says is good and true.  We’re satisfied with the amount of conflict we have in our lives.  We’re satisfied” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 25th).

FATHER, we are creatures that long to be satisfied.  I think of the tract I have that reads on the front: “How to go to hell.”  On the inside it is blank.  If it were up to us we would tread the Christian waters until our strength failed and we would sink into hell.  But, praise be to You, FATHER for You make a way for us to swim and not drown.

“…we serve a dissatisfied Redeemer.  He knows we still need the transforming work of his powerful grace.  Isn’t it wonderful that, in gracious dissatisfaction, he will not relent until every microbe of sin is removed from every cell of every one of the hearts of his children” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 25th)?

TRUE CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

TWO CATEGORIES OF BABES IN CHRIST

Just as there are two categories of Christians, there are two categories of “babes in Christ:”

  • static Christians—carnal-like
  • duped Christians—misinformed and ignorant

The static group of Christians can easily not be Christians at all but apostates since their actions do not reflect CHRIST’s interests.  Yet, no one knows the condition of the heart.  “…Christian worker, or worldly man, the carnal root is bearing its terrible fruit, and the spiritual food has failed to enter his heart” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p15).

The second category of “babes in Christ” can be broken down into the following:

  • People who work out their own salvation by their human efforts. The Apostle Paul addresses such people: “…Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh” (Gal 3:2-3 ESV).
  • People who work out their own salvation with great zeal but not with knowledge. “…they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom 10:2 ESV).
  • People who work out their own salvation with right actions but wrong heart. “Hear this…who are called by my name…who swear by the name of the LORD and confess…but not in truth or right” (Isa 48:1 ESV). “…man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7 ESV).
  • People who work out their own salvation with solid theology but no action. “…if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror….and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:23-24 ESV).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

CARNAL-LIKE CHRISTIAN VS. A SOUND CONVERT

“…the carnal state is a state of continual sinning and failure…sins…are the sign that we are not living a healthy life…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p12).

“A biblical Christian is one who has wholeheartedly complied with the terms for obtaining God’s provision for sin….True faith is permeated with repentance, and true repentance is permeated with faith….a believing penitent and a penitent believer” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p15).

“The unsound ‘convert’ takes Christ by halves.  He is all for the salvation, but not sanctification.  He is all for the privileges, but neglects the person of Christ.  He divides the offices and benefits of Christ….They desire salvation from suffering, but do not desire to be saved from sinning.  They would be saved and keep their lusts; they are content to destroy some sins, but cannot leave the lap of Delilah….” Joseph Alleine (ref#301, Aug 26th).

“The sound convert takes a whole Christ without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve.  He is willing to have Christ upon any terms.  He is willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance” Joseph Alleine (ref#301, Aug 26th).

“You see a mark of the carnal state not only in unlovingness, self-consciousness and bitterness, but in so many other sins.  How much worldliness, how much ambition among men, how much seeking for the honor that comes from man—all the fruit of the carnal life—to be found in the midst of Christian activity” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p12)!

“…spiritual men were not called so because there was no flesh in them but because the Spirit in them had obtained dominance…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“…let us beware lest the blessing God gives us in our work deceive us and lead us to think that because He has blessed us, we must be spiritual men.  God may give us gifts that we use, and yet our lives may not be wholly in the power of the Holy Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“The sincere convert accepts a complete Christ.  He loves not only the reward, but labour.  He seeks not only the benefits, but the burden of Christ.  He takes up the commands, yes, even the cross of Christ” Joseph Alleine (ref#301, Aug 26th).

TRUE CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

DEFINING TERMS

In 1 Corinthians Paul addresses the saints in Corinth – “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” (1 Cor 1:2 ESV).  He speaks to the entire church but later he calls some ‘babes” and some “spiritual” saints.

“…in the church of Christ there are two classes of Christians: (1) Those who have lived many years as believers and yet always remain babes; (2) Those who are spiritual men because they have given themselves up to the power and the leading of the Holy Spirit…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p8).

“The SPIRITUAL were those who, after conversion, had continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, no longer continuing as ‘babes in Christ.’”  James Burton Coffman (ref#298).  Babes “were in Christ, and so were new creatures…though babes and weaklings in it” John Gill (ref#300).  Babes were carnal “…those who were continuing to live like the unconverted…” James Burton Coffman (ref#298).

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.…For while there is jealously and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way” (1 Cor 3:1,3 ESV)?

Backsliders: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you:…” (Jer 3:14 KJV).  “…we do not speak of the destruction of the root principle in your soul, but of the decline of its power…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 22nd).

The terms “backslider,” “people of the flesh,” “carnal,” “babes” can depict a Christian (a not-advancing Christian) or a non-Christian since no one but GOD knows the condition of the heart, but in 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul uses these terms to address Christians.

ABIDE IN CHRIST

THE JOY OF ABIDING IN CHRIST

I eat my breakfast in front of a large picture of JESUS feeding the 5000.  His face displays peace and joy.  It reminds me how much He enjoys the children His FATHER gives Him.  There is joy, not only for me in abiding, but for Him, too.  I am mindful again that He needs me to share His joy with more than needing me to do His work.

“These things I have spoken unto you that my joy may abide in you and that your joy might be fulfilled” (John 15:11 Jubilee Bible 2000). “Abiding fully in Christ is a life of exquisite and overflowing happiness.  As Christ gets more complete possession of the soul, it enters into the joy of its Lord” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p159).

 “…your experience of joy must be emanating from God’s experience of joy….if the God who dwells in you is pleased and full of joy, you will be too….’The joy of the LORD is your strength’ (Neh 8:10).  It does not say, ‘Your joy about the LORD is your strength.’  It’s God’s joy in you that makes you strong” Doug Newton (ref#327, p94-95).

“Whether we look backward and see the work He has done, or upward and see the reward He has in the Father’s love…or forward in the continual accessions of joy as sinners are brought home, His joy is ours” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p161).

“We all know the value of joy.  It alone is the proof that what we have really satisfies the heart.  As long as duty, or self-interest, or other motives influence me, men cannot know what the object of my pursuit or possession is really worth to me. But when it gives me joy, and they see my delight in it, they know that to me at least it is a treasure.  Hence there is nothing so attractive as joy…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p159).

For me, this joy is one “…that is never to cease or to be interrupted for a moment” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p161).  Of course, I have worldly good and bad times but spiritually I have a constant joy because nothing can keep me from GOD.

“…the joy of God overcomes all the trials of life….With a heart full of joy no work can weary, and no burden can depress; God Himself is strength and song” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p160).

The summation of “Abiding in CHRIST” blogs is “joyfully sing” (Zeph 3:17).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST’S LOVE

“God gives himself to me, not according to my power to hold Him, but according to His almighty power of love to hold me” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p62).

“When we were united by faith to Christ, we were brought into such complete fellowship with Him that we were made one with Him.  His interests and ours became mutual and identical….What He loves, we love….We have fellowship with Him in His desires….We have fellowship with Christ in His sufferings.  We are not nailed to the cross, nor do we die a cruel death; but when He is reproached, we are reproached.  It is a very sweet thing to be blamed for His sake…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 23rd AM).

“If this love is so divine…then surely I can depend on it to keep me and to hold me fast.  Then surely all my unworthiness and feebleness can be no hindrance.  If this love be…with infinite power…I surely have a right to trust that it is stronger than my weakness; and that with its almighty arm it will clasp me to its bosom, and suffer me to go out no more” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p146).

FATHER, in Your great kindness, You have ordered faith for me—“faith by which utter sinfulness casts itself into the arms of love to be saved, and utter weakness to be kept and made strong.  O Infinite Love!…Love with which the Son loves us!  I can trust thee, I do trust thee.  O keep me abiding in Thyself” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p145-146).

“I have a God to see that each day I become more firmly united to Christ” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p86).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST THE GLORIFIED ONE

“…when Jesus was on earth, temptation could still reach Him:  in glory, everything is holy, and in perfect harmony with the will of God.  And so the believer who abides in Him experiences that in this high fellowship his spirit is sanctified into growing harmony with the Father’s will” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p200).

“The very secret of Christ’s life was this: He had such a consciousness of God’s presence that whether it was Judas, who came to betray Him, or Caiaphas, who condemned Him unjustly, or Pilate, who gave Him up to be crucified, the presence of the Father was upon Him…man would not touch His spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p47-48).

“When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic.  The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 7th).

“He that abides in Christ the Crucified One, learns to know what it is to be crucified with Him, and in Him to be indeed dead unto sin.  He that abides in Christ the Risen and Glorified One, becomes in the same way partaker of His resurrection life, and of the glory with which He has now been crowned in heaven” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p199).

“[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]” (Phil 3:10-11 AMPC).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST AND NOT IN SELF_2

“…you do not doubt your salvation; you know that Christ is yours, but you are not feasting with Him.  You understand that you are of vital concern to Him, so that you have no shadow of a doubt of your being His and His being yours, but still His left hand is not under your head, and His right does not embrace you” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 19th PM).

“…it is too sadly a fault with all of us, that we permit Him to be as a wayfaring man tarrying but for a night.  He whom we should make the abiding tenant of our memories is but a visitor therein….It is the incessant turmoil of the world and the constant attraction of earthly things that take away the soul from Christ” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 26th AM).

It is possible that many of us must walk forward a while in the sanctified life of CHRIST before we can grasp greater things.  Dealing with CHRIST’s forgiving our sins comes first.  Once we settle ourselves into having no guilt in sinning we are free to long to abide in CHRIST.

“You bear about with you a nature altogether corrupt and vile, ever seeking to rise up…” (ref#266, p59). “Self is still strong and living, but it has no power over you….His life will take the place of the old life…The power of His holy presence will cast out the old life…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p188,189).

“To seek life, not in itself, but in God is the highest honour of the creature….Jesus Christ becomes your second self…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p185, 188).

FATHER, the words of Charles Spurgeon paint a picture that animates my heart:

“His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me” (Song 8:3 ESV)!  Just thinking of CHRIST holding me makes directing myself not an option.  I am tired of the anxiety and fear and the no peace and rest I experience with doing things my way.  Oh FATHER, prepare me to feast every day with CHRIST!  I am ready for a more intense relationship.

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST AND NOT IN SELF

“They that are convinced of their own sin and misery do commonly first think to tame the flesh…to make their corrupt nature to be better-natured and inclined to holiness by their struggling and wrestling with it…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

“…they endeavor to reform their old state, and to be made perfect in the flesh, instead of putting it off and walking according to the new state in Christ….they trust to Christ to help them in this carnal way; whereas true faith would teach them that they are nothing, and that they do not labour in vain” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

The Apostle Paul accuses the Galatian church of this very thing: “O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?…Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh” (Gal 3:1,3 ESV)?

FATHER, for many years now You have impressed upon me that “The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no supernatural power” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p89).

“The answer is in the demonstration of a supernatural religion, and the only way to a supernatural religion is in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God” Samuel Chadwick (ref#161, p190).

You have thoroughly convinced me that my own efforts to be righteous does not stand out in supernatural righteousness at all.  My efforts leave me only prideful, with short-lived joy.  No wonder You call my acts filthy rags (Isa 64:6).  “…self must fail…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p58).

“The…greatest enemy in the abiding life, is SELF….it refuses to give up its will…by its working, it hinders God’s work.  Unless this life of self, with its willing and working, be displaced by the life of Christ, with His willing and working, to abide in Him will be impossible….Are you ready…to give up self entirely to its death of the cross, to be kept there until it be wholly destroyed?…Am I prepared to say that the old self shall no longer have a word to say; that it shall not be allowed to have a single thought, however natural—not a single feeling, however gratifying—not a single wish or work, however right” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p187)?

FATHER, I desire to “live in Your acts of kindness and enjoy Your smiles” Barnes Notes (ref#16, [Ps 89:15]).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST THAT I MAY NOT SIN

“We, too, were once dead, and like Lazarus, were stinking in the grave of sin.  Yet Jesus raised us, and by His life we live.  Can we be content to live at a distance from Him” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 21st PM)?

“…there are degrees in the abiding.  With most Christians the abiding is so feeble and intermittent, that sin continually obtains the ascendency, and brings the soul into subjection” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p173).

“…unbelief, or unwatchfulness, opens the door for sin to reign.  And so the life of many believers is a course of continual stumbling and sinning.  But when the believer seeks full admission into, and a permanent abode in Jesus, the Sinless One, then the life of Christ keeps from actual transgression….Jesus does indeed save him from his sin—not by the removal of his sinful nature, but by keeping him from yielding to it….the believer can have sin  and yet not do sin.  The evil nature, the flesh, is unchanged in its enmity against God, but the abiding presence of Jesus keeps it down….’In Him is no sin; he that abideth in Him sinneth not’” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p173-174).

“When Christ commanded us to abide in Him…can He have meant anything but the healthy, vigorous, complete union of the branch with the Vine?…The abiding in Jesus makes it possible to keep from actual sinning; and Jesus Himself makes it possible to abide in Him” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p174-175).

“Do not…let you attention be diverted…Faith has ever only to deal with the present moment…’Jesus keeps me now, Jesus saves me now’…be kept abiding by His own abiding in you…renew your faith in an act of devotion: Jesus keeps me now….Let failure…instead of discouraging you, only urge you still more to seek your safety in abiding in the Sinless One….” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p175).

“Regard it as His work to keep you abiding in Him, and His work to keep you from sinning. It is indeed your work to abide in Him, but it is that, only because it is His work as Vine to bear and hold the branch” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p175).

“Gaze upon His holy human nature as what He prepared for you to be partaker of with Himself…of being filled with His fullness, and made the channel of showing forth His power, His blessing, and His glory” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p175-176).