On the Other Side of Christ’s Resurrection

On the other side of Christ’s resurrection is the place where God’s new creation lives. It’s full of God’s grace. When Christ became resurrected from the dead, God opened the door for humanity to become His new creations. This place is rich in God’s Spirit and full of His mercy (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Christ freed humans from original sin and created a new and everlasting way of believing (John 20:29). This transformation from God’s old covenant to the new one can’t develop without accepting Christ as the way to heaven (John 14:6).

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The Pharisees refused to believe Christ was the Messiah and paid a fatal eternal price. We must concede to our innermost selves the truth of Christ (John 4:13-14) or face the same infinite destination. God’s new covenant is with Christ and until we place our faith in Jesus our lives stay hopeless.

Nothing the world offers can match God’s gift of salvation. We know this from our personal experience with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:5). Everything Christ brings turns out far better than we can imagine. Our experience gives testimony to this truth because without Christ, we can’t reconcile with God and live holy. We don’t have the spiritual strength to live a righteous life, but Christ does and will walk us through the pains of life.

Remember, through Christ nothing is impossible (Philippians 4:13). And this means our responsibility is to lose our life in Christ by picking up our cross and walking in His footprints.

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God has made us new, and the way we live our lives must radiate to the world the changes Christ has performed in our hearts.

 

What does it mean becoming God’s new creations?

Well, the answer is simple. It’s not of our making, but has everything to do with Christ’s resurrection. God has chosen us to be cleansed from the bondage of sin and made us new in the resurrected Savior.

God has invited us to join His sovereignty through the sacrifice, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Once God has called us and we humble ourselves (James 4:10), then we walk away from our old lives and discover God’s new one. This is a profound and spiritual awakening unlike any other and revolutionizes our lives.

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I’m grateful to share with you God has made me new! In my past (before God saved me) my life anchored in unnecessary sin. Pride consumed me and my reactions to life’s troubles centered in resentments. My heart was bitter, and my vulgar language became a weapon of revenge.

Everything I did was to glorify myself. The more I lived life for myself caused me to fall deeper into the darkness of despair. I had no resolution to the dead spirit my soul had become. My life was useless, and those around me became concerned over the condition of my uncontrollable lifestyle.

God knew I had to face drastic circumstances to get my attention. I had become powerless over my life. Alcohol abuse had become a life-threatening problem and the harder I tried to stop drinking it made matters worse. When my hopelessness was finished, and everything I tried failed then, God made Himself known.

God gave me an opening to a new way of living and the moment I walked through His threshold my old life became obsolete. Christ hasn’t made me perfect, but has taught me repentance and freed me from the paralyzing grip of sin. Sometimes my faith is weak, and sin, but my rebirth is full of hope because Christ is my top priority.

As long as I place Christ above everything, then my salvation is secure. Christ’s courage gives me the strength to find the narrow way and stay in God’s favor. But when I become complacent in my Christian actions the door to destruction swings open and I become vulnerable to God’s enemy. I’m grateful Christ has shown me the eternal light.

Each of us has problems living a holy life. We are in the same predicament and understand the essence of Christ’s resurrection. Through Christ, God has made us His new creation and trust us to carry His message to others. We can agree it’s Christ who makes heaven possible.

What has Christ’s resurrection meant to you?

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Growing in Christ’s Knowledge

Christ’s death brought us a new viewpoint on God’s plan for heaven. But we need to go beyond His death and carry His message of salvation. Stopping at Christ’s death prevents us from becoming useful tools in spreading His Gospel and confessing our faith in His Sovereignty. When God resurrected Jesus, it showed the world the essence of His Living Presence and His compassion for humanity. We are taught to grow our faith and without living in Christ’s resurrection; we become limited in our Christian walk.

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God’s wants us to become His new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Becoming new with God means we must learn the lessons Christ left for us to live a righteous life. We do this by developing an unshakable bond with Christ. Remember we are no longer living for ourselves, but to for the will of God.

God made Jesus’s resurrection the pivotal point in our spiritual rebirth and without Christ, our eternal resting place is at risk. We have conformed our lives to Christ, and it becomes our responsibility to live holy.

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Christ is the blueprint for eternal life and understanding His designed plan isn’t an overnight matter. It’s a daily effort of studying the finer details that often are overlooked and lead to eternal disaster. This means we must be attentive to God’s word and ask Christ for guidance in our everyday activities.

One of the best defenses against forgetting to trust Christ is not leaning on our knowledge. God will direct our actions if we are diligent in relying on Christ.

“Trust the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths,” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

This Proverb centered its self in faith and a prime example of devotion. Every time we ask Christ for directions we gain more spiritual wisdom. Most of our problems come back to leaving God out of our decisions. God is faithful, and when we show Him our reliance on Christ, He rewards us with an abundance of knowledge.

When I liveLIGHT-IN-THE-DARKNESS-1d in darkness, my life wasn’t wise. I lived life without Christ’s guidance and made prideful decisions. The way I dealt with trouble was getting drunk. Every time I became disappointed with life (this happened often) alcohol became my solution but never resolved my dissatisfaction. Then the alcohol stopped killing the pains of life, and I couldn’t stop getting drunk. My life became unbearable, and I wanted to die.

One day God’s hand reached out and took a hold of me. He rescued me and opened my eyes to His existence. I stayed sober for eighteen years. God showed me His way, but I became complacent in my faith. I didn’t make Him my top priority. This cost me His affection, and I returned to alcohol. I spent eight miserable years getting drunk and falling deeper into the black hole of unrighteousness.

God didn’t give up on me, nor will He give up on you. It brings me great joy to profess my faith in Christ. When God called on me again, and I heard His voice, then He introduced me to Christ. The moment I realized Christ, everything changed. Christ has taught me salvation is more than a belief. It’s a daily and often hourly commitment to turn my life over to His care.

I’m grateful God granted me His gift of heaven. My life has an eternal purpose, and it’s my responsibility to learn as much as I can about God’s word. You too can find the magnificent reality of hearing God’s voice and join His kingdom.

Eternal knowledge begins with God (Proverbs 1:7). Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new believer, Christ never changes (Hebrews 13:8) and God loves you. One action every Christian can agree on is the need to improve our personal understanding of God’s word.

Every day we are given an opportunity of becoming better servants to God, Christ, and others. And each day has hidden obstacle reserved for Christ’s intervention because God’s enemy uses many methods to destroy our souls. This is why we need to increase our knowledge of God’s truth. We can agree there is always a need to obtain more Christian knowledge.

 

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Chapter Three: Virtue

Virtue is an essential Christian principle crucial to improving our relationship with God. The Lord has called us to a holy way of living. God’s grace has placed us in a position to grow into the image of Christ and virtue anchors our devotion to God’s sovereignty. Our Father has made us foreigners on the earth (1 Peter 2:11-12), and this makes it imperative to live according to God’s will.

The Random House Webster’s Dictionary defines virtue as conformity of one’s life and conducts to moral and ethical principles. God’s truth and  His word are in the Bible. Every command God has given humans to glorify Him is within the pages of His Book. Our ancient ancestors couldn’t follow God’s commands, and sin prevents us from doing likewise. We can’t do this alone. But Christ can and virtue motivates us to take action and live in His righteousness.

Understanding the reason a believer needs to conform to God’s commands begins with Adam and Eve’s great fall (Genesis 3:1-8). When sin entered the lives of Adam and Eve, it fractured their purity with God.    Sin corrupted their mind and disturbed their soul. They couldn’t bear to face God and tried to hide. Their disobedience cost them everything. But God didn’t give up on them and allowed them a way to correct their wrong (Genesis 3:22). 

Sin affects us in three distinct ways. First it enters our minds and corrupts our thinking. Next it hardens the heart by making us numb to righteousness. Then its final attack is in our soul, keeping our spirits in conflict with God’s commands. Once God saves us, then we see the trouble sin causes in our mind, heart and soul.

God has chosen us to join Him and a way out of original sin (Mark 1:14-15). The Lord wants us to stay in His kingdom and has shown us a way to change our minds, hearts, and souls. God’s gift of salvation transforms a life bonded to sin into one filled with His grace. You won’t find a more graceful experience than the one God gives. It’s the most divine consciousness a person can ever meet with God. The Lord makes knowing Him a worthwhile journey with incredible results.

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God’s enemy knows the mind is one of the greatest parts of creation. It’s not surprising the devil gives his best efforts in trying to rid the mind of thoughts centered on God’s truth. Satan uses sinful books, movies, and music to lure the human mind into a manner of wrongful thoughts unacceptable to Christ. The devil is cunning and understands an unprotected mind from God’s shield is easy prey. Satan’s wants to reprobate your mind and use it against God.

Unlocking the Fruits of Virtue

The best way to combat temptation is praying and meditating. Those two Christian characteristics are the ways we surrender our minds over to the care of God. They are as essential to our spiritual welfare as are food and water are to our physical survival. Without nourishing our bodies, we become sick and die. The same holds true for our soul. A neglected relationship with God is a set up for eternal disaster with fatal results (Job 8:13-15). 

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Prayer was a constant action of Christ. Jesus understood the need for prayer and often spent time away from everything. Christ spent private time with His Father (Luke 5:16). Since we are abiding in Christ, then shouldn’t we follow His lead? 

Christ taught us the right way to pray. Jesus’s instructed us to be simple in our prayers and left us with the correct approach (Matthew 6:1-15). When we follow Christ’s manuscript of praying, then God takes notice. It’s in those scriptures we gain insight into how God responds to proper praying. “… your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6)

How does God reward us? The most obvious is heaven. But until we die a physical death, God wants us to experience His love, mercy and grace. God makes this possible through Christ and the Holy Spirit. Without those two pure ingredients, we won’t accept God’s recipe for eternal life. Our daily bread is vital to adhering to God’s law, and the way of finding our spiritual food is embracing God’s prayer. There is no substitute for Christ’s commands since God has made Him the way to His kingdom.

Another example Christ shared on rightful praying is found in His Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.   

Also, He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.  (Luke 18:9-14)                                                             

God responds to a humble prayer. God is pleased when a believer comes to him free from pride. To be justified by God is an extraordinary experience full of His Spirit and filled with His grace. And to be exalted by the Lord is virtue’s greatest reward.

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As Christians, we know the power of prayer. One of the most exhilarating experiences of following God is bearing witness to the strength others find in prayer. Here we see God healing their suffering and attest to the miracle of prayer. This experience with the way Christ intervenes motivates us to keep praying, and our personal answered prayers confirm the validity of communicating with God.

Another great weapon against sin is asking Christ for help. Jesus wants us to pray to Him.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works I do he will also do; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do.”  (John 14:12-14) 

Once you place your faith in Christ without reservations, then He will intercede for you. By trusting Christ, He promises to pray for you. 

 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  O, righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  (John 17:20-26)

With Christ’s prayers, the devil flees, and God will draw closer to you. Here you gain the greatest protection from the evil one and secure your place in heaven. God doesn’t forget those who adhere to His truth!

Prayer alone is good, but when united with meditation an unshakable trust in God emerges. 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8 ESV)

Meditation is contemplating over God’s truth and is a mighty tool in strengthening our minds against sin. When our thoughts become connected with God, a remarkable mental transformation occurs. We remember the way He wants us to act in a world riddled with wickedness. The more we meditate on Christ, the better we become in obeying God’s commands.

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The world has many types of meditations. It’s easy to fall victim to the meditations that don’t focus on God’s words. They manifest themselves in self-glorification where the focus is placed on emotions, breathing or chanting. None of them bring the mind in line with God’s words. Salvation is giving glory to God and meditation is glorifying Him with the mind.

God showed Joshua the fruits of true meditation. He placed His law as the way to use the mind in a healthy manner. God promises to give spiritual prosperity and a successful holy life to those who follow His plan of meditation. 

Once our minds become focused on God’s words, then we meditate on His truth. And the more your mind is centered on God’s truth then your relationship with Christ becomes stronger. Uniting the mind with God’s word enhances spiritual knowledge and forms a defense against an unfavorable thought pattern towards God’s truth. It’s not by accident that God places Christian thoughts inside a believers mind. It’s a direct result of meditating on His truth and the best way of staying on the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14).

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The Book of Psalm has many references to contemplating on God. Psalm 77:3, 38:12, 77:6, and 145:5 to name a few. The emphasis of meditation remembers God’s truth, and virtue puts us in the best mental state to conform our minds to Christ’s teachings. It’s hard to sum it up the need for meditation, but we can agree God keeps His promises. Psalm 119: 97-99 explains the fruits of thinking on God’s word, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.”

Prayer and meditation have helped me overcome many problems. I have found strength beyond my own. God has blessed me with answered prayers, and this has inspired me to spend more private time in prayer. Meditation has allowed me to find peace of mind in times of distress. The most comforting place I find in my struggles of life is becoming still and think of God’s truth. I have found harmony with my surroundings from meditation. This serenity is uplifting and changes my outlook on life.

I love drawing closer to Christ and prayer, and meditation is my immediate actions in building an unshakable bond with God. When my disobedience increases, it can be traced back to my lack of prayer and meditation. This connection between adherence and disobedience is no accident. It’s Christ’s way of letting me know how important devotion is to my salvation.

We have discussed a few ways virtue helps strengthen our trust in Christ. By adding virtue to our faith, we align our will with Christ’s body. Prayer and meditation begin our compliance with God’s standards. The neat thing is God will show you other Christian principles that will build an unshakable foundation for His kingdom. To stop at virtue is tragic since the Apostle Peter’s message goes beyond conformity. We will want to go further and continue growing under God’s righteousness.