You want to live your life for Christ. Hopefully you understand that the first step in doing so requires a birth— you must be born into the Kingdom of God.
To understand why, read my articles (links below):
1. What is Salvation and Why is it Needed?
2. The Importance of Repentance in the Process of Salvation
3. What It Means to Believe in Jesus
Once you understand that Christ came to give you a new nature, it becomes the focus for Christian living.
Here are 3 principals for living the Christian life.
Focus on your new nature. It’s your new identity.
Many times Christians approach life from the wrong perspective. They see themselves as “sinners— saved by grace”. As a result they start working to make themselves better.
But God doesn’t want us to work to get better. He wants us to approach life from the perspective of who we currently are— new creatures in Christ.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
We are new creatures in Christ— perfect, seated with Him in heavenly places.
(God) hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, how we view ourselves dictates how we deal with sin.
If we think of ourselves as sinners on earth, we’ll be compelled to do something about our sin. We’ll start operating out of an earthly works based perspective. But if we think of ourselves as perfect with Christ in God’s Kingdom, we’ll deal with sin from a heavenly faith based perspective.
Dealing with sin is about remaining in God’s Kingdom.
Let me show you how it works.
Dealing with sin is about remaining in God’s Kingdom.
Everything is perfect in God’s Kingdom.
How do you suppose citizens of God’s Kingdom behave?
I suppose they behave like the KING, since they are born of the King. They have His nature, they have His DNA (Matthew 5:48).
But how does the King behave?
The Bible tells us that God’s nature is expressed by the fruit of His Spirit. The fruit of God’s Spirit is:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Therefore in heaven, we express the Fruit of God’s Spirit as well. We express:
But that’s how we behave in heaven. What about about earth? How should we deal with our sin on earth?
We remain in the Kingdom!
For example, if when you get up in the morning, make your coffee, have your breakfast then… SCREAM at your wife, you are NOT in the Kingdom of God— you have mentally left it. You are not displaying the fruit of God’s Spirit which is gentleness.
So what do you do?
You simply RETURN to God’s Kingdom.
How do you return to God’s Kingdom? You confess your earthly sin to God:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Returning to the Kingdom means that you must die to yourself (Matthew 16:24-25). Sometimes we don’t want to die to ourselves. Telling people off can feel good. They may even deserve it! But dying to ourselves is what God requires in order to deal with our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Once we confess our sin to God, He is faithful to forgive our sin and cleanse us of that sin.
Mentally you are back in the Kingdom. You have dealt with sin from a Kingdom perspective.
As I have said, dealing with sin is not WORKING to get better, it’s simply REMAINING in the Kingdom. This is so because Jesus ALREADY dealt with our sin through His death and resurrection. He did all the work because we never could. Our job is to just mentally remain in God’s Kingdom because spiritually, by birth, we are already there.
When we hurt other people, God often convicts us to go to that person and ask their forgiveness as well (Matthew 5:23-24). But the concept here is that earthly sin is dealt with when we confess it to God in faith, not because we have to do something to be forgiven. In this case, our forgiveness is received from God by our faithful confession, not because we earned it through our actions.
We don’t have to say ten “Hail Mary’s” or work for recompense. Even if your wife doesn’t forgive you, GOD DOES! When people don’t forgive us for our failures many times God uses this to challenge us in other areas of Kingdom fruit— meekness, goodness etc..
In every case when we sin we simply confess it to God and ask Him to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Immediately He forgives us and we are cleansed whether we FEEL like it or not.
In a practical sense, you may wonder how this seemingly passive acceptance of God’s grace actually changes us here in the present?
The way it changes us is that with each sin and each confession, God WASHES our mind, will and emotions to correspond to the sinless part of us (our justified spirit) living in God’s Kingdom. Our mind, will and emotions on earth are being transformed to correspond with who we really are in heaven. So while the temptation to DO something exists, you have to understand that when you were born into God’s Kingdom you were ALREADY changed (given a sinless nature). God is just using TIME to bring your mind, will and emotions on earth up to speed with your spirit already in heaven.
But how do you consistently remain in the Kingdom?
Remain in the Kingdom by reprogramming your mind. We reprogram our mind when we read and study the Bible.
The Bible is like a mirror. It reflects the Christ in you back to you, allowing your flesh driven soul (mind, will and emotions) to be changed into His image.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass (mirror/Bible) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18
This only occurs when we read and study the Bible. If you don’t read and study the Bible, you FORGET who you are and your mind, will, and emotions are NOT changed.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For 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. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once FORGETS what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
In this article we’ve discussed 3 foundational principals for living the Christian life. They are:
- Focus on your new nature. It’s your new identity.
- Dealing with sin is about remaining in God’s Kingdom.
- Remain in the Kingdom by reprogramming your mind. Reprogram your mind by reading and studying the Bible.
These principals show us that God wants to bring who we are in heaven (a justified perfect spirit) to who we are on earth (a fallen soul— mind, will and emotions).
Your specific ACTIONS for making it happen is what I’ll discuss in my next article.