‘Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God’ 1 John 3:9
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
As we promised in our last lesson, we plan to look into how those who follow Jesus Christ should live in order to please God. The faith that a disciple of Christ has in his heart should be displayed in the way he thinks, in the way he talks, and in the way he acts–in his
whole way of living.
Before we consider the way a disciple of Christ should live, let us review what makes a person a true disciple of Christ. As we have seen, the disciple of Christ is one who, first, admits that he is a sinner before God and that he has no hope of getting into Heaven by his own efforts. Second, he believes the plan announced by all of God’s prophets – the plan by which God can forgive the sins of the children of Adam. That plan was
the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
God delivered the sinless Redee-mer over to death for our sins and raised Him to life so that He might judge us as righteous. In summary, the disciple of Christ is one who believes the Good News of Jesus the Messiah with all his heart and knows for sure that all his sins have been removed, as God has promised in His Word.
Thus it is written in the Gospel: To all who receive Jesus the Messiah and believe in His name are given “the right to become children of God–children not born of natural descent . . . but born of God.” (John 1:12,13) Dear friend, God wants you to know that if you become a child of God through faith in Christ and His sacrifice, you will never perish, and He will give you the right to live forever in His presence;
Perhaps some would argue with this, saying: Ah, if entering Heaven is that easy for the disciple of Christ, then he can live as he pleases and commit sin as he pleases, without any fear of judgement, because God has forgiven him of all his sins already! Friends, this thought is absurd. Those who think this way do not yet know what sin is, nor do they know God the Holy One.
Jesus Christ came to deliver us from the dominion of sin; He did not come to encourage us to continue in sin! Whoever believes in Christ is no longer a slave of sin. Truly, only those who belong to the devil can thoroughly enjoy sin. The person whom God saves and forgives has
a changed heart.
God washes his heart and makes it clean. The person for whom God has done this will avoid all uncleanness. That is what the Scriptures say, “Therefore, if any-one is in Christ,
he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Tell us, if you are wearing a clean, white suit, will you sit or go where it is dirty? No, you will avoid anything that might stain your clothes. It is like that with everyone whom God has cleansed of his sins. You will no longer want to go along with anything that is not pleasing to God.
If someone forgives you of a great debt of money, could you intentionally hurt him? No,
you will do whatever you can to please him.
Similarly, if the Lord God has forgiven you your great debt of sin and saved you from eternal punishment, should you not thank him and honour Him in thought and word and deed all your life long?
Read what the Gospel declares concerning those who belong to the Lord Jesus. Titus 3:3-7 “For we ourselves also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after the kindness and love of God, our Saviour, toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us,
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. That, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (1 Peter 1:14-16) “As obe-dient children, not fashioning yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance. But, as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of life, because it is written,
Be ye holy, for I am holy”.
How can we summarise the way of life of a disciple of Christ? Perhaps like this: God wants His children to show forth His character in their behaviour here on earth. Simply put,
Well then, what is God like? In our studies in the Holy Scriptures we have seen that two prominent characteristics of God are holiness and love. God is the Holy One. He is also the God of Love. So what is His will for those of us who belong to Him? He wants us to be holy as He is holy, and to love one another as He loves us.
A holy life and a loving heart
are what differentiates those who belong to God from those who do not. Concerning this, God’s Word says: (1 John 3:10) “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whoso-ever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (Titus 2:11-14) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly, in this present age, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people of his own, zealous of good works”.
(Ephesians 4:25-32) “Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour;
for we are members one of another.
Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more but, rather,
let him labour,
working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and
tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you”.
(Ephesians 5:1-5,8) “Be ye, there-fore, followers of God, as dear children; and
walk in love,
as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness,
let it not be named among you,
as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not fitting; but, rather, giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man (who is an idolater) hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God … for ye were once darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord;
walk as children of light”
(1 John 4:7,20,21) “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God … If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also”.
That is what the Scriptures say concerning the way of life for those who follow Jesus Christ. Does all this mean that the disciple of Christ can no longer sin, or that he always loves his neighbour as he loves himself? No! He still commits sin, but
he no longer lingers in it.
When he sins, he can put to use the promise in the Word of God that says: (1 John 1:7-9) “…the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
Belonging to Jesus Christ is not just a religion –
it is a relationship.
When a person belongs to Christ, he is brought into fellowship with the holy God of love. That close relationship with God, which Adam and Eve lost because of their sin is restored to us through the blood which Jesus shed on the cross. God will no longer reme-mber our transgressions because Jesus paid for us our debt of sin. Through our share in Christ, God is our heavenly Father, and
That is what the Scriptures speak of when they say: “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:18,19)
Those who belong to Christ can enjoy a close relationship with God on earth and look forward to an eternal inheritance in heaven. But one might ask, how can the disciple of Christ enjoy this relationship which he has with God on earth?
Concerning this, God’s Word mentions four responsibilities (disciplines) which will help us know the will of God and live a life consistent with our position as children of God so that we might please Him in all things and increase in our knowledge of God.
1) The first responsibility is this: The disciple of Christ should
feed on the Word of God
meditating on it daily and receiving it into his heart with a desire to obey it. The Holy Scriptures reveal God’s will. God talks to us through His Word. God’s Word is the food that nourishes and strengthens our spirit.
Whoever really loves God should not need to be urged to listen to the Word of God, because he will hunger for it like he hungers for food. The prophet Job said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12)
2) The second responsibility is to
pray to God,
our Father who is in heaven. Whoever wants to grow in the relationship he has with God will want to talk to Him often. For the disciple of Christ,
as you would talk to your best friend. There is no specific time that we must pray. We can talk to our heavenly Father anytime of the day or night! There should not even be a moment when our minds are not conscious of God. He wants us to praise and thank Him continually for who He is and for all that He has done for us. He also invites us to tell Him about all our concerns. The disciple of Christ knows that
prayer is powerful.
The Lord Jesus Himself promised His disciples that “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14) and, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6)
3) The third responsibility is to
with others who believe and love the Lord Jesus Christ. As a coal stays hot longer when left in the fire with other coals, so our fellowship with other believers will help us to live for Christ and to encourage others to do the same. God’s Word says: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24,25)
4) The fourth responsibility of Christ’s disciples is to be His witnesses. Read what Jesus told His disciples before He ascended to heaven: “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations … and ye are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:46-48) Yes, Christ’s disciples are to tell others about their Savior, explaining the Good News of Jesus Christ who died to give all who believe in Him a wonderful relationship with God forever. Of course, our witness should not be limited to mere words, but should be accompanied by
a life of holiness and love.
It is the change that Christ has made in our lives that will strengthen and confirm the message. For the Scripture says: “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20)
Dear Friend, has there been a day in your life when you met the Savior, Jesus Christ, a day when He forgave your sins and renewed your heart? Is your life full of the holiness and love of God?
God bless you as you consider what the Holy Scripture declares, saying:
“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” (1 John 1:5,6)
We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have