Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Counts Is A New Creation Not A New Paint Job

Good morning my friends. I wonder what the Lord has in store for us today. Whatever it is I am sure it will be a stretching experience as he moves us along to greater maturity. Remember today that you are involved in a process that will take the rest of your life, and it just keeps getting better. We are finishing up with Galatians 6 today.

The biggest challenges in our walk with Jesus will not be with the enemy but will be with ourselves. The enemy will do us no favours and will be there to exploit every opportunity we give him. However, our biggest challenge every day is leaving our flesh crucified on the cross and walking with the Spirit of God. Obedience is our number one priority after love. And every saint needs to keep in mind that we are only one decision away from a fall. We are never very far away from our sin nature, no matter how long we have been on the road with Jesus. We can never take a day off, never get weary, never stop being passionately in love because our flesh is there to rise up again. The best way to do that is to allow the love from Jesus to be renewed in us every day.

It may seem funny to us right now but there are plenty of people who try living for Jesus in the flesh. They try to live a good life. They put more emphasis on the outward appearance, how we dress, what we say, how we worship and so on. They do not consider the heart, only what people can see. Things haven't changed much:

Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. v. 12

Their emphasis is clean living and they set aside the real message of the cross. The cross is almost embarrassing to them and they demonstrate that we can have the same thing by living a good life, following the ten commandments. They can't do it but they won't admit it:

Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. v. 13

This is a fake Christianity because it is a fake relationship with Christ. It is not getting anyone anywhere. Our relationship with Jesus is a heart matter. When our heart is changed then everything else begins to change, but this is a working out from within, not a working in from the outside. You cannot change a heart by a change of appearance. The only thing that changes a heart is encountering and experiencing the love of Jesus. In this our attitude should match that of Paul's:

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. vs. 14-15

What we do doesn't matter; it doesn't count for anything. The only thing that matters is what Jesus Christ has done. It is the only act of love that means anything to us because it is the only love strong enough to provoke type of change needed in each of us. That love is strong enough to break the chains of sin and death, and to set our feet on the right path. Nothing else matters. How you dress, worship, sing, dance, live, love will not have an impact on your salvation. Only the sacrificial love of the cross counts.

Where are you in that relationship? Is it the most important relationship in your life? Are you keenly aware of the power of the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ as demonstrated on the cross? Do you share that message with others who are lost? Is there a passion in you as a response to the love you have experienced? Do you love Jesus more than anyone or anything? Do you long to lift up his name and to spend time with him?

Remember, what counts is a new creation not a new paint job.

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