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Putting On Christ
August 01, 2010
When we are baptized into Christ, we put on Christ. We become new beings, and walk in a newness of life. Jesus is the light, and we walk in Him, where the path is well-lit and easy to see. Others see us walking in the light, as well. Jesus is in us, and we in Him. To the world, we are Christ. They watch us to see if we reflect the love of Jesus in our lives. An important aspect of this life in Christ is the ability and willingness to forgive. When there is strife between us and others, we have an obligation to work through the problem immediately. When someone provokes us to anger, we are not to sin, and are not to let that anger seethe and simmer, causing bitterness in our hearts and lives.
Putting On Christ
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 08-01-2010
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 08-08-2010
In our last lesson, we learned that our consciences are cleared and our sins are forgiven when we are washed in the blood of Jesus. In that lesson, we read the remarks of the apostle Paul that we are to put on Christ. We also read that we are to learn of Him and walk in Him.
Let us now examine the concept of wearing Christ, as it were, or walking in Him daily. If we say that we are Christians, then we must study Christ and how to live our lives like He lived His.
John 8:12 "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
Romans 6:4 "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
When we became Christians, and the blood of Jesus washed away our sins, we became new beings in the eyes of God, and in our own eyes, and the eyes of those around us.
Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
As Christians, and children of God, we are to put our minds on spiritual things. If we have them on fleshly, or worldly, things, then we will do fleshly things, and lose our eternal lives. If we think on spiritual things, and do those, then we shall have life.
Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves -- which means to assist them in their times of need. Love is not a warm, fuzzy feeling, but a practice and an approach to life.
Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"
After loving God with all that is in us, and after looking after our neighbors, there are some other things that we are expected to do to create a peaceful, godly atmosphere around us.
Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:"
Jesus taught His followers to forgive. Forgiveness is good for those who forgive, as well as for those whom we forgive. Once we forgive someone, it erases the bitterness we have toward them, and frees us from the guilt and the strain that accompany a situation of strife. Once that we are forgiven by someone, there is relief that we can pursue a better relationship with that person, and attempt to repair the damage that was done by the strife. While it is best to avoid strife, if it is encountered, forgiveness is the only way to restore a strained, wounded, or broken relationship.
Mark 11:25 "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Jesus also taught His disciples that we each have a responsibility to work toward peace, to avoid strife, and to take steps to fix broken relationships.
To avoid strife, Jesus taught the following:
Luke 6:27 "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
When strife develops, Jesus taught to do this:
Matthew 5:23 "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
Luke 17:1 "Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."
Jesus said that strife is inevitable. He knew human tendencies. When there is a breach in relations, the offended person has an obligation to point out the offense to the offender, and try to fix the problem before it festers, or intensifies. The apostle Paul recounts Christís teaching:
Romans 12:17 "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
As we put on Christ, we live in peace, including avoiding conflict where possible, and repairing damaged relationships as soon as possible. We are not to harbor resentment, anger, grudges, or bitterness. That baggage destroys the Christian, and we must divest ourselves of it.
We donít seek vengeance Ė that is, we donít retaliate or get even. When someone does us wrong, we do good to them as a way of distinguishing the Christian from the worldly person. We also forgive them for what they have done to us. Again, this differentiates us from worldly people, as well as giving us peace of mind.
Anger sometimes arises in the Christian, despite our best efforts. There are many triggers, including stressful situations, bullies, ill health or medical side effects, and others. The main thing is to resolve the situation quickly.
Ephesians 4:26 "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil."
Fix the problems the day that they develop. Donít pass judgment. Forgive. Live peaceably.
Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
The above describes us, as we should be Ė must be Ė if we have truly put on Christ.