The following was written by a friend from Our Final Authority. I pray it is as much of a blessing to you as it was to me! Enjoy 🙂
Who Are the Christians
by Lee Pierson
Answering two questions has helped me to understand Christianity and why modern Christians are not very Christian in nature. Answering these questions also tells me both why there are so many doctrinal differences, and why there is so much error and deviance from sound doctrine.
The two questions are:
1) What actually happens within us at the moment of salvation.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2) What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth?
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
When God opened my eyes to the answers of these questions, I discovered that even though I was saved and attending a good, Bible believing, and doctrinally-sound Church, I was poor, miserable, naked and blind!
Why are the answers to these questions so important?
Because there are three ways to worship God, and they are;
a) In the flesh (Worship in works, doing the right things)
b) In the soul (Which includes all things pertaining to self, i.e. mind, imagination, conscience self-righteousness etc.)
c) In the spirit (Communication with, and obedience to, God through his Word in repentance and humility)
Almost all of the modern-day Christians, are trying to worship God in the flesh trying to be good enough to be accepted by God; most of the rest worship Him in the soul using their imagination and feelings to determine what God expects out of them. I found that I fell in between worshiping in the flesh and worshiping in the soul, and that I had only glimpses from time-to-time of what it is like to worship in the spirit.
A man cannot worship God in His dead and rotting (corrupt) flesh – Examples of these types of Christians includes Catholics, Mormons and all other works based religions, doctrines and philosophies. All true worship that is manifested in the flesh must be from, and in obedience to God, through submission to the leadership of the Holy Spirit that is residing in you and bearing witness with your spirit. In order for us to properly worship God, we must first crucify the flesh!
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
A man cannot worship God in the vileness of his soul – Psychology, or other man made plans, steps or ideas, come out of the soul and mind of man. If it is out of the wisdom of man, or out of his own imagination, then it is useless in the worship of God. For us to be able to worship God we must deny self!
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
A man can only truly worship God from a quickened spirit, he must have the life in him that the Holy Spirit created at salvation, and he must submit to the truth of the indwelling Holy Spirit after this salvation.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
As Christians, we have been quickened in spirit (Made alive), and the Holy Spirit dwells in us, yet we still yield to the dead works of the flesh and the vain imaginings of the heart rather than the truth of God’s Word as revealed by the Holy Spirit of God.
Consider all of the Christians that you know, including yourself, and ask yourself why you call them a Christian. I am not telling you to judge them and whether they are a Christian or not, I am telling you to judge yourself and what your perception of a Christian is. If a man/woman is a Christian because of the good things that they do, or because they are faithful to come to Church, then you are judging Christianity only in the flesh. If a man/woman is a Christian in your eyes because of their knowledge of the Bible or their ability to teach, preach or give wise council, then you are basing Christianity on the soul and the goodness of their self (Which can spring from a hearty conscience, instead of a genuine relationship with God). But if any man/woman is a Christian in your eyes because they demonstrate the fruits of the spirit, then you are basing Christianity on worship in spirit, and all of the other attributes associated with a Christian (Good works, Bible knowledge, wisdom etc.) will naturally fall into place.
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.
How many of the Christians that you know actually love with the agape sacrificial love of God, instead of the selfish self centered love of man? Do they give of themselves and their possessions out of love, or out of pride or the expectation of something in return?
How many Christians do you know that will still bubble over with joy, even through tribulations and trials and the cares of life that make them unhappy? Or do they fall out of Church or lose their inner joy at the first sign of trouble or hardship?
How many Christians do you know that have the kind of peace that surpasses all understanding, and that are anxious for nothing?
Who is longsuffering today? Who does not pounce or backbite with the slightest offense, or even a perceived offense? Who is kind and merciful, gracious and patient?
How many Christians do you know that are temperate? Where are the Christians that are not self indulgent, self centered, lustful or covetous?
Self-help programs are all about self and what you can do for yourself, not about God and what God has already done for you. Religions that teach that a person must perform certain physical acts (Baptism, church membership, penitence, repetitious prayers etc) are teaching you to worship God with the flesh. We must especially beware of religions that teach doctrines or traditions of men in order to obtain some form of salvation, for all such things are the vain imaginings of men and they teach us to worship a god out of our on soul and evil heart. Instead we must repent of our sins knowing that there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves, then trust in nothing except for the promise of God. That promise is that if we believe in our heart on His Son Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, that He lived a sinless life and was crucified for our sins, and that He rose again alive on the third day, we shall be saved. At that moment we receive a new heart and a new spirit, it is only then that we can worship in spirit and in truth because it is only then that we have the “Truth” in us. That truth will manifest itself in the fruits of the spirit, which will lead to good works of the flesh, knowledge, wisdom and the understanding of God’s Word. Salvation and the truth that it brings is all about Jesus, who He is, and what He did on the cross for us. Salvation has absolutely nothing to do with us and what we have done, what we have given, what we have suffered, or what we have sacrificed. All of those things are worthless if you have not first been born again by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.