Faith Is, Chapter Twenty Two
The Apostle Paul made a very profound statement in 2 Cor. 5:16-21,
"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting menís sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christís ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christís behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Just what do we do when we regard one another from a worldly point of view? We look at all our faults and motives and family background. We look at what our standing in society is and how successful we have been in business and how many houses we have and what kind of car we drive. Paul even said that they once viewed Christ the same way. Remember in Mark 8:28, when Jesus asked His followers, "Who do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets."
In Mark 6:2-3 the people of Jesus's own town said,
"When the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him." Is not this the
This is what Paul meant by viewing someone from a worldly viewpoint but he said we no longer do this. Why do you no longer do this Paul?† Because if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ!
This is why it is so important for us to get our mind off worldly things and look at everyone from a spiritual standpoint. Why should we do this, because if any man be in Christ he is a new creation and all the old has passed away and everything has became new! Does this mean that he is now perfect? Yes it does! In God's sight because God now sees Jesus in that person. However, we still see the same person. If he was fat and balding before he was baptized into Christ he will still be fat and balding after he is baptized.
The change has taken place on the inside and has to be worked out in order for it to be seen on the outside. This doesn't change the fact that the inward man has been made new. This is why Paul said in Phil. 2:13,
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
The Apostle Paul said in Rom. 12:2,
"Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
The transformation of our mind is a constant process as we study and become more acquainted with the Lord. As He reveals Himself more and more to us our knowledge of His ways and His purposes become clearer and clearer. As we begin to share with others what the Lord has revealed to us we learn to discern when the Lord is using us and speaking through us in order to minister to others.
Jesus was asked what the greatest of the Ten Commandments is and He answered in Mark 12:29-31,
"The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
I have been most privileged to have lived during the 40's through the 60's in what many have referred to as, "The Beaver Cleaver Days". Life was very simple then and our morals as a nation were quite different than they are today. Man had not walked on the moon as yet and curse words were uncommon even in the movies. The greatest expression of sex in the movies was a casual kiss. TV was in it's infancy. Ed Sullivan would only allow the cameras to show Elvis above the waist. If a young girl was so unfortunate to get pregnant she would usually move out of town and go live with a relative until after the baby was born because of the shame.
Was it a perfect age to live in? No, but our moral standards as a nation were much different than they are at this time. Our school systems were much different. The teachers had the authority to discipline the students without fear of being sued. We were taught to respect the flag and to say the pledge of allegiance and were taught about our constitution. We had prayer in school and was not given homework on Wednesday evening because it was church night.
That is a far cry from what is happening today. Everything on TV is geared to sex or implications of it. Our political atmosphere is one of who can out slander the opponent the most. Most men and women consider the cost of running for public service is too great a price to pay because their lives will be exposed to the public. Commercials on TV need a psychologist to explain what they are talking about. Sex appeal is used in every commercial. People live together without the thought of ever getting married. Sitcoms are filled with propaganda to promote the gay life or some political position. Everybody seems to mistrust everyone else. Seems as though most always question the motives of others without just trusting them.
As a result of all of this if we are not careful we will fall into the trap of always being suspicious of everyone else. That is not what Jesus was talking about when He said that we are to love our neighbor as our self. Paul tells us about love in 1 Cor. 13:4-8, (NIV)
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not selfĖseeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
Why is it so important that we love one another? Because we are family and we have one Father and He is Love. How can we say we love Him and not love our brothers and sisters? Jesus said in Matt. 7:15-20,
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheepís clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them."
He also said in Matt. 12:33-37,
"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."
It is so important that we learn to declare what the word has to say about the will of God that Jesus instructed us. The carnal mind wants to walk by experience and judge all activity by what it has learned by experience through it's five senses. The carnal mind knows very little about walking by faith. It is very quick to judge and to criticize others. It looks on the negative side of every circumstance and judges every thing according to what it has experience in the past. The carnal mind is filled with doubt and a lack of trust in anything. The carnal mind is pessimistic about everything.
If we want to be pleasing to the Lord we will be very careful to study to show our selves approved before the Lord. We should learn to mediate on what His word has to say about us even if we have to walk by faith until it becomes manifest in our lives. You see, it's one thing to believe what Jesus had to say is true for us today and an entirely another thing to accept it and to walk by faith until it comes to past. Just two things that Jesus had to say to prove my point.
He said in Matt. 19:26,
"With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
For those of us who have studied His word this is easy to accept and to believe in! Most Christians will agree that all things are possible for Jesus because He is the Son of God. But Jesus said this in Mark 9:23,
"Jesus said unto him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."
Wow, it is easy to believe that Jesus can do anything but to believe that we can do anything is something else. You see, if we can do all things then it puts the ball in our court and we become responsible for what happens in our lives because we have been given the power to overcome anything that might come our way. That's a big responsibility. It means that we must learn that what we say has the power to make things happen in our lives. It means that we have been given the keys to the Kingdom of God and can unlock any door of opposition that comes our way.
Jesus said in Mark 11:23,
"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says. Therefore I say unto you, What things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
This passage of scripture recording what Jesus said is very difficult for most Christians to accept because it again places the ball in our court once again. Jesus said that if we want our mistakes to be forgiven by our Father then we must be willing to forgive others for their mistakes against us. This is often very difficult for us to accept because of what others have done to us in the past and some of these things are very difficult to forgive. However, we have no choice in the matter but to forgive others for their trespasses against us. Why is this so? Jesus said in John 20:22-23,
"And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive you the Holy Ghost: Whosoever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins you retain, they are retained."
I bet you have not heard many sermons on this subject! Do you not see that if we are filled with the Holy Spirit or with the love of our Father we will have the same mercy on others that he expresses to us. Why, because we are children of the most high God and whatever He does we will find His children doing. This is why what we say about others is so important because as we judge them we are likewise judged.
We must learn to see others in the light of who they really are and not what we often see manifest through their flesh. Dolly Rambo wrote a song which is one of my favorites which expresses the way we should look at our brothers and sisters in Christ. It's called, "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Needs!"
Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise, for it was grace that brought my liberty; I do not know just why He came to love me so, He looked beyond my fault and saw my need. I shall forever life mine eyes to Calvary, to view the cross where Jesus died for me, how marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul; He looked beyond my fault and saw my need."
The closer we come to our Father the more we will act like Him. It is said of Him in Lamentations 3:22-23,
"It is by the LORDíS mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
We sing a chorus that says,
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, They are new every morning, New every morning, Great is thy faithfulness Oh Lord, Great is thy faithfulness!
The point that I am trying to make to you is that we must learn to be who we really are in this life and stop waiting until Jesus comes. We are like Him even now and it's about time we begin acting like Him. His love and mercy should be flowing through each of us toward others especially those of the household of faith. This includes all who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ even if they have not learned all that we have about Him.