Putting On Christ (Part 2)

PUTTING ON CHRIST (Galatians 3:27) I. Scripture clearly affirms that the eternal salvation of sinners is entirely of God, independent of the will and work of man. This is true grace. ROM 5:19; 9:15-16; 2TIM 1:9; TIT 3:5; 1PE 5:10-12. II. Grace, however, demands that the child of God should pursue personal holiness and righteousness in practice. TIT 2:11-13. A. The elective purpose of God and the sacrificial atonement of Christ are not only for the deliverance of the elect from the penalty of sin in eternity but also from the power of sin in this life. TIT 2:14; MAT 1:21; 2TI 2:10. B. Therefore, grace can never be looked upon as a license for sin. The person that does so is only deceiving himself. JAM 1:22; ROM 3:8; JUDE 1:4. III. Obedience to the gospel command of baptism is the signal event of change in a child of God's life, for it incorporates repentance. ACT 2:38. A. Baptism is a figure or picture of that which saves us: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1PE 3:20-21; ROM 4:25. 1. Note that baptism is the "...answer of a good conscience...," not the generator of a good conscience. 2. Before baptism comes faith (ACT 8:36-37) and faith is a product and evidence of eternal life, not the cause of it. ACT 13:48 c/w TIT 1:1-2; 1TH 1:4-5. 3. Baptism is therefore a testimony of an already received cleansing, in principle the same as MAR 1:40-44. B. Baptism affirms that an individual was legally represented in Jesus Christ, who satisfied the demands of the law of God for the individual's sin by His death. GAL 3:13; 2CO 5:21. C. Since God's elect were legally represented in Christ, they legally died for sins IN Him. GAL 2:20; 2CO 5:14. D. Mind that baptism represents not just the death of Christ for us but all three elements of our salvation by His work: His death, burial and resurrection. E. From this premise, an analogy is drawn from baptism which demonstrates that a person having been baptized should begin a dramatic change of his life. ROM 6:1-5. 1. Christ died and was buried. Sin and death could no longer try to have dominion over Him. ROM 6:7. 2. In baptism we identify with our death in Christ. Thus, sin should no longer have dominion over us and our old man (our sin nature) should be considered as dead. ROM 6:6-7; 1PE 4:1-2. 3. Christ arose from the dead, never again to be subject to death. In accord with this we should arise from the waters of baptism to walk in newness of life, no longer subject to Satan's temptations and torments. ROM 6:4, 8-14; HEB 2:14-15. 4. If we legally rose with Christ (which our water baptism declares), our overall perspective of life should reflect that. COL 3:1-2; ROM 12:1-2. IV. It is said that we are baptized "...INTO Jesus Christ..." (ROM 6:3). There are five ways that a person can be "IN Christ." A. Electively. A person may be chosen in Christ entirely of the will of God. EPH 1:3-6. B. Legally. A person may be seen legally in Christ, having his sins forgiven and Christ's righteousness imputed to him. Again, God alone is active in considering a person IN Christ in this sense. EPH 1:7; HEB 10:9-10. C. Vitally. This is when a person is made alive in his inward parts by regeneration and thus able to delight in God and obey Him. Again, this is solely by the will of God. ROM 7:22; 2CO 5:17; EPH 2:10. D. Finally. This is when Christ returns to fully redeem all of His saints in the great resurrection. Again, God is the active force alone in this great change and gathering. EPH 1:10-11; 1TH 4:16-17; PHIL 3:20-21. E. Practically. In this phase, the child of God plays an active role. He in time works out what God by grace had worked in and thereby gains assurance of his salvation. COL 2:6; PHIL 2:12-13; 2PE 1:5-11. 1. A person who has been baptized into Jesus Christ (ROM 6:3) has put on Christ. One is in what is on. GAL 3:27. 2. When a person obeys the gospel, he is: a. "...added to the church..." (ACT 2:41-47). b. "...added to the Lord..." (ACT 5:14; 11:24). 3. The local church is the body of Christ (1CO 12:27) and in fact is IN Christ (1TH 1:1). This is how a person is baptized into Jesus Christ: by being baptized into the local church in time. 4. Having been baptized into the church / into Christ, a child of God is made to drink into the Spirit of God who indwells the church. 1CO 12:12-13. a. Through the Spirit he is brought into fellowship with God and fullness of joy. PHIL 2:1; ACT 2:42 c/w 1JO 1:3-4. b. Through the Spirit he is builded together with other church members for a unique habitation of God. EPH 2:20-22. c. Through the Spirit he is made a priest of God in His house to offer spiritual sacrifices. 1PE 2:4-5 c/w HEB 13:15-16. d. Through the Spirit's ministry via the word he matures in his understanding and conversation. EPH 4:11-16. V. Having put on Christ in baptism, the believer should also put on Christ in everyday living so as to avoid sin. ROM 13:14. A. Christianity is not only the correction of former doctrinal errors or nominal identification with Christ in His house / body: the church. 1. Christianity is also the practice of wearing the garments of righteousness that were won by Christ's work. 2. It speaks of change and improvement inspired and undergirded by grace. TIT 3:3-8; 2TI 2:19; GAL 5:24. B. It is the surrender of the old self and ways to the will of Christ, striving for conformity to the image of Christ. Thus, Christian experience should reflect what God had designed from the beginning. COL 3:9-10 c/w ROM 8:29. C. It is the warfare of the old outward sin nature (the flesh) against the new inward man (the spirit). ROM 7:22-24; GAL 5:17. D. Putting on Christ / putting on the new man demands that we walk in the Spirit in order to conquer in this battle. GAL 5:16. 1. Walking in the Spirit is walking in the word of God. PSA 119:1-3. 2. Intake of Scripture is vital in the war against the flesh and sin. PSA 119:11 c/w 2PE 1:2. 3. Walking in the light maintains fellowship with God (1JO 1:6-7) and this light is found in God's word. PSA 119:105, 130. 4. This walking in the word of God is more than walking through the Scripture by reading and turning pages. It is a practical walking in the commandments and ordinances of Scripture. LUK 1:6; EPH 2:10 c/w JAM 4:17. 5. We are to resist temptation and overcome the world by faith. 1PE 5:8-9; 1JO 5:4. a. This faith is NOT naive, nebulous hope in what one assumes of God; it is thought and action based on what God has declared. ROM 10:17. (1) Pseudo-faith says, "Because of MAR 16:17-18, God will protect me when I stick my hand in a bag of coral snakes." AA. Faith compares MAR 16:17-18 with ACT 28:3-5 and MAT 4:5-7 and realizes such promises of protection were not for deliberate endangerment. BB. Faith reads MIC 7:14-20, compares it with LUK 1:68-73 and ACT 7:36 and understands that sign gifts terminated around 70 A.D. anyway. CC. Faith reads LUK 10:19-20 and realizes that knowledge of one's election is better than power over poison and so joyfully submits to Christ's gospel and trusts Him for salvation. 1TH 1:4-10. DD. Faith reads PRO 8:12 and recommends that the snake-handler dial 9-1-1. (2) Pseudo-faith says, "I cast out devils and perform miracles; therefore I am a spiritual child of God." AA. Faith reads LUK 9:1 and JOH 6:70-71 and realizes that such power may only indicate a Judas. BB. Faith reads MAT 7:21-27, realizes that godly obedience is a much more reliable barometer of spirituality and regeneration unto life and acts accordingly. (3) Pseudo-faith says, "We're going to move forward in faith and build a mega-chapel for Jesus." Translation: "We're going to take out a mega-mortgage that will guarantee compromise of principle somewhere to keep the numbers and support up." AA. Faith reads ROM 13:8, PRO 22:7, 1CO 7:21-23, etc., and knows that freedom is better than servitude. BB. Faith reads the book of Acts and realizes that God does not dwell in temples built with men's hands (ACT 7:48; 17:24) and that He turned the world upside down without a mega-chapel. ACT 17:6. CC. Faith reads JER 7:4; LUK 21:5-6; PSA 96:8-9; 2TI 3:5 and realizes that God is much more interested in the power of godliness than the form of grandiose buildings. b. Faith which successfully resists and overcomes is an implicit trust in "the sense" of the book of the law of God (NEH 8:8), prompting responsive actions that are contrary to our natural sense. HEB 11:1-3, 7 c/w PSA 119:128. (1) This faith accepts that the power of God within us is greater than the power of Satan. 1JO 4:4; 1CO 10:13 c/w PHIL 4:13. (2) This faith accepts that Christ has justified by His faith and blood and so also accesses His grace for mercy and in times of need. ROM 5:1-5 c/w HEB 4:16. (3) This faith takes to heart the warnings in Scripture about the borders of sin and so avoids them. It considers AA. whether something has the appearance of evil. 1TH 5:22. BB. whether something will hinder the effect of God's word. LUK 8:14. CC. whether something could be dominating. 1CO 6:12. DD. whether something is doubted in the conscience. ROM 14:14, 20-23. EE. whether something comes close to wickedness. JOB 11:14; PRO 4:14-15, 24. FF. whether something would be appropriate to be be involved in at Christ's return. MAT 24:42-51 c/w 1JO 2:28. GG. whether something would provide occasion for temptation to sin. EPH 4:27 c/w ROM 13:14. (4) This faith entrusts the supervision and supply of every concern to a faithful, loving God and so finds peace. ROM 8:35-39; 1PE 4:19 c/w PHIL 4:6-7, 19. 6. Mind how much of the Christian's armour is tied into the word of God. EPH 6:13-18. a. Gird your loins with truth. PSA 119:142; JOH 17:17. b. Put on the breastplate of righteousness. PSA 119:144; 172. c. Have your feet shod WITH THE GOSPEL! d. Take the shield of faith. ROM 10:17. e. Take the helmet of salvation (and where might you find out about salvation?). 2TI 1:10. f. Take the sword of the Spirit, which IS THE WORD OF GOD! g. Pray always IN THE SPIRIT, Whose will is revealed in the word. (1) There are few things that a new Christian could be better advised to do than to read his Bible. 1PE 2:1-2. (2) There are few things that any Christian could be better advised to do than to read his Bible. (3) If you are not having much success in overcoming sin or lacking peace in your life, check the amount of your Scripture intake. Remember, grace and peace are multiplied through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. 2PE 1:2; 3:18. 7. Christians should increase in understanding and knowledge to better equip them in their warfare against sin. EPH 4:14. a. Eternal simplicity is unacceptable and impedes the developing of true discernment. 1CO 14:20; HEB 5:12-14. b. The lack of discernment is the cause of much self-destruction. PRO 2:10-17 c/w PRO 7:6-23. c. This increase of knowledge and understanding demands a proportionate increase in its personal assimilation and application. LUK 12:47-48 c/w ROM 2:23; JAM 4:17. (1) Growth in knowledge and understanding also facilitates others' conversion or growth. 1TI 4:16 c/w 1PE 3:15. (2) Personal assimilation and application of knowledge lends credibility to one's profession and witness. 1PE 3:1-2; PSA 51:12-13 ct/w PSA 50:16-17; PRO 11:9. (3) "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." d. Let us not be spiritual Ninevite babes (JON 4:11) but rather practice Solomon's prayer. 1KI 3:9. VI. The Christian walk is one of gradual improvement and refining toward maturity. Maturing people understand the need to stop thinking and doing as they once did or as a childish society thinks or does. 1CO 13:11. A. Former errant beliefs and practices should be shelved and forgotten in favor of a firm grasp on the next rung of ladder. PHIL 3:13-14. B. Weakness and doubts are dispelled with time and faith. Look not with lingering affection upon the past, but unto Christ. The right attitude and approach will be blessed with strength and right answers. ISA 40:31; HEB 11:34; PHIL 3:15. C. If you've been shown the way of truth, pursue it aggressively. Preoccupation with the fleshpots of your Egyptian past is flirting with a return to bondage. GAL 4:8-9; ACT 7:39 c/w ACT 7:42. D. The saint who is over-mindful of a former life may be provided an opportunity to return. HEB 11:15. E. Your inheritance should not be cast away over trivial matters. HEB 12:16. F. "But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (HEB 10:39). G. Let as many as have put on the Lord Jesus Christ keep Him on until He comes and puts off forever our old man. 1JO 3:2-3.
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