Love in the Big Circle

Love is ..., Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
In Matthew 22:35-40, Jesus identified the two great commandments - love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself - as the greatest commandments in the Old Testament.  Did I just say Old Testament?  I did, and I said it because Jesus said it.  Jesus listed these as the greatest commandments in "the Law" (understood to be the Old Testament) saying that "the whole Law and the Prophets" (again, the Old Testament) depended on them. In the New Testament, Jesus introduced a new love emphasis.  "A new commandment I give to you, that you love on another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love…
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Motivated by Love

Love is ..., Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
When we embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ, one of the changes we experience, whether rapidly or gradually, is that we are no longer motivated by selfish ambition, by "what's in it for me."  We have a new motivation for our actions. In the first chapter of I Peter, the apostle goes to great length to explain our inheritance in Christ.  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" (I Pet 1:3-4). Peter continues in this chapter with two actions that…
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On the Road to Change

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
Without taking anything away from our last post, The End of Sin's Power?, we do need to talk about how this works in practice.  The message of the New Testament - the indwelling resurrection power of Christ in our lives and the thousand new things that come with it - is all true, but experiencing this power is a process. The path to all that happened at our new birth becoming our normal practice is hindered by at least two barriers.  The first is our group of enemies - the world, the flesh, and the devil - that seek to empower our moribund sin nature.  I will not elaborate here as we have discussed this challenge many times (see Galatians 5 and The War with the Flesh). The second barrier…
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The End of Sin’s Power?

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
The self improvement message behind a certain brand of Bible teaching today is work harder and stop doing the bad stuff.  Try harder and stop doing the bad stuff.  Strive harder and quit the bad stuff.  It's on you to clean up your life. The message of the New Testament is believe who you really are in Christ.  Embrace who you are in Christ.  Live according to who you are in Christ.  Christ has cleaned up your life already through His death, burial, and resurrection.  You were created - in your new identity - for so much more than the bad stuff.  And by the way, stop doing the bad stuff. The first message is essentially sin management; trying to manage our sinful tugs by the power of the will. …
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Faith is the Means

Faith is ..., Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
The power to live the victorious Christian life is "Christ in me, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27).  The power of the Exchanged Life, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God is the fuel that frees us from the power of sin.  And the means or vehicle to lay hold of this power is faith. God has promised that our old self, our sin nature, died with Christ.  I believe this by faith.  God has promised to take up residence inside us by His Holy Spirit.  I can't always feel this, but I believe it by faith.  God has promised Christ's resurrection power to all believers.  I believe this by faith.  God has promised that sin will not be our master.  I need constant clarity on how this works…
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