Category Archives: How to be a believer

Q253 “do we access the benefits of the cross by prayer or by faith?”

I’ve been trying to write this blog for the last few days, each time I get part-way in, and then shelve it… because I want to find the right words to explore this sensitive subject.

But today I will start by jumping in the deep end, here goes; sometimes we pray when we should be exercising faith“. On the face of it this doesn’t seem such a radical statement ~ but wait there’s more ~ “sometimes we shouldn’t pray at all“…. Ok, now you’re starting to scare me ~ isn’t prayer the trademark of Christianity, didn’t God tell us to ‘pray without ceasing’.

Praying without ceasing is that wonderful un-ending communion we have with our Father, it is a dialogue of love and intimacy, made possible when the blood of Christ removed the wall of separation between us and Him. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t pray, I believe communion and fellowship with our Lord is the highest expression of our being ~ and I guess that’s the point I am making ~ we are already in perfect fellowship with the Lord, so that should mean we rest in times of disaster, rather than frantically scrambling to get God involved ~ HE IS INVOLVED.

In short; I am referring to our tendency to run to the Father for help, when He has already placed that help within us ~ the Spirit of Jesus.

It’s interesting that Jesus never criticized His disciples for lack of prayer …(before He was betrayed He was disappointed they couldn’t watch and pray with Him for one hour, but that was more to do with supporting Him in His time of need, than developing a prayer life), yet on numerous occasions He castigates the disciples for their lack of faith.

My gut feeling is that on the whole; “we are strong on prayer, but weak on faith“. We are strong on prayer because we want God to do something, but we are weak on faith because that means we must do something; ~ ‘rest in the sufficiency of the blood of Christ’. Often when we go to God in prayer we are effectively crying out to Him “God you’ve got to do something, we need your help”…. and all the while God is saying; “but you have my help, my Son Jesus broke the power of satan, sin and death over your life 2000 years ago ~ have faith in His work

Resting in the blood of Christ is not a lazy or indifferent response, quite the contrary ~ it is staring calamity in the face and demanding it bow to the blood of Christ, it is standing your ground when your instinct says ‘Run‘ and declaring like Martin Luther; “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen!”

the days of great pioneering hearts aren’t finished yet…

Graeme

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Filed under How to be a believer, Renewing the mind, The adventure of Faith

Q144 ” what about someone who receives Christ but continues to live like an unbeliever ?”

This is a question that is troubling not only for us in this century, but also troubled Paul in the first century.

Firstly, lets say this much;  the moment we believe in the blood of Christ shed for us on the cross – we have eternal life. John 6:47 says “he who believes has everlasting life”.  That means that irrespective of our behaviour, the blood of Christ is effective in saving us, because it is His behaviour not ours, that brings us right standing with God.

In Galations 5, Paul talks about 2 themes, Freedom in Christ & Life by the Spirit. These 2 themes are companions, they are always supposed to travel together. It is only as we see our awesome release from all bondage obtained for us on the cross, that we are energized to live magnificent lives by the Spirit. To attempt to live in such a way without a revelation of Christ is religion at it’s worst – simply dead works.

By talking about the fruit of the Spirit, v22-23, Paul is describing what a life led by the Spirit looks like. He is not saying -‘you need to bear this fruit to qualify as a Christian’ but rather ‘because Christ has already qualified you as a Christian by the blood He shed for you – this is what your life will look like”.

Unfortunately, the Christian church in the western world is so well established now that the very fundamentals of our faith are often lost in programs, culture and traditions. Many Christians rarely talk about the very one who’s name they have adopted as Lord and Saviour. It is as though they know about Him, but they don’t know Him.

In my view it is impossible to live a life that is blatantly un-Christian once we have grasped the magnitude of what Christ accomplished on the cross. It would be like watching a loved one die and then going about your life as if nothing had happened – quite unthinkable.

So my conclusion is this; we must stop playing church! We must stop presenting a gospel that treats the precious shed blood of Christ as if it was only a tragic event that happened 2000 years ago. It is personal, it is to be treasured by each individual, it cannot be treated lightly, if we truly grasp it’s magnitude it will change us forever then we will truly live like a believer.

I’ve been a Christian a long time, but it wasn’t until I stared in awe at the staggering work of the cross that I was  really motivated to live for Him. But now it’s such a joy, not a chore, just to live for Him.

Graeme

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Filed under How to be a believer, Renewing the mind, The adventure of Faith, The complete work of Jesus

Q3. “can I trust God’s word ?”

‘God’s Word’ is such a loaded statement in the mind of a Christian. Just the mention of it and Christians will give a passionate defense of their point of view.

Pre or post tribulation; literal 6 day creation; wearing hats in church… these and a hundred more subjects have become the theological battle ground of Christendom through the ages.

The question is not whether our doctrinal position is the correct one, but whether the whole point of the Word of God is about something far more important than doctrinal positions.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have correct theology. What I am saying is that Christ came to give us LIFE (John 10:10), and it would be an insult to the sacrifice Christ made, to reduce the very life He came to give me to a theological position.

The point I am making is this; have I sufficiently processed the 2 previous questions ‘is God good’ and ‘does God love me’, that I am ready to entrust my very existence into His words. Am I at the point where if God says ‘never will I leave you, never will I forsake you’ (Heb. 13:5), that I let go of fear and begin to rest in His goodness.

One of the mistakes we Christians make is thinking that God’s Word needs defending, as if winning a debate about a doctrinal position somehow makes it true. God’s word is proven to be true when we take the risk of believing it in our everyday lives and situations, when we take the message and by faith lose ourselves into its fidelity.

Back to the original question ‘can I trust God’s word ?’  We have to believe something – if your circumstances are saying God doesn’t care, but His word say’s I do care, just look at Christ’s sacrifice, then we have a choice to make – will we take the risk of resting in His word?

It is a big step to go from a theologically based Christianity to faith based Christianity. It  may seem reckless and perhaps even unwise to risk so much… the alternative may be an even bigger risk!

Graeme

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Filed under Gazing upon the cross, How to be a believer, No more guilt or condemnation, Renewing the mind