If I am not becoming more and more conformed to the image of Christ, the One who bought me with His blood, I not only do not understand Christianity, but am not growing in my relationship to the Lord.
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29
It is an obvious fact that most who are leaders in the visible church world refuse to convey the message of the cross, yet it still remains at the heart of true Christianity. Those who embrace what Christ instructed in living unto Him while dying to the deeds of the flesh and the draw of this fleeting world, will reign with Him. There are no shortcuts. I am still responsible to take up the cross and follow the One I claim to serve – daily.
It would also be a good idea to pray and seek out a fellowship where God is truly honored, not the doctrines which cater to the ease of men (Amos 6:1).
NO CROSS, NO CROWN
“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37-38
“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” Revelation 2:26
The promise Christ gives to the 7 churches addressed in Revelation 2 & 3 has a condition attached – overcoming. You are involved here. The promise of Jesus hinges upon your personal will. Instead of arguing, why don’t we simply buckle down (or let go) and die. God wants the sinful nature in us dead.
Excuses must be put to death. Self pity keeps the flesh alive. This is one of the many reasons that psychology is the antithesis of Christianity – It perpetuates what God commanded us to kill the sinful nature (Rom. 6, etc.). There is no such thing as “Christian” psychology nor “Christian” psychologists in God’s economy! Psychology is a sinful placebo undergirded by spiritual adultery and idolatry and panders to the flesh by making up diagnosis’ and scenarios based on the observations of godless men and in utter contradiction to the Word of God which tells us to crucify the sinful nature not feed it (Col. 2:8).
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:11-13
Life can only spring out of crucifixion (John 3:30). There can be no resurrection without a death. Life can only spring forth from the one who is putting to death the deeds that the sinful nature desires to meditate on and perform.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.“ John 12:24-26
Life can only spring out of crucifixion.
- “Let no man deceive himself. Unless he believes that Christ Jesus has lived in the flesh, and shall confess His cross and passion, and the blood which He shed for the salvation of the world, he shall not obtain eternal life, whether he be a king, or a priest, or a ruler, or a private person, a master or a servant, a man or a woman.” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 6:39)
I hasten to add that we know when we are sitting under a false teacher when his message never includes what the LORD repeatedly instructed us to do in His Word – die to self so He can live in us. Run for your spiritual life to a trustworthy shepherd who acknowledges the whole counsel of God in word and life.
John 3:30 says, ”He must increase, but I must decrease.”
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