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The Strait Gate: Entrance to life
SALVATION OF THE CHRISTIAN
Salvation of the Christian is about deliverance and freedom from the bondage of sin and eternal torment. The Christian is not a slave of sin anymore, and his soul yearns daily for God’s kingdom. The system does not influence him anymore. The Christian experiences daily progressive sanctification as long as he remains in faith, abiding by the teachings of Christ. The Christian is a carrier of God’s divine presence. True Christians manifest Christ’s divine nature which includes His mercies, kindness, longsuffering, goodness and truth. The Christian is not a slave of sin but a free born; an heir of God’s kingdom.
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5: 17).
The resurrection of Christ Jesus is the hope of our salvation, and the fear of the Lord is what keeps the Christian faith alive. Faith without the fear of the Lord and heaven at heart is dead and worthless. Many converts fear God and still fear other gods; especially in Asia and also in my African continent. Maybe they have forgotten the most High is a jealous God. Others fear God but would not give up their lineage traditions and cultures which do not glorify the Almighty God. Many converts fear God, but still continue with human doctrines, religious formalities, forsaking the basic teachings of Christ which happens to be the only assurance of salvation. While some converts still uphold sound doctrines and would not compromise the Christian faith; many would not give up their holier than thou practices and self-righteous attitudes.
Isaiah 65: 5 which say, stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.
WHAT DOES HOLIER THAN THOU PORTRAY?
Holier than thou practices and attitudes portray nothing, except profanity and self-righteousness. The holier than thou attitudes and practices were mostly found among the Pharisees, ancient Jewish scribes, and other ancient Jewish sects.
The Pharisee makes broad his garment, puts on sober attitudes in ceremonies yet devour widows, oppress orphans, and lives in the practice of secret sins. He pays tithes of all his possessions, he gives alms to the poor, offers assistance to the needy and also to the public. He is liberal and compassionate outwardly, but inwardly his heart is not right with God. Therefore, his giving and ceremonies are vain, except he repents of his hypocrisies and holier than thou behavior and conform to sound doctrine of Christ. The Pharisee is hypocritical in the inward. He uses religion to cover his ugly nature. Such a person cannot see the kingdom of God except his heart is renewed, and till his ways and actions become sanctify as God would have them be, he does not know God and His holiness.
Many converts think holiness is all about morality and quietness. Holiness is far beyond morality and gentleness. Morality alone does not amount to holiness of Christ Jesus. The problem with many converts these last days is over-zealousness, which leads to pride, arrogance and self-righteousness. Maybe they have forgotten that it was not by the work of our own righteousness that we are saved but by grace.
The moralist does not acknowledge the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He does not appreciate God’s grace. He lives his life not according to the leading of the Holy Spirit and revelation of God’s word which is the will of God, but by his own wisdom. Though he seems to be a good man among men; in the sight of men he is one who has never done anything wrong in his life. He treats his neighbor with respect and kindness. He thinks he is faultless, blameless, esteem by people because of his morality and no one ever doubted the purity of his manner, but he lacks true holiness. He does not bear false witness against his neighbor, he is honest as regard to morality and his temperament is what everyone could desire, yet he does not know God and His holiness. Holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ deals with the heart, thoughts and intents, aims and motives of men.
Morality does likewise but skims the surface and would not deliver the heart to God nor submit to the leading and yearnings of the Holy Spirit. Holiness of Christ transforms the inner man and requires that the heart should be set on God, submitting unto Him, fear Him and love Him without reservation. Many moralists are known for their good deeds but they are not in Christ. They profess Christianity but they are not saved.
The moralist believes in all principles of morality and manifests them outwardly with integrity of his own wisdom not through the Holy Spirit. He wouldn’t submit to the yearnings and leading of the Holy Spirit because he trusts is in his own knowledge and wisdom.
The Christian can avoid the holier than thou behavior by conforming properly to basic doctrines of Christ Jesus, and also by submitting to the yearnings and leading of the Holy Spirit.
He will keep the feet of His saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail [1 Samuel 2:9]
If Christ had not risen from the dead, the Christian faith wouldn’t be a saving faith, but because Christ Jesus is alive, we have hope and confidence that we are saved through the power of His resurrection. The Christian faith is about forgiveness, repentance, fear of the Lord, and heaven at heart. In today’s church, many converts serve two masters, though God expects us to fear Him and serve Him alone in this world.
Matthew 6: 24 No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other, ye cannot serve God and mammon.
JOHN 14: 2 In my father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you.
The Christian faith is about heaven at heart and it strongly depicts the holiness of Christ Jesus. True converts believe heavenly treasures are far more precious than earthly values and vanities of this life. In trials and persecutions, and also in success, fame, and prosperity, salvation and eternal life remain the ultimate goal of genuine Christians because they understand life in this world is temporal not everlasting.
The Christian does not only prosper spiritually, mentally, healthfully but also financially and materially. Though, the Christian suffer many strange things in this world, reward of obedience awaits the faithful in Christ. It is the will of God that we prosper materially in this present material world, and above all, receive the crown of life on the last day as reward of obedience to sound doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, the doctrine of Christ as the Bible presents it does not in any way encourage prodigality, materialism, and extravagance lifestyle. It does not esteem material mammon of this world and financial success above salvation and eternal life, but strongly emphases about heavenly treasures and everlasting life in Christ yet, it is the will of God that we prosper financially and materially in this world. Nevertheless, not God’s will that we divert attention by focusing on earthly values and treasures, submitting unto mammon and forsake the ultimate purpose of salvation; which is about our heavenly treasures and eternal life in Christ Jesus.
MATTHEW 6: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The basic doctrine of Christ requires that we set our affections on things above, not on values and treasures of this sinful world, but follow holiness in the fear of the Lord through Christ’ teachings and inherit eternal life. Sound doctrine does not contradict holiness. How do I mean sound doctrine? I’m actually talking about the teachings of Christ which include: repentance, forgiveness, restitution, sobriety, pure heart, contentment, gratitude towards God, thanksgiving, selflessness, hospitality, faith, love, longsuffering, obedience to God, and looking unto Him [Christ] as author and finisher of our faith. True Christians are not materialistic; they are not greedy, and selfish, but sober, selfless, with all temperance through righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus. It is not a sin to be wealthy in this life, but wealth if not subdued and kept under control by faith is capable of enslaving the possessor.
The scripture clearly reveals that mammon is a spirit. Mammon happens to be the god of this present sinful world and it has strong influence over many lives in this world. Mammon is an enemy of righteousness. It actually kills, destroys and intoxicates people everywhere including many converts in today’s church. Without money, survival in this modern world could be so unbearable, but submitting to the influence of mammon is more devastating and more painful.
The poor should be diligent and pray for financial blessings, and should not forget to keep mammon under feet. While converts whom God has given wealth should pray for grace that would enable them keep mammon under control, in other not to end up as slaves to their own wealth. Mammon is not a friend of any man. It is an enemy of righteousness. In this world, the influence of mammon is very strong.
Mammon is a prince among many converts in churches. Most converts glory in their wealth, and underrate the strategies of the prince of this world and wouldn’t heed to the Lord’s warning concerning serving two masters.
Wealth is not evil, but mammon, if not subdued and kept under control by faith may hinder the Christian from receiving the crown of life and eternal reward. This is the aspect many converts are not informed by their motivational speakers and prosperity preachers; though most converts already know this truth. To be sincere, poverty is not a good thing, it’s horrible, however submitting to the influence of mammon is worst than poverty inherited.
The scripture is not against money and wealth, but the improper, and slavery attitude of men towards money and material possessions of this sinful world.
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