This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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Have you ever read what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7 of Matthew), or a similar account that may have been given at a different time (chapter six of Luke), and thought to yourself that it was impossible to live that way? Paul tells us that is exactly the reason that the Law was given, "Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that [the murmurs and excuses of] every mouth may be hushed and all the world may be held accountable to God. For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law. For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character]" (Rom. 3:19-20).
Yet, Jesus expects us to live according to His instructions; "Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not [practice] what I tell you?" (Luke 6:46). He makes it even more powerful when He states; "You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). We would do well to ask our Lord as Nicodemus did when he asked Jesus, "how can all this be possible?"
Interspersed throughout His sermon, Jesus gives us some instruction on how we should approach and understand the subjects contained in His message:
1. "Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished" (Matt. 5:17-18).
1.1 Jesus perfectly fulfilled and harmonized the Old Testament Law and Prophets with the New Testament or Covenant. When properly understood there is no contradiction in the Word of God, and it presents a beautiful description of God and the life He has planned and made possible for us in and through Christ Jesus.
2. "Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear? For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. But seek ( aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ( His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble" (Matt. 6:31-34).
2.1 Another words, we don't go looking for trouble or for ways to prove or to provide for ourselves or test our ability. There is another passage that states, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ( definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7). So, we should not allow ourselves to become worried about whether or not we will be able to live according to Jesus' instructions; as we will see, He Himself will live in us by His Holy Spirit when we allow Him to by trusting and believing His promises that He will. So we don't try to plan or prepare for what the Lord might require of us tomorrow, we just busy ourselves with what the Lord brings to our attention moment by moment and leave the rest to Him. "Now when they take you [to court] and put you under arrest, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say nor [even] meditate about it; but say whatever is given you in that hour and at the moment, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit" (Mark 13:11).
2.2 A quote from The Institute for Creation Research's Days of Praise, Sunday, September 27 states: "It is so easy to rush ahead of God instead of waiting for His leading. With good intentions and admirable zeal, Christians plan great programs, establish new organizations, promote legislation, and become involved in a thousand-and-one good activities, all in the name of Christ and His kingdom. Such activities are urgent, they believe, because the time is short. The Communists are coming; nuclear war is coming; maybe even Christ is coming; and we must hurry. . . . We must not fail to follow when He really leads through His Word, but all too often undue haste results in confusion and collapse."
2.3 ROMANS 3:21-28, 31.... But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets, namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. [All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment. It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of [our] pride and [our] boasting? It is excluded (banished, ruled out entirely). On what principle? [On the principle] of doing good deeds? No, but on the principle of faith. For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent of and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.] . . . Do we then by [this] faith make the Law of no effect, overthrow it or make it a dead letter? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law; (this is what Jesus meant when He said, "Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them" Matt. 5:17).
2.4 ROMANS 4:3-8.... For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God). [Gen. 15:6] Now to a laborer, his wages are not counted as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation (something owed to him). But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God). Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does: Blessed and happy and to be envied are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered up and completely buried. Blessed and happy and to be envied is the person of whose sin the Lord will take no account nor reckon it against him.
2.5 ROMANS 4:9-25.... Is this blessing (happiness) then meant only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it credited [to him]? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the mark of circumcision as a token or an evidence [and] seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised so that he was to be made the father of all who [truly] believe, though without circumcision, and who thus have righteousness (right standing with God) imputed to them and credited to their account, as well as [that he be made] the father of those circumcised persons who are not merely circumcised, but also walk in the way of that faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13For the promise to Abraham or his posterity, that he should inherit the world, did not come through [observing the commands of] the Law but through the righteousness of faith. [Gen. 17:4-6; 22:16-18] If it is the adherents of the Law who are to be the heirs, then faith is made futile and empty of all meaning and the promise [of God] is made void (is annulled and has no power). For the Law results in [divine] wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression [of it either].
16Therefore, [inheriting] the promise is the outcome of faith and depends [entirely] on faith, in order that it might be given as an act of grace (unmerited favor), to make it stable and valid and guaranteed to all his descendants--not only to the devotees and adherents of the Law, but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, who is [thus] the father of us all. As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. [He was appointed our father] in the sight of God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. [Gen. 17:5] [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. [Gen. 15:5] He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah's [deadened] womb. [Gen. 17:17; 18:11] No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God). But [the words], It was credited to him, were written not for his sake alone, but [they were written] for our sakes too. [Righteousness, standing acceptable to God] will be granted and credited to us also who believe in (trust in, adhere to, and rely on) God, Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].
2.6 Therefore, we should not concern ourselves with whether or not we will be able to live according to Christ's instructions, but rather we should rest in the assurance, as stated in the above Scriptures, that we have been justified and made right with God, and have had the righteousness of Christ imputed and credited to our person, all because Jesus made it available to us, and it becomes ours when we trust what God has said just like Abraham did. Our standing and ability are not based upon self-effort, but in the finished work of Christ in our behalf, and are made effective as He lives in us by His Holy Spirit! "For I through the Law [under the operation of the curse of the Law] have [in Christ's death for me] myself died to the Law and all the Law's demands upon me, so that I may [Henceforth] live to and for God. I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. [Therefore, I do not treat God's gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain" (Gal. 2:19-21).
3. "Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened" (Matt. 7:7-8).
3.1 If we truly desire to do the will of God He will give us the wisdom we need as we continue to ask Him; "If any man desires to do His will (God's pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself) whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority" (John 7:17). James also tells us; "If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [for being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]" (James 1:5-8).
4. "Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it" (Matt. 7:13-14).
4.1 We need to keep in mind that living for Jesus often forces us into confining circumstances that requires us to make the difficult choice between the broad way of the world, or the narrow way of persevering in trusting, believing and relying upon Jesus for all that we need.
5. "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]. [Ps. 6:8] So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock" (Matt. 7:21-24).
5.1 No amount of so-called good works will assure us a place in heaven, but only the doing of the Father's will. We need to learn not only what Jesus expects us to do, but also how He expects us to do it: "Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight" (Phil. 2:12-13).
Whatever God requires of us He has already provided for us in Christ, and we acquire whatever we need by believing, relying and trusting that Jesus has truly provided them just as God has clearly told us in His Word, the Bible. That's why it is so very important for us to read and study the Bible in order that we can be absolutely certain of what we have in Christ Jesus.
The way all this works and comes together is by understanding there is only one human being who has ever perfectly lived as God requires in the Law, and that's Jesus! Because Jesus was and is perfectly sinless, God accepted His shed blood as the cleansing, redeeming agent from all our sins, and His death as a substitute for the death penalty each one of us deserves; this is referred to as Christ's atonement for our sins.
As a result we who have true saving faith in Christ, "have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]" (Rom. 7:4-6).
When we have the same kind of faith in God that Abraham had, the kind that has given up any hope of being able do the will of God with our own ability as Abraham did regarding having a child when his body was too old to produce one; we then recognize from the above passages of Scripture that being righteous and being right with God depends entirely upon believing and relying upon what Jesus has provided for us, and is most certainly not something we can accomplish with our own strength and ability! There are many reasons that Christians still fail to live as Jesus has directed us, but there are no excuses because He has provided everything that we need, but we must know, believe and rely upon His promises for them to become effective in our lives. "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle (special messenger) of Jesus Christ, to those who have received (obtained an equal privilege of) like precious faith with ourselves in and through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace (God's favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature."
5"For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), and in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), and in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one)" (2 Peter 1:1-8). Amen!
Now, all the above is what Jesus expects of us, but do we really want to live this way, and, do we understand how we can? Jesus told the parable about how different hearts respond to the Gospel message in Matthew chapter thirteen. "While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside. As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty" (Matt. 13:19-23).
Notice especially the thin (rocky) soil; "this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away." As Christians we live in a world mostly under the usurped control of Satan; as such the world is increasingly becoming a foreign, God-hating world that is intent upon stamping out anything and everything that gives allegiance to God. We are warned and given examples throughout the Scriptures of this hostility towards God's people; are we prepared and willing to stand up against this hostile onslaught, and at the same time to reject the "cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches" that choke and suffocate the Word, until it impoverishes our lives?
If we are not convinced that it's worth all that we may have to suffer in order to live for eternity in heaven with God, or, we find that we take pleasure in the sinful practices of this world; the devil may succeed in drawing us away from our allegiance to God through this seductive world system. Perhaps we ought to do as Jesus said, count the cost before we make this kind of a choice or commitment: "Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, saying, This man began to build and was not able (worth enough) to finish" (Luke 14:27-30).