as John 3:16 might be called the Gospel in a nutshell,
so might these following verses be called the Christian
life in a nutshell. Just as meditating on John 3:16
could show us the way to Christ for salvation, so if we
meditated on these two verses, we could come to know the
simplicity of our life in Christ. Although there are
many other verses that will aide us in our
understanding, and we will use them as needed, let us,
for the time being, concentrate on these two.
Cor 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent
beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should
from the simplicity that is in Christ.
simple Gospel of salvation:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
simplicity of the Christ life:
Gal 2:20: I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I
live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life
which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the
Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Col 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the
Lord, so walk ye in him:
Beginning with the verse in Galatians, the Apostle Paul,
in speaking personally about his experience in Christ,
uses the personal pronoun “I” in referring to himself;
but, each one of us must also identify ourselves as the
“I” in this verse. The first thing we see is the truth
of our identification with Christ and His death upon the
cross—“I am crucified with Christ.” We must say
here, before going on, that one is not even a real child
of God who has not been identified with Jesus dying for
their sins upon the cross. This we emphasis, it is not
believing that Jesus died for the sins of the world that
brings salvation, it was for each one of us
individually, and it is personal for each one of us—“
I am crucified with Christ.” Secondly, we must see
that all we are in ourselves has been crucified with
Him, put to death in our identification with Him, and
that we have no existence of our own remaining. These
truths we have already studied, but they are necessary
to review for our continued understanding. The Apostle
Paul now says, in spite of the fact that he died with
Christ, that, “nevertheless I live; yet not I, but
Christ liveth in me.” Although he truly accounts his
own life to be dead, he has found that “nevertheless
I live.” However, it is not the life which he once
knew, which was after the flesh, for he adds, “yet
not I.” What he has come to recognize is that this
new life, which he now has, is from Christ living in
him, who has come into his being in the Person of the
Holy Spirit, and has resurrected him to this new life—“but
Christ liveth in me.” Now, just the understanding,
or the acknowledging of these truths is not enough, for
he also says, “and the life which I now live in the
flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved
me, and gave himself for me.” There is one more
ingredient, Paul said, that must be added for this life
to be realized—“I
live by the faith of the Son of God.”
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified
with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed,
that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if
any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
10 And if Christ
be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the
Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the
sight of God, it is evident: for,
The just shall live by
Cor 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
are many genuine believers for whom Christ died, and
they died with Him. His Spirit has come into their
hearts giving them life, and they are truly children of
God; but they are not living the Christ-life because
they are not living “by the faith of the Son of God.”
Like the children of Israel, who wandered for forty
years in the wilderness, they have not entered into
their Promised Land and the rest that God has for
them in Christ.
Heb 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being
left us of entering into his rest, any of you should
seem to come short of it.
2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto
them: but the word preached did not profit them, not
being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
3 For we which have believed do enter into rest,
as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall
enter into my rest: although the works were finished
from the foundation of the world.
for those who do not comprehend, or for those who have
had the true meaning of faith distorted, what does it
means to live “by the faith of the Son of God?”
Our verse from Colossians helps us to know the true
meaning of faith as we find it used here. “As ye have
therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk
ye in him.” As we can see, the first half of our
verse, “As ye have therefore received,” gives us
insight into the second half, “so walk ye in him.”
The Apostle Paul takes for granted that all but the
most unlearned saints of God knows that we received
Christ by faith. Every true child of God knows that
Jesus saved them when they came to trust in Him. Again,
faith has the same meaning as the Old Testament word for
trust. We trusted Christ to do for us what we could not
do for ourselves. We were lost, blind, dead, without
strength, aliens from God, without hope, under the
judgment and wrath of God, and there was nothing we
could do to change our situation by our own efforts. We
could not in anyway save ourselves, but God brought us
to the place where we looked to the only one who could
save us, and that was Jesus.
Matt 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that
which was lost.
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the
uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened
together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being
aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers
from the covenants of promise,
having no hope, and
without God in the world:
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
will not again go into all of what is involved in
salvation as far as “repentance toward God,” even
though that is still a part of the Christ-life; but we
need to see again how the look of “faith toward our
Lord Jesus Christ” saves us. God again, in using the
people of Israel as our example, provides us through His
Word with an unmistakable picture of what is meant by
this look of faith. Just as the children of Israel were
bitten by the deadly serpents in the wilderness, and
were dying, so we have been bitten by sin through the
temptation of that Old Serpent, the Devil. We have the
deadly venom of sin flowing in our veins; we are
condemned to die, and are even now under God’s judgment.
When the people of Israel cried to Moses for mercy, God
had him fashion a serpent of brass (the metal which
symbolizes judgment), hang it upon a wooden pole (the
cross), and whosoever looked by faith upon that serpent
was healed. Even so we, having been made to realize our
fatal condition, cry out to God for mercy. God, in an
act of His wondrous grace, having already provided our
serpent of brass—the Lord Jesus Christ (who was made sin
for us upon the cross)—brings us to look upon Jesus (by
faith), and we are saved.
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the
Greeks, repentance toward God,
and faith toward our Lord
Num 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the
people, and they bit the people; and much people of
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have
sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against
thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents
from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery
serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to
pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh
upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon
a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had
bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he
Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who
knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness
of God in him.
Pet 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own
body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins,
should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were
John 3:14 And as
Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so
must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have eternal life.
Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends
of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Eph 2:8 For by
grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God:
see that true believers receive Christ by faith—meaning
they trust in all that God has done for them (through
Jesus) to save them. Faith means to trust in the
provision that God has made for us in Christ, which
provision God brings us to see, or to look upon, or to
comprehend. When we see Jesus dying on the cross for our
sins, we are saved; and it is God that brings us to
look, for it is by grace alone. Through faith we
appropriate Christ’s sacrifice as our own, and we are
now united with Him “in the Spirit.” The Spirit
of Christ has come into our hearts to unite with our
spirit, and to bring us the life of Christ. We are now
the temple of the Holy Spirit, which temple has been
cleansed by the blood of Christ.
Cor 3:16 Know ye
not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit
of God dwelleth in you?
Heb 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all
the people according to the law, he took the blood of
calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and
hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God
hath enjoined unto you.
21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the
tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and
without shedding of blood is no remission.
Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful
witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the
prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved
us, and washed
us from our sins in his own blood,
However, if we have no evidence of the Holy Spirit
living within us, we are not a true believer—we have
never really trusted in the sacrificial death of Christ.
But how do we know that we have the Holy Spirit living
in our hearts? We know because He testifies to our
spirit that we are a child of God, and we know from
understanding Biblical truth that it is so.
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
Now if any man have not
the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the
faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own
selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye
Rom 8:16 The
Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we
are the children of God:
John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath
the witness in himself: he that believeth not God
hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the
record that God gave of his Son.
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us
eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not
the Son of God hath not life.
13 These things have I written unto you that believe
on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye
have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the
name of the Son of God.
Having now re-examined that one becomes a child of God
through faith, let us apply that to our subject. Paul
says in Galatians, “If we live in the Spirit, let us
also walk in the Spirit.” This verse indicates that
there is more to living as a Christian than just being
saved, or having the Spirit of Christ living within us;
because we are also told to “walk in the Spirit.”
That has the same meaning as our focus text in
Colossians—“As ye have therefore received Christ
Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” To walk implies
that a person begins to move about, to exhibit some
evidence that they are alive. Walking requires energy
from a life source. It also indicates that we are moving
in a certain direction for some purpose—that we are
expending this energy to do something profitable. Most
people do not just walk about aimlessly for no reason,
even if we are only exercising—that itself is a reason
for doing so. God did not save us just to take us to
heaven; He saved us to be a part of His eternal plan and
work. When we walked after the flesh, it was in the
energy of the flesh, and for the purpose of satisfying
our fleshly desires. Now we are to “walk ye in him”—in
the power of the Spirit, and for the purpose of
glorifying God and doing His will.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave
he power to become the sons of God, even to them
that believe on his name:
Cor 3:9 For we are labourers together with God:
ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
Rom 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the
infirmity of your flesh:
for as ye have yielded
your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity
unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants
to righteousness unto holiness.
how do we walk, or how do we live the Christ life? As
our text plainly teaches, we live exactly the same way
we received Jesus Christ in the first place—by faith.
Just as we were helpless, lost sinners, who could do
nothing to save ourselves, we trusted Christ’s work upon
Calvary’s cross to redeem us; even so now, as a believer
(because we are still helpless without Him), we must
continue to trust His power and presence within us to
give us life and to enable us to walk. Walking by faith
is as simple to understand as salvation, and just as
effective. The only requirement is, that as a little
child (just as we did in salvation), we believe and
receive the truth of God’s provision in Christ.
John 15:3Now ye are clean through the word which I have
spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot
bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no
more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in
me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me
ye can do nothing
Matt 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto
Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him
in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be
converted, and become as little children, ye shall not
enter into the kingdom of heaven.
therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the
same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
faith we also perceive the Spirit’s witness, that this
is how a child of God is to experience life. Just as the
Holy Spirit made effectual, and witnessed to us that we
had become a child of God when we received Christ as
Saviour, so He now makes effectual, and witnesses to us
in our daily lives, that we are walking in Christ.
Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;
prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves,
how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be
Heb 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with
signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts
of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
may we say, from the Scripture, is the Spirit’s evidence
that we are walking by faith? First of all, we find
ourselves free from all the rigor and demands of the law
which we could not satisfy. We no longer serve God with
a slavish kind of fear, constantly trying to do things
that might earn His favor and blessing, while trying to
escape His condemnation—that is the mindset of the
Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who
through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot
to God, purge
your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them
which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of
the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free
from the law of sin and death.
John 8:36 If the
Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free
Second, we find the will of God a delight to our souls
and not drudgery. Whereas before, we forced ourselves to
pray and read the Bible, to witness and to attend
church, we now find a rekindled desire within us that
motivates us to do these things.
Phil 2:13 For it
is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of
his good pleasure.
Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them;
and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine
heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of
Isa 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust,
and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my
strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the
wells of salvation.
4 And in that
day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name,
declare his doings among the people, make mention that
his name is exalted.
Thirdly, we find that we are winning more of the battles
against “the sin that so easily besets us.” The
power of sin has been broken because we are no longer
under the law of sin and death. We are free from the law
that drove us to rebellion in the first place, and to
deeper and more ungodly acts of sin. Spirit lead
believers experience life on a higher plane, above the
filth of the flesh and the contaminants of the world.
Rom 8:4 That the
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the
world: and this
is the victory that overcometh the world, even our
Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of
sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to
bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead
wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of
spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God
forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for
I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou
shalt not covet.
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought
in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law
sin was dead.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the
commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I
found to be unto death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment,
deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment
holy, and just, and good.
13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God
forbid. But sin,
that it might appear sin, working death in me by that
which is good; that sin by the commandment might become
Gal 5:16 This I say then,
Walk in the Spirit, and ye
shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Lastly, but most importantly, we have come to experience
the love of God in our hearts. When we walk in the new
man one of the fruits of this spiritual walk is love;
and love will not motivate us to sin against another
person or God. Whereas before, we despised, and even
hated this God we could not please, now we find a new
affection for Him and for His children. We no longer
have to fake our love, concern, sympathy, and empathy
for others, but find that they are real emotions within
us, that break forth into genuine acts of love and
kindness. I have met many a believer, and attended many
churches who have a genuine zeal for the things of
God—they read and study their Bibles, give tithes, have
a long list of things a Christian should do and should
not do; but they are lacking in the most important
thing—they do not have any real love and concern for one
another, for strangers, or the lost. Jesus condemned the
church at Ephesus even though they had great zeal, and
were busy serving their Lord in doing many things; but
why?—because they had left their first love, who is
Christ. They got their eyes off of Him, ceased to walk
in the Spirit, and lost the greatest evidence of that
walk—they fell out of love with Christ and one another.
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision
availeth anything, nor uncircumcision;
but faith which worketh by
Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath
loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and
a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Rom 13:10 Love
worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the
fulfilling of the law.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God;
and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Rev 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;
These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in
his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience,
and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and
thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and
are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's
sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because
thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and
repent, and do the first works; or else I will
come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick
out of his place, except thou repent.
might again add another experience of my own to
illustrate what has just been said, it might reinforce
this point. Years ago, when my children were still
young, we were doing some traveling, and happened to go
through a particular city on a Sunday morning. I was
aware of a prominent church being in that city that I
had read about, and thought that it might be good to try
and attend there. Now, we were vacationing, and did not
have our usual Sunday go to meeting clothes, but
what we had was clean and modest by any standard, and
that is what we wore. This church, as it happened, was
one that would be called hyper-fundamental, and believed
in a strict dress code. I don’t think I saw a man
without a suit or another women or girl without a dress
in the whole church—which was of some great size. Now,
we were not there to offend anyone by how we looked, but
wanted simply to worship the Lord and be in attendance
at a service that honored Him. There was also in this
church something I had never seen before, it was a large
electronic board that displayed how many people were
dying every second of the day around the world and going
to a Christ-less eternity (I’m sure this was done to
impress upon people’s minds the need to witness to the
lost). However, what struck me as very strange, was that
from the time we pulled into the parking lot until the
time we left, not one person had shown any concern for
us in any way. We were not greeted, talked to, or made
to feel the least bit welcome. As we left, I wondered of
which of those countless souls around the world, who
died during the service, were these people concerned
about. Here we were, a family of strangers, in their
church, and because we did not dress as they did, or for
whatever reason, we were unimportant to them.
James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a
gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a
poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay
clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good
place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit
here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become
judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren,
Hath not God chosen the
poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the
kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto
life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth
not his brother abideth in death.
15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye
know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid
down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives
for the brethren.
17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his
brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of
compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in
18 My little
children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue;
but in deed and in truth.
us now, at this point, also interject the importance of
repentance in living the Christian life. We know that we
must repent as part of our salvation, or we will perish
in our sins. However, true repentance is not—as some
would preach in what we call revival meetings—our
determination to quit doing certain things that may or
may not be sin, or to start doing things that may or may
not be the will of God for us to do. This kind of
repentance leads us directly back under the law, and
becomes nothing more than a work of the flesh. That is
why decisions that are made in so-called revival
meetings are doomed to failure. Most Christians will
make a sincere attempt to change their lives after the
emotional appeals of such meetings; but they soon become
discouraged as they fail time and again to follow
through on such decisions, or fail to see any evidence
that indicates God’s approval and blessing. After a
time, such meetings have almost no effect upon those who
have tried and failed to find victory through the
misguided teachings and appeals of most preachers and
evangelists. The repentance that turns us to faith is
the ceasing of trying to do things after the flesh. What
is really needed in the lives of Christians is
“repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.”
We need to be freed from these “dead works”
so that we may “serve the living God.” The saints
at Ephesus needed to repent, not because they were
living wickedly, or because they were not serving God,
but because they had taken their eyes off Christ.
Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye
shall all likewise perish.
Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine
of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;
not laying again the
foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith
Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who
through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot
to God, purge
your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?