Home - God's Purposes

The Garden and the Gospel

Email the Author

Previous Chapter

Table of Contents

Next Chapter

LIFE IN CHRIST—WARNINGS AND BLESSINGS

"I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. Jer 21:8"

 

To be brought to the knowledge of the Christ Life is a great honor and privilege that must not be taken lightly. When the children of Israel stood on the other side of Jordan, before they crossed over into the Promised Land, Moses stood before them and proclaimed blessings and cursings that would take effect when they entered into the land. This had nothing to do with obeying the Law per say, but it had to do with whether or not they followed the Lord. As we have already studied, there was to be a different kind of relationship between God and His people in the Promised Land, which was based upon a heart-felt obedience in following their Heavenly King. If they listened to the voice of God through Joshua and the prophets, and obeyed His Word, they would know the blessings of God, in every area of their lives, in this land. However, if they rejected God, His prophets, and His Word, and followed other gods, then the curse would come upon every aspect of their lives. Now, we are not talking about the curse of the law, for that came upon all peoples of the earth; but these blessings and curses were toward the people of Israel only. If we study the history of Israel from Bible times until this present day, no nation has ever been blessed like Israel, and no nation has ever been cursed like them in all of history.

Deut 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
2
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

1 Kings 10:4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,
5 And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.
6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.
7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.
8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.
9 Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

1 Kings 10:23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.

Deut 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

2 Chr 36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.
19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:

Lam 4:11 The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.
12 The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.
13 For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her,

So likewise is the Christian experience. When we walk in the Spirit and are led by the Spirit, we are “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” God is our Heavenly Father, and we enjoy fellowship with Him and with the Son, through the Holy Spirit.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

1 John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Besides our fellowship, there are other blessings in having this relationship. Just as the disciples enjoyed the comfort of Christ when He walked with them upon this earth, even so we have the comfort of His Spirit when we walk in the Spirit.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Just as Jesus taught His disciples when He walked with them, so we have the Holy Spirit to teach us when we listen and walk with Him.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

In being led by the Spirit as we abide in Christ, we bear much fruit in our lives. We not only see the fruits of the Spirit being manifested in us, but we see the fruit of other souls coming to know God through His working in us.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

John 15:5 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.

When we are led by the Spirit and we walk with His attitude and desires, our prayers will honor God; we will have confidence when we pray; and we will see the blessing of having our prayers answered.

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

Howbeit, just as we know the special blessings of God in this walk with Christ, so there are special chastisements from God for those who would turn back to the ways of the flesh. Now, we are not talking about the daily battles we face with the flesh, or the crucifying of the flesh that we experience as part of our growing in Christ. What the Scriptures warn against is a willful, deliberate turning back to the things of the flesh and of the world after we have come to experience the blessings of living in the Spirit. Again, all Christians fall into temptation and sin even against their own desire and will, and God can, and does bring us back from those failures through Christ. However, to “sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth” brings the “hot displeasure” of God upon our lives. God is not offering to us a ninety-day free trial to see if we want to walk in Christ or not; but we must be fully committed to following Him and not look back. I can say from personal experience, that there is not a more miserable person on the face of this earth, than the one who turns back from the truth that is in Christ to walk again in the ways of the flesh.

Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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.

Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul
.

Psa 38:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

2 Pet 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

There are many different roads we can go down in the Christian life besides “the old path,” or “the straight and narrow way,” but they only lead to misery and sorrow. Among them are worldliness, discouragement, self-pity, self-righteousness, humanism, and many more. When we go down these errant paths, we do not find God there, nor does God change His location in order to accommodate our wrong decisions. We soon learn, when presented with the temptation to go astray, that we can go in these directions as far as we want to, and as Balaam[1], God is only going to give us so much resistance. Why then should we even enter into these false ways? They will only bring us hurt, and God will not change who He is, or move from where He is in order to meet us there.

Jer 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Isa 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

2 Pet 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

2 Tim 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

This now brings us to an important point in this section—what part may a believer have in coming to experience the life of Christ or the walk in the Spirit? We have seen that only God can give us new life, and apart from Him we cannot attain it. As a Christian however, we can pray, and make it the desire of our heart to know this fuller life in Christ, for it is the will of God for us to do so. God Himself is at work in us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” However, part of this seeking is also counting the cost of what we really want. As we have said, this is not some frivolous experience for us to try and see if we really want it or not. God places a much higher value upon Christ than to allow us to have that attitude. Like Adam and Eve, when they took the Law into their being, they also took upon themselves the responsibility of keeping the Law—whether they realized it or not, or whether they wanted to or not. Likewise with us, there are certain responsibilities attached to God’s blessings in our lives—“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” So it is through much soul-searching that God brings us to the place where we are fully committed to know Christ and the power of His life. The responsibility is, that when we have come to know it, we remain committed to follow Christ without turning back; and that is one commitment that we cannot break without the most unpleasant consequences.

Col 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Jere 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Luke 14:25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Again, using the example of the children of Israel, we have already seen that entering into the Promised Land did not end all of their problems and battles. Likewise, when we come to the knowledge of walking in Christ, we will continue to face many enemies. The world, the flesh, and the devil, which are against Christ, are also against those who would desire to live by faith. We will continue to fall back into the ways of the flesh, and God will continue to crucify the old man. However, as more and more of the old man is crucified and buried to our own hearts, we begin to be resurrected and live more and more by faith in the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. We are changed “from glory to glory” into His image by the Spirit of God. We put off the old man of sin, with his deeds, and put on the new man in Christ, which was created after godliness. This process of death by crucifixion, burying the old man with his deeds, and being resurrected in Christ, continues throughout our mortal life while in this body. It is only when we put off this body of sin through death, and it is laid in the grave to await the final resurrection, that we experience the lasting rest from our struggles with sin. However, in spite of our life-long battles against our enemies, we have every resource, and every reason to remain committed to Christ.

2 Tim 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Luke 21:16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
19
In your patience possess ye your souls.

2 Cor 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Eph 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

When the children of Israel were about to enter the Promised Land, the Lord appeared to Joshua to encourage him and the people. God promised them that they would defeat all their enemies, and conquer the land if they would but trust and obey Him. They were admonished to be strong and courageous, and to do all that God commanded them to do, as God Himself would fight for them. He would not fail them nor forsake them all the days of their lives. Even so to us, as we enter our Promised Land of Christ, we have need of courage and commitment never to turn back nor lose faith. We must continue to trust in God, because He has been faithful to us in the past and will never forsake us. We must remember the words of Peter in times of doubt—“Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” As children of God, we have much greater promises and many more resources than the children of Israel ever did. We have within us the Spirit of Christ, who is greater than all our enemies, even Satan himself. We have the promise that Christ will never leave us nor forsake us, no matter what our situation becomes; yea “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Josh 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee?
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Isa 46:3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:
4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him,
Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say,
The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In summary, the Gospel message is not just for lost sinners, to bring them to Christ that they might be saved, but it is for every child of God as well. The truth of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ not only saves the sinner, but gives life to the saints as well. When we are turned away from the simple and plain message of the Gospel, we turn away from Christ. The reason Jesus gave us the Lord’s Supper was to remind us again and again of what we have in Him alone; but sadly, that has also become just another meaningless ritual to many of God’s people. Let us therefore, as God’s children, not outgrow the need for the Gospel truth; but let us “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

1 Cor 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

2 Pet 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

 

[1] Numbers 22

 

 

Previous Chapter

Table of Contents

Next Chapter

 

The material of this website, except for that which is noted from other sources, is Copyright © 2005-2012 GodsPurposes.org. Those who wish to use any of the material contained herein for personal or non-commercial group study, may do so without permission. Those who wish to use any of this material for mass distribution are requested to contact the webmaster. Webmaster@GodsPurposes.org