13. The Lifestyle of the Citizens
By now you may wonder how this teaching of the Bible, of forgiveness by grace only, will affect the lives of Christians. Will “cheap forgiveness,” through faith in Jesus Christ and not through rigorous religious duties, not lead to sinful living?
Forgiveness is Not Cheap !
Read 1 Peter 1:14-19.
Did you read those verses and answer the questions? Because Jesus had to pay such a high price, God has a right to expect a high standard of living as a sign of gratitude. We read in Romans 6:1-14 that some people thought that grace opens the way to continue sinning. Read Paul's reply to that argument in these verses!
Look Around You
But, you may respond, why do I see so many “Christians” living in immortality, drunkenness, dishonesty, greed, hatred and pride? But are they really Christians?
Jesus explains in Matthew 7:21-23 that many “Christians” will find in the Day of Judgement that they are eternally lost, even though they preached and performed miracles in the name of Jesus: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ”
Read Galatians 5:19-21.
So do not think that people who live like that are Christians, even though they may think so themselves.
The Christian Life
How, then, should Christians behave? Someone rightly said, “Christians are not perfect, they are forgiven.” Christians no longer live for themselves, but for God (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). They are not saved by doing good works, but do good works because they are saved (Ephesians 2:8-10)!
A Christian obeys God out of love (John 14:21, 23). Love grows through contact. You cannot love a person you do not know. When you get to know Jesus, you can only love him for who and what he is, or hate Him for the same reason, if you refuse to obey Him.
To love God means to love Jesus; to love Jesus means to love God (1 John 2:22-23) and to love people, especially fellow believers. As Jesus said,
“A new commandment I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
All men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
The Christian's love to God and to his fellow man, even his enemy, becomes visible in caring for others. Read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.
When Christ becomes the Lord of your life, every aspect of your life comes under His control: your household, your words, your music, everything. Read for example Colossians 3:1-4:6 and make a list of the instructions. If you examine what you find, you will see that it is a summary of a happy life.
Jesus summarized the Christian life in one word: Love (Matthew 22:35-40). Which led the Christian leader Augustine to formulate this rule of thumb: “Love God: and do what you like!” because if you love God, you will try to do only that which will please Him.
Since we are human, total perfection will not be attained in this life, although Christians strive towards this. Therefore God has opened a way to daily forgiveness to remedy our failures (1 John 1:5-10; Proverbs 28:13).
The Festive Occasions of the Citizens
Every year some special holidays are celebrated, unfortunately by most nominal Christian in a most inappropriate way, beginning with Christmas. On Christmas (= festival of Christ) we remember the birth of Jesus Christ.
The greatest festive days are, no doubt, “Good Friday” and Easter. On Good Friday we remember the day on which Jesus was crucified, and on Easter Sunday the day on which He rose from the dead.
The day of Pentecost is seven weeks after Easter and reminds Christians of the day the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples (Acts 2:1-13). Ten days previously is Ascension Day, when Christians remember the ascension of Jesus to heaven (Acts 1:9-11).
Independent of any special dates “the Lord's Supper” or “Holy Communion” or “the breaking of the bread” is periodically celebrated on Sundays. This feast was instituted by Jesus Himself to remind Christians of His death for them (Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-31).
Every Christian is baptized in or with water once in his lifetime according to the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20. The word Baptism comes from a Greek word meaning “to dip into” or “to immerse”. It symbolizes the fact that a believer's sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7). It also symbolizes a dying to sin in order to live for God (Romans 6:3-14).
Test Yourself No. 13
Write behind each statement whether it is true or false. The correct answers are found here.
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