Apprehending New Life in Christ

New Life in Christ Apprehending

Understanding Salvation in its Fullness

A publication of Heaven Sent Ministries

Printed in the United States of America. 800-359-6608

Apprehending New Life in Christ

Understanding salvation in its fullness

Written by Lyle E. Mullins Copyright © Heaven Sent Ministries 2020 All rights reserved

“Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV ® ), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” “Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


INTRODUCTION “Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10). These are the words of Paul to the believers in Colossae. It is a summation of what it means to be in a true and vibrant relationship with Christ. It is also a part of his prayer for them and a reminder for them to continue in the truth of the gospel they have received. Certainly a lifestyle less than that would be antithetical to Christ’s calling. It is important to understand that it is not enough to just say that we are a believer in Christ, our life must demonstrate that a transformation has taken place which is followed by growth and maturity in Him. As a new creation in Christ, knowledge of the Word is key to realizing that transformation. Unless it is studied (2Tim 2:15), dwelling in us (Col 3;16), and believed it cannot perform its work in us and we will be unable to live a lifestyle that is pleasing to God. It also disallows the work of the cross and the power of the Spirit to work in us. The scriptures also remind us that we are not our own, we have been bought with a price. We are the temple of God. Our lives should, therefore, reflect that Christ is indeed our Lord.


BEING RIGHTLY RELATED TO CHRIST When it comes to understanding salvation, there doesn’t seem to be clarity in the overall picture of its completeness in the life of those who profess to have a relationship with Christ. For many, it simply means going to church on Sunday, participating in church functions and giving their tithes and offerings. It has little to do with how they behave and how they live their lives the other six days of the week. For others it is little more than an insurance plan for escaping hell. Perhaps a word of warning is appropriate here. Before continuing on let’s turn our attention to what God’s Word has to say about a lifestyle that doesn’t seem to honor Christ or that shows little indication that He is Lord. Our text is 1 John 3:4-10: “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that He [Christ] appeared to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” The very word salvation invites us to look at the great gift of grace bestowed on us and the incredible work that God did to rescue us and to release us from the kingdom of darkness


and to bring us into the kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13). This Great Act of Christ wrought on the cross not only brings reconciliation to God, to those who believe in Him, but it also brings life, a new quality of life, abundant life. In this new life we are given the wonderful privilege to speak directly to God, our Heavenly Father. In Christ’s dying, hostility from God was removed. But it is in the life of Christ that we are given sonship. Ephesians 1:3 says that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, sin has been pardoned, we have been adopted into God’s family, and we have been sanctification. All of this is from God. It is through the study of God’s Word, however, that we become rightly acquainted with Him. The Word brings the true revelation of who He is and who we are in Him. Without it, Christ cannot be formed in us and we cannot be conformed into His image as Paul states in Romans 8:29. THE DANGER OF CARNALITY The goal of Satan is to turn the minds and affections of believer’s away from Christ. His strategy is simple: Keep them occupied with the things of the world. If he can prevent them from studying the Word, he can fill their minds with lies. After all, he is known as the father of lies (Jn 8:44). If he can tempt them with carnal desires they will abandon their love for Christ for the pleasures of the world. He will convince them that they need not follow Christ with their whole heart, just acknowledge Him at their convenience. This is where many believers find themselves. They are weak and lethargic, and have become spiritually anemic. They need a transformation, a renewal, an infusion of spiritual truth. In other words, they need to know the truth in order to be free to walk in the fullness of life in Christ.


THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NEW CREATION We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” A further examination of other passages related to this verse help to bring additional revelation to the truths that transform us into a true disciple of Christ. On the one hand, they tell us who we were before we came to Christ, and on the other, they declare to us who we are in Him. They help us fully comprehend the greatness of where God, through Christ, has brought us. The “old” represents the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of Satan. The Bible is explicit in telling us what our condition was in that kingdom: We were separated from Christ (Eph 2:12), spiritually dead in sin (Eph 2:1), a slave to sin (Rom 6:20), controlled by our sinful nature (Rom 7:5), a slave to separated from the life of God (Eph 4;18), without hope (Eph 2:12) and we were darkness (Eph 5:8). amazing grace, reached in and pulled us out of that domain of sin and death. He delivered us and transferred us into the kingdom of Christ, where we were given spiritual life (Eph 2:5), freedom from the power of sin (Rom 6:22), freedom from fear (Rom 8:15), freedom from condemnation (Rom 8:1), raised to walk in a new life (Rom6:4), given divine power to live a godly life (2 Per 1:3, 4), given the resurrection power of Christ (Eph 1:19, 20), the promise of never being separated from the love of Christ (Rom 8:38, 39), and finally the promise that He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit until the day of our redemption— that day when we meet Him face to face (Eph 1:13 & 2 Cor 1:21, 22). THE GREAT DELIVERENCE


Surely we can echo the song of praise of King David: “I will extol you, my God and King and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psa 145:1-3). THE PURSUIT OF HOLINESS Our transference into the kingdom of Christ is the beginning of describes it, a journey of being conformed into his image (Rom 8:29). It is directed by the Spirit of God living in each believer. He guides them into all the truth and enables them to understand the things freely given to them by God. Paul raises the question, “If God did not spare His Son but delivered Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely give us all things (Rom 8:32)?” In other words, if He has given the greater gift (of His Son) surely He will give us all that we need to live a life of righteousness and holiness. TAKING HOLD OF ETERNAL LIFE God’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a godly life, according to 2 Peter 1:3. It is predicated on our knowledge of Him, that is, a saving knowledge, and the truth of His Word. Peter refers to the Word as the great and precious promises of God. It is through them, the knowledge of these promises, that we are able to escape the corruption that is in the world. In addition to that, we become partakers of God’s divine nature. This is a new heavenly nature imparted to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Our transference into the kingdom of Christ is the beginning of our walk of faith and holiness with Him


Additionally, we are told to appropriate and pursue the virtues godliness and love. Doing this insures that we do not become useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of God. Paul says in his letter to Timothy to take hold of the eternal life to which you were called (1 Tim 6:12). God does not call us to covet or devote ourselves to the things of the world, we are not to seek righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness. This is not done in our own strength but in dependence on the Spirit of Christ. We agree with the truth of the Word and He provides the power needed to develop the character of Christ in us. TRUTH AND THE WILL OF GOD As children of light, we are told in Ephesians to learn what is pleasing to the Lord, that is, to do the will of God as He reveals it, and not to participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them. Moreover, we are told to be careful how we walk and to make the most of our time--not to be foolish but to understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:15-17). It is impossible for any believer to comprehend what the will of God is apart from His Word. It is so important that Jesus said, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). Take note of these verses: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom” (Col 3:16), God does not call us to covet or devote ourselves to the things of the world


“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth: (2 Tim 2:15), “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Psa 119:9), “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa 119:105), “Give me understanding according to your word” (Psa 119:169), Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word” (Jn 14:23), We are cleansed “by the washing of water with the word” (Eph 5:26), “If you continue in the word, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn 831:32). Obviously, these are only a few of the many verses that remind us of the importance of God’s Word. Unless we know and appropriate the truth, we will remain in bondage to sin and be unable to walk in the freedom that is ours in Christ. In his letter to the Galatians Paul said, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” In his letter to Timothy he also said, “you however continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of” (2 Tim 3:14), doubtless a reference to his instruction from Paul and his instruction in the Word of God. Paul said that Timothy had known these things since childhood. He continues by saying, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3;16, 17). Observe the practicality of the Word; it teaches, chastens, counsels, comforts, encourages, admonishes,


guides, convicts, rewards, restrains, and develops us into mature, Christlike believers, when we receive it, believe it, and allow it to perform its work in us. It stands to reason then, that the Word will do us no good unless we obey it. It stands to reason then, that the Word will do us no good unless we obey it. It is not enough to hear it but to put it into practice. Paul states, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things” (Phil 4:9). Additionally, in James 1:22-25 we find these words, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” It is in the doing that our faith is made complete. The love of Christ us compels us to act. DISCIPLINE IS NEEDED The flesh is our constant enemy when it comes to making decisions to obey Christ. Gal 5:17 says, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Again we are told, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:8). That is, those who are letting their minds be controlled by impure thinking originating from the world cannot please God. To combat this we must take control of our thoughts and bring them into captivity to Christ. The admonition is to “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom 13:14). We do that by investing and identifying ourselves with Christ


who is our pattern and guide and we do not make preparation beforehand by giving forethought to satisfy our lustful desires. In other words, we do not provide for their gratification. Paul explains in Ephesians 4 that we are to put off the old self or flesh which is corrupt. We must starve it by refusing to give in to its desires. We do that by renewing our minds with the Word of God. We study it, retain it, meditate on it and obey it. By doing so, we feed and strengthen the new self created after the likeness of God which brings about righteousness and holiness. In addition, we must bring the Word to bear against all temptation. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word you are indeed my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31, 32). Knowing the truth Because it is alive and powerful, it is able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. LIFE IN THE BODY The focus up until now has been on the believer as an individual. We shift now to the believer as an integral part of the church body. As a new believer we are placed into the body of Christ “to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph 4:15). In this living body, whose head is Christ, no one is useless. In His manifold wisdom, the Holy Spirit has given each member spiritual gifts so that they are used to cause the growth of the body to build itself up in love. In other words, everyone contributes to the good of the body. When each member is using their giftedness, under the leadership of the Spirit, there is harmony and unity.


THE IMPORTANCE OF ASSEMBLING TOGETHER Like an individual, growth and unity in the body depends on our knowledge of the doctrines of our faith. Unless we are equipped for the work of service by the preaching and teaching of the Word we will be like children, tossed about by every wind of doctrine. False doctrine abounds, false teachers look for opportunities to seek out weak believers who are careless in their assembling together with the saints. They become easy prey for doctrines of demons. Hence, the warning from the writer of Hebrews, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb 10:23-25). WORSHIPPING THE KING The outward expression of Christ in a believer is shown by his love for God in worship and his love for others in works of service. Worship is acknowledging the greatness of God and seeing Him in the beauty of His holiness. It is having a sense of awe when we are aware of His presence, whether in prayer or reading His Word. It is acknowledging that “He is before all things, and in Him all things confessing that all things have been created by Him and for Him,

both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities (Col 1:16). It is standing before Him with a heart of thanksgiving acknowledging His amazing grace and the blessings of being a son of God. As we contemplate His greatness I am drawn to affirm the words of the great hymn,

Worship is acknowledging the greatness of God and seeing Him in the beauty of His holiness.


Amazing Grace , by John Newton:

Amazing grace How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me I once was lost But now I’m found Was blind, but now I see “Twas grace that taught My heart to fear And grace my fears relieved How precious did That grace appear The hour I first believed

Amazing grace indeed!

GLORYIFING THE KING The Psalmist said, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name.” The idea is to bring to God what is due Him. Paul states, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). From the breaking of bread to the making of plans, we honor Him and bring glory to Him when we depend on Him and respond to His lordship over our lives. We bring glory to Christ by pleasing Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work. Galatians 6:9, 10 remind us, “and let us not lose heart in doing good for in due time we shall opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” It may cost us, it may not be convenient, but it is the word of the Lord to us. It is indeed our obligation and God will supply the power and resources needed to carry it out.


Additionally, we are to consider one another above ourselves, and look to the interests of others (Phil 2:4), by encouraging and even helping them. Our greatest service, sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. That is, we diffuse the knowledge of Christ as the savior so that many can avail themselves of this knowledge and be saved. This brings glory to Christ. DELIGHTING IN THE KING Delight yourself also in the Lord, ... In the persons in God, Father, Son, and Spirit; in the perfections of God... in his works of creation, providence, and redemption; in his word, his Gospel, the truths and ordinances of it; in his house, and the worship of it; and in his people ( commentary of Psalm 37:4, Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible ). It is our knowledge of God according to His Word that enables us to truly delight in Him. As we contemplate his attributes our minds are drawn heavenward and our hearts sing with joy. We echo the cry of the heart of Paul which was to know Him (Phil 3:10). And like David, we also say, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1, 2). DELIGHTING IN THE WORD When we delight in God’s Word we are, in fact, delighting in Him and we are blessed. Psalm 112:1 states, “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!” He delights in keeping them and doing them. He does them out of love, not from a sense of duty. He meditates on them and cherishes them in his heart. They proclaim God’s love, faithfulness, goodness, wisdom, power, grace and mercy. They are, indeed, life to the believer.


COMMUNING WITH GOD As we become informed believers through the knowledge of God’s Word, we learn to turn the truths of His Word into prayer. In doing so we are agreeing with Him. Our trust in Him is strengthened as we receive the benefits of knowing the truth. For example, if we become anxious or afraid, we turn to the Word where we find these words: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6, 7). As we pray and believe this to be God’s truth to us, we allow it to perform its work in us. Knowing the truth then makes us free. In this instance, free from anxiety and free to allow the peace of God to rule our hearts. The Word is a guide in helping us praise the LORD. Psalm 111 gives us one example. The first three verses declare: “Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is His work, and His righteousness endures forever.” Praising God through His Word is a wellspring that will never run dry. Prayer is a way of yielding ourselves to Christ. The Spirit of God helps us to pray. Even when we don’t know how to pray He intercedes to God for us. It is the intercession of the Spirit that brings to us the thoughts of God. “Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Cor 2:11, 12).


Prayer is God’s way of speaking to us about what is on His mind. We may be drawn to petition Him about some situation that troubles us or to ask for help for someone else. We may come to confess sin that the Spirit has made known to us. Whatever the case, prayer should always bring us back Receiving and believing the Word allows it to work in us so that we will walk in agreement with Him.

Praising God through His Word is a well spring that will never run dry.

A VALUABLE TREASURE Perhaps we should conclude by recognizing that God cares so much for us that He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance until the day of our redemption (Eph 1:13, 14). He is “this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7). He is the one who guides us into all truth (Jn 16:13). He is also known as the Helper or Comforter (Jn 16:7). In other words, God has left nothing to chance when it comes to keeping us to the end. He said to His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places, if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn 14:1-3). These self evident truths should impact our walk of faith. Let them spur us on so that we may devote ourselves to the cause of Christ and His kingdom knowing that we have been given power and ability by the Holy Spirit to carry out every good work prepared for us.


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