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Practicing the Principles of Christian Living

The biblical principles for living the Christian life are quite simply stated: The believer puts into daily practice the principles of the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are to practice the Biblical principles by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

There is no other way to become a mature Christian growing in the character and likeness of Christ Jesus.

God saved us so that we can know Him personally and enjoy a special spiritual relationship with Him.

A NEW PRINCIPLE

He has “reconciled us to himself through Christ” so that he can come and live in us. The greatest mystery revealed to mankind is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

This great principle is found in many passages of Scripture (Col. 3:4; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:10; Eph. 3:17; John 11:25; 14:6, 23; 15:5; 17:23; Rom. 6:11; Rev. 3:20; 1 John 2:24; 2 Cor. 6:16; 13:5, etc.). Christ is Himself the essence of the Christian life.

The foundation upon which we build the spiritual life is the new birth. You cannot have a special spiritual relationship with God without spiritual regeneration. “You must be born again.” Jesus said, “I tell you this solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 NET). Every individual must have a new spiritual birth because he is “dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph. 2:1).

 Your spiritual birth took place at the moment in time when you placed your trust in God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus.

LIFE-LONG PROCESS

However, the Christian life is a life-long process of growing and maturing spiritually in our relationship to God. By living in the power of the Holy Spirit, we put into practice a life based on Biblical principles. There are no short cuts to spiritual maturity.

It is a life-long process in which we practice the principles of the Word of God in the power of the Spirit. The believer is progressively and practically sanctified in his daily living. It takes a whole lifetime to become spiritually mature, and then we are not perfect until we see Jesus face to face in glory.

A NEW POSITION

This lifelong process is an out flow from our perfect positional sanctification.

Our salvation came about at a certain time and place when we put our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, and we received the free gift of eternal life.

The great exchange

We are properly related to God because of our eternal position in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul declared: “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become righteous of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NET). "He [God] made Him [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (NASB).

The perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to the believer in such a way that we stand in a perfect position before God, not in our own self-righteousness, but in Christ’s. In Christ Jesus we become the righteousness of God. We stand clothed in His perfect righteousness.

We have been justified by faith in Jesus Christ. The righteousness of God is imputed to us through faith in Christ. The object of our faith is Christ Jesus. The believing sinner is justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote, "being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).

“You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11 NET).

 Just as we have emphasized that everything we do in the Christian life is based on the finished work of Christ, we need to stress that it is impossible to live this life without power of the Holy Spirit enabling us.

Our vital union in Christ

The Christian life cannot be lived in our own personal power. This is a spiritual life, and it is a spiritual battle we fight. Only the Holy Spirit can produce the life of Christ in us.

The only person who can live the Christian life is Jesus Christ. I cannot live it. Only Christ can live His life. But the great mystery is “Christ in you” is “the hope of glory.” I in you and you in me is the great principle. God has put us in Christ and Christ in us in a vital union.

It is Christ living in you and me that allows us to live the Christian life. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him” (Romans 8:8-9 NET). The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit all refer to the same person. He has taken up residence in our spiritual person. God allows us to have a personal relationship with Him.

 “Moreover, if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you” (v. 11 NET).

The fruit of righteousness is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the very life of Christ lived in and through us. Paul gives us a contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-26.

PRACTICE YOUR POSITION

Therefore “ . . . continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort—for the sake of his good pleasure—is God” (Philippians 2:12-13 NET). Our responsibility is to work out what God has already worked in us through the new birth. This is not a works salvation; this is practical sanctification.

Our calling is in holiness (Eph. 1:4; 1 Thess. 4:7). God’s goal is to make us completely holy in the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29-30; 1 John 3:2; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:49-55; 2 Cor. 3:18).

We live the Christian life as we consistently put into practice over time the principles in the Bible through the presence of the Holy Spirit. As the believer grows spiritually and matures, he depends more and more upon the Holy Spirit dwelling in his inner person. It is His presence that enables us to live the Christian life. The more attention he gives to the Word of God and obeys its teachings, the more he will indeed practice his position in Christ.

There are certain evidences you will see in your spiritual life as you move from being a spiritual baby to a mature person. We will gradually become more and more like Christ in character, conduct and conversation.

God has provided everything we need to be all that He wants us to be in this life. Therefore, our responsibility becomes quite clear.

We must spend time in God’s Word.

We must learn to think biblically. We need to saturate our minds in the Scriptures. We need to spend time memorizing it, meditating on it, studying it and putting it into practice.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31-32). We need to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who tested everything by the Word of God. They were “open minded” and “eagerly received the message, examining the Scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so” (NET). The result was many of them believed on the Lord Jesus. They accepted the facts after careful examination. WE cannot obey what we do not know. If we are to become mature Christians, we must know the Biblical principles in order to apply the.

We must by faith obey the Word of God.

We must take God’s word as fact and apply it to our personal lives. We take God at His word. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (John 14:15 NET).

We must act on what we know to be the truth. The biblical principles must be applied to our lives daily.

If you have never done so, will you make a once and for all commitment of your life to Jesus Christ as Lord? Jesus Christ purchased you, and He has every right to be the Lord and Master of your life (2 Cor. 5:14-15). He has every right to be your boss and to tell you what to do. Will you yield your life to him and daily be obedient to His Word? If you do not yield your life to His control, you will continue to be a frustrated Christian.

Romans 12:1-2 calls for this kind of dedication and obedience on a daily basis. "Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect" (Romans 12:1-2 NET Bible). 

Make a personal commitment to live the Christian life by putting in daily practice the Biblical principles by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

If you need help in becoming a Christian here is A Free Gift for You.


Title:  Practicing the Principles of Christian Living
Series:  Christian Living

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

Unless otherwise noted “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey College, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries for ten years. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Honduras.

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