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Good Suffering?

Good Suffering?

As we continue our study through the book of Romans, Paul is about to show us the way to finally overcome the flesh. He’s told us about the work of Christ on the cross. By identifying with Him, we count ourselves as dead to sin.

At that point, I’m a spiritual infant in God’s kingdom. I’m not where I should be yet. How do I deal with that? I want to be an adult son now.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:17

Maturity is something that takes time to develop. How do I live with this frustration of wanting to be mature right now? Nobody wants to wait to grow up.

This verse tells us that we’re co-heirs with Christ. It also tells us that if we’re co-sufferers with Him, we’ll be co-sharers of His glory.

This tells me that the suffering is what we go through to become adults. It’s not really what we want to hear. But, Paul goes on to explain it to us.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

Paul literally says that according to his calculations, our present sufferings cannot even be compared with our future glory. Suffering is one of those topics we don’t want to talk about.

The truth is that we need to co-suffer, but it doesn’t compare to the glory.

What is this suffering that he’s talking about? First off, let me assure you that it’s NOT sickness, poverty, or depression.

The Bible actually lets us know where this suffering comes from.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:24

The word, passion, in this verse is the same word as suffering in the Romans verse. The root of this word is passion, but it’s a passionate suffering. It’s like when something causes you to cry out, “I can’t take this anymore!” It comes from our sin nature. Why is this a good thing?

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7

Here’s another important word – comfort. In our modern culture, we think about someone putting their arms around us and saying, “There, there, it will be okay.” On the contrary, this word means to call alongside. It’s what a coach does when he trains his athletes.

The best illustration I’ve ever seen of the Holy Spirit’s comfort, was from a movie a few years ago. It’s called Facing the Giants. I encourage you to watch it. To see the clip I’m talking about, click here.

That perfectly illustrates the suffering and the comfort provided by our Coach, the Holy Spirit. It’s about making our flesh do what it doesn’t want to, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

We think we can’t go on. We think we can’t do what we’re called to do. We call it suffering. But God knows better than us.

We need to learn to listen to, and obey our Coach. Only then will we see the glory of a victorious life.

Question: What are some times that you had to suffer on the road to maturity?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Our Spiritual Childhood

Our Spiritual Childhood

I’m continuing my look at Paul’s letter to the Roman church. For the last few posts I’ve been laying a foundation of side issues that needed to be explained in order to go further.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15

This verse is why I felt the need to explain the concept of a progressive parent-child relationship. It tells us that we’re not a slave to fear, which is what we experience living under the law. Instead, when we’re saved, we received the Spirit of adoption.

It’s by that Spirit, that we cry Abba, Father. You have to understand that Abba is what a little child called his Father. It’s the Aramaic equivalent to our word, daddy.

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

Galatians 4:6

This verse confirms the truth that it’s the Holy Spirit who cries out “Abba, Father” from within us. This tells me that it’s only in the spirit that we cry “Daddy Father”.

The fact is, that we’ve received adoption in Christ – the standing of a son. We have to understand that adoption is merely the paperwork. It’s not the completed work. That’s where Paul is taking us to in this letter.

Just to see where Paul is leading us to…

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

Romans 8:19

Paul wants us to go from the adoption paperwork to become the revealed sons of God. This means that we’re all adopted sons, but not all of us are revealed sons. We need to go through the Holy Spirit’s training program in order to progress to this point.

The next couple of verses reinforce this truth.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:16-17

Because of our salvation, the Holy Spirit and our spirit jointly agree that we are God’s little children. Verse 17 says that if we’re His little children, then we’re also co-heirs with Christ. That also means that we’re co-sufferers with Him so we can share in His glory.

So, we’re adopted as infant sons of God. We start out as “baby Christians”. What does that mean?

I Corinthians 3:1 tells us that infants are still worldly. According to Galatians 4:3, they’re still in slavery to the principles of the world. Ephesians 4:14 says that infants are tossed back and forth by winds of teaching. Hebrews 5:13 explains that these believers are not acquainted with the teaching of righteousness.

What I’ve found is that many Christians in our generation are in this condition. Paul is calling for us to progress in our walk. We need to be moving on to maturity.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many who teach this progressive relationship between us and the Father. We need to be submitting to the Holy Spirit and His training program for us.

We can’t just assume that because we’ve been given the position of righteousness, then we’re automatically walking in righteousness. It’s the same with holiness and other concepts of Scripture.

Make it your goal to move on to maturity, if you’re not already there. In my next post, I’m going to explain what it means to be mature in Christ. That way we can see how far we need to go down this road.

Question: At what level do you see yourself in Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2021 in Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Our Spiritual Position vs. Our Walk

Our Spiritual Position vs. Our Walk

In my last post I talked about women and sonship. Now I want to talk about sonship in a more general way.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:15-16

This is a great truth of the New Covenant. When we came to Christ and received His salvation, we also received the Holy Spirit within us. At that point we were adopted into the family of God.

This is the foundation for the concept of sonship. But we need to understand it. In listening to what a lot of people are teaching, it sounds like a son is a son is a son. There’s no difference in any of our relations to God.

While the relationship of a son to a father is constant, what we fail to realize is that the dynamics of that relationship change over time. The Bible speaks about different levels of sonship. There are Greek words for adoption, son, infant, toddler, child, and fully matured adults. We miss the full impact of the Gospel when we treat all the levels of our relationship with God as the same.

In the original language of the above verse, the Holy Spirit was called the Spirit of Adoption. The concept of adoption into the family of God is very important for the believer. The word adoption literally means to place in the position of a son. When we received Christ as our Savior, and He placed His Spirit within us, we were brought immediately into the position of a son of God.

Remember – Jesus Christ is THE only begotten Son of God. However, we’ve been placed into the position of a son of God. This gives us all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of the family of God. At that point we’re saved from our sin and on our way to Heaven. But we have to realize that we’re only in the very early stages of our relationship with the Father.

Knowing your position in Christ is important. We’re placed in the position of being righteous before God. This means that we can come into His presence at any time, for any reason.

We’ve also been placed into the position of being holy before God. That means that we have been set apart by God for His purposes. This is great news, because in my own works I could never even hope to attain to such a high calling.

The problem comes when we fail to understand that there’s a vast difference between the position of righteousness and holiness – and the walk that is characterized by those qualities. I cannot assume that I’m living a holy life just because God calls me holy by position. The Apostle John makes it clear as he talks about the walk of righteousness.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
1 John 3:7

Many are being led astray in this generation, thinking that because they have been placed in the position of righteousness, it also means that they are walking in righteousness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your position and your walk are two different things.

It’s the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to make the position of righteousness and holiness a present reality in our daily walk. That’s what Paul is dealing with throughout the book of Romans. This is why I feel the importance of understanding this book.

It’s because of this that I had to clarify the concepts of adoption, sonship, spiritual position, and daily walk. Knowing these foundational issues are crucial as we go forward with the Apostle Paul’s teaching.

Question: How does the walk of righteousness differ from the position?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2021 in Revival, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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No Glass Ceiling in Christ

No Glass Ceiling in Christ

In my last post I began talking about the concept of our sonship in Christ. But, before I get very far into it, I have to make clear how this applies to women in the church.

Many people accuse the Apostles of being male chauvinists. They say that in their writings the apostles speak mostly to men and assign women to a lower position. I believe that this is an inaccurate assessment based upon a mere surface reading of the Bible.

I’m not going into a detailed discussion of women in the ministry. However, a careful reading of who Paul greeted in his letters, and how they were titled, shows that Paul ordained women as both pastors and apostles.

In truth, there’s no Scriptural “glass ceiling” that would keep a woman from attaining to any position or calling. It’s all based upon the will of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:15-16

What I really want to talk about is the use of the words son and sonship in Scripture. Unlike what many teach, it was not the Apostles trying to make the church a Patriarchy. In reality it was just the opposite.

In the cultures of the day, which included Roman, Greek, and Middle Eastern peoples, the place of women were at the bottom of the social ladder. At best, they were a piece of art to be seen and appreciated. At worst, they were treated as property, slaves, or a family pet.

In Peter and Paul’s letters this concept was totally done away with. They elevate women to a new level of equality unheard of in their day.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7

Peter used a word in this passage that is translated heirs with you. It’s literally the word co-heirs. This means that the wife is someone with an equal share and claim on the inheritance. This was unheard of in those ancient cultures.

Women rarely, if ever, shared in their family inheritance. But in the family of God, all this has changed. Now women are considered of equal importance in the spiritual inheritance of the Lord.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

In Christ there is no longer the differences and limitations placed upon us by society. These have all been done away with at the cross. Paul says that there is neither…male nor female. YOU ARE ALL SONS.

Why would the Apostle make such an absurd sounding statement? He did it to emphasize the truth that in the Kingdom of God women have all the rights and privileges of a firstborn son. God sees a woman on the same spiritual level as a man.

If you’re a woman of God, then never feel inferior or of less importance than a man. You can go as high in ministry as the Holy Spirit will bring you.

Question: How has the ministry of women positively affected your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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No Condemnation!

No Condemnation!

We’re continuing our study through Paul’s letter to the Romans. In this post we’re starting chapter 8.

Remember, in the last chapter we saw that there’s a battle going on between my mind and my flesh. Each of them is submitting to a different law. But, we can get victory through Christ.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2

Here’s another one of those passages that people like to take out of context. It’s one of the favorite verses for people who hate correction. The least bit of constructive criticism causes them to respond, “Stop speaking condemnation over me!”

That statement shows a total misunderstanding of what this verse means. It literally reads that there’s no guilty verdict in Christ Jesus. We’ve been declared “Not Guilty” in Christ. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t miss the mark sometimes.

Jesus made a statement to a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. He couldn’t have made it any clearer.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:11b

We need to take this to heart. Telling someone to stop sinning is NOT the same as condemning them. It’s part of the assignment of Christian leaders to lovingly warn believers of the outcome of their actions.

Condemnation is the final verdict. That’s why the phrase, in Christ, is so important. It’s because we’re found in Christ that the law of the Spirit of Life liberates us from law of sin and death.

What, exactly, is this law that liberates us? It’s in Christ.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:7-8

Actually, what Jesus said here was for us to remain in His Word. His Word remains in me if I remain in Him. James talked about this as well.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

James 1:21

He went on to say that we can’t just look into the Word, then forget it. We must continue in the Word. He concluded with an important statement of truth.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:25

Please understand that James is not simply talking about reading the Bible. He’s talking about remaining in Christ and allowing His Word to be planted in us. Notice that James equates the implanted Word as the perfect law that gives freedom.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom…

James 2:12

The truth is that we’re not going to be judged on the ten commandments. We’re going to be judged by the Word planted in us. This is the law of the Spirit of life that sets me free as I allow it to take root in my life.

Question: What’s the difference between condemnation and warning against sin?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Weakness of the Flesh

The Weakness of the Flesh

We’re continuing through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He’s bringing them, step by step, through the process of salvation, from sinner to a deep spiritual walk.

At this point he’s dealing with the possibility that although Christ set you free from slavery to sin, you can still sin voluntarily.

I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.

Romans 6:19

This is a very important verse in understanding our problem with sin. Paul is talking on the human level about the choices we make.

The phrase, natural selves, is really the word, flesh or sarx in the Greek language. He makes it clear that our flesh is our weakness. This begins a new level of teaching at this point in his letter.

So far, Paul has been talking about our body or soma in the Greek. There’s a distinction between these two concepts – body and flesh. In the battle against sin, our flesh is the area of our weakness.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Galatians 5:16-17

As in Romans, the phrase sinful nature is the word flesh in this verse. The flesh is the nature and will of the body. It is contrary to everything God wants for you. That’s our greatest weakness.

So in the pages of Scripture, the term, flesh, refers to the wants and desires of the body. That’s why Paul has referred to it as the body of death.

Getting back to Romans, chapter 6, Paul says that our new life should be the same as our old life. The only difference is who we’re offering our body to as a slave.

Exactly like you offered up your members to serve impurity, going from lawlessness to lawlessness, now offer them to righteousness.

We find that once we take first step, it’s easier to take second. So I must offer up my members as servants of righteousness. That will lead me toward holiness and deeper into a walk of righteousness. The fact is that I can force my body to obey God even if my flesh doesn’t want to.

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:20-23

Now Paul asks another question. Looking back, what fruit did you hold by the things you’re now ashamed of? At that time in your life the point you were aiming at was death.

Now you’re liberated from the reign of sin. You can be a voluntary servant of God. Now the fruit that you produce leads you toward holiness. More than that, your life is now aimed at a perpetual, forever-life.

In the last verse, Paul summarizes what he’s said so far. The wages paid by sin are death. Please understand, wages are not paid immediately. On the other hand, God’s gift is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Question: What are the difficulties in voluntarily serving God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2021 in Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Prayer and Boasting

Prayer and Boasting

In the book of Romans, Paul talks at length about the righteousness that only comes by faith in Christ.  He takes us now to the next truth that we must understand.

Where, then, is boasting?  It is excluded.  On what principle?  On that of observing the law?  No, but on that of faith.  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

Romans 3:27-28

Paul asks us some important questions here.  They need to be answered correctly if you’re going to progress in your walk with God.  Fortunately, he gives us the answers so we don’t have to guess.

In this whole discussion of righteousness, he now asks where boasting fits in.  It’s obvious why he does this.  Paul was a Pharisee.  The entire lifestyle of that sect revolved around boasting.

Many of the Pharisees made sure that they were very conspicuous during their times of prayer (Mark 12:40).  On days that they fasted, they looked like they could barely survive (Matthew 6:16).  They always kept the boxes of Scriptures they memorized (phylacteries) on their person to show how much they knew (Matthew 23:5).

Religion is a great supporter of boasting.  We want to compare ourselves with others.  We want to prove to ourselves that we’re doing better than most.  As if that gives us any points with God. (It doesn’t!)

But, the most interesting thing that I found was in the word, boasting itself.  It turns out that the Greek word used actually comes from a word that contains the word, prayer.  This is exactly where many of us get into trouble.

A good example of this is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector found in Luke 18:9-14.  This Pharisee came before God and started out by listing all the “spiritual” things he had done.

This idea brings frustration into our Christian walk.  We sometimes get the wrong impression that when we’re living right (i.e. – reading our Bible, praying, attending church) there’s a better chance that God’s going to hear and answer our prayers.

That’s actually a form of boasting.  Thinking that my good works will somehow impress God enough to make Him answer my prayer.  That’s absolutely not the case.

In actuality it doesn’t matter how religious I am.  None of my good works will improve my standing with the Father.  The key is that by faith, God sees me in Christ.  That’s what truly matters.

Paul goes on to confirm that whether you’re religious or not, it’s that same faith that makes us all acceptable to God.

Is God the God of Jews only?  Is he not the God of Gentiles too?  Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.  Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith?  Not at all!  Rather, we uphold the law.

Romans 3:29-31

That’s something the think about.  It may not sound logical, but it’s the truth of our righteousness in Christ.  If I try and put myself under the law, I’ll never be justified before God.  If, on the other hand, I put my faith totally in Christ, I’m upholding the law of God in His eyes.

Praise God for His wonderful work!

Question: How have you seen the law of faith at work in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2020 in Legalism, Prayer, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Gift of Righteousness

The Gift of Righteousness

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’ve seen the frustration of trying to be righteous by following a set of religious rules.  It should be clear that our own self-righteousness is not enough to please God.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

Romans 3:21

This verse makes it clear that it cannot be by my works.  It’s apart, separate from the law.  This means that I have to access the power of God in order to live righteously.  Anything else is trying to put the cart before the horse.  If my goal is to live righteously in order to walk in the power of God, then I’ve chosen a path of weakness and frustration.

And yet, so many people are trying to walk this very way.  The Bible is clear on the outcome.  So let me ask, what if I try to obtain righteousness through obedience to the law?  What if I try my hardest to live up to what I’m told is right?

I can read my Bible daily, go to church on time every week, pray every day, and tithe.  On top of that, I can make sure that I don’t lie, cheat, steal, walk in anger, gossip, or envy.  What’s wrong with trying to live up to a godly standard with my own strength?

The problem is that self-righteousness will never gain access to the blessings found only in Christ.  For that, I’ll need a righteousness that’s far greater than I could ever accomplish on my own.  It could only be provided by God Himself.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:22-24

The righteousness that pleases the Lord can only be obtained by faith.  I know that this goes against what many people assume.  They think that pleasing God is a hard, back-breaking burden.  On the contrary, it’s something that God wants to bestow upon you freely.

The second sentence of this passage is very important.  I know that we only like to quote the middle of it.  In its entirety, it shows us a beautiful picture of God’s grace.

Paul is referring to what he talked about in the two previous chapters of Romans.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re an ungodly sinner or a highly religious person.  Through faith in Jesus Christ you can access this grace and receive His free work of justification.

This passage of Scripture makes it very plain.  All of the sin in your past doesn’t make you too far away from this grace.  In the same way, all of your religious works doesn’t put you any closer.  We all start at the same level.  We fall short of God’s glory.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Ephesians 1:7-8

If I want a righteousness that grants me access to God’s presence, it’s only found one way.  I can’t earn it or work hard enough to achieve it.  I must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, be found in Him.

This is the only path to true righteousness.  It was God’s desire, in His great wisdom, to make it as easy as possible for mankind to be saved.

Question: Why do we find it so hard to accept God’s free gift of righteousness?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2020 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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A Righteous Exchange

In my last post, I talked about how Christ reconciled us to God.  I explained that the Greek word deals with the concept of exchange.

We know that when God removes something, He always replaces it with something else. Jesus Christ bore my sin to the cross.  What’s the opposite of sin?

It’s clear from Scripture that the opposite of sin is righteousness. You can read all of Romans, chapters 5-6, and see how God replaced sin with His righteousness.

The fact is that I can’t be righteous on my own – it had to be a work of God’s power.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

This verse is the essence of our salvation.  He took my sin and now gives me His righteousness.  It’s beyond anything we could have hoped for as human beings.

What is our salvation all about?  There are many believers who don’t really understand what happened to them when they bowed their knees to Christ.

To some, it simply means that they decided to be good. To others, it means that they’re going to try and follow the teachings of Jesus. That is NOT Christianity.

It all starts with an understanding of our condition without Christ.

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
Romans 3:23

Our problem is sin. You probably already know that the word sin, in both the Greek and Hebrew, means to miss the mark. That means that we’re all deficient, inferior to, God’s glory. Even though we were created in the image of God, in Adam we’ve fallen from that high position.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you were born, or how good you are. In Adam, the whole human race is guilty of sin – missing the mark. But as bad as that is, it gets worse.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…
Romans 5:12

It turns out that sin brought a friend with him – death – separation from God. Who is under the penalty of death? EVERYONE! Death is the penalty for not living up to the glory of God.

You can look at it this way; every human being ever born was born onto the path that leads to death. There’s no reversing it, no exits, and it leads straight to hell. But, praise God, that’s not the end of the story.

Christ came to the earth as a man, God made flesh. He took on humanity but lived a life totally without sin.

Because it was He who created us, only He had the power to take our place. That’s the concept of substitution. He took our place on the cross in the penalty for our sin.

Now we come along, thousands of years later, on this path that leads to death. We can’t leave it or even turn around. We hear the Gospel of Christ. We decide to accept what Christ did for us by faith.

That’s when everything changed. The Lord freely gives us His righteousness.  It’s the basis for a new life in Christ.

Question: What were the events that led to your salvation?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2020 in Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Big Lie – I Can’t Change

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this past January?  Are they still going or have you given up on them?  The Apostle Paul talks about what our attitudes should be.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
2 Corinthians 5:16

That includes how we look at ourselves.  We can’t see ourselves from a worldly perspective.  We need to see ourselves in Christ.

A number of years ago I read a book called Changeology by John Norcross, Ph.D.  He talked about some myths we’ve bought into about change.  I’ve noticed them in the lives of many believers, so I’m adapting them for this blog.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

As Christians, our faith is in Christ as the agent of change, making us more like Him.  We can’t afford to buy into the lie that change is beyond our grasp.  Have you listened to the enemy’s deception in this area?

“I can’t change on my own.” This one is partly true.  If you take God out of the equation, then change is a lot tougher.  But the simple fact is that you have to start the ball rolling.  It all begins with your decision to change; then God has your permission to act on your behalf.

“I can only make insignificant changes.” The deception in this is that no change is ever insignificant.  Sometimes the smallest change has the greatest effect.  On the side of a mountain, the smallest gust of wind can start a huge avalanche. If God can change something small in your life, then you can trust Him for something greater.

“I don’t have enough willpower to change.” It’s not about willpower, it’s about faith.  Willpower places trust in yourself to do the work.  You need to put your expectation in the power of the Holy Spirit working in you.  The simple fact is that your flesh will never change itself.  Time in God’s presence is the most effective means to see God’s hand upon your life.

“I can’t change who I am.” The Scripture above exposes this fallacy.  In Christ, your past never determines your future.  Personality, family traits, and even bad habits are not outside the power of God.  The Lord can heal hurts and bitterness of the past.  You need to open your heart to the Great Physician to do the work that only He can do.

“I’ve tried to change in the past and failed at it.” The Bible is clear that we might experience failure in our lives.  The key is to not wallow in it.  You may fall, but keep getting up.  Perseverance is the key to victory.  One great success will wipe out all the sadness of past mistakes.  Let God strengthen your heart for the path ahead.

Maybe you’ve fallen victim to one of these insidious attitudes.  If so, then it’s time to lay them down and choose the path to your destiny in Christ.  Decide today to yield to the Holy Spirit’s power.  Let Him work with you as you walk step by step to your high calling in the Lord.

Questions: What do you want to change in your life?  How can you allow God to be a part of this process?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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