It’s finally time to get down to brass tacks of what it is to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ; an actual child of God preparing for eternity. We use the term believer but that is an incorrect statement because even the demons believe, and yet it does them absolutely no eternal good! Believing is something that’s done with the mind, but God wants to affect or influence the heart. God created Adam to show His image & likeness in man; God gave birth to the 2nd Adam, Christ, for the same reason. Because of the atonement that Christ’s sacrifice secured for us, the perfect life He led as an example for us, and the Holy Spirit that He sent to guide us and enable us, God is again able to create His image & likeness in us, but this is totally contingent upon us! The first Adam chose to sin which destroyed God’s plan, likewise, when we resist what God’s Spirit is doing in us to create us anew, we also destroy God’s plan in us. We must give ourselves up completely and not resist this unction to conform to Christ in every aspect. Being a follower of Jesus Christ is plainly stated as follows: A constant minute by minute passionate desire to die to all of our own desires- self-will, self-love, self-seeking, covetousness, pride, envy & anger; And live for God’s desire- humble, patient, meek & 100 percent surrender to God, as Christ did!
You can’t find this from a church or certain denominations code of ethics or beliefs because you are just adding them to your regular life. You can try to live a certain way and constantly fail because you simply add Christs principles to a sinful life which does absolutely no eternal good, howbeit cleans up the outside & inside a little. Without a passionate resolve and constant attention to your actions, thoughts, motives etc., and a burning determination to die to anything ungodly, you are simply sinners trying to be good in your own strength. Imagine standing before God’s fiery judgement seat with thunders & lightnings; His fiery eyes peering into your soul & spirit, at all of your actions, looking for a true godly lifestyle like Christ and all you can say in your defense is: my pastor said, or my church believes. Salvation takes place in the heart, not the mind; a passionate desire to live as Christ did no matter what the cost.
Now you see the absolute necessity of the Gospel doctrine of the cross, that is, of dying to self as the only way to life in God. The cross, or dying to self, is the one moral principle that does man any good. Imagine as many rules as you can of moulding the moral behavior of man; they all do nothing because they leave human nature still alive. Therefore, man’s morality can only help him to hypocritically conceal his own inward evil and act as if he were not under its power. People can no more change from evil to good than darkness can work itself into light. Therefore, the one work of true morality is the one doctrine of the cross, that is, to resist and deny human nature in order that a supernatural power leading to devine goodness may take possession of it and bring a new light into it.
All that you have to do is to oppose, resist, and, as far as you can, renounce the evil inclinations and workings of your own earthly nature. You are under the power of no other enemy, are held in no other captivity, and need no other deliverance except from the power of your own earthly self. This is the one murderer of the devine life within you. Everything that your earthly nature does is under the influence of self-will, self-love, and self-seeking and until you are renewed in the spirit, your virtues are only taught practices that are grafted upon a corrupt lifestyle. Everything you do will be a mixture of bad & good; your humility will lead you to pride, your love to others will feed your own self-love, and as your prayers increase, so will the opinion of your own sanctity. Until your heart is purified and has felt the ax at the root of its evil, it is just impurity and corruption.
I hope that you now know you can find relief in this humble, meek, patient, total resignation of yourself to God, in other words, becoming Christ-like. It is the remedy that is always at hand, equally practicable at all times, and never in greater reality than when your own inclinations are making war against it in your heart; for example, attempting to be patient and feeling impatience welling up in your heart to overflowing causing you to say something and letting everyone see what is truly in your heart, which is self, not God. The God of patience, meekness and love is the one true God and the whole bent and desire of your soul should be to yield your will to the suffering Lamb of God who alone has the power to bring these heavenly virtues into your soul. What a comfort it is that this Son of God is near to us, and there is not a thought, look or desire of our hearts that press toward Him, longing to catch one one small spark of His Heavenly Nature, that is not a sure way of finding Him, touching Him, and drawing virtue from Him as the woman who was healed by longing only to touch the border of His garment. This should make you weary & ashamed of your natural inclinations, and every whisper of your soul that stirs up impatience, uneasiness, resentment, pride should be rejected with a “Get behind me, Satan”, for it is from him.
You have seen the necessity of obeying the Holy Spirit’s guidance, therefore, be fully persuaded to believe, and to settle firmly in your mind this most certain truth, that all our salvation consists in the manifestation of the nature, life, and Spirit of Jesus Christ in our inward man. This alone is Christian redemption; this alone delivers us from the guilt & power of sin; this alone redeems, and renews the life of God in the soul of man. Everything besides this is self extending from your own will. Enter into this truth, therefore, with all your heart. Let your eyes always be open to it. Do everything in view of it. Wherever you go, whatever you do, do with a desire for union with Christ, in imitation of His tempers and inclinations, and look upon everything as nothing, except for what exercises and increases the Spirit & life of Christ in your soul. Keep Jesus in your heart from morning to night; long for nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing, except to have all this within you changed into the Spirit & temper of the Holy Jesus. Let this be your Christianity. This new birth in Christ, thus firmly believed and continually desired, will do everything that you want to have done in you. It will dry up all the springs of vice and stop all the workings of evil in your nature; it will bring all that is good into you. It will open all the Gospel within you, and you will know what it is to be taught of God. This longing to be one with Christ will soon put a stop to all of the vanity of your life; nothing will be allowed to enter into your heart, or proceed from it, except what comes from God and returns to God. You will soon be tied & bound in the chains of all holy inclinations and desires; your mouth will be kept from saying unholy things; your ears will willingly hear nothing that does not draw you to God; and your eyes will not be open to anything except to see and find occasion of doing good. When this faith has reached both your head and your heart, it will then be with you as it was with the merchant who found a pearl of great price (Mt 13-45); it will make you gladly sell all that you have in order to buy it. Everything that has seized and possessed your heart, whether riches, power, honor, education or reputation, will lose all its value and will be easily parted with as soon as this glorious pearl, the new birth in Christ Jesus, is discovered and found by you.
To have salvation from Christ is nothing else but to be made like Him. It is to have His humility and meekness; His mortification and self-denial; His renunciation of the spirit, wisdom and honors of this world; His love for God and His desire to do God’s will and seek only His honor. To have these qualities formed and begotten in your heart is to have salvation from Christ. But if you do not want to have these tempers brought forth in you, then you must be said to be unwilling to have Christ as your savior. Consider the religous Pharisees who did not want Christ as Savior for what Christ was. They did not want inward salvation; did not desire change of their inward desires, love for themselves & enjoiments of their passions; They liked their carnal state, gratification of the old man, their long robes, large ornaments and greetings in the market. They did not want to have their pride & self-love dethroned, their covetousness & sensuality subdued by a new nature from heaven derived into them. Their only desire was the success of Judaism so they crucified their dear Redeemer. Oh, Christians, do not look only at the Jews of old, but see yourself in this light. May the sad truth be told that on this day, Christ desiring to be your inward Savior bringing a new birth of His own spirit, life & nature into you is rejected as foolishness or fanaticism.
Consider the treasure you have, the Savior of the world, the eternal Word of God lies hidden and as a spark of divine nature, able to generate the life of heaven inside you, enabling you to overcome sin and death and the hell within you. Turn your heart, and your heart will find its Savior. You see, hear and feel nothing of God because you seek Him outwardly, in books, in controversies, in church and in outward exercises but you will not find Him there until you have first found Him in your Heart.
In the depth of the soul, the Holy Trinity brought forth its own living image in the first created man, bearing in himself a living representation of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit, and this was his dwelling in God and God in him. This was the Kingdom of God within him and made into paradise outside of him. But the day that Adam ate of the forbidden earthly tree, he absolutely died to this kingdom of God within him. This depth or center of his soul, having lost its God, was shut up in death & darkness, and it became a prisoner in an earthly body, which is who we have become as his offspring, and where we all will stay, until we are born again from above; But from the moment that God spoke the Bruiser of the Serpent into Adam, a seed of salvation was sewn into him and remains hidden & dormant until the desire rises in our hearts to be Born Again from Above! Christ is the Bruiser of the Serpent and He died to recreate His image & likeness in Adam; In You! Christ’s Spirit is in you by faith, now allow the Holy Spirit to create it in you for real! This is sanctification, the power of God unto salvation & the glory of God in & through you! So, roll up your sleeves and get to it! Remember how your Savior was brutally treated and bled for you; These are His words to us through His Word: He 12:4- You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. It’s time to resist sin in our own lives NO MATTER what the cost! It’s time to become like Christ and allow God’s power to change us, change our circumstances & change the world!
O Heavenly Father, infinite, fathomless depth of never-ceasing love. Save us from ourselves, from the corrupt & deceptive workings of our fallen, long-corrupted nature, and let our eyes see, our hearts & spirits feel and find, Your Salvation in Christ Jesus as His life is created in us by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen!