The Christian Walk

I. Conviction of Sin

"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate,
but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber." John 10:1

There are many who claim to be Christian, but it seems have only become so by climbing through the window. For to accept the gift of eternal life without dealing with the issue of sin is to enter God's house as a thief. Like Israel leaving Egypt, they joyfully accept his promise, but when it comes to obeying His commandments, they preferred to make God into an idol that they could control. "Christians" often make God in their own image whenever the God of the Bible conflicts with their chosen lifestyle. Though they agree with some parts of the Bible, they reject or ignore other parts. Obedience and submission never really become an issue until our own desires conflict with the desires of the one we claim to be submitting ourselves to.

A man once came to Jesus asking "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Luke 18:18

By such a casual use of the word "good", Jesus recognized his problem. This man thought that "being good" was an easy thing and that he could obtain eternal life based on his performance. So Jesus first dealt with the issue of sin.

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-- except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"

But the man answered:

"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

Jesus was using the law to help convict this man of sin, for that is the purpose of the law. "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." Rom 3:20. Here was a man who lacked the conviction of sin.

Real Christians call sin for what it is and admit that they are sinners, for it is written:

II. Practicing Righteousness

A. With Respect to Sin

"No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."1John 3:9

There is an inevitable effect of a person being born of the Spirit of God. The word "cannot" here is the greek word "dunamai" where we get the word "dynamite" and indicates that a real Christian simply does not have the ability to sin in the manner spoken of here. Try as he might, the Christian does not have the ability to live a lifestyle of sin.

This is not to say that Chistians do not sin at particular points in time, for that would contradict the point of 1John 1:8,10 mentioned above as well as the common experience of all Christians. For I have never met a Christian who never sins and those who claim such often have a conscience which is so corrupted by sin, that their sin is usually quite obvious even to the non-christian.

Though a Christian falls into sin at particular points in time, when it comes to his overall lifestyle, he simply cannot sin. Those who have sin as a characteristic of their lifestyle or profession will not go to heaven.

Does that mean that if a Christian lies at a particular point, or is greedy one day, or perhaps gets drunk one time, or slanders someone at some point, that he will not inherit the kingdom of God? No! But rather if these are characteristic of the person's life, such a person will go to hell regardless what he calls himself. Practicing righteousness is not only calling sin for what it is, but behaving appropriately.

B. The Mindset of a Christian

Does the Christian have the ability to "live according to the sinful nature"? No! Because just a few verses later it says: "Controlled by" is more literally translated "in" ("en" in the greek). Notice that being in the Spirit is not a function of your will or desires, but simply a function of whether you have the Spirit of God in you. And you are not a Christian if you don't have the Spirit. This is not something that comes and goes. A real Christian is continually in the Spirit. But what does that mean?

One difference between an amateur and a professional is how they define themselves. An amateur may go outside at night an look at somes stars. He doesn't then call himself an astronomer! A professional has made a lifestyle decision to define himself a certain way. So the Christian makes a conscious decision to conform his life according the Spirit. (Though no doubt he'll fall short of a perfect standard). The non-Christian, not having the Spirit, does not do this. For the true Christian, God is the boss. For the nominal-Christian and non-christian, someone else is the boss. Though amateur Christians and non-christians may try to imitate him at times, the true Christian is one who makes it his profession to submit to the Spirit of God and the Word of God (regardless of whether he gets payed for it).

The mindset of the Christian is when it comes to lifestyle decisions - (how he defines himself, what he considers his meaning and purpose and life, how determines his moral standards) - he submits himself to the Spirit of God.

C. Christian Love

This verse occurs right after the one that says the Christians don't have the ability to live a lifestyle of sin. Practing righteousness has two aspects. Abstaining from sin is one application. There are things that Christians should not do, and then there are things that Christians should do.

One of the primary identifying marks of a Christian is whether they love other Christians.

This is so characteristic of the true Christian, that according to Jesus in Matt 25, God will allow only those who have this characteristic to enter into heaven.

III. Endurance

"All men will hate you because of me,
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matt 10:22

The true Christian never falls away. For if a Christian falls away, it is only an indication that he never was a real Christian.

The reason being quite simply that being born of the Spirit of God, he becomes a new creation (2Cor 5:17) and it is innate with him to always return to the Shephard of his soul as a sheep naturally returns to his.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources