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Living by Faith

(Galatians 2:15-3:5)

Lesson 10 -- second quarter 2005
May 8, 2005

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications

Probing Your Own Heart

Are you relying on your works for right standing before God?

Do you believe and know that Christ lives in you?

Building on Some Foundational Concepts

Works do not justify anyone.

Everyone has an inborn propensity to want to do something to merit and gain a feeling of security about their standing with God. The idea of salvation through faith is unacceptable to the flesh. The flesh insists it must perform in order to deserve. The flesh believes it can achieve some level or degree of accomplishment which will allow it to attain righteousness. The flesh, of course, is wrong. Right standing with God is not something we earn, merit, deserve, or achieve. Therefore, works will not work!

Anyone can be justified by the faith of Jesus Christ.

Whether he's a master terrorist or a stellar citizen, the faith of Jesus is what he needs for redemption. Whether she's the best or the worst humanity has to offer, the faith of Jesus is what she needs for redemption. Whether they grew up in a rock-solid Christian home or in demon-worshiping home, only the faith of Jesus will bring them redemption. Thankfully, no matter who or how anyone is, Jesus makes His redemption available to them.

To live in Christ, we must be crucified with Him.

Jesus died to make possible our eternal redemption. Then He rose again into new life. For His death to have any effect for us, we must die to self, to sin, and to the world. To experience the abundant life He promises, we must die daily to our flesh and thus to all the enticements it is offered. Daily we must purposefully make Jesus, His kingdom, and His righteousness the point and focus of our living. Every time we face the choice of living our way or His way, we must choose His way.

Questions and Responses

Why do I fail in my efforts to be what I ought to be?

No matter how hard we try, we will always fall far short of perfection. No matter how much we do or not do, we will never come close to completeness. But if we surrender to the work and power of God's Spirit, He will steadily and patiently lead us to that perfection and completeness. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

But can anyone truly experience perfection and completeness?

"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:10).

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Here are some other pertinent verses: Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:20,21; 1 Peter 5:10.

My faith just doesn't seem strong enough -- how do I change that?

In a physical sense, using whatever strength we have helps build further strength. Likewise spiritually -- exercise whatever faith you do have. That includes living in obedience to what you already know to be the will of God.

Turn to Jesus, acknowledging your weak faith and asking Him to help you -- "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" (Mark 9:24). All faith comes from Him and all faith is made complete in Him; He gives faith its finishing touches -- "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

Tune your ears and heart to God's Word. Discipline yourself to read and meditate on the Scriptures. Ask God to give you an appetite for His truth. You see, exposure and attentiveness to the Word of God causes faith to develop and mature. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

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