How We Become Slaves of Righteousness
Being justified by faith means that we are made just as if we had never sinned. When we give Him our whole heart, we are justified; then He leads us to become doers of the law, which means walking in love. It is natural for us to want to keep the law when our hearts are pure because of our new nature. But those who follow after carnal doctrines oppose this truth because they are lovers of self and trust in their own form of godliness.
When we come to the Lord, we are to love Him with ALL OUR HEART, more than the world, more than the things in the world, more than family, more than the desires of the flesh, more than anything. Then the Word of God is able to wash our hearts from all unrighteousness, because our motives and the desires of our hearts are now to please Jesus. We want to please Him more than to fulfill our desires for pride, greed, selfishness, building treasures in this world, or anything else. We no longer present our members (of our bodies) as slaves to sin, but as slaves to righteousness.
Paul gave us an example of this walk: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: THAT I MAY KNOW HIM, AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS, BEING MADE CONFORMABLE UNTO HIS DEATH, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection from the dead" (Phil. 3:7-10). Paul took up his cross and denied himself in order to attain to this resurrection from the dead NOW. Paul explained in this passage how he was being perfected in love.
God has given to us the very same instructions. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps" (1 Pet, 2:21).
"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God" (1 Pet. 4:1,2). The will of God for us is sanctification and a pure heart. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together" (Ram. 8:17). "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:10, 11). "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (Ram. 6:5). God did not have one Gospel for Paul and another Gospel for us today. Both Paul and Jesus were living examples for us today.
A good question would be: Did the first Church in the book of Acts prove by their lives that they were walking in the likeness of Christ by the love shown as they laid down their lives for one another? "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily WITH ONE ACCORD in the temple ... And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; Neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. . . and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked" (Acts 2:44-46; 4:32-34).
I could ask the questions again, "Did they love their neighbor as themselves? Did they love one another as Christ had loved them?" The first Church set the ex- ample for us, by having the giving nature of God. Jesus and Paul set the same examples. What has happened to the Gospel? Is there another Gospel? No! Quite simply, THE LAW HAS BEEN LOST! There is no fear of God. The Church in the book of Acts knew they were to forsake all and be perfected in love.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked, "'Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?' And Jesus (referring to the law) said unto him... 'do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, defraud not, honor they father and mother.. .' And he answered and said unto Him, 'Master all these have I observed from my youth. . .' Jesus... said unto him, 'One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross and follow Me'" (Mark 10:17-211).
We must come to Jesus Christ with ALL OUR HEART. If He does not have all our heart, then we will turn to the treasures of the world. If God has all our heart, we will then build our treasures in heaven. We remain an this earth only a short time to pass through the trials of this world and prove to God that we love Him with all our hearts and that our primary desire is to spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Jesus said to the rich young ruler: "If thou wilt be PERFECT, go and sell that thou hast" (Matt, 19:21). Jesus said those things because He saw that greed still had the heart of the rich young ruler. "And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. (He was grieved because he realized that he loved his possessions more than he loved God.) And Jesus looked round about and saith unto His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" (Mark 10:22, 23).
Many who read this verse are amazed and astonished at these words and wonder, "Well, who can be saved?" The disciples were amazed and astonished too. "And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can he saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible Peter began to say unto Him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee. And Jesus answered and said Verily I say unto you, there is no man that bath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time.. . WITH PERSECUTIONS; AND IN THE WORLD TO COME ETERNAL LIFE .. and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid" (Mark 10:24, 26-30, 32).
If the disciples were amazed, astonished, and fearful at these statements of Jesus, why shouldn't we be even more so today? However, these same disciples later taught these things to the first Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The people in this Church sold all their property and shared with all who had need. They were building their treasures in heaven. They loved their neighbors more than they loved their greed. This Church was perfected in the unity of the faith and to the fullness of the stature which belongs to Christ. They were of one heart and one mind in the temple because Jesus, not man, was the center of His Church.
No person can receive these Scriptures unless Jesus has all his heart. Did Jesus tell us to lay down our lives in this world? The implications of these Scriptures will cause a cultural shock to those in the worldly church today. We have been led astray. We find all kinds of patterns in this world that are called the church and that we are to be conformed to. But the disciples who spent years with the Lord knew exactly what the Church was supposed to be like. They left us this example in the book of Acts.
When we love the Lord with all our hearts, it costs us everything in this life and in this world. The Spirit of God can then totally control our lives and Satan can do nothing, because all selfishness is removed. This Church puts into practice the commandments of our Lord to love their neighbor as themselves, and to love one another as Jesus had loved them.
If we look at these Scriptures through the eyes of a form of godliness, we will call this a history of the Church, rather than a revelation of the Church of Jesus Christ, which was to be perfected in love.
Not only was the rich young ruler required to sell all that he had to follow Jesus, but many in the first church in the Book of Acts felt led to do the same. The powers of darkness could no longer tempt their hearts with anything in this world. They built all their treasures in heaven, because they laid down their lives for their neighbors. They laid down their lives to please God and be vessels to extend God's love to the whole world, because they now had the nature of Jesus.
Listen to the Word of God in Titus 3:3-5: "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the KINDNESS AND LOVE OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR TOWARD MAN APPEARED (JESUS CHRIST)... He saved us, by the washing of regeneration (being cleansed by the word and Spirit of God), and renewing of the Holy Ghost" to have the mind of Christ. This is sanctification. This is how we are conformed to the image of Jesus and how we become the blameless bride of Christ.
We now walk and talk like our Lord and no longer according to the flesh. We can clearly see what grace instructs us to do in Titus 2:11-14: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope. . . Who gave Himself for us. THAT HE MIGHT REDEEM US FROM ALL INIQUITY, AND PURIFY UNTO HIMSELF A PECULIAR PEOPLE, ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS" (to walk in love).
Jesus commanded the body of Christ to lay down their lives in order that we may love our friends as He has loved us. Paul identified this body of Christ by saying, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the (fleshly) affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24). "But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light" (Eph. 5:13).