Now That You’re A Christian, Now what?
The apostle Paul wrote, in Galatians 2, verse 20; “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
When you become a Christian, there needs to be a difference, between the old life that you used to live, and the new life that has just begun. God may have had a part, in your old life, but God wasn’t the very “purpose” for what you did every day, day in, and day out. But that’s how your new life needs to be; God needs to be the very purpose of your life now.
1 Corinthians 6, verse 20 tells us; “For you have been bought with a price.. (Christ has purchased you) ..therefore, glorify God in your body.” When we’re baptized, and when God washes away our sins, He is purchasing us, out of sin. And when God purchases us, He adds us to HIS body of purchased souls. When we are added to the Lord’s body of saved souls, we become a part of what the bible calls.. “a people for God’s own possession..” That’s what it says in 1 Peter 2, verse 9. “A people for God’s own possession.”
You’ve been bought with a price!” The life that you will now live, must be as if Jesus Himself lived within you. We’re told, in Galatians 3:27; “For all of you who have been baptized into Christ, have clothed yourself with Christ.” When you clothe yourself with Christ, you become like Christ. When you clothe yourself with Christ, you turn yourself over to Him. Verse 29 says; “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” The promise is eternal life; That’s what we’re told in 1 John 2:25; “And this is the promise that He Himself promised us; Eternal life!” And if we have clothed ourselves with Christ, so that we’re NOT the same old person we used to be, then we are heirs of the promise of heaven.
There’s a saying that goes something like this.. “If you continue doing things in the same way that you’ve always done them, you’ll get the same results that you have always gotten.” Makes sense, doesn’t it? In our old life, we did things in a certain way, and we got certain results. And what were those results? We were lost in sin. So then, what if we just keep on doing things, the same way we’ve always done them in the past? We’ll be lost in sin again, won’t we?
There’s really only one way for us avoid falling back into our old lifestyle, which leads to sin. Even though we’ve been “born again”, and we’ve become a Christian, that alone will not KEEP us saved! We can’t just stay at the level we’re at, when we first become a Christian. We must grow from that point, and we must become stronger every day, every week, every month, every year, so that we can be strong enough to withstand, and overcome, the difficulties that come our way, and so that we can endure faithfully, through all the temptations that will come our way.
Hebrews 6, verse 1 tells us what we need to do. It says; “Therefore, leaving the elementary teachings.. (literally that means.. leaving the “word of the beginning”) So then, “leaving the word of the beginning teaching about the Christ.. (that’s hearing and believing, and repenting and confessing and being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. Those are the “elementary teachings”. That’s the basics) So then, leaving those basics.. “let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God..” We’ve already done those things. Now we need to go on, we need to grow from there. We need to grow in knowledge of God, and we need to grow in faith, and we need to become firmly grounded.
When you’re grounded in faith, temptations don’t have the same power anymore. When you’re grounded, you will have the ability, to endure the trials that we all face, whatever those trials may be.
Now here’s something that every Christian needs to understand.. New Christians, old Christians, all Christians; Life will still bring us trials, and temptations. But God gives us a promise, in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 13. He promises us, that “No temptation has laid hold of you, that is not common to man.. (in other words, everyone has always faced the same temptations. What you’re facing, and what you will face, is nothing new) But listen to the promise; “..and faithful is God, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.. (in other words, God is promising us that no temptation will ever have the power to force us to give in to it, and to sin. If we give in to a temptation, it’s because we made the choice to give in to it, not because we had no choice) So God won’t allow any temptation to be more powerful than we are able to bear. “..But with the temptation, will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”
The “way of escape” refers to escaping sin. Temptations can lead to sin, if we allow them to. But God is promising us, that He’ll give us a way to escape that temptation, without sinning! And the way of escaping sin, is through our faith! That’s why it’s so important that we make sure that our faith, is always growing! Our faith IS, “the way of escape” from sin. And God provides us with our faith, by providing His word, in the bible. But it’s up to us, to study the bible.
Romans 10, verse 17 clearly says; “So then faith comes by hearing the word of God.” An increased faith will not come to you by any other means, beside studying and knowing, the words of God, recorded in the bible. We can pray to God, and say; Lord, increase my faith. And the Lord says to us; Study My word, and your faith will be increased.
God will allow you to be tempted and tried. And it’s up to each one of us to endure that temptation, by relying on our faith. James 4, verse 7 says; “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Resisting the devil, means enduring the temptation, or the trial. You don’t give in to it, you endure it, until it’s gone.
Increase your faith, every day, by studying God’s word, and you’ll grow stronger every day, and be better able to resist the devil, and endure temptation, and not sin.
New Christians, and old Christians, need to resist the temptation of.. “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outburst of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.” God calls those things, “the deeds of the flesh”, in Galatians 5:19 thru 21. And verse 21 goes on to say; “..just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things, shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God.”
And God gives us another list of things that will keep us OUT of the kingdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 5:9-10. It says; “Or do you not know, that the unrighteous shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God! Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
And listen to the next verse, verse 11; “And such were some of you! But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”
These are all things that can NOT be any part, of our new life in Christ. All these things, if any were present at all in our old life, they must be put to death, they can NOT be practiced, if we’re going to remain saved.
In Mathew chapter 5, verses 3 thru 9, Jesus named several attributes that a Christian, leading a new life, will possess. A Christian who is being led by the Spirit of Christ, will be “humble in spirit, compassionate, gentle, hungering for what’s right, merciful, pure in heart, and they will be a peacemaker.” If you’re living a new life in Christ, your life will contain these attributes.
And don’t forget loyalty. Loyalty to God, loyalty to your brothers and sisters, and loyalty to your congregation. When God needs us to do something for Him, because maybe there’s simply no one else there at a given moment, WE need to be there. When a brother or sister needs someone to help, we don’t look around, to find someone to help. You be there to help. And when the congregation embarks on a work, we all need to be there doing that work. WE need to be involved, in OUR congregation, because our congregation, is our family. It’s God’s family.
Jesus said, in Mathew 23:8; “For one is your teacher, and you are all brothers.” (and sisters I might add). And Jesus said in John 13:35; “By this, all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And one last thing; When the congregation gathers together to worship God, as we have been commanded to do, you will be there! Every first day of the week, you will be there to partake of the Lord’s supper, and to hear His word preached, and to pray, and to sing, and to give. If you are living a new life in Christ, you will, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness..” (Mathew 6:33) Assembling with your fellow Christians, won’t be something, second or third, on your list of priorities. It will your FIRST priority. And it will remain your first priority. And when the congregation comes together for a bible study, so that we can “study and show ourselves approved unto God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, correctly discerning the word of truth”, as we’re all told to do, in 2 Timothy 2:15, we will ALL be there.
Now that we’re Christians, those are the things that we will faithfully do.