For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
Not of works,
lest any man should boast.
We know that the gift of God’s grace, the gospel, is a free gift.
Romans 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Salvation is the free gift of God’s grace, secure and eternal. However, salvation is not the type of gift that is hung on the wall while we go about our merry way. Many times, a gift given has obligations attached. There is quite a difference between a toy and if the situation is such that a gift such as an automobile can be given to a teen. Such a gift certainly comes with grave responsibilities incumbent upon the child to drive safely and obey all the rules and laws of the road. Being given a puppy or other animal incurs responsibilities to care for it. Being unmindful of the duties and responsibilities inherent in such gifts can be wasteful, unprosperous, and even tragic.
Many duties and responsibilities are incumbent upon us who have trusted in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We were bought with a price, the precious blood of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1 Corinthians 6:20 Forye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
How many of us go about our daily lives reminding ourselves at every decision that we are not our own; that it is not what we want, not what we would like to do, to say, to have, but what serves our purpose for living: service to Christ. All things are lawful for us, BUT all things edify not, are not expedient to our duties and responsibilities.
We are brothers of Christ but we are servants of the Lord as well. Just as the Old Testament shows us, the firstborn is served by the younger. Christ is not only the firstborn he also is the head of his body the Church.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
We are not our own and we should never give preeminence to anyone or anything above our Lord. This is carried to the very heart of our lives.
Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
In many things Christians give their families, sons and daughters, the preeminence choosing to partake of the world for their sakes. This is an egregious error, one that will cost dearly at the judgment seat of Christ.
We belong to God, our Saviour, many duties and responsibilities are required of us in serving and living for him. Few take into account how attentive and precise the Bible’s instructions for godly living are.
We are given two main precepts to follow to achieve our goal to live for and glorify God and Christ.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
As much as people try and cut God out, this second commandment is known biblically as the Royal Law, not the golden rule.
James 2:8-9 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
We see here that Respect of persons is the opposite of the Royal Law. Respect of persons is discrimination, to choose to love one, as you love yourself, over another; discrimination is a violation of the Royal Law.
Therefore, as far as interpersonal relations with others we can state this as a simple direct one sentence rule:
- Without respect of persons, do unto others as you would have done unto you
and do not do anything to anyone you would not want done to you.
That is everything you need to know about interpersonal relations, our interactions and dealings with others. We need know no more.
If you adhere to the Royal Law out of obedience to the first and great commandment, the real golden rule, to love God realizing it is a duty and not an affirmation of your own self-righteousness you will have fulfilled your responsibility to family, friends, and strangers, alike.
However, it is the first commandment that gets more intense. The love of God requires much more of us in our personal lives than just interpersonal relations. We have a personal testimony to maintain at all times, and at all cost. The instructions in the Scriptures are quite specific in how we are to live our lives. The following are but a few.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
There is probably no better school in life than to work with your own hands. Everyone should, at least as a hobby if not professionally. Whether a wood or metal worker, plumber, electrician, sewing, knitting, or crocheting, etc., there are so many mundane inglorious little jobs one has to learn and patiently perform to complete the job. One learns how everything must fit together precisely to work; patience and exactness to detail must be mastered. So, it is in our Christian lives. A half heated or double minded attempt does not count.
Study to be quiet; quietness necessitates calmness of spirit and mind, to be at peace with God in all you do. Do your own business, don’t stick your nose is another’s, work with your own hands, walk in honesty, and you will lack nothing; this would be in regard to the necessities of life or spiritual growth, not the things of this world.
If your employed by another:
Colossians 3:22-24 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
There are always temptations on the job to do less than your best, always excuses: not paid enough, not appreciated, etc., always having to deal with others whose work is simply eyeservice seeking to please the boss rather than actually working. These are all short-term inconveniences; we must be in all things for the long term.
We are told how to speak.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
We are told what our demeaner and personality is supposed to be and how to look and dress.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; …
1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
James 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Man’s wrath, anger, serves no good purpose.
Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
We need to learn to walk by faith in God regardless of whether things are going good of bad. Trust that God is in charge of our life and just do what we are suppose to do.
1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
I have often wanted to do a power point with pictures on the meaning of modesty, but I am afraid it would offend too many. I am sure all the saints could use a refresher course. The world has us so desensitized to immodesty.
The definition of “shamefacedness” can be found in 1 Peter.
1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, ye wives… 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. ...
Shamefacedness is to be chaste in your conversation, which is your total demeanor, coupled with fear, the fear of God, and having the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. An ornament is something you wear, so women are to put on a meek and quiet spirit. Let it cover everything you do.
We are told how to wear our hair,
1 Corinthians 11:14-15 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
I cannot tell you the reason the length of hair makes a difference; I can tell you it does and the Bible covers it. It is up to each and every saved man and woman to decide what to do with what the Bible says.
We are told how to possess our bodies.
1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
Some of the works of the flesh are given here:
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: …
With the gift that we are freely given comes duties and responsibilities incumbent upon us to fulfill. The greatest of these, the most pressing reason to fulfill the others, is that upon receiving the grace of God we become a part of the plan of salvation.
Romans 10:13-14 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
This is that tragic consequence of not doing our duty, men do not hear, cannot believe, and die in their sins.
Christianity is the simplest, and, most demanding of all religions. Simplest as salvation entails no works on our part just believe God, trust in his atonement for the forgiveness of our sins. Most demanding as it has many duties and responsibilities inherent in the free gift of God’s grace.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Colossians 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
We are not our own; we will have to give an account of our lives from the day of our salvation to the day we stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
We have received a great and marvelous gift of God’s grace. But let us not forget that although free and secure, we are in no danger of losing it and have no reason to fear, it does place many great and consequential duties and responsibilities upon us. Whether or not we take them to heart or slight them can mean the difference between life and death to someone, whether they be family, friend, or stranger.
The answer to the question, “Am I my brother's keeper?” is yes, you are your brother's keeper. So, we all need to stop thinking about ourselves and start worrying about the guy or gal next to us, all those about us and present ourselves in the proper biblical manner.
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