I am in a spiritual rut. How can I serve God better? What must I do to be free and live my life in Christ more effectively?
The scriptures which comprise the Bible tell us that we inherit the proclivity to sin from the disobedience of Adam and Eve. The punishment for each and every sin is death.
Adam disobeyed God and was sentenced to death.
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.
Because of Adam’s disobedience, the disposition to sin and death was inherited by all of his descendants. We all sin and we all die. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who has overcome this overwhelming tendency in our nature.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned...
When we die we return to the dust from which we are made.We do not have an ‘immortal soul’ which leaves the body at death. The term‘Soul’ describes our whole being.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Because of sin, our soul (whole being) dies.
Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
When we die our soul (whole being) is placed in the grave.
Psalms 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?
In death we are unconscious.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing,…
Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
For this reason death is likened to sleep. We all experience the unconsciousness of sleep.
1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
Acts 7:60 And he (Stephen) kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Because we cannot save ourselves, God fathered a Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life and gave it in sacrifice so that those who believe and obey the Gospel that he preached can have remission of their sins and be raised to eternal life at his return.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Those ‘in Christ’ will be made alive by resurrection from the dead when Jesus Christ returns to the earth at a future date determined by God.
To be ‘in Christ’ we must:
Jesus instructed his apostles:
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Belief and baptism by immersion in water for the remission of past sins is just a beginning. Baptism signifies the end of our old way of life and the beginning of a new life.
Romans 6:3,4 do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Our new life must be lived by Jesus’ commandments.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
Luke 6:46 But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
After baptism, we cannot live a sinless life, but provided we are making a determined effort to live by Christ’s commandments we are promised forgiveness of sin by confession in prayer.
1 John 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When we are baptised we become members of a body of believers. As members we are commanded to meet often to remember the life and sacrifice of Jesus by sharing bread and wine. Paul explains to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 11:23-29 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
No day is specified, but the early Church found it convenient to meet on the first day of the week (Sunday) and this became a tradition.
Meeting to share bread and wine is not to be confused with the Sabbath (Saturday). Those in Christ are not under the Mosaic Law.
When Christ returns, the faithful will be raised from the dead and rewarded with eternal life in the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God will be the restored kingdom of David on the earth. As Gabriel told Mary:
Luke 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Jesus will reign from Jerusalem over the mortal population of the earth for 1000 years, assisted by those he has raised from the dead. Paul explains what is to happen:
1 Corinthians 15:20-26 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign (a 1000-year reign) till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
Paul describes the resurrection:
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
During the millennial reign a new Sanctuary and Temple will be built in Israel as described in Ezekiel 40 onwards. The prophecy of Isaiah 2 (which repeated in Micah 4) will be fulfilled:
Isaiah 2:1-4 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
At the end of this time there will be a second resurrection and final judgment.Those who have been faithful during the millennium will receive eternal life and the unfaithful will be destroyed.The kingdom of God will continue on the earth and God will live in and with his people forever.This will be the fulfilment of God’s purpose.
Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Numbers 14:21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD
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