Saturday, February 7, 2009

So Let Our Lips and Lives Express

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. I Timothy 4:12

As a believer, it is my goal that my speech, actions, behaviors - indeed, my life - all show that I belong to Christ, and that He lives in me. I try to live my life so that others would have no question that I am a believer. (As a sinner, I am not always successful, mind you.)

We are reminded through the Scripture that living this way is God's will for us. Because of Christ's saving work, we have escaped the corruption in this world, and are now partakers of the divine nature. Peter instructs us in what we must do, and how these qualities in our lives enable us to bear fruit.

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. II Peter 1:4-11

Did you catch what he says? Those who lack these qualities (moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, brotherly kindness, love) are short sighted because they have forgotten their purification from former sins! Christ died to set us free from the corruption in this world, and so we must act in a way that is different from the world! Isaac Watts said it so eloquently in this hymn, "when salvation reigns within, and grace subdues the power to sin." Salvation has come through the grace of God, and it has instructed us in how to act.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Titus 2:11-15

We must deny our flesh - putting aside pride, envy, passion, lust, and all the other things our flesh would have us desire - and look to the Holy Spirit to guide us in being an example of good deeds. Paul reminds us that when our actions and speech are beyond reproach, the opponent will be put to shame!

In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

These requirements cannot possibly be met without the assistance of God the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Christ lives in me, and so I CAN live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age. My flesh wants to act in a different way, but my flesh has been crucified with Christ. I now live by faith in the Son, and Christ lives in me!

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

Dear Father, how I want my lips and life to express the Gospel that I profess. I pray you would guide and direct me so that through my speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, others will know that I am Yours, and You live in me. Amen

So Let Our Lips and Lives Express
Words by Isaac Watts

So let our lips and lives express
The holy Gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine,
To prove the doctrine all divine.

Thus shall we best proclaim abroad
The honors of our Savior God,
When the salvation reigns within,
And grace subdues the power of sin.

Our flesh and sense must be denied,
Passion and envy, lust and pride;
While justice, temperance, truth, and love,
Our inward piety approve.

Religion bears our spirits up,
While we expect that blessed hope,
The bright appearance of the Lord,
And faith stands leaning on His Word.

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