In Galatians 6 Paul spoke of a second creation — “But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God,” Galatians 6:14-16.
The first creation is of the earth, the second is of heaven. In the first creation Adam was formed, in the second creation the church, or the body of the risen Christ, is being formed. Through the cross of Christ, the world was crucified to us and we were crucified to the world.
The first creation was one in which all inhabitants were disobedient to God. The second creation is one in which all inhabitants are trained up in the way they should go and learn obedience from the things which they suffer.
All who endure and both learn and practice obedience, will inherit eternal life and become partakers of a new heaven and a new earth. As Hebrews 5:9 says, And having been made perfect, He [Jesus] became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.
And, “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons, Hebrews 12:6-8.
Now, a little about this obedience:
1 Peter 2:19,
19For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly…
What a powerful sentence this is. If someone is mistreating us or causing us sorrow in any way, we are to bear the sorrows without defending ourselves or fighting back in any form. We are simply to bear them. We are not called to correct them or demand apologies. We are to bear them for the sake of conscience toward God.
When I speak with people about following Jesus, I use exceeding the speed limit as an example. To the Romans, Paul writes,
1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
5 Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
Paul is saying we must submit to, and obey, the governing authorities that exist not just because it is lawful, but because it keeps our conscience clean before God. Paul was aware that those who walk by the Spirit would be stricken in their conscience if they broke the law in any way. However, He was also aware that few walk by the Spirit consistently. So He reminds us of the need to obey to get us to be more attentive to the Spirit.
When people argue with me about the insignificance of obeying the speed limit, I always remind them that speeding is against the law and that the word of God tells us to obey governing authorities. Therefore, to speed is not only disobeying the government authorities but also disobeying God. We are deliberately going against His will (and people wonder why their prayers aren’t answered).
A Christian should obey the speed limit in honor of God. I obey the speed limit because I am so appreciative of what He has done for me. My conscience will not allow me to willfully go against His will, whether it’s exceeding the speed limit or lusting after a woman.
Peter was referring to the same principle when he said, “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.” If we care about God we will conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of our calling. If we care more about ourselves than we care about God, we will fluff it all off and tell ourselves we are deserving of better treatment.
If we love and appreciate our Lord we will follow His example, for we have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously… 1 Peter 2:21-23.
We were bought with a precious price, and there is no way we can repay that price. Walking in obedience is the least we can do.
We must take heed to what Paul said, “Walk by the Spirit [the second creation], and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh [the first creation],” Galatians 5:16.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org
P.S. In case some are thinking I am just finding fault for the sake of finding fault, let me say this:
I never purposely exceed the speed limit. I won’t drive for even one block without my seat belt on. For years I cleaned up public toilets I used because I believe a Christian should leave a place better than he or she found it. I have not done so for nearly two years now because of my health. If I bend over too much or put too much pressure on my right arm I am in excruciating pain for hours. So I had to quit cleaning public bathrooms. I did so with the Lord’s permission. Actually, He told me to stop. I always cleaned them out of respect for Him and I have to admit I still want to do it but He tells me not to.
Now, am I bragging? No, I am not bragging. I am simply talking about walking in a way that is pleasing to the Lord; a way that exemplifies our love for one another and our love for our Lord. I have been called to help people, and I try to do so in any and every way I can. This is why I write these letters, to help all who love God to follow the way and the truth and the life.
Every time we do even the smallest good deed, whether cleaning restrooms or opening a door for a lady, or maintaining the speed limit, the rulers and powers and forces of darkness are humiliated by the triumph of the cross of Christ. Spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places cringe when we put on the Lord Jesus Christ and love everyone in deeds and not just words.
We are a people for God’s own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous Light. To Him be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before time and now and forever.
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