ePublication - September 18, 2016
Grace... the final frontier!

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Keep resting in His Grace!

Doug Fortune


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  Christ "Formed" In Us
  (Part 1)
  Doug Fortune



(Read more articles at www.DougFortune.org
Click on "Article Archive")

"My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) WITHIN you..." (Galatians 4:19 Amplified Bible) "The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations [from angels and men], but is now revealed to His holy people (the saints)... this mystery, which is Christ WITHIN and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory." (Colossians 1:26-27 Amplified Bible)

There is "much ado" the world over, and rightly so, every December concerning the natural birth of Jesus Christ (although that is not really when He was born). Personally, I love the time of year, even though I am fully aware of its pagan origins. Anything that celebrates the birth of Christ is good with me.

However I believe that Father's emphasis is not so much the natural birth of His Son, but rather the spiritual "birth" of Christ within US! In the book of Galatians Paul speaks of experiencing "birth pangs" that Christ be formed within us. I know what a natural birth looks like, however my question is this- What does this spiritual "birth" of Christ within us look like? I believe we will find at least part of the answer if we just follow the context of Paul's writing.

You see, he goes on to say, "Would that I were with you now and could coax you vocally, for I am fearful and perplexed about you! Tell me, you who are bent on being under the Law, will you listen to what the Law [really] says?" (Galatians 4:20-21Amplified Bible) Keep in mind that Paul has not suddenly changed the subject matter, he is still speaking of the spiritual "birth" of Christ within us. He says that he is fearful and perplexed about them. And why exactly?... Because they are bent on being under the Law! A "law-based" mentality will never produce the formation or "birth" of Christ within us! In fact, I personally believe that it aborts the formation of Christ within us. However, in saying this I am in no way endorsing "lawlessness."

"If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from GodĚs gracious favor and unmerited blessing). This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church]. (Galatians 5:4, 8-9 Amplified Bible)

My friend, a "law-based" mentality will separate and sever you from Christ. The "leaven" that we must be wary of is not the "leaven" of sin. Sin is relatively easy to deal with, because it was already dealt with on the cross of Christ. The "leaven" to beware, because it "leavens the whole lump," is a law-based mentality... a judgmental mentality that seeks to measure spirituality and question the motivations of others.

You see, within the context of these verses, Paul is dealing with the issue of circumcision and the Law. Some were judging the spirituality and questioning the motivations of others based upon their performance of the Law (circumcision). Let us make certain that we are not doing the same thing, as there seems to be a propensity, especially among those of us who are spiritual, to measure and question according to our own idea of spirituality. I, personally, have been guilty of this on occasion, only to find out that it generally "comes back to bite me!" You see, we never really know what people are going through and what causes them to do (or not do) the things they do. "For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (performance of the Law) counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love." (Galatians 5:6 Amplified Bible- My input in parenthesis)

So, what does this spiritual "birth" of Christ within us look like? "...only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through LOVE... For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall LOVE your neighbor as [you do] yourself." (Galatians 5:6, 14 Amplified Bible) It is pretty simple- love God, love our neighbor.

Most people find it relatively easy to love God... it is that "neighbor" part of the verse we seem to have trouble with. Usually we start asking questions like this, "And he, determined to acquit himself of reproach, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29) Ahhh, that is the issue... what that question is really saying is, Surely there are certain people that I do not have to love! What if they believe differently than me, what if they look different than me, what if they act differently than me, what if they stand for things that I believe are wrong, what if they vote differently than me, what if they are in what I consider to be sin, what if they use bad language that I don't approve of, what if they don't like me, heaven forbid what if they are gay or Muslim or a prostitute or even a Samaritan?... do we have to love them?

Jesus answers this question for us by painting a word picture. "Jesus, taking him up, replied, A certain man was going from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him of his clothes and belongings and beat him and went their way, [unconcernedly] leaving him half dead, as it happened." (Luke 10:30 Amplified Bible) The verse starts out, "A certain man..." So here we find a "certain" man... He is not just ANY man, he is a "certain" man. He has a certain destiny built into his DNA. He was "going down" from Jerusalem to Jericho.... (To be continued)

(Read many more articles at www.DougFortune.org)
Click on "Article Archive"

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