The Essence of Christian Living
Week 25 in the Word- June 18, 2021
What is that quality which distinguishes the Christian life from the life of everyone else? Some Christians are wealthy. Many are poor. Some are highly intelligent. Others have an average IQ. Some enjoy excellent health and physical strength. Not a few fight chronic diseases or physical handicaps. It is hard to stereotype all Christians on the basis of any of these human characteristics. What is the essence of Christian living?
The one quality that marks every believer in the God of the Bible, the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is faith. Paul in the epistle to the Ephesians makes it clear that “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” Ephesians 2:8-9). To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “we walk by faith not by sight” (2 Co. 5:7). The Apostle’s own testimony was “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Scripture tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” Hebrews 11:6.
We are saved by faith. We walk by faith. We live by faith. We please God by faith. Until we get home to glory faith will always be foundational to our life as Christians.
As we read through the Bible, we see this truth—that faith is the essence of the believer’s life—again and again. This week we begin our reading in Job. Job suffered greatly but he kept believing in God. Even when his wife told him to “curse God and die,” he refused to deny the Lord. The apostles in the book of Acts faced much opposition but they faced it with faith, unshakeable confidence in Jesus Christ whom they had known and had seen in His resurrected body.
How often have God’s people suffered for their faith! All through the Bible, there is example after example of people like Joseph, David, the prophets, the apostles, and—most of all—Jesus Christ Himself who all suffered for doing what God sent them to do. In the case of Job, we get special inside information about why God allowed Job to suffer [see Job 1-2]. But Job was not informed about this. He was not even allowed to have a choice in the matter.
What about Joseph [Genesis 37; 39-41]? Did he understand what was happening when his brothers cast him into a well? He was sold into slavery. As a slave, he was imprisoned on false charges. No one told him how the story was going to turn out. He had to trust God, walk by faith. Eventually, it would all become clear to him when he saved his family from famine.
The essence of the Christian life is faith. We exercise it every day as we do what God commands in spite of trials and setbacks. God tests our faith to make it more steadfast, immovable. The apostle James wrote, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Are you going through trials? Do you wonder what could be the purpose of your difficulties, adversities, setbacks, and disappointments? God may not reveal all the reasons, but He is watching over you and working out His plan to make all things work together for your good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Remember Job. Think of Joseph. Especially think about our Lord Jesus Christ—"[look] to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). That is the essence of the Christian life—faith in God who sent His Son that we might not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
On that day, when we enter His presence and see Him as He is we will know that He has kept all His promises and our faith will be sight. Until then, keep trusting Him. Feed your faith with the truth of His Word.
We are nearing the halfway point of the year, so, if you are keeping on schedule, you are nearing the halfway point in our journey through the Bible. Have a great week walking by faith!
Week of June 18-24, 2021
June 18/Day 169 The Importance of Expository Preaching (Nehemiah 7-8; Acts 3) Audio here.
June 19/Day 170 God or Government? Choosing Whom to Obey (Nehemiah 9-11; Acts 4:1-22) Audio here.
June 20/Day 171 Praying to a Big God for Big Things (Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37) Audio here.
June 21/Day 172 The Faithful Church Impacts Culture (Esther 1-3; Acts 5:1-16) Audio here.
June 22/Day 173 Obedience by Faith (Esther 4-6; Acts 5:17-42) Audio here.
June 23/Day 174 Nobodies Made Famous by God (Esther 7-10; Acts 6) Audio here.
June 24/Day 175 Everyone’s a Theologian (Job 1-3; Acts 7:1-19) Audio here.
Audio recordings are provided by Pastor Charlie Evans.
Tip of the Week: Feed your faith with the truth of God's Word.