Today was palms sunday and it was such a blessed sunday for me at church cause i got to really understand for the first time, the significance of Jesus’s triumphal entry into jerusalem on a donkey and on palm leaves. Its just so sad that all these years i never really understood what it meant. And i’ve been a christian since i was 6 (I’m 17 now, so been a christian for 11 years).
It just goes to show how much ignorance some christians live in. A very popular saying is that christianity is not a religion but an intimate personal relationship with God through Christ. I think that’s such a profound statement considering how much i tried to live a religious christian lifestyle that never worked. Its not about rules and regulations to torment you or to make you feel so miserable when you don’t overcome temptation. It is receiving the love of God through Christ by faith, realising the depth of that love, and then out of amazement, falling in love with Christ that you want to obey Him and live in obedience to Him. You see, many people miss the first part of receiving the love of God by faith. They always want to buy God’s love with their good works all their lives and that is why it becomes a religion to them, not an intimate relationship.
I think it is the duty of churches to enlighten every new believer on the death and resurrection of Christ, because that is the foundation to coming into that relationship with God many christians talk about. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, you get many evangelists from abroad, come and preach the gospel, and many get saved, without any discipleship or follow-up. This is not the fault of the evangelists because they have performed their specific function for which God has called them but i believe the church leaders should set up a programme for every new believer. That was probably why i lived a religous lifestyle for a long time. You would never hear someone tell you in Nigeria that God wants you to have that relationship with him.
What i always heard was: Repent, if you sin God will be angry at you, the prayer of a righteous man availeth much(which was obviously interpreted very wrongly as ‘righteous deeds’ instead of the righteousness every christian gets by being In Christ), pay your tithes and offering, come to church every sunday, read 5 chapters a day, etc. Those things are good but are not a requirement by God to ‘buy’ his love. Everything was just about trying to win God’s love. I knew the stories of how Jesus died, but i never realised the significance. Everytime i sinned, i thought to myself ‘maybe i didn’t do something right the last time i came out for an altar call.’- which led me to going out everytime a pastor asked if there was someone that wanted to give their lives to Christ(probably nearly 50 times).Most people wouldn’t even know you can only be born again once. Jesus died once on the cross, so did you when you believed in Him. He resurrected once, so did you also resurrect once. Jesus cannot be nailed to the cross twice or resurrect twice(which is what you imply when you think you’ve ‘lost’ your salvation).
Some christians actually live their entire lives this way and all that happens when they become born again is change from ‘worldy misery’ to ‘christian misery’. No christian would ever be able to live in obedience to God, or to have the life God wants them to have if they don’t know who they are in christ. I think that is such an important thing every church needs to teach new believers. That is the foundation of the christian faith. You cannot do righteous deeds if you don’t know you are righteous in christ. You cannot have what God wants you to have(joy,peace, hope, victory etc) if you don’t know that in Christ you have the seeds of those things sown that need to be watered by the word. It is so important to always remember who you are in Christ, and what happened the day you gave your life to Christ. We cannot live the resurrection life, without knowing who we are in christ.
Look at this verse! Philippians 3:20 says- 20But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we [a]earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior.
Did you even realise that when you became a christian, you became a citizen of the state and the commonwealth of Heaven? You have all the full rights of a citizen of heaven and the Bible even says you are sitted together with Christ in heavenly places. You are sitted with him right now at the right hand of God the Father. Why? Because when you became born again Christ came to live in you, and you are in Him too. Basically, you and Christ become one, just as the Father and Christ are one.
It might be hard to understand this for some people but another thing i think all new believers need to realise is that when they became a christian, they shared in the death and resurrection of Christ. This is what water baptism represents(even though i never understoood this when i was baptised). This is one of the main themes of Romans 6 but i’ll just show a few verses.
Romans 6:3-5 says- Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.
5For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].
So if you have been baptised, the immersion of you into water, represents being buried, and sharing in his death. As soon as you were brought out that represented being resurrected into new life.The very same power that raised christ from the dead was the same power that raised us into new life in God. We are begotten of him-Born of Him, through our faith in Jesus. This is why you cannot live in sin delibrately as a born again christian. God gives us a new heart and spirit when we become his kids. If you were not a christian, you would sin with ease. But as soon as you become a christian, the Spirit of God never lets you sin and be alright with it. He convicts you(like a yucky thing u feel in ur spirit haha). But you just can’t sin and be fine with it. As soon as he convicts you, don’t argue, admit to the sin, confess it to God, and then from that moment all your unrighteousness will be cleansed. You might do the same sin in 5 or 10 mins time again to be honest with you, but from time to time when you yield more and more to the spirit you don’t do that sin in 5 days, then 1 month, then 1 year, then that sin dies in your flesh and is made inactive because you have yielded yourself to the spirit of God long enough.
I just think it is really important to ask God for a revelation on doctrines of the resurrection from the dead, baptism(both water and spirit), the death of Christ, the love of God, the blood of Jesus,Jesus’s fulfilment of the Old Testament and spiritual maturity. Like i said in my last post, it is just so funny how for 11 years i had been not even started laying the foundations for my spiritual growth. Christianity is not just about going to heaven, but enjoying the life God wants you to enjoy on earth before going to heaven. The resurrection life, is the life God wants all his children to have. The life Paul spoke about when he said in Philippians 3:10-
10[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [[a]which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death