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1 Bible 21 Peter 1:18, 19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”
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Theme – A believer’s position in Christ shapes their life every day.

Key Verse – 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new”

Study Overview – Your perspective on yourself will determine many things about your response to life’s situations. As a born again believer in Christ, your spiritual life should be based on God’s work in your life. This study will identify several, but not all, of the incredible works of God on behalf of the child whom He saves through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. From this study we (as believers in Christ) will be able to draw some conclusions on how these truths should affect our daily life?
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INTRODUCTION

The believer’s life is simple, but isn’t always an easy one. However, nothing is like the joy that will be ours as we apply God’s precious truth to every phase of our life. Thus, by the end of this study we should be able to:

(1) Proclaim the goals of a believers life; (2) Realize the importance of the local church in our spiritual life; (3) Accept responsibility for our own spiritual development in the areas of personal Bible study, prayer, and obedience to God’s will in our life; and, (4) Express our faith using spiritual gifts, evangelizing, and responding to spiritual opposition. The believer’s life is God’s process for developing the character of His precious Son in those who have faithfully trusted in His complete provision for their spiritual needs. Thus, as believers in Jesus Christ, we must:

(a) See ourselves from God’s perspective (salvation),
(b) Become what God has designed us to be (disciples); and
(c) Trust God each day (by faith).

If you have ever gone to a carnival and looked into a fun house mirror, you will see only a distorted image of yourself. In the same way, if a believer in Christ looks only inside, they will not discern the foundation upon which their life rests. The believer must look into the accurate mirror of the Word of God to discern the truth. This study will identify several, but not all, of the incredible works of God on behalf of the child whom He has saved. As we study, we will draw some conclusions and consider how these truths should affect the believer’s life. When we present the gospel, we usually personalize it. “Jesus died on the cross for my sins.” We focus on what God has done for the individual and what the individual’s response should be. Since God loved the world and sent His only begotten Son to die in our place, we should respond in faith to that love. We must trust His death on our behalf as the payment for our sins, and we must trust His resurrection for the power to live apart from sin.

It’s not wrong to focus on the individual, because the individual must respond by faith to be saved. However, human response is only one aspect of salvation. A believer is more than “someone who has trusted Christ”. A believer is a work of God’s grace. If anyone truly wants to live for Christ, he or she must realize the greatness of God’s work of salvation and live in light of that truth. Our study introduces the terms that described the work of God in salvation. God’s Word reveals these truths so that the believer can rest in assurance of God’s work and “walk the walk” with confidence and hope every day. God has done great things for believers, and we must learn to echo the prophet Jonah when he said, “Salvation is of the LORD”. (Jonah 2:9). God’s Word describes a believer with a longer list of adjectives than this study will allow to list. However, the following truths are basic to understanding the work that God has accomplished for those who are truly born again and saved by the priceless blood of the Lamb.
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A. From God’s Perspective – (WE ARE REDEEMED)

Ephesians 1:7, 8, “In whom we have redemption through his (Jesus Christ) blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence (forethought or carefulness)”; 1 Peter 1:18, 19, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things … but with the precious blood of Christ”

(1) The Concept

According to God, we are redeemed. We have been purchased by God from sin and sin’s penalty. Among the many names given to our Lord in the Bible, one is especially precious to me. It is the name Redeemer. The word redeems literally means “to buy back”. It suggests that something has been sold or forfeited in order to pay a debt. When the price of its redemption has been paid, the lost article can be reclaimed. Man was created in God’s image, but he sold out to satan for some fruit from a forbidden tree. Since that time, all mankind has been enslaved to sin and under judgment. The purchase price of redemption was the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, which met the demands of God’s holiness. Everyone who accepts God’s gift of forgiveness is set free and becomes a slave of Christ the Redeemer (Romans 6:22).

Many years ago, a man visited a slave market. He watched for a while, and then bid on a slave until no one was able to go any higher. After paying the price, he gave the bill of sale to the slave, and said, “I have purchased you to set you free”. Overcome with gratitude, the slave refused to leave him and became his devoted servant for life. Jesus paid an enormous price for our salvation. Do we serve Him out of gratitude? Jesus gave his all for us, are we giving our all for him?

Starting in Ephesians 1:3, the apostle Paul recounted the blessings of salvation. They are spiritual blessings that are accounted in heavenly places. Spiritual blessings are available only through trust in Jesus Christ. Paul explained the blessings of salvation before he reminded the believers at Ephesus how they had come to possess such blessings. Only those who are saved “by grace … through faith”, apart from trust in human works, can claim to be redeemed. Redemption means that God has purchased the believer from sin and sin’s penalty. The word pictures the payment of a price to emancipate a slave as illustrated earlier. The price of redemption is the blood of Christ (Colossians 1:20), given freely and in love. Prior to our redemption, we serve sin as though sin owned us and gave us direct orders.

(2) The Implication

We must therefore live according to our new ownership. After redemption, believers are free from bondage of sin and are free to serve the One Who paid the price to redeem them. However, redemption does not make me a “free agent”, answering only to myself. God owns the one He has purchased. Believers must not think that they can live for themselves. We must strive with all our being to serve the One who bought us. Paul’s warning to avoid sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18) was based on this truth: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

(3) The Application

Therefore, we can truly know that God loves us. We can adopt God’s priorities, have hope, be forgiven, feel relieved, and serve Him with steadfastness in faith and obedience to His will.
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B. From God’s Perspective – (WE ARE FORGIVEN)

Ephesians 1:7, 8, “In whom we have redemption through his (Jesus Christ) blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence (forethought or carefulness)”; 1 Peter 1:18, 19, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things … but with the precious blood of Christ”

(1) The Concept

According to God, we are forgiven. We have been released from the penalty of our sins and their eternal consequences. We’ve been restored to a complete relationship with God. Many Believers seem to struggle more with this aspect of salvation than with many other truths. The origin of the word “forgive” pictures a loosing from that which binds a person, along with sending away that which bound. Because of the blood of Jesus Christ, God cleanses the believer from sins. If this were not enough, God also restores the believer to full fellowship with Him. The one who is forgiven becomes a child of God, fully cleansed and righteous. This forgiveness is only possible because of “the riches of his grace”. In grace we receive from God that which we do not deserve. Given what the Bible says about the offense of sin to the holiness of God, forgiveness must be all of grace. Ephesians 4:32 puts it this way, “Be kind to one another … forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”

Is it possible to measure a believer’s spiritual maturity? Certainly we cannot judge it by the length or even the content of one’s prayers. Too much public praying is done for its effect on the “listeners” instead of the “Listener”. Even the generosity of one’s giving is not an infallible test of spirituality, for it too may be for personal recognition or easing of a guilty conscience. Perhaps the surest test is the ability to forgive. Is it hard to forgive a person who has offended us? When we look to Jesus as our example, how are we doing? The more we become like Him; the easier it will be to forgive others. When we think of how much He has forgiven us, we should be willing in turn to forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven us.

British pastor and evangelist John Wesley (1703-1791) was traveling with General James Oglethorpe, who was angry with one of his subordinates. The man came to the general and humbly asked for forgiveness, but he was gruffly told, “I never forgive!” Wesley looked the general in the eye and said, “Then I hope, sir, that you never sin”. Many times our stubborn pride can cause us not to forgive. In Psalm 25, David showed a heart of humility by praying for forgiveness.

(2) The Implication

We must behave as a forgiven person. John Newton, the composer of “Amazing Grace,” expressed a similar perspective: “Though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor yet what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I once was … By the grace of God I am what I am!” Would you want God to forgive you in the same way you forgive others? By right of purchase, God owns me (redemption). Forgiveness takes the relationship one step farther. I have a clean and clear relationship with God. It is the height of folly for me to behave as though God still held sins against me. Surely, since God has forgiven me, I can learn to forgive myself and others.

(3) The Application

We can submit to the One Who bought us, serve with a clean heart, have hope, be relieved and feel special because we are special in God’s sight.
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C. From God’s Perspective – (WE ARE JUSTIFIED)

Romans 3:21-26, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

(1) The Concept

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished, he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus”; According to God, I am justified. I have declared righteous by God.

Acts 13:39 says, “By Him everyone who believes is justified from all things” – One day Bible teacher and evangelist R. A. Torrey spoke with a woman who lacked assurance that her sins were forgiven. He told her to read aloud Acts 13:39, “By Him everyone who believes is justified from all things”. Then Torrey inquired, “Who does God say is justified?” “Everyone who believes,” she replied. “Believe on whom?” he asked. “Believe on Christ,” she said. “Have you accepted Him as your Savior and Lord?” asked Torrey. “Yes,” replied the woman. “Then what does this verse promise?” he prodded. The doubting woman could not say, “I’m justified from all things”. So Torrey went over that Scripture repeatedly.

At last the simple meaning of the words dawned on her. “Praise God!” she exclaimed. “I’m justified from all things!” She finally experienced the peace that comes from knowing complete forgiveness. Self-effort, religious ritual, or agonizing prayer cannot take away sin. However, when we trust in Christ for salvation, we are justified–declared righteous by God. Then, as we lose our burden of guilt and experience total justification, we will have real peace. Justification: Our guilt gone, Christ’s goodness given.

(2) The Implication

I’ll be different. When God saves a sinner, He accounts that one as righteous. Technically, God has declared the believing sinner to be righteous, having placed the sinner’s guilt on Jesus Christ’s account and Christ’s righteousness on the sinner’s account. Such righteousness comes to the believer by faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22) and through God’s grace (Romans 3:24). This interchange is possible because Jesus Christ is a propitiation, a sacrifice that satisfies God’s wrath (Romans 3:25).

(3) The Application

Therefore we can know why were forgiven, be motivated to serve, and feel secure. It’s incorrect and misleading to say that justification makes the believer righteous. “Justification” refers to a believer’s position, or standing, before God. The believer will not be made righteous until he or she is transformed at death or at the Rapture. Justification refers to positional righteousness. Believers must grow in righteousness. That process is sanctification, or what we call the Believer life. Believers manifest the righteousness of Christ as they grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, living daily by faith. Death will bring immediate fellowship with God (2 Corinthians 5:8). God’s proclamation of justification allows me to understand how I can be forgiven, provides great security of my position with God, and is a powerful motivation for service.
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D. From God’s Perspective – (WE ARE A NEW CREATION)

2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”

(1) The Concept

According to God, we are a new creation. We are now living for new priorities in our life. The concept of the new creation should also alter our perception of others. Everyone who is born again, no matter what his or her background may be, is a new creature in Christ. We must relate to other believers on this basis. Failure to appreciate the work of God in creating someone as a new person in Christ is worldliness (2 Corinthians 5:16).

William James, Harvard University’s famous professor of philosophy and psychology, once stated that after age 30 we become set like plaster and never change. However, he was wrong. We can and do change. Take for example the following individuals: John D. Rockefeller had become the world’s only billionaire.

However, he was a miserable man who couldn’t sleep, who was unloved, and who needed bodyguards. Then at age 53 he was stricken with a rare disease. He lost all his hair, and his body became shrunken. He was given a year or so to live. Rockefeller started thinking about eternal issues, and suddenly he began to change. He gave away his money to help churches and the poor. He established the Rockefeller Foundation, which has underwritten critical health research. His health improved, and contrary to the doctor’s prediction, he lived to be 98. If a man could undergo such a physical and emotional change, how can we doubt that God by His grace and power can transform us spiritually? The Bible says that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and His sin-atoning, guilt-cleansing death will become a new creation.

(2) The Implication

I have a fresh start. Faith in Christ brings about a radical change in the heart that transforms my behavior. Evil habits drop off. New desires replace old ones. The new birth creates a new appetite. Salvation is more than a reformation of habits; it’s a transformation of character. One of the great challenges of the life of faith is that: Since we live in the “old creature’s” body, we still have the thought patterns and habits from before our conversion. The indwelling Spirit of God will use God’s Word to change the “new creature’s” life as the believer responds in faith. Believers live for new priorities. As a new creation, I have a fresh start at life. I can honor God in all that I do.

(3) The Application

We can have a fresh start in life, seek new priorities, and look on life with a new perspective. Years ago in Northern Ireland, an alcoholic cried out to Christ in desperation. He asked the Lord to save his soul from sin and to rescue him from his addiction. He became born again, and by the power of Christ he stopped drinking. His old friends at the pub dismissed his conversion as a passing phase. “Give him a month,” they said, “and he’ll be back on the bottle”. But a month went by and he hadn’t touched a drop. So they tried to mock him out of his new faith. “Do you believe that part of the Bible where Jesus turned the water into wine?” “Indeed I do,” he replied. “Would you ask Him to do that for us? It would be nice of Him to oblige us.

Or do you think that was just something made up about Him to get the likes of you converted?” The man responded, “I do believe Jesus turned water into wine. In fact, He did better than that for me. He turned liquor into furniture and food. Just ask my family.” In Christ, believers are no longer condemned but actually are created anew. At the very moment of salvation, one becomes a new creature (or “new creation”) in Christ. This is the direct result of the death of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-16). Since each believer is a new creation, his or her outlook on reality must shift so that he or she lives to serve Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15) and not self. This shift does not apply only to those in vocational ministries but to everyone who is born again.
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E. From God’s Perspective – (WE ARE SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT)

Ephesians 1:13, 14; 4:30, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

(1) The Concept

According to God’s precious Word, we are sealed by the Spirit. We are secure in our salvation. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 says, “He who . . . has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” The ritual of anointing is practiced in almost every religion and among all races. Although application of oil may sometimes be done for medicinal reasons, frequently it is also thought to imbue a person with certain desired qualities or powers. Some people in East Africa, for example, pour lion oil on themselves, hoping to gain courage and strength for some great task. The Bible speaks of an anointing that enables a person to take on the characteristics of another, but it is not with the oil of lions.

Instead, it is the coming of the Holy Spirit into a person’s life (2 Cor. 1:21-22). This divine anointing is performed by God Himself on all who have the wonderful privilege of becoming His children. It accompanies the conversion of those who trust in Christ. Paul said that the Spirit indwells every believer, and His presence is the guarantee of our future glory in heaven (v.22). As a result of His indwelling presence, we have the ability to become more like Christ (3:17-18). We who are born of God have no excuse for remaining as we are. We can be increasingly conformed to the image of Christ by yielding ourselves to God’s anointing–the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. The Father gave the Spirit to make us like His Son.

(2) The Implication

We are secure to serve. Before “lick and seal” or self-adhesive envelopes became available, people would drip hot wax on an envelope and push their signet rings into the wax. Thus, the contents of an envelope were protected from prying eyes. One’s signet mark in the wax was the proof that the particular person had sent the letter. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on the believer. The Spirit indwells every believer, so every believer is sealed. God’s seal of ownership abides until the day of redemption, when we believers will be resurrected and will live forever with God in a new state. We are secure in our salvation.

(3) The Application

Therefore, we can have assurance of our salvation, relax in God’s protection and keeping, show the fruit of the indwelling Spirit, and minister in the Body of Christ.
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F. From God’s Perspective – (WE ARE NOT CONDEMNED)

Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”

(1) The Concept

According to God we are not condemned but are pleasing to God. Jesus Christ took the sinner’s condemnation when He died in their place on the cross. He died for all of a Believer’s sins (not just those committed prior to salvation). Since He was condemned for us, we are no longer condemned. Many believers may struggle with the implications of this truth if they consider the sins they commit daily. While sin always has consequences, eternal condemnation is not one of them for the Believer. Our relationship with God must be restored through confession of our sin (1 John 1:9), but outstanding in grace can never be removed. Sin is washed away and God is pleased with us.

(2) The Implication and Application

We are able to help others find freedom in Christ Jesus. Therefore, we can help others out of their condemnation, based on that fact we are free to help others find their way out of condemnation, to teach them how to be free from the guilt of forgiven sins and to walk in the Spirit.
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G. From God’ Perspective – (WE ARE PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST)

Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love”

(1) The Concept

According to God we are a part of the Body of Christ, helping others to become mature in Him. “The Body of Christ” is one of several word pictures used in the New Testament for the church. “Body” highlights the interrelated nature of each saved person to each other saved person. That relationship is marked by the use of spiritual gifts to help others grow in Christ. The local church, which is the local manifestation of the Body of Christ, provides the setting for developing each believer’s gifts and ministry. The context of Ephesians 4:1-16 emphasizes God’s concern for the Body of Christ to become mature.

He gave gifted men (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) to guide the maturing parts of the Body in accordance with their gifts. Apostles and prophets were the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20). They passed from the scene when the foundation was complete, before the end of the first century of the church. Since that time, evangelists (church planters) and pastors and teachers build on the work of the apostles and prophets. Under these leaders, each part of the Body takes up a role in helping others become mature. God’s plan is to use us to help others become mature in Christ. Therefore, we are useful, and we have a significant role to pay in God’s eternal program.

(2) The Implication and Application

Foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious among cloven-hoofed animals. Blisters form around the mouth, and the feet become extremely painful. The animals will not eat or drink, and they lose weight rapidly. Fortunately, preventive measures have made this infection virtually nonexistent in the US today. A spiritual kind of foot-and-mouth disease continues in epidemic proportions in the church. In 1 Corinthians 12, believers are likened to the members of a body. This kind of foot-and-mouth disease breaks out when those who belong to the body of Christ, the church, begin comparing themselves among themselves (v.12). A “foot” may become dissatisfied with its inability to express itself like the “mouth”. And the “mouth” may feel inadequate because it can’t move about and bear the weight of the body.

Such Believers lose their spiritual appetite and become ineffective in serving the Lord. God’s children have been sovereignly designed and placed in the body of Christ for specific purposes. Each of us is vital to the well-being of the whole. And when we fulfill our role, there will be harmony, and our Savior will receive the glory. Let’s put an end to foot-and-mouth disease in the church. For a healthier church, exercise your spiritual gifts and thus are able to edify other believers in the Body of Jesus Christ, have purpose in life, and be useful in helping other believer’s grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ
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Further Reflection:

To see yourself from God’s perspective, you must begin by submitting to your need for truth. You must guard your heart, using God’s truth to attack and replace the untruth that you have taught yourself. Truth leads to transformation. There is no more crucial area in which to apply this teaching than in the matter of your standing before God. If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and are not certain that you are born again, you should settle the issue immediately.

Place your faith and confidence in Him alone for your eternal salvation and security. You cannot be transformed if you’re not a child of God. Once you are His child, you should expect a drastic transformation: Christ like character qualities. Those qualities result from conforming your practice (life’s choices) to your position (a saint). Your place in Heaven is secure, and God has left you here to enjoy His grace and serve Him fully. The way will seem slow at times, but over the course of time, you will discern a genuine transformation.
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Closing Illustration:

Romans 8:30 states, “Whom He called these He also justified.” Darcie Clayson was watching TV with her 3-year-old daughter Emily one day when a news clip came on about a famous person who had died. Emily’s immediate reaction was “Is he going to heaven?” When her mom explained that he would go to heaven if he had asked Jesus to be his Savior. Emily proceeded to ask the same question about every family member she could think of. Not to be left out, Emily added, “You know what, Mom? I talked to Jesus on the phone the other day, and I asked Him to come into my heart.” “That’s great!” Darcie said. “But how did you know His number?” Her reply was simple, yet profound. “He called me!” she declared.

Emily didn’t know it, but her answer revealed a deep and sobering truth that distinguishes those who have be saved by the blood of the Lamb from all other religions in the world. Those religions require man to try to get to God, but in the plan God devised for man, He’s the One who initiates the contact. Through the Holy Spirit, He calls us to repentance. Everyone who has accepted Jesus as Savior was prompted, or “called,” by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:30). What an honor to get a personal call from God! And what blessing He gives to those who answer in the affirmative. The question remains:

(1) Have you heard His call to you?
(2) And if so, did you respond in the affirmative!
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Remember that salvation is a gift to be received; not a goal to be achieved.

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