For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9- 10.
Assumptions abound about how to "identify" a "complete and true Christian".
There are diverse good-intentioned counsels and preachings , about how to live "a full and sanctified Christian life" and numerous man-made doctrines and criteria for measuring the Believer's "level" in his/her walk with God.
These criteria include how you talk , look or even walk! How many times you pray, how long and how loud your prayers are; what you wear: how long your skirts and sleeves are, how high your necklines are and how much or how often you give to the poor and your church records. Even, where you work, who your friends are and your marital status are considered in the "holiness and sanctification" package.
You flout even one of these "laws" and you are deemed "unacceptable" to God (and to man!).
No wonder, some people are very careful to look stone-faced, sad, pious, respectable, humble and very gentle in their manner and speech, especially in public.
All in the bid to impress their fellow men and to be "completely acceptable" to God.
The new convert is often confused and burdened with this load of "dos and don'ts" in some churches. This demand for "holiness by appearance and works" tend to contradict the message of the Bible which says:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God;
Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
There are NO contradiction or confusion in the Holy Bible . What causes confusion and contradictions is the human attempts at manipulating the Word of God.
Inadvertently, man tries to shift the focus from God to himself, as "Saviour"; by attempting and failing to set up his own system of righteousness and holiness.
The Eternal Truth is that Man did not and does not have the ability to take away his own sins or another man's sins.
Thieves ,whores and other deviants are often advised to "get a job" or "get married as soon as possible! Do this, do that!".
But does that solve the underlining Spiritual Problem ,which is refusal to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
The futility and foolishness of trying to solve spiritual problems with carnal solutions are evident around us!
Getting a job or becoming rich would not stop a person who has a spiritual problem from being a thief or a prostitute or both.
Why would someone with valid credit cards and store cards and a wallet stuffed with hundreds of pounds be caught again and again, shoplifting ridiculous items like a tie or a pair of panty hose costing £4.99 only?
When a multi-millionaire is appointed into a government office , one would assume that he/she would not be tempted to embezzle huge sums of public funds. But is this the reality?
Why are some educated and talented men and women engaged in prostitution,even while in full-time, well-paying jobs?
In all human societies, marriage is desirable . Sadly, there is proof that getting married for some people ,has not brought the desired cure for promiscuity and sexual depravity; nor is it a guarantee for maintaining a life of holiness.
Despite all the edifying marriage seminars, preachings, teachings ,books and DVDs on marriage, the situation in some marriages are scandalous. Many married men and women engage in extra-marital affairs.
What or who, except the conviction of the Holy Spirit, can transform a heart where big and small lies and evil schemes are fabricated, non-stop?
Many youths from decent Christian homes have become "Children of Sorrow" and thorns in the flesh of their parents!
Why do people hate and murder people,just for the fun of it?
Why have physical punishments and imprisonment not deterred habitual offenders?
The answer is that until we, as individuals, surrender our whole lives to Christ, and until we have a PERSONAL relationship ( not a church or group relationship) with him trusting in his righteousness, not in ours, we would not get it right.
We have to get this truth in all its ramifications, into our mind and soul:
Salvation , by faith , is complete. It is an unmerited gift given by the grace of the merciful God .
There is NOTHING ELSE for us to do or for anyone to do on our behalf to add our salvation. God's word says that "It is Finished!" and it is finished indeed.
"And of his fullness have all we received ,and grace for grace.
For the law was given by Moses , but truth and grace came by Jesus Christ" . John 1:16 .
If our salvation depended on our own efforts and "good works", then the life, death and resurrection of Christ would be meaningless.
Then there would be no difference between the Christian and the Unbeliever who believes that his or her salvation depends on some "judgement by scale" which weighs a person's "good and holy" deeds against their "evil" deeds to determine whether they are "qualified" or not to enter Heaven!
In spite of God's word that Salvation is by grace and NOT by works (Romans 11:6,and Ephesians 2:7), mankind have decided to "help" God by making salvation " MORE complete"!
Sadly, to complicate and confuse issues further for a new-comer in church, some Christians have brought in "old wives tales", man-made doctrines and their local customs and traditions into the church , upholding them as Bible doctrines!
A lot of time is expended and wasted in hair-splitting arguments and numerous scriptures are quoted to support these unChristian doctrines and teachings!
The Bible counsels that we should beware of the tricks of our adversary , the Devil, which shift our focus from Christ and which make us depend on our own righteousness.
" Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men,after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."Colossians 2:7-8
Look unto Jesus , who began a good work in us and he is able to accomplish it.
In moments of confusion , when we are being bombarded with diverse "dos" and "don'ts", remember that we do not stand by our strength alone. We have power divine living in us . Do not be bewildered or swayed by diverse doctrines of men.
Believe God and believe his word that you are loved and you are accepted by God BECAUSE of Jesus Christ.
When God looks at us , he doesn't see our filthy righteousness but he sees Christ in us , our hope of Glory.
The fullness of the Godhead which dwells in Christ we have received by faith . Christ dwells in us , expressing through us , making us complete in Him.
Jesus lives in and transforms the Christian inside out; perfecting all that concerns us.
Daily , we should appreciate this truth and rejoice in it; not be burdened by our guilt, doubts or failed attempts to be "holy"!
" I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live ; but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God ; who loved me and gave himself for me ". Galatians 2 : 20 .
*Shall we continue in sin that grace should abound ? And continue in sin because God has said "It is Finished" ? God forbid...! Romans 6:1-4
In my next blog, Abide In Him , I have written on how to stand firm in the Faith; even in the face of diverse discouragement and challenges.