Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Oct 4, 2022

Review:

This podcast is Day number 2 in my series about Buckling the belt of truth. In the first day in this series (which can be found by searching for 195 or the word ‘buckling’, I explained what I consider to be the first step in putting on the belt of truth. The belt of truth is one of seven parts to the Christian’s armor found in Ephesians 6. But I suggest that we make this clarification: Buckle the belt of truth by believing what God says about you in the Bible.

The belt of truth is put on by believing what God says. (Remember: Believing = faith.) The belt of truth includes all of the truth found in Scripture. But if you just believe a lot of general truths found in the pages of the Bible, but don’t believe what the Bible says about YOURSELF (your own identity), it would be like leaving your house with your belt in your belt loops, but not buckled. Everyday we live in a spiritual war zone. You’ll be at a great disadvantage if your belt isn’t buckled!

The main thing I am after in this belt-buckling is living in spiritual victory and standing firm in our worldly battle with the flesh and the devil.

What God says about you in the Bible often seems too good to believe, because the devil has been feeding us lies about ourselves all of our lives. So, taking one example from the Day 1 lesson, when we read in the Bible, “God loves you,” the truth of this seems to bounce off of our minds. “How nice,” we think, “but God can’t really love me because I am so bad.”

We must seek to notice the things we find in the Bible that are repelled by our minds. Write them down. Underline them. Preach to yourself that you should believe what God clearly says about you. Pray, asking for God to make the concepts clear and believable to you. Meditate on those things, and you will start seeing your life being transformed by God’s Word.

Here are some major mind-challenging truths from our Day 1 study:

  • God loves us. We often unfairly think of God as an angry judge.
  • God’s Word tells us that we are one with Christ, joined to Him. We are united to Christ, so much so that He considers us actually part of his body.
  • We have a powerful guarantee, the Holy Spirit, which is not an external thing, but an inward witness that we are joined to Christ.
  • We are God’s holy people, not because we have the power to be holy. But God has made us holy by our unity with Christ. This is our identity! Take hold of this identity.

Paul wants us to understand all these things so that we understand that God will use his power to help us.

Residue from Day 1:

Here’s something I ask you to bear in mind: We each have different versions of what the Bible calls ‘flesh’. The flesh is basically the evil and selfish desires that spring from our bodies. Men and women are normally very different in their sinful desires. And even among Christians of the same sex, one sin may be highly adictive to you, but not to your fellow brother or sister. This means that Bible verses that I will share which mean so much to me may not ring any bells for you. If so, I hope you will still find basic principles in my presentation that will apply powerfully to you.

I think that it is important to remove a faulty excuse for persistent sin that many people use.

In Romans 7:24 Paul says,
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Please do not take the end of Romans 7 to negate what Paul was saying in chapter 6 and 8! The theme of chapter 6 is given by the NLT translators in the section heading, “Sin’s Power is Broken.” And Romans 6:6 is a key verse for buckling the belt of truth:

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.”

Here’s why readers have been confused by Romans 7:24:

In Rom. 7:5-6, Paul brings up a difficult concept:

“For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the lawThen starting in verse 7, Paul explains how the law gets involved in our ‘living in the flesh’. Note that for 17 verses more, Paul carries on for an uncharacteristically long time without mentioning Christ. That’s because he is either talking about how living in the flesh works out for someone who doesn’t know Christ, or someone who forgets about Christ and reverts to living in the flesh., were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.”

But Paul doesn’t leave us wallowing in our fleshly weaknesses (in 7:24-25) with ‘Wretched man that I am’, but quickly returns to his victorious theme. In chapter 8:2 he says:

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

And then he begins to talk about living in the Spirit. Clearly, we are supposed to start having victory because of the Spirit. Understanding our spiritual position plus the help of the Spirit allows us to ‘put to death’ various sins that beset us.


Yes, I must admit that as long as we are in our bodies, we will stumble. We are ‘saints’ (holy people) who occasionally still fall into sin. However, overwhelming victory over fleshly sin is available to us. Don’t be satisfied with falling back to being a ‘wretched man’ or woman like Romans 7:24 when you have the riches of chapter 8 available!


THEME: Buckle up the belt of truth regarding your PRESENT RESURRECTION LIFE.

Readings:

ROM.6.1-14, 8:10-13; 12:1-2

2CO.5.14-15

GAL.2.19-20

COL.2.11-15

COL.3.1-11

EPH2.6

There are basically four steps to buckling the belt of truth:

Realize: Be alert when reading the Bible for truths that are presented as true for believers in Christ, but which seem too good to be true. Note them down, and check out translations like the NLT, GNT, and NET to make sure you are understanding what the Scripture says.
Ask God to help you overcome your difficulty in believing the truth you have discovered. It may be appropriate to ask God to help you discover if strong opposing ideas are coming from demonic influence or previous sins that you should confess.
Meditate on the scriptural truth you are working to internalize. Imagine how your life would be different if you started to live according to that truth.
Take any steps the Holy Spirit gives you to put your new identity into practice.

Today’s topic for belt-buckling is our resurrection life in unity with Christ. This goes along with Romans 6:6 that we just read:

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.”

Being ‘crucified with Christ’ of course means that in some sense we have died. There’s a truth that will definitely bounce off your mind! It will go in one ear and right out the other. This is because we are dealing with a spiritual reality, not something that we can see with physical eyes or understand with earthly minds.

It will often help to consult a meaning based translation when we deal with spiritual realities. Let me illustrate from my experience in Indonesia. I was speaking to a small congregation and I read Colossians 3:1-3 in the default Indonesian literal translation. You’ll understand better if I read the ESV:

3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

There was a man on the second row who must have been an elder in the church, and I put him on the spot. I said to him, “This verse says, ‘For you have died’. Have you died?” And he replied, “No.”

So I asked someone else to read the verses again and I again asked the man, “Sir, this verse in your Bible says ‘You have died.’ Have you died?” And he again said, “No.”

I would have been smiling by now, because I knew this would help me make my point. I said, “This verse says ‘You have died’. Is there a spiritual way that you have died?” “Oh,” he said, “well yes, if you put it that way!”

The next thing I would have done is to read our translation, which makes the verse much clearer. So let’s read the NLT for those verses:

Col. 3:1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Our first step that I mentioned above is to realize that this truth is something every Christian is supposed to believe. I hope you will take steps 2 and 3, namely Asking God how to do this and Meditating on this truth. But we are helped significantly in step 4, as Paul gives us steps to follow in the next part of Colossians 3. For now, I am leaving those as homework.

Let’s go back to Colossians 2 to pick up more important ideas about how God releases us from our fleshly weaknesses.

Col. 2:11 NLT When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

In verse 11, we see a different spiritual reality: That of our receiving a spiritual circumcision. This invisible circumcision was performed by Christ, and putting two and two together, I conclude that his own crucifixion is what made this possible. Verse 12 is linked with the word ‘For’, describing how this circumcision takes place.

2:12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

So in chapter 3, Paul says we died, and here in chapter 2, we have been buried with Christ when we were baptized. This is exactly what Romans 6 says also. Note that the spiritual reality of our spiritual death and resurrection is so important that God gave a command for all believers to be baptized, so that all believers would have the physical experience of baptism to remind them. We can see the picture in the Lord’s supper, where we take the symbols of Jesus’ death right into our bodies. We in effect become unified with the Lord in that sacrement (John 6:56).

We see our spiritual death in Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”

Look deeper and you will find this concept in so many places. It turns out that if we are to be ‘born again’ (as in John 3), then it implies that something fatal has happened to our old life. Consider the details: We are born again ‘of water and the Spirit’. (John 3:5)

I love the powerful implications of our being ‘crucified with Christ’ in Romans 12:1-2.

Rom. 12:1-2 NLT And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

In our Plain Indonesian Translation we found it more powerful to translate ‘give your bodies to God’ as a promise spoken directly to God: “O God, I offer up my body as a sacrifice to You.” I suggest that you, my listener, say that out loud: “O God, I offer up my body as a sacrifice to You.”

Now notice that your having made that commitment is the prerequisite for verse 2! This is the way that we ‘let God transform’ us into new people! We become transformed in our minds. We will think differently. There is an added bonus promise: We will discover God’s will for us, “which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

I think by now you will agree with me. This is what we want! And I hope that I have proved that this spiritual reality of our being crucified with Christ and resurrected by the Spirit is the key to our transformation.

Unlock this transformation by following the steps of Realizing, Asking God for his help, Meditating on this spiritual reality, and Taking the steps given to you by the Spirit and guided by passages like  Colossians 3. Do those things while reading these passages:

ROM.6.1-14, 8:10-13; 12:1-2

2CO.5.14-15

GAL.2.19-20

COL.2.11-15

COL.3.1-11

EPH2.6


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.