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 RELIGIOUS OR CHRISTIAN? / I.Thomas



There are few things quite so boring as being religious, but there is nothing quite so exciting as being a Christian!

Most folks have never discovered the difference between the one and the other, so that there are those who sincerely try to live a life they do not have, substituting religion for
God, Christianity for Christ, and their own noble endeavors for the energy, joy, and power of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of reality, they can only grasp at rituals, stubbornly defending the latter in the absence of the former, lest they be found with neither!

They are lamps without oil, cars without gas, and pens without ink, baffled at their own impotence in the absence of all that alone can make man functional; for man was so engineered by God that the presence of the Creator within the creature is indispensable to His humanity. Christ gave Himself for us to give Himself to us! His presence puts God back into the man! He came that we might have life - God's life!

There are those who have a life they never live. They have come to Christ and thanked Him only for what He did, but do not live in the power of who He is. Between the Jesus who "was" and the Jesus who "will be" they live in a spiritual vacuum, trying with no little zeal to live for Christ a life that only He can live in and through them, perpetually begging for what in Him they already have!

Major Ian Thomas


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 Re: RELIGIOUS OR CHRISTIAN? / I.Thomas


"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). In other words, you can do no more without Him than He could do without the Father. But how much could the Father do through the Son? Everything! ­ for He was available to all that the Father made available to Him. "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands . . ." (John 13:3.) "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell" (Colossians 1:19).

How much then can Jesus Christ do through you and through me? Everything! He is limited only by the measure of our availability to all that He makes available to us, for "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are complete in Him" (Colossians 2:9,10). What then is the faith that releases divine action? How may you be saved by His life, as you have already claimed to be redeemed by His death? This is the critical question of Christian experience, and the answer is simple ­ "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).

Faith in all its sheer simplicity! Faith that takes God precisely at His Word! Faith that simply says, "Thank You."

If you are to know the fulness of life in Christ, you are to appropriate the efficacy of what He is as you have already appropriated the efficacy of what He has done. Relate everything, moment by moment as it arises to the adequacy of what He is in you, and assume that His adequacy will be operative; and on this basis in I Thessalonians 5:16 you are exhorted to "rejoice evermore!" You are to be incorrigibly cheerful, for you have solid grounds upon which to rejoice!

Can any situation possible arise, in any circumstances, for which He is not adequate: Any pressure, promise, problem, responsibility or temptation for which the Lord Jesus Himself is not adequate? If He be truly God, there cannot be a single one!

This being so, applying His adequacy by faith to every situation as it arises, will leave you with no alternative but to obey the injunction of I Thessalonians 5:18 ­ "In everything give thanks!" In how many things? In everything ­ without exception, "this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."


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YOU MUST HAVE WHAT HE IS (LIFE) TO BE WHAT HE WAS (PERFECT)

For godliness is not the consequence of your capacity to imitate God, but the consequence of His capacity to reproduce Himself in you; not self-righteousness, but Christ-righteousness; the righteousness which is by faith ­ a faith which by renewed dependence upon God releases His divine action, to restore the marred image of the Invisible God. It is not inactivity, but Christ-activity; God in action accomplishing the divine end through human personality - never reducing man to the status of a cabbage, but exalting man to the stature of king! "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).

At first sight this might seem to offer to you the possibility of sinless perfection as the result of spiritual regeneration, but this is far from being the case; for it is only your faith and your obedience which allow Him to be in you now what He was then (perfect) - and you will be what He was then only to the degree in which you allow Him to be in you what He is now (perfect)!

All of the Father was available to all of the Son, because by His faith-love relationship, all of the Son was available to all of the Father, and this constituted His perfect manhood; and the availability of the Son to you will be in the degree of your availability to the Son, because of your faith-love relationship to Him!


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 Re:

COMMITMENT?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Truth, and as in all other things that pertain, unto life and godliness" (11 Peter 1:3), He is the Truth about true commitment. He was committed to the Father for all that to which the Father was committed in the Son, and He was supremely confident that the Father who dwelt in Him, was gloriously adequate for all that to which He was committed. We know also that the Saviour's commitment to His Father was such that the Father was completely committed to His Son!

The Lord Jesus Christ refused to be committed to the parochial needs of His own day and generation; He was not committed to the political situation in Palestine, or to the emancipation of the Jewish nation from the Roman yoke! He was not committed to the pressing social problems of His time, nor to one faction as opposed to another, any more than today He is committed to the West against the East, or to the Republicans against the Democrats (as though either were less wicked than the other!). Christ was not even committed to the needs of a perishing world; He was neither unmindful nor unmoved by all these other issues, but as Perfect Man He was committed to His Father, and for that only to which His Father was committed in Him ­ exclusively!

The basis of His commitment to the Father is the basis upon which the Lord Jesus Christ claims your commitment to Him; you are committed to Him for all that to which He is committed in you ­ exclusively!

You are not committed to a church, or to a denomination, or to an organization; as a missionary you are not committed to a Mission Board nor even to a "field," and least of all are you committed to a "need"! You are committed to Christ, and for all that to which Christ is committed in You, and again I say ­ exclusively!

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=category&cid=740]Major Ian Thomas[/url]


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