June 14th

 

Keeping a Firm Grip

1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 NIV

 

Paul’s words should be a wake up call to any of us who are failing to hold on firmly to the Gospel message of Christ.  Let me first clarify what exactly is the Gospel message of Christ.  Paul outlined above that Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected bodily and appeared to many witnesses.  The first point of the Gospel is that Jesus died in our places for the sin that we have committed (and will commit) in our lifetime.  Jesus was the sacrifice that brought peace between us and God (Romans 5:1). 

 

The second point of the Gospel is that God raised Jesus from the dead bodily, through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is significant because God offers to do the exact same work in us when we make Jesus Lord of our lives.  Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”  When the Spirit gives life to our mortal bodies, he enables us to live for righteousness and die to our sinful habits.  This is of great significance to us, especially if we’re trying to put a sin habit to death like sex addiction.  The question is, do we believe that the Spirit is in us right now and will enable us as the word says he will?

 

The application of the Gospel to our lives is where the “rubber meets the road.”  Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:24, “He Himself bore our sin in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds we have been healed” (NKJV).  Often our feelings don’t line up with Peter’s statement.  The challenge is to continue to confess the truth over our circumstances, our bodies, and our thoughts whenever they aren’t lining up with God’s word.   It is then that our faith through the confession of our mouth completes the transaction and the reality that we are healed (body, soul & spirit) manifests.  

 

For example, as a recovering sex addict, I may be tempted to purchase a pay-per-view porn movie in my hotel room during a business trip. The devil may offer it to me, whispering, “Nobody will know.”  Even though I may feel the strong pull of the temptation, in my heart I know what God says about my condition (1 Peter 2:24, for example).  Jesus took the nails and agony for my sake so that I can now choose to reject this temptation. Though my flesh wants to watch the movie, I can state with certainty by faith that I have been healed of the compulsion to look at porn. 

 

If I make the right decision by rejecting the temptation, I bolster my faith and my grip on the word is reinforced.  However, if I weaken and watch the movie, my faith is wounded and my grip on the word loosens.  Obviously, we can’t go on making wrong decisions for too long before we loose our grip on the word altogether.  At that point, we’re prone to be tossed around by the winds of temptation (James 1:6) and battered any which way the devil wishes. 

 

If you’ve been falling to temptation, recovering a firm grip on the word may be the desire of your heart. Here are some suggested actions to take to regain your grip:

 

Questions for further thought:

 

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins and resurrecting him by the Holy Spirit.  I thank you that I can now live for you by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in me today.  I admit my failures to get a firm grip on the Gospel of Christ. Please forgive me for having little or no faith in your word.  Please fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit and the supernatural faith that I need to live for righteousness from this day forward.   Holy Spirit, please remind me of the word as I load it into my heart each day.  Please help me make the right choices that will bolster my faith and no longer enslave myself to sin.  Thank you for the freedom that has already been purchased for me through Jesus!  I praise you!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”