Poor? Rich? Both? Neither? Would somebody please make up my mind?
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32
I imagine every true believer has questions about the manner of our walk of faith in the world as Christians. And God intended for us to be instructed in these things. This is why gifts of ministries were given to the Church by Jesus Himself.
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:8-13
I love the Apostle’s Creed for a host of reasons, not least among them are it’s profoundly elegantly simplicity and straight forward declaration of the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ, Savior, King, Lord and God and it’s acknowledgement of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three in One and inseparable.
Likewise, each time I read in the Scriptures about the nature of God’s relationship to us, The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all, I am once again amazed at what God through our Lord Jesus Christ has invested in us and in Whom we have such specifically declared assurance of immeasurable goodness, provision, blessing and favor from God our Father as born again children of an eternal Spirit in righteousness and true holiness.
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23
Now the new man, the new creation [2 Corinthians 5:17] that we have become in Christ through confession of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and believing in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead is who we are now. Though our outward appearance remains the same and is perishing, inwardly we are being made alive [2 Corinthians 4:16] and renewed every day.
For our part we must choose to walk daily in the reality of the inward transformation that has taken place in our lives. No one in their right mind would go out from their house in public to work or to shop or to engage in daily life unclothed. It would be indiscreet, and indecent not to mention the potential for ridicule and embarrassment for any reasonable minded person. Are there people who think nothing of parading about naked in public? Yes. But we who are followers of Jesus Christ are not to be counted among them for the sake of the name of Jesus.
Likewise we are admonished to no longer walk in the world in the garments of our old nature but to put on the garments of our new nature in Christ.
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24
Now what does it mean for us now that we are newly created in righteousness and true holiness? It means that we no longer identify ourselves with the old life, the old ways, the old (now false) perceptions of ourselves, but that we identify boldly with who we are now in Christ Jesus. We lay claim to our new identity, our new nature, our new condition in life and our new position in Christ.
You were once darkness…now children of light
In darkness we were spiritually bankrupt. We had nothing but sin and death to identify with, but now as children of light we have the very presence of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit resident in us. Whatever bound us to darkness before we were born again has no claim on us now because we are bound to Jesus, to the Spirit of the Lord. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
He became poor that you would be rich
Poverty is no long our default position in life and cannot over time hold us in bondage. Want and lack are listed in the Scriptures as part of the curse. But Jesus has come and broken the curse and redeemed us from it.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-14
If anyone thinks it a blessing for God to be poverty stricken, suffering in want and unmet needs, then consider this passage of Scripture that clearly refutes the notion.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 1:17- 2:8
Chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation
Our position in Christ is first as family. We are the sons and daughters of the Most High God.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2
Notice the Scriptures do not say that some day we will be the sons of God. No we are the sons of God now. Though the fullness of that relationship is yet to be revealed our present state in Christ is amazing.
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
All things exclude nothing. God is withholding nothing from us. He is freely giving us all things.
We are royalty as believers and a nation of intercessors, priests ministering under the authority and anointing of Jesus Christ. The body of Christ called to be a nation of intercessors praying and pleading the cause of the lost, the unsaved and the unbelieving, among which were some of us, but someone prayed for us and we were saved. Now we get to pay it forward by praying for others to be enlightened to the truth of God’s word.
I know many people are bemoaning the status of the anger and vitriol hurled by the secular cultural humanists against the Church and against our Lord, but these are merely sources of opportunity for us to carry out our calling of intercession for them.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:43-45
Wringing our hands and complaining about how bad things are is not the posture God intended for us to have in these times. Our position is to be on the front lines of warfare in the spirit, daily praying for the salvation of the atheist, the arrogant, the prideful and boasters against us and against the Word of God; to pray earnestly for the liars, the ones who are deceived and confused, the arrogant, the spiteful users, the haters of God and His people, for those who scorn and deride us, even for those who seek to do us harm. All these and like a field of souls we are called and anointed to serve through our prayers and intercessions for them.
Poverty and want are not ours in Christ. We are more than ably equipped for all that God has created us in Christ to be and to do.
Our Lord Jesus is The Master Artist. He is the Master Creator and Craftsman. You and I are His workmanship. Would He create us any less than glorious and perfect in His hands?
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10