Believers should be determined to follow Christ

Arno Froese

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

This is a strong statement when considering that Paul was chosen by Jesus Himself to be an apostle, and that most of the instructive material for the Church in the New Testament is authored by Paul. He could have said, “I joyfully proclaim the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus.” That would have been more in line with today’s praise and worship style. But Paul sees and writes something different; he explains in verse 7: “…we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” What is this mystery, we may ask? It is Christ crucified. That means, for each of us to follow in the pattern Christ left for us. We recall that He was made sin for us; He loved us while we were yet sinners. Our only hope lies in the fact that only one sinless Person—in flesh and blood, just as we are—came as a sacrifice for our sins. These are not idle words, but hard reality, for again we read: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). Here we see the distinct difference between the world and the cross. The world is part of the Christian’s life in the flesh, but not the spirit; we are in the world but not of the world.

It matters not in which country we live, what our cultural background is, or to which race or tribe of people we belong; such things belong to this world. They have no relationship to the true Church of Jesus Christ, consisting exclusively of born-again believers.

Although we have statistics relating to the Christian religion, there are no reliable statistics that would show us the number of truly born-again Christians on planet earth. All we can do is guess: maybe several hundred million, whom God the Holy Spirit has called to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That, incidentally, is the true global nation—not the one we hear so much about on the political level. The apostle Peter identifies this group of people: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). A holy nation that walks in His light, and to the extent that that light shines into the darkness, multitudes of those who are still in darkness will see the light and be added to the Church. This same Peter gives instruction for the members of the Church, and writes: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme” (1 Peter 2:13). Thus, we clearly see three nations: first, the nation of Israel consisting of Jews. Then the holy nation, namely the Church of Jesus Christ. The rest is simply the nations of the world.

Paul enumerates his tremendous advantages in Philippians 3:5, being “…of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews…” So, he had all the reason in the world to have confidence in the flesh, in his nation, the only one called by God Himself. But what does he say about it? “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). If only we Christians would learn to realize that there is nothing good in the flesh; in my family, in my town, state, and country. It all belongs to the god of this world.

These are just a few brief reasons why we as believers should be determined to follow Christ, fully realizing that He was crucified for our sins. Thus, we should no longer live in the flesh, but follow Him in truth and in spirit.

Midnight Call - 02/2019

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