Sunday: Our Condition in Christ
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Gal. 3:26-29

Keeping Galatians 3:25 in mind, read Galatians 3:26. How does this text help us understand what our relationship to the law is, now that we have been redeemed by Jesus?

God's Robe of Righteousness

Image © Darrel Tank Goodsalt.com

The word for at the beginning of verse 26 indicates that Paul sees a direct connection between this verse and the preceding one. In the same way that a master’s son was under a pedagogue only as long as he was a minor, Paul is saying that those who come to faith in Christ are no longer minors; their relationship with the law is changed because they are now adult “sons” of God.

The term son is not, of course, exclusive to males; Paul clearly includes females in this category (Gal 3:28). The reason he uses the word sons instead of children is that he has in mind the family inheritance that was passed on to the male offspring, along with the fact that the phrase “sons of God” was the special designation of Israel in the Old Testament (Deut. 14:1Hos. 11:1). In Christ, Gentiles now also enjoy the special relationship with God that had been exclusive to Israel.

What is it about baptism that makes it such a significant event? Gal. 3:27-28Rom. 6:1-11; 1 Pet. 3:21.

Paul’s use of the word for in verse 27 indicates once again the close logical development of his reasoning. Paul sees baptism as a radical decision to unite our lives with Christ. In Romans chapter 6, he describes baptism symbolically as our uniting with Jesus, both in His death and resurrection. In Galatians, Paul employs a different metaphor: baptism is the act of being clothed with Christ. Paul’s terminology is reminiscent of wonderful passages in the Old Testament that talk about being clothed with righteousness and salvation (see Isa. 61:10Job 29:14). “Paul views baptism as the moment when Christ, like a garment, envelops the believer. Although he does not employ the term, Paul is describing the righteousness which is conferred upon believers.” — Frank J. Matera, Galatians (Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1992), p. 145.

Our union with Christ symbolized through baptism means that what is true of Christ also is true of us. Because Christ is the “seed” of Abraham, as “joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17), believers also are heirs to all the covenant promises made to Abraham and his descendants.

Dwell on this thought that what is true of Christ is also true of us. How should this amazing truth affect every aspect of our existence?
Amen!(40)

Comments

Sunday: Our Condition in Christ — 28 Comments

  1. I think that every issue and practice of our lives needs to be passed through the Divine Love test. If the Love of God motivates us to do something, then do it. If the words or actions or thoughts or feelings can not be done with the motivation of God's Love then invite the Holy Spirit to give you the Godly motivation that will uphold the true Character of God. He can do this for us if we will watch and pray for His Spirit continually.

    "Our prayers may be ever so fervent, but afterwards, if we do not watch thereunto, our prayers bring no returns. Jesus coupled watchfulness with prayer. There is not a human heart but that needs watching with diligence. The oversight over self must be close, constant, and persevering. We must watch lest old habits of selfishness and sin shall gain victories, although they may have been overcome a hundred times. We are without excuse for giving place to the Devil in faultfinding, censuring, or in impatience. We need to guard an unruly tongue and sin not with our lips." -- EGW Lt 25, 1880, para 8.

    Amen!(26)
  2. From the proverbial "From rags to riches". Before the first advent of Christ, "the man whom God had created a sovereign in Eden, he been had transformed into a slave in the earth groaning under the curse of sin..."Con 35.1. This signifies a total overhaul of life. A life that has been radically transformed by the law of the Spirit of life that is in Him (Rom 8:2).

    “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”John 1:12. The question is how do they receive Him and what follows then? Through baptism which is the showing of an inward commitment to Christ. Inward commitment refers our faith in His atoning life.

    When the soul receives Christ, God by his Holy Spirit empowers it with the power to live the life of Christ. As a child of God, he becomes Christlike in character. Through faith in Christ obedience to every principle of the law is made possible (Manuscript 122, 1901). 6BC 1077.6. The soul sheds off the old rebellious skin and is clothed with Christ’s righteousness. He has a place designated for him at the King’s feast. God sends the Spirit of His Son into his heart. Then he becomes one with Christ who is one with the Father. He becomes a partaker of His divine nature. He perceives the law of God as the law of life and love and live it. He is covered with a life that is immune to sin. A life that is in harmony with His Will. God says to such, “They shall be Mine,... in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” Malachi 3:17.

    Paul writes "therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor 5:17). Reiterated "all" not only part, but in totality. He is a new creation. This is the soul that empties itself and seek Christ. The soul that says "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" Psalms 51:10. God is able to change the heart something which the law could not do. From such an earnest seeking soul His response is "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh . . ." Ezek 36:26. A new heart and renewal of the spirit whuch is the imparted righteous life of Christ. Ellen Whites writes "When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. . ."[4BC 1164.10]. The soul that lives and behaves in this newness of life. The life that had died to sin as in His death and resurrected to the newness of a holy living in His resurrection.

    Amen!(11)
    • I am becoming old and the brain and body no longer function with the spring of youth. I wake up in the morning and it takes me 15 minutes before I walk with confidence. I feel grumpy and tired and my wife wakes up with a "To-do" list about a mile long, when I already have my own "To-do" list. I go to church where I cannot hear enough of the Sabbath School lesson to understand it, let alone contribute. The church service starts with a song service where you seemingly stand in some pain for hours, and when you finally sit down the sermon sounds like a dog barking into a 44 gallon drum. You are not allowed to participate in Church activities because it gives the young people the wrong impression.

      Perfection sounds fine when you are young and idealistic. I can remember young! But I look around and see my "old" colleagues and friends; grumpy, irritable, critical of church directions, and I wonder what happened to the "perfection in Christ"?

      My question: What is the practical application to living for old people for the notion that in Christ we are a new creature?

      I am not really as bad as I sound. True the mind works a little slower and the body aches a little more, but seeing the pain that some old people experience in spiritual relationships worries me. Too often our message sounds good when we are young but sounds more hollow as we grow older. We have heard all the cliches. We want to experience more than "grit you teeth hard, hang on tight, trust in the Lord, hold fast till I come".

      What do you say to old Christians? How do you share with them?

      Amen!(7)
      • Maurice, I am an older Christian. I have faced cancer and incompetence in doing what I have done in the past, but I don't face my life with "grit you teeth hard, hang on tight, trust in the Lord, hold fast till I come".

        Instead, i rest in the arms of Jesus and, by His Grace, go forward in whatever work He has for me to do in my limited capacity. This is what I would encourage anyone in any state of life to do.

        Amen!(11)
        • Maurice
          I believe it is more spiritual that physical. It is the newness of life in the hope of resurrecting to life when He comes.

          Amen!(2)
      • Brother Ashton,
        I totally feel what you are saying. Find yourself!!! Become aware of you. The to do list for you is to find happiness within yourself, what is your passion? Go on a mission trip or just get away. Spend time with yourself. You are beautiful so expressing your true feelings. God will guide you..just ask. Be blessed brother.

        Amen!(2)
  3. The author is correct, "the word "for" at the beginning of verse 26 indicates that Paul sees a direct connection between this verse and the preceding one."

    By the same token, the word "but" at the beginning of Gal 3:25 indicates that Paul sees a direct contrast between this verse and the preceding one - Gal 3:24 "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith."

    Following the author's use of parallelism, Paul's statement that we are no longer under a tutor could mean that we are no longer under the "pedagogue." The author pointed out last week that the dominant description of the pedagogue was as a strict disciplinarian. The author therefore concluded that "the law also has a negative aspect, and that’s because it rebukes and condemns us as sinners."

    The author continues, "in the same way that a master’s son was under a pedagogue only as long as he was a minor, Paul is saying that those who come to faith in Christ are no longer minors; their relationship with the law is changed because they are now adult “sons” of God."

    Following that logic, as adults the sons (and daughters) had no further relationship with the pedagogues. The pedagogue had completed his role. Consequently, it would follow from the comparisons, we have no relationship with the law, having come to Christ. Faith has come, along with a life that is committed to trusting in the indwelling Spirit.

    Connecting this with the author's discussion about baptism, before Christ and before baptism, we had an old nature that could do nothing but sin. After Christ, and baptism, the old man has been crucified and is now dead - Rom 6:4-7. We now walk in newness of life Rom 6:4, by the Holy Spirit who now dwells in us. Rom 8:4,14; Gal 5:25.

    In conclusion therefore, with the new nature, and the expiration of the role of the "pedagogue," we now live by the power of the Spirit of God, not the dictates of prescriptive law.

    Amen!(7)
  4. Gal 6:24-26 (Galatians 6:14; 1 John 3:4). Christ the Only Remedy—When the mind is drawn to the cross of Calvary, Christ by imperfect sight is discerned on the shameful cross. Why did He die? In consequence of sin. What is sin? The transgression of the law. Then the eyes are open to see the character of sin. The law is broken but cannot pardon the transgressor. It is our schoolmaster, condemning to punishment. Where is the remedy? The law drives us to Christ, who was hanged upon the cross that He might be able to impart His righteousness to fallen, sinful man and thus present men to His Father in His righteous character (Manuscript 50, 1900). – {6BC 1110.8}

    Amen!(5)
  5. Dear old Christian,return to your joy when you were first baptized into Christ. How do you do this and get away from being old,grumpy and critical is to serve someone else that don't know Christ like you. It's scary at the beginning, but the more you do the sharing. The more exciting it becomes. If you are busy serving. You have no time to spend being grumpy whatever your condition is when you come to church. You will have every reason to give praise,honor and glory to God for the past week, and that will give you love,joy,peace,kindness etc.

    Amen!(8)
    • That is good advice, Simon. But what I see happening all too often is age discrimination, where the efforts of the old are rejected by the church. We are no longer relevant!

      Don't worry, I have not finished with this topic but I am a new older Adventist and I would like to hear how others practise "perfection" in an age discriminatory environment. For the record, I have too many friends of my age who are disillusioned Adventists.

      Amen!(5)
      • My mom is of an age like you probably are. She used to be a deaconess. Now she can hardly move due to sciatica. She doesn't want to go because of the pain, she is embarrassed because she has a walker. But we do watch the Hope Channel, and no one sees her. I am 61 and at work I am called o!d, yet I am not going to give up. So, I also "feel your pain".

        Amen!(4)
        • Hi Anele, I am not sitting around in sackcloth and ashes scraping my boils with broken plates - yet. And I do have strategies to ensure that my "old age" is fruitful and fulfilling. Part of that has been understanding myself a lot more and using my skills to communicate with others. (Why do you think I participate in Sabbath School Net?) What I really want readers to think about is that we sometimes forget that this business of "living in Christ", "growing in Christ", and "being perfect in Christ", is more than just words expressing Christian sentiment. What do you think when you see an old Christian being cranky. Do you still think they are "being perfect in Christ." What do you think when you see an old Christian struggling with pride or smoking? Are they "living in Christ"?

          I have used this illustration before but it is germane to this discussion. A friend of mine came to Christ in his 50s and struggled with giving up smoking until he was near 80. (Please don't tell me stories where the Holy Spirit helped people give up smoking immediately. It does not always happen that way.) There was great rejoicing in our local church and that person was baptized. My question is this: When was that person "perfect in Christ"; When he gave his heart to Jesus, or when he was baptized?

          A lot of the discussion about salvation is about semantics and quotes (both Bible and SOP). What we need to understand is that this whole salvation business applies to real people in real world situations. Christians struggle with addictions and temptations. Christians struggle with the dysfunction of aging and illness, yet they too are to be perfect. How do we respond to these real people? Can we reassure them, or do we just give them good advice?

          Amen!(5)
    • Simon, I agree wholhartedly. God has a job description for each of us even if it is not the same as others or what we did earlier in our lives.

      Amen!(2)
  6. Concerning the ceremonial law, can you help me ,where I can find bible text to back up that the law was abolished, other then Matthew 25 51.

    Amen!(1)
    • Aletha,

      Paul tells us in Colossians 2:14-17 that the ceremonial laws and feasts that pointed towards the cross were fulfilled when they met their literal fulfillment.

      having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
      Col 2:14‭-‬17NKJV
      http://bible.com/114/col.2.14-17.NKJ

      Amen!(4)
      • Hello William,

        I believe the apostle Paul was referring to the book of the Law (Torah) written by Moses as described in Deuteronomy 31:26. The book contains a song about rebellion of God’s people and its consequences. This "handwriting of ordinances", a witness against us and our rebellious hearts, is what was nailed to the cross.

        The Father's assurance to us is that when we turn to his son Jesus and come to his witness on the cross (that is, we see what the Father and Son are willing to give in love to save us) after having been "bitten" by the Serpent (that is, suffering the consequence of our rebellion that we deserve), he will not cast us away. [John 6:36]

        The light of this triumphant spectacle of love displayed on the cross casts a deep shadow across the shadowy symbols and ceremonies that pointed to it obliterating their relevance for any kind of judgement (if there ever was any).

        Richard Ferguson

        Amen!(1)
  7. As we study closely Paul's true understanding of Law, grace, faith, as presented throughout his epistles, we will understand his meaning here in Galatians.

    Yes, the law(school master) condemns(tutors) all who are in violation of it's faithful teachings, but once receiving Christ by faith, the repentant sinner will fulfill the righteousness of the law(Rom 8:4), and will no longer remain under it's condemnation(tutoring). That soul is now in perfect harmony with God, Christ, and the Law, and like Jesus, will "live fully" the law of God, which is the foundation principle(s) of His eternal and divine government. The repentant sinner, when yoked with Jesus, has the "pedagogue" written upon his heart, and does not sin against God(Ps 119:11). In this blessed state, the former sinner will no longer be under the condemnation of that Holy Law, but becomes a "partaker of the Divine nature" which was at the beginning created in man, before his fall into unbelief. In receiving Christ, we are given power to become the sons/daughters of God again(John 1:12).

    Maurice, to answer your question "when are we perfect in Christ"?, isn't it when we repent and believe the Gospel, as He taught(Mark 1:15; 16:16)? As long as I remain in violation of the law, I have not given myself fully to Christ, in Whom there is no sin, and with Whom all things are possible, even walking on water or rising from the dead. If I continue to struggle with a wrong desire rather than fight the good fight of faith, I will always give into the wrong desire while remaining in unbelief. Let me ask you this; how long did it take for the lame man at Bethesda to walk again? If you answer "38 years" you are correct, but how long did it take once he believed Jesus and obeyed His command? So when was this man made perfect in Christ?

    Amen!(1)
    • You wrote: "If I continue to struggle with a wrong desire rather than fight the good fight of faith"

      It is not a "rather than" situation. I struggle with wrong desire because I am fighting the good fight of faith. I don't fight in order to be saved but because I am saved. We like to quote the instantaneous miraculous changes that have occurred but I am a realist and I see Christians fighting the good fight of faith all their lives, falling and being forgiven; never giving up because Jesus is their friend. Salvation is not about the instant miracle; it is about the living miracle of growing in Christ.

      There are Christians for whom the miracle of instantaneous healing never happened, but who be accepting Christ's grace have lived to be an example of a growing Christian.

      And to throw my question back to you. When did my friend believe in Christ? When he chose to follow him at 50 or when he finally won the battle with smoking at 80?

      Amen!(3)
      • Maurice, you wrote: "it is about the living miracle of growing in Christ." Does this include failing to overcome a known sin for decades? Is that a miracle? If you believe he was growing in Christ, then is the failure in the power of God? As I understand the subject of salvation, our unbelief is the only reason we fail to overcome, never the power of God. If the lame man at Bethesda had taken 30 years to finally walk, would you question the power of God or the man's faith/unbelief? Or would you say "it's ok if he doesn't walk, at least he's growing in Christ"?(Remember what Jesus commanded him to do) James writes that faith without works(results) is dead/nonexistent.

        Could any who continued to smoke(once convicted that smoking is a sin) be considered an example of being yoked with Jesus? But let's remove the smoking and replace it with murder or rape. Will the one failing to overcome the sin of murder or rape for 30 years be considered by the local congregation to be perfect in Christ, perhaps nominating them to the head elder position?

        "To him that overcomes..." is the promise given by Jesus, not to "him that fails to overcome". And what does Paul answer to his own question of; "shall we continue in sin...."(Rom 6:1)? John wrote; "this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith". So if victory remains elusive, what must we conclude concerning faith? How does Paul address this in 2 Cor 13:5?

        Human weakness is no excuse for sinning. It's the reason we do sin whenever faith is not exercised in the promises and power of God. If the "old things" still remain, am I a "new creature" in Christ? (2 Cor 5:17) If any "fruit" of the Spirit is missing, are we really filled with the Spirit?

        What does healing have to do with overcoming? Neither death or disease is a sin of itself. Continued transgression of the law of God is sin, and always our choice where there is unbelief.

        Amen!(2)
        • One of the messages that I get from reading about Jesus is his boundless grace to those who are struggling. He does not say, I will forgive you seven times then after that it is up to you because you are not trying hard enough. He continues to forgive. This is not about going out with the intention of sinning, but for those who struggle with habits and afflictions. One of the big problems with sin is that we are not all born the same. It tilts the playing field. Some fall prey to temptations easily, some develop habits easier than others.

          One of the most telling passages in scripture is found in 2 Cor 12: 7-9:

          And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

          Paul is delightfully vague about what the problem was but resoundingly assuring in, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. For those whose minds and/or bodies have been made less that perfect as the result of sin, this assurance is about the grace of Jesus, being made perfect in our weakness.

          In the days when I used to stand up the front of church to take part, I was once tasked with taking the prayer. Earlier in the service a person gave their testimony about how they had been miraculously cured of cancer. They were victorious in their faithfulness. I had to pray knowing that in the audience was another person who was dying from cancer - she had been anointed but the disease was continuing to progress. It was a very difficult prayer that day. We could rejoice with the person who had been healed but we had to support the person for whom no healing was apparent.

          It is the same with sin. The playing field is tilted and it is all to easy to make judgements about who has grasped the faith and who hasn't. For the person who struggles to overcome, I like to say that as long as you want to give up, the Holy Spirit is still working with you; Jesus is still your friend, and his grace knows no bounds.

          For the record: the person who smoked in our church was accepted though not baptized all those 30 years of struggle. He attended 5-day plans and so on without immediate success but with some reduction in smoking. The church just extended him the grace of Jesus and he eventually overcame. The wonderful lesson I learned from my church is that we can share the love of Jesus long term. It is not all about the instantaneous miracle.

          Amen!(5)
          • I want to second Maurice's comments by telling another story:

            In a town where my husband was a pastor, the lovable town drunk slipped into the back of the church one Sabbath morning because his cousin, a former Adventist had told him,

            "Lester, God is lonely for you." He said, "I am meek and lonely of heart."

            "(It was years before Lester learned the actual words of Jesus. 😉 )

            Lester continued to come to church, and we found out that he had once been an Adventist colporteur and actually knew the doctrines. He was earnest in his desire to follow Jesus who was "lonely for him" and was miraculously delivered from his addiction to tobacco. (This addiction is actually more difficult to overcome than alcohol addiction.) In relationship to our topic for the day, it is significant that Lester was drawn by the love of Christ for Him. He was baptized, and the course of several years, he was asked to be a deacon. His conversion was the talk of the town as he radiated love to all those around Him.

            Then one day he stood up to give another testimony and a confession: He confessed with tears that he had struggled with alcohol all those last several years, though not getting drunk the way he used to do. He would sit down in the evening and drink a glass or two before going to bed. It was his "comfort drink." But this one recent evening, he sat down with his bottle of wine and his glass, and he had the distinct impression that he had to choose between that wine and Jesus. He stopped and thought/prayed. Then He got up and dumped all his wine down the sink and did not drink again after that until the day he died. He went on to serve the church faithfully for many years. (My heart still grows warm in remembrance of him.)

            My point is this: God gave the Lester the victory over tobacco through an undeniable miracle. The desire just left him. My theory is that God knew that, after having destroyed so much of his brain, Lester did not have the capacity to win over tobacco the usual way by dealing with the withdrawal, etc. But God did *not* deliver him from alcohol the same way. Why not? Lester had earnestly dedicated himself to follow Christ. His life demonstrated the change. The community took notice. Again, my theory is this: Lester needed the battle to grow strong in appropriating for himself the strength available through the promises of God. Faith and the power of decision grows by exercise. In the end, the overcoming of his alcohol addition was every bit as much a work of God as the clearly miraculous deliverance from tobacco.

            According to what you have proposed, Robert, I gather that you would say that Lester was not in a saving relationship with Christ while he was still struggling with alcohol. I, on the other hand, believe that Lester was converted, and that's why he was struggling. (cf Ro 7:13-25) He appropriated the strength of Christ to overcome his addiction - something he would not have done if he had not been converted.

            What stories of experience can you share to corroborate that your understanding of the process of salvation works the way you have been telling us on this blog?

            Jesus commissioned his disciples (and I believe that includes us) to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1:8), and that implies speaking from our experience of tasting and seeing the actual work of God in our lives. No court of law would accept any reading of a history book (e.g. stories recorded in the Bible) or a book of law from a witness. A court is looking for a testimony from personal experience, and I believe that's also what Jesus is looking for.

            Amen!(2)
          • Maurice, you asked a question at the top of this discussion and I answered it with what I believe is supported by God's Word. I've found this true from my own experience; God is not limited in His power, though we are often limited by unbelief.

            Healing or not being healed is another subject and not always relevant to the choice made each time we turn from a clear conviction to go where temptation will once again overpower the soul that remains weak and helpless apart from Christ. It's quite simple really.

            This is not to judge or condemn anyone, but to recognize the truth of the matter. I'm glad the church kept working for the tempted soul until victory was gained. That's what the church is supposed to do.

            Amen!(1)
    • Robert, your reference to the "former sinner" concerns me. In your context, it implies that receiving Christ by faith results in instant perfection so that the new Christian no longer sins and is now a "former sinner." If that is not what you meant, can you please clarify? It would really help if you shared how it has worked and is working in your own life.

      If you did mean that the person who receives Christ no longer sins, your teaching seems to at odds with the Apostle Paul who called himself the "chief of sinners." Throughout his writings, Paul seems to recognize the reality of being both saint and sinner at the same time. We are perfect by faith in Christ. It is our complete trust in the efficacy of Christ's salvation that saves us - not our perfect obedience. And it's not even Christ *plus* obedience that saves us, as Paul makes clear in his letter to the Galatians and later his letter to the Roman Christians.

      Obedience is the result of Christ in the believer and the believer's dwelling in Christ. But Paul's teaching is clear that we have an Advocate if we sin, telling us that Paul recognizes that believers are on a growth trajectory.

      From my own experience, I find that the more constantly I am aware of Christ in me during the day, the better (more like Jesus) is my outward behavior. But this has been and still is a growing experience, beginning with asking Christ to come into my heart early in the morning and more or less forgetting about him for hours thereafter, only to ask Him again. As I have grown the times of "forgetting" have become shorter, and I trust that this will continue to be so.

      What has been your experience?

      Amen!(2)
      • Inge, I'm not Robert but I would like to share my experiences with instant salvation from temptations. If I am watching and aware of what is happening with my thoughts and feelings and if I pray for the Holy Spirit to motivate my thoughts and feelings with His Love as Jesus said ("watch and pray") I have, on many occasions, not fallen because the Spirit of Jesus was allowed to motivate my thoughts and feelings to change immediately from the way I was being tempted to Christlike thoughts and feelings. It is a good time to follow the heart when God is in charge of it. We must continually guard our hearts with vigilence and prayer so that God can instantly motivate us in the right direction when temptation comes to us. I'm not saying that just because I was able to have instant victory in an instance that I was safe from further temptation without watching and praying, but I am saying that without instant salvation in a temptation we might never gain victory over every sin.

        I don't think that victory comes from our choice not to sin, but I do think that victory depends on our choice to let God's Spirit of Love be the motivation of our thoughts and feelings which will determine what we do for the right reason.

        Amen!(2)
        • Don, thank you for that! That's the kind of testimony that we need to share. God *is* faithful when we call on Him. Our growth in character depends on our turning to Him more and more in our times of temptation. When we recognize our weakness, He will give us His strength.

          I still vividly remember the first time I experienced this dramatically. After praying in vain for the Lord to change people around me, I gave up and prayed, "Lord, please show me how *I* need to change." As you can imagine, that was a prayer God could answer, and He did .. but in mercy. (He showed me just a little.) As a result I felt an overwhelming sense of unworthiness. I saw that every "good" I had ever done was tinged with selfishness, and the only recourse I had was to throw myself on the mercy of the Savior with "Lord, save me and change me!"

          My relationship to the Law certainly changed. It was no longer my reference point. The life of Christ is my reference point, and it is much deeper and broader than "the Law" because Scripture He came to "magnify the Law and make it honorable." Isa 42:21.

          It was not too long after that that I found myself walking down the stairs, ready to give my recalcitrant husband a good piece of my mind ... if you know what I mean. For those who have ever battled with an angry temper, you'll understand me when I say that the pressure was near the exploding point. But I stopped in the middle of the stairs, turned to God and said in my heart, "Lord, I don't want to be like this!! HELP!!" And He did not fail me. The pressure was gone *instantly* similarly to what you indicate. And He left me in quite a peaceable state of mind, praising Him for his marvelous deliverance.

          From that point on, I learned to turn to Him more and more, but I am still looking towards reaching the point of "praying always" and thus being in a continuous state of overcoming. But I am different now than I used to be. Praise His Name!

          I believe folks are looking for help in *how* to overcome, and we can each share our individual experience of how it works for us. May God abundantly bless you for your willingness to share.

          Amen!(3)

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