A. Ward Brandenstein

What Are We To Do? (Week Eight)

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

THE WORLD IS UNDER GOD’S JUDGMENT NOW

The world system is not able to succeed when viewed from God’s standpoint.

In I Corinthians 1:20,21, it states,

Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The wisdom by which the world operates scoffs at God or the need for God.  God saves people through the means of preaching, which the world considers as foolishness.  So the world system is doomed to failure because it regards God and His means of saving people as foolishness.

The Scriptures continue the same principle of God’s attitude towards the world’s wisdom in I Corinthians 3:19,20, where it says:

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.  And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

The word, foolish(ness) comes from the Greek word which means “moron, stupid, heedless”.  It also carries the idea of “put to silence”.  In the Scripture quoted above, it states that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  The picture presented is that the world’s propoganda is regarded by God as meaningless and is not worth hearing.  The word, vain, has the meaning of “empty, to no purpose”.

In view of the verses just quoted, God has given His judgment that the world’s wisdom is empty and purposeless.  Therefore, the believer can only find eternal blessing for both time and eternity by heeding what God says and by separating himself from the world.

The permanent, eternal benefit of godliness in contrast to the limited, temporal nature of the world is stated in I John 2:17:

And the world passeth away, and the lust of it; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.

The believer is exhorted, by means of the contrast given, to choose doing the will of God which is eternal, rather than allowing himself to be deceived by the allurements of the world and spending his time in that which will not endure.  As the believer understands that God regards the world system and its wisdom as foolishness, it should cause the believer to want to separate himself from the world’s influence and attitudes.

One final truth needs to be considered concerning the world: the world’s regard for God is enmity.

THE WORLD’S REGARD FOR GOD IS ENMITY

The impossibility of persons ever coming to God on the basis of the wisdom of the world is stated in I Cor. 1:21,

For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The phrase, the world by wisdom knew not God, indicates that it was absolutely impossible for the world to ever know God experientially.  The word, to know, used here is the same word used by Jesus in John 17:3, when He says,

This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.

It is impossible on the basis of the world’s wisdom for the world to experience the kind of knowledge of God that is eternal life.

Another Scripture which shows the world’s enmity against God is James 4:4,

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James is very strong in His warning to believers that there cannot be any allowance for the believer to have an attitude of cooperation or participation in the world without becoming an enemy of God.  This warning should certainly help the believer to see that he must be separate from the world.

The characteristics which define the world are stated in I John 2:16,

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Not only is the world characterized by these characteristics of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, but they aptly describe “soulishness” or carnality in the life of the believer.  In addition, they were included in Satan’s temptation of Eve in the garden of Eden (See Gen. 3:6) and in Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11).

In I John 2:15, the believer is commanded to love not the world (See Believers Are to Separate From The World As To Their Walk.)  In view of the present consideration of verse 16 above, the believer is given the reason why he should not love the world.  It might be well to note also that the world’s business is usually aimed at satisfying these three characteristics.  To the degree that the believer is controlled by the world to endeavor to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, he will not be able to love God as he would be able to do if he obeyed the command of verse 15 to not love the world.

In I John 3:1, the verse concludes with the statement, …the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.  In view of this, the child of God should not consider it to be an unusual thing when the world doesn’t seem interested in him or show kindness or consideration, because the world holds in regard those who belong in the world system.  Therefore, the world’s attitude against God and against those who believe in Him should be reason enough for the believer to want to be an overcomer (I John 5:4,5).  He is able to overcome the world because of his being in Christ and Christ’s being in him.  I John 4:4 states,

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world.

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Flesh

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.

 

A. Ward Brandenstein

Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.

 

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