A. Ward Brandenstein

What Are We To Do? (Week One)

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life

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.”

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

 

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A WALK

In Genesis 3:8, it is stated,

And they (Adam and Eve) heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

This passage in Genesis 3:8 records the earliest indication of the idea that God’s desire for man is to have fellowship with Him.  Because Adam disobeyed God, he was not able to enjoy such fellowship with God.

However, it is stated later in Genesis that two men did walk with God.  In Genesis 5:24, it says, And Enoch walked with God  In Genesis 6:9, it says, …Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.  These Scriptures use the term, walk, to show that both Enoch and Noah maintained and continued in fellowship with God.

The use of the word, walk, as a figure for fellowship is clearly presented in I John 1:7,

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…

In order for there to be fellowship, there must be agreement and sharing things in common. This is at the heart of God’s question to Israel in Amos 3:3, when He says,

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

With the fact in mind that fellowship with God is the essential meaning of the “walk” believers are to practise, let us consider the Scriptural admonitions in regard to our walk.

The walk is in the Spirit.  It is presented as a command in Galatians 5:16,

Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

It seems that so few Christians are even aware of what it means to walk in the Spirit, that to do so is the exception rather than the normal thing to do.  Christians are usually asked to commit themselves, surrender, dedicate themselves, sell out to Christ, give their life to Christ, or pray for revival.  As well-intentioned as these appeals may seem, none of them are direct commands of Scripture.  But Walk in the Spirit is a command, and if it were heeded, everything else would be cared for.  For instance, there is no need for praying for revival when believers are walking in the Spirit.

In considering the two options of Galatians 5:16, we find that we try to keep from fulfilling the lust of the flesh, which we have not been commanded to do, instead of obeying the command to walk in the Spirit which is the only thing we can do.  When we walk in the Spirit, it is not possible to fulfill the lust of the flesh.  The two options are mutually exclusive – we cannot do both simultaneously.  There is no guarantee, however, of a perfect performance.  It is possible to change from walking in the Spirit to walking in the flesh at any moment.  There is the need for constant self-submission to the Spirit.

Since we see the need to walk in the Spirit, the question is, “How do we walk in the Spirit?”  At this point, some may say, “Read the Bible,” “Pray,” “Serve the Lord,” “Be faithful at church,” etc.  All of these things are important, but it is possible to do all of them and yet not be walking in the Spirit.  We have been so conditioned through the prevailing world view and through our flesh to do “things” in order to be successful, that we have missed a fundamental principle that is essential to godly living.  The principle is – Being comes before doing.  Thus, we will not be able to do what is to be done, until we understand who we are from God’s viewpoint.  Our identity is determined by what God does to make us what we are in Christ.  Walking will then result when our daily and momentary choices are made consistent with our understanding of our identity with Christ.  In this way we will delight to do the Father’s will as Christ did.

Next Week: Part Five continued: How to walk in the Spirit

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.

[Series Index

 

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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