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Building up believers and the New Testament church

Temptation - In the Life of a Christian

In the Spirit

Before we consider our walk in Christ, we need to review its foundation. There are only two conditions for mankind. We are either "in the spirit" or "in the flesh." In Romans 8, Paul makes this very clear, and the foundation he lays is the basis for victory in our lives. If we are in the flesh, we cannot please God (verse 8). If we are in the Spirit, our union with Christ forms the basis for power and victory over our desires. There are some who would try to make a third place somewhere between, but Paul does not give any such place. "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His" (Rom. 8:9). The basis of victory is not knowing what to do, but being in union with Christ. Christ does not give us victory--He is our victory. We do not try to live our lives as best we can. He is our life. We are not trying to please God by our best efforts. We are called to live in the power of an endless life. This is the only place of victory for anyone of us. Our lives, our self-efforts, and our righteousness fall so far short of God's holiness that He calls it filthy rags. No matter how good it may look for a time on the outside, it is still rotten at the core because it does not come from God. Only God is good. He is the definition of goodness, and all else is sin.

The question, then, comes to each one of us: are we in the Spirit? What does that mean? It means that we have been joined to God by allowing His Holy Spirit to come into our lives. This is a specific act of faith before God. How can we know that we have been taken from death to life? The book of I John is a good place to find direction. John tells us why he was writing to the believers: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God" (I John 5:13). If you are not sure that you have entered in, then may I encourage you to read through this letter carefully on your knees before God, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you are. Jesus paid the price for all to know God in an intimate union by the Spirit. He desires all men to enter in. Faith says "yes" to God and allows Him to come in to dwell. He will bring divine evidence of assurance of His presence, and bring confidence to our hearts. May we not draw back in unbelief, but draw near with full assurance. He died that we might live in Him. He does not turn away from any man who invites Him in. Glory to His Name!