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Building up believers and the New Testament church

Walking in Truth

The Ways of God

The ways of God may seem too vast to talk about, but when I refer to the ways of God, I mean His order, or the ways the Holy Spirit moves in the church to reveal Christ and establish truth. Yes, they are vast, but not too big to talk about. Just as God established an order and His ways in the Old Covenant, He also has an order and ways in the New Covenant. In some ways they are similar because He is the same God, and in some ways they are different because we have a greater resource than the Old Testament saints had. They looked forward to the coming Messiah, and much of their order was prophetic of what Jesus would be like and what He would do when He came. However, we look back to Calvary, where Jesus secured our salvation, defeated the enemy of our souls, and made provision for us to enter unhindered into full fellowship with God. These ways of God are part of the truth that we need to come to Jesus and experience the grace God has provided for us in Him.

Here is what Paul said when he was laboring to bring the Galatians back to a right foundation: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love" (Galatians 5:6). Notice these words: "in Christ Jesus" and "faith working through love." These are statements of the ways of God. God has chosen to work everything by bringing us into a love relationship with Christ by faith. It is there that we will know the grace of God that triumphs over all obstacles. It is easy to pass by that statement and say "I know," without giving our full attention to it. We would rather hear something more concrete, more specific, and in some ways "more natural," even though we may not use those words.

We have already considered the term "in Christ," but how do we come to this place of union? God portrays this relationship as similar to a bride who is giving herself to a husband. "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2). What must the bride do? She must forsake all others and give herself unreservedly to the one who is to be her husband. It is the same with Christ. He is looking for us to forsake all others and give ourselves unreservedly to Him. This can only be done by faith. Christ is the "way" of God and faith brings us into this union where we experience the grace (provision or ability) that is ours in Christ. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Again, these may seem to be elementary things that we all know, but my observation is that while we may know the words, we often do not know the truth of the words in our experience. It is often a theory rather than a reality. God wants us to walk in this truth so that we can know Him in reality.

The riches of God's grace and presence are known together with other believers. This is another one of the "ways" of God. Paul prayed for the Ephesians, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:17-19) It is essential to God's way that we would know Him together with others. In this day and age it's easy to think that if we have our Bible, we have the Holy Spirit, and easy access to a host of books and the Internet, these are enough. But none of these things substitute for personal relationships with brothers and sisters in our locality. That is where we experience the love of God together. That is where the love of God is revealed to others through the body of Christ, and that is where we find fulfillment in God and where God is pleased to dwell.

What are the ways of God in this body? They are vast, and we must explore them and walk in them if we want to be part of what God is doing today. We cannot just read about them in the Bible. That is a good beginning, but now we must walk in them as the Holy Spirit reveals the ways of God to us. There is an order in the body: how we gather together, how we relate to others, how we partake of the grace God has given others, and so on. As we submit to the order of God and his ways in the church, we will grow in grace and the knowledge of God. As we walk in truth, it will become part of us. We will not just quote a Bible verse; we will be able to put the same truth into our own words and relate it to our experience. It will not contradict the Bible or the truth that God has revealed to others; instead, it will amplify that truth and others will benefit from the truth that has been made flesh in us. The ways of God truly work together so that we may experience the Way of God, which is Christ Himself.

We cannot explore all of that truth in a small booklet (or in a large book, or in a number of books). We can only explore truth as we walk in truth together with others. Consider how the early church began. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). The apostles were teaching truth, then brothers and sisters were fellowshipping in that truth. They came together to remember the Lord "in spirit and truth" and they were on their knees praying in truth as the Holy Spirit enabled them. Is there any end to this? Not this side of glory! This is the reality of the Holy Spirit (who is God) leading us into all truth.