What Your Positions and Possessions Have in Common
As we get ready to move into this study, let’s take a quick look at the characteristics that all of your 101 Riches in Christ share in common.
1.They are known to us only through God’s inspired, infallible, authoritative Word. We become aware of these gifts only through God’s revelation, by “sola Scriptura” – by Scripture alone. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
2. They are the result of God’s work, not by the efforts of men, churches, or governments. They are solely and completely a work of God. They are the result of monergism, i.e., the work of One. They are NOT the work of synergism, or combined and cooperative effort and energy. “But as many as received (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
3. They are the result of God’s sovereign volition, not man’s volition. It was God who chose to give you these gifts. “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37)
4. They are eternal gifts.They are not temporal. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
5. They are irreversible gifts. They cannot be retracted, reversed, or revoked. You cannot lose them or give them away. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38-39) “…for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29)
6. They are apprehended by faith, not by our feelings. We do not realize the receipt of these gifts through our central nervous system. They are non-experiential. We honor these gifts through our faith. We do not validate them through our feelings. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”(Hebrews 11:6)
7. They are given to us instantaneously, not progressively. These are not positions and possessions which we acquire or develop over time. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” John 6:47
8. They are all for the glory of God, not for the praise of men. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)
9. They are perfect gifts. We don’t maintain them. We can’t add to them or improve them. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
10. These gifts are the theory of our practice. Theory without practice is dead, but practice without theory is blind! Your 101 Riches in Christ are the philosophy which lays the essential foundation for the walk of faith. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11)
If you study these ten points of commonality for Your 101 Riches in Christ, you will see that even these ten are subsumed under one vital glorious fact: they are all the completed work of God, and have absolutely nothing to do with the work of man! The apostle Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 4:18 that “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” My condition here in time (those “things which are seen”) is imperfect, it is changing, and it is sinful. However, my position(that which is “unseen”and “eternal”) is perfect, unchanging,and sinless in Christ.When I act according to the “sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:17) and behave in a way which I know is contrary to the way that God would have me live, I can quickly and confidently go back to the place of my acceptance. Where does God focus? Does He focus on my current, fleshly, sinful condition? He does not! My acceptance is in Christ. Where, then, is the focus of our transformation into new creations in Christ? Is it in my imperfect, changing, sinful condition? No, it is in my acceptance by God through Christ. It is in my perfect, unchanging, sinless position.
Why is it that so many of us in the body of Christ don’t want to talk about the sins that we struggle with? All of us have them, but we never say anything about them to anyone. We stride into church with a wide smile pasted on our faces, telling everyone that “I’m fine, praise God, everything is fine.” Meantime, my marriage is in trouble, my teenager is on drugs, and I’ve been having “a few” drinks to try and relax at night, but “Everything’s just fine!”
The reason we’re afraid to share our struggles and heartache with anyone is the awful fact that, for far too many of us, the focus of the Christian life IS the Christian life! So we feel we must maintain some kind of “perfect” existence.
The reason we teeter along this agonizing, performance-based tightrope is because we in the body of Christ haven’t been taught where our acceptance lies. The focus of the Christian life is never the Christian life. Rather, the focus is on God, Who He is, and on what He has done for us. The focus is outside of me, it is away from my life, not on me!