Continuing my series through the basics of Christian theology includes some thoughts on Christian Living. I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide which reads:
Christian Living. Article #8. We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
“The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt
I. SANCTIFICATION AND JUSTIFICATION
Justification and sanctification go hand-in-hand giving evidence of each other. Our faith in Jesus Christ has made us righteous (Rom 8:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 2:8-9; Phil 3:9; 1 Peter 1:1-2) while that faith has caused sin to no longer be our master (Rom 6:1-14). Instead, our changed nature compels us to want to live in a Godly way (Rom 6:2-4; 8:29-30; Phil 1:6; 2:13; Titus 2:11-14).
II. HOW WE LIVE OUT OUR FAITH
Christians live out their faith first by showing love for other Christians and non-Christians. It was love that compelled God to send his son to die for sinners, and it should be love that compels us to have good relationships with Christians and non-Christians.
III. THE CHURCH’S RESPONSE TO THE POOR AND DISENFRANCHISED
Living out our faith means that we love God and love others. We love God by focusing our minds and hearts toward him (Deut 6:5-9). As a result of this, we also love others (Matt 12:39; John 13:34; Eph 5:25; 1 John 4:8-10) and care for others (Rom 12:10, 16; 14:13; 15:7, 17; 1 Cor 13:12; Gal 5:13; Eph 4:2, 32; 5:19, 21; Col 3:13, 16; 1 Thess 5:11; Heb 10:24; 1 Peter 1:22; 3:8; 4:9; 5:5; cf. Acts 4:32, 34-35).
The poor, aliens, and disenfranchised have been part of the entire history of the Bible and will always be part of the church age (Deut 15:11). Christians are supposed to care for these people (Prov 14:21, 31; 22:9; 28:27; Matt 25:31-46; Luke 14:12-14).
IV. SPIRITUAL WARFARE
This world is a fallen world (Gen 3:14-24) where Satan roams the earth (Job 1:6-8; 2:1-2; Luke 22:3; 1 Peter 5:8), has control over it (1 John 5:19), and is the ruler of it (John 12:31; 1 Cor 4:4; Matt 4:8-9). Evidence of spiritual warfare between Satan and his minions against Israel and the church is clear throughout Scripture (Dan 10:12-14; Luke 10:18; Rev 12). Yet, with God’s Word (Eph 6:11-18), the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name (Matt 17:14-20; James 4:7-8), believers can combat Satan and his minions (Luke 10:17-20; John 12:28-32; Col 2:13-15; Heb 2:14-15; 1 Peter 5:6-8; Rev 12:11).