What makes you victorious
Live victoriously as a Christian
1 Living victoriously as a Christian Basic course in sanctification Help for a sanctified lifestyle & optimal growth in faith The seminar topics 1-9 contain a series of lectures in Evangeliums-Rundfunk (ERF) Wetzlar by Herbert Masuch How do I live as a world conqueror? How do I triumph as a world conqueror? S eminar - Part Seminar topic 1: From the stress of sanctification to the joy of sanctification Seminar topic 2: Overcoming in faith Seminar topic 3: Obeying God makes you free Seminar topic 4: Right freely by staying on the word Seminar topic 5: Experiencing faith and action Seminar topic 6: Understanding the goal Seminar topic 7 : JESUS sets you free! Seminar topic 8: What does it mean to overcome the world? Seminar topic 9: Sanctifying life in the field of tension between wanting and doing A p p e rtio n: Questions part of the basic course What and how? Preface How did this book come about? Ultimately, this has to do with a turning point in my over 50 years of being a Christian. As soon as I was converted, I experienced a real crisis. It was very difficult for me to realize my Christianity in everyday life. My frequent defeats in the fight against sin irritated me. I got increasingly caught up in the conflict that the apostle Paul describes in chapter 7 of Romans. His outcry: I miserable person, who will redeem me? was spoken from my soul. Because after all, I was born again, had peace with God, the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of all my sins. Nevertheless, I suffered the conflict of wanting the good, but still wanting the bad to 1
2 do. Why in the world didn't I manage to cope with the smoldering stalk, the impure thoughts, and the hurtful irascibility? In my need, God revealed a secret to me. Paul calls this mystery: Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27). A bright, liberating light fell inside me. God gave me a whole new Bible. I realized that Jesus is not only my Redeemer from the guilt of sin, but also the Deliverer from my bonds. I learned more and more to let HIM fight and win for me. This liberating turn came about through a little book by Pastor H. D. Dolmann, 1 which I literally devoured at the time. The very title, A Survival Life, marked what I was longingly looking for. And God let me find it. Christ in me became stronger than my unclean imagination, than the compulsion to steal and exaggerate etc. I was glad that HE enabled me to let go of every recognized sin and to have died with Christ from now on (Rom 6, 2.11). Soon afterwards I happily testified in the circle of young Christians: I am happy that I no longer have to sin! Jesus freed me from smoking and other constraints. He will also free me from what is still attached to me. But my happy testimony was apparently not understood by everyone. Some were happy, but others reacted with a doubtful: Well, wait a minute! They were concerned that I would end up needing forgiveness on the road to victory. As a Christian, it seemed necessary to them to sin in order not to despise grace (forgiveness). Meanwhile, I praised grace that forgives and also frees from the fetters of sin. When the opposing voices increased, I was initially irritated. After all, it was my siblings, they were - like me - pardoned and saved sinners. Only gradually did I realize: the message of liberating victory is among Christians. controversial due to a historically based fear of perfectionism. 2 I later realized that this justified concern had unfortunately had a negative effect in the evangelical environment: The good news: Everything that is born of God overcomes the world (1 Jn 5: 4) had become quieter until it almost fell silent. This resulted in a lot of catching up to do with regard to being a Christian as a world conqueror. For years I have been trying to give concrete witness to this forgotten but liberating message. In my evangelism there was usually the theme: Jesus makes free! Now as a pensioner, I have devoted the book series Life Reformation to this important topic. The first three chapters of this book are intended to be like a fanfare. It is high time that God's people rose from the lament by the brooks of Babylon. The captivity is over! The failure mentality has to give way to the overcomer quality. In the main part, a basic course for a victorious lifestyle is offered with 9 topics. In order to deepen the learning success, I deliberately did not remove effective repetitions. The questions will deepen thinking and living from victory. In the appendix I explain how the topics at hand can also be practiced at community or alliance level, or in house groups. This gives leaders a chance to address the issue of consequent following of Jesus anew. A weekend seminar with the first 3 book topics, about which I can be inquired about, would be suitable as a start-up. God wants to give you rich gifts as you read and share the fundamental truths of salvation! 1 Out of stock for a short time, but I still have a few remaining copies. Tel .:, Fax: 04263,983070, mail: 2 Triggered by extreme tendencies of the sanctification movement around
3 D Scheeßel in summer 2007 Herbert Masuch 3
4 How do I become a world conqueror? A f u u rtio n For everything that is born of God overcomes the world; and our faith is the victory that conquered the world. 1 Joh 5, Reiner is sitting next to me on a bench. Until recently he tried very half-heartedly to live as a Christian. But now he is ready to belong to Jesus Christ undivided and to break with known sins. But there is another sin, he says quietly, that I will probably never overcome. I've been fighting it for a long time, but it's too strong for me. Not a few Christians feel like Reiner. They are depressed about their defeats and ask themselves: when will I finally defeat this Goliath in me? Perhaps you too have seriously asked yourself whether, as a Christian, you don't have to come to terms with falling and getting up again? In a sermon on the above Bible text, I asked my audience some questions. The first was: Which of them is very sure: I am a Christian? Almost the entire community answered. My second question was: Which of them is firmly convinced: I am a world conqueror? There was a pause. Then I saw a tentatively rising hand. An inconsistent result, isn't it! Most of the Christians in this church were aware that they were children of God, but hardly anyone dared to confess: I conquer the world. Could it be that many Christian churches today would respond similarly? The conclusion would then be that hardly anyone dared to confess: I will overcome the world! most of God's children are overcome by the world with their lust. Can you imagine that this attitude can be affirmed as the normal condition of a Christian? Wouldn't all Christians be worse off than people who didn't fight evil in the first place? In preparation for my message, I asked the ward another question. It read: Who of you is convinced that God's word is absolutely true and that we can rely on every one of your statements? There was no problem with the authority of the Bible. Hardly a hand stayed down now. I further prepared the audience and assured them that I would only say what is really written in the sermon text. The answer to the serious question of whether Christians are world conquerors or not requires a foundation that really supports. But that is the word of God alone. When preparing for a sermon, it is essential to research the Bible text consistently in the so-called exegesis (declaration). When a topic is up for discussion, the question arises: What does the Bible say about it? I would like you to take part in this important process today. Our topic is: How do I become a world conqueror? For this purpose we want to question the guiding text, 1 John 5,4, now specifically. Before we begin, let us clarify a preliminary question: What does the Bible text mean by the expression the world? As you correctly suspect, the apostle John does not mean by the term world the cosmos or our earth planet. The visible world created by God is very good and does not need to be overcome. However, as is customary in parlance, the Bible knows several meanings for certain words. For example, Jesus distinguishes the children of this world from the children of light (Lk 16.8). With this world he does not mean all world citizens, but the world citizens who still live without God. After the fall of man, Satan first dominated the way of thinking and living of all people. He is the prince of this world (Jn 12:31). However, Christians are no longer of the world, but they still live in this fallen world. You are redeemed from worldly striving and life through Jesus. Nevertheless, they remain in their sphere of influence. They can still be tried, yes even
5 defeatable in this world. Johannes indicates that you and I can even love this transitory world with its lust. In the same 1st letter he therefore admonishes: Do not love the world or what is in the world, because everything that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and honest life, is not from the Father, but from the world (Kp. 2, 15-16). With this, the apostle characterizes and evaluates the basic attitude of the children of this world.If you believe that you will overcome the world, then this has consequences for the way you deal with all sins Do Perhaps you would call the mentioned things like carnal lust not a sin, but rather as horny or sexy or a buck for it. The decisive factor is whether you as a Christian are free from the nature of the world or whether you allow yourself to be further determined. To become free, you must discover your overcomer status in the Word of God and make it your own. Only then will you be able to deal appropriately with Satan, sin and the world. The apostle would like to lead you to this victorious position or attitude in our guiding text. Let yourself be given gifts and be surprised! For the sake of simplicity, we will now address some key questions to verses, 1 Jn 5: 3-5. Our first question should be: Can Christians even conquer the world? To clarify what the term world conqueror means, let me say the following: A world conqueror is armed to remain firm in the temptations from outside, such as immorality in the media and relationships. Like Joseph with Potiphar's wife, he is able to resist. A world conqueror is able to become and remain pure in the face of temptations from within, i.e. the thoughts, feelings and fantasies of the heart (Mk 7: 21-23). He recognizes evil as sin and is able to control it more and more (1 Jn 3: 3). In the event of slander, insults, abuse, etc., a world conqueror will express with the apostle Paul: In all this we overcome far (Rom. 8, 37). Of the many promises that confirm this, I mention 1 John 2:14 and Eph 6:16. This claim is high. It is therefore justified to ask whether you, as a Christian, may dare to claim such a survival life for yourself. Our guiding text encourages you to do so with one clear message: Yes, it is possible! The apostle John confirms to you: Everything that is born of God overcomes the world (v. 4). There is no clearer testimony that as a Christian you are entitled and able to be a world conqueror. Please note that it does not say: A Christian should himself When can Christians overcome the world? earnestly strive to do so - he should try to overcome the world. That wouldn't be wrong, but of course the question of whether he will make it remains open. It remains to be seen whether one has to take it so seriously when it comes to sins such as premarital sex. As a Christian, don't be satisfied with this attitude. If you believe that you can overcome the world, there are consequences for the way you deal with all sins. As soon as you affirm that you are called to victory, the question arises: Sometimes people are converted who have lived for many years as thieves, pimps, adulterers and the like. Shouldn't one be more realistic or more modest in terms of overcoming this dark behavior? you might ask. Do not young converts first have to prove themselves in everyday life without immediately conquering the world? Those are quite legitimate questions. Instead of responding to human opinions about it, we turn directly to the highest authority, namely the Bible. We ask the apostle John when can Christians believe that they are world conquerors? His answer is: Everything that is born of God 5
6 is, overcomes the world (v. 4). According to our linguistic rules of expression, it is clearly stated: from now on! Three factors in this statement confirm that young converts do not need to wait. This is relaxing news. For you it means that as a Christian you are already a conqueror of the world from your new birth and do not have to become one. The first factor would be the staffing of anything or everyone that John chooses here. He knows about your doubtful objections when you think of your turbulent past, your unstable disposition or infidelity or the like. However, there is no exception to anything or everyone. If you are a Christian, then you too are a world conqueror. But if you are not yet sure that you are already a Christian, then you should give a life handover in prayer now in order to become one. Then you can immediately boldly believe that from now on you will conquer the world because the Bible says so. The second factor that encourages you to believe is the lack of a qualification in our text. John could have written: Every Christian who tries hard, who sacrifices or prays a lot, overcomes the world. But Johannes does not mention any advance payment. He really means everyone. Especially pious or sincere or already tried and tested would have no greater chance of conquering the world than you or me. Because the biblical text does not name any restrictions, its encouragement that you will overcome the world, certainly also applies to you! As the third factor that characterizes you as a world conqueror, I see the tense of presence, i.e. the present form that John chooses here. We read clearly: he overcomes the world. The apostle could also have written in the future tense. Then it would say something like: After some growth in faith, every convert will finally overcome the world as a mature Christian. Particularly humble Christians even tend to postpone the survival life into the 1000 year kingdom or even to heaven. After all, you would no longer be proud of it there, they say. Nothing! John testifies that Christians - and therefore you too! - already overcome the world here and now. How liberating it is to believe this! Our guiding text also addresses another question that some Christians - perhaps you too - ask themselves. It reads: To what extent can Christians overcome the world? The reason for this is mostly the experience that as a Christian one overcomes some bad habits more easily, while others are quite stubborn. With the more easily overcome mistakes one usually means the gross, obvious sins. These include perjury, adultery, manslaughter, stealing or cheating. The more hidden sins that only concern us often cause more distress. So it was just the one sin that Reiner found insurmountable in conversation with me. You will agree that the more hidden sins like love of money, pride, loose mouth, white lies, vanity, etc. are not easily eradicated. This also includes excessive alcohol, nicotine, sex and eating. Perhaps - like Reiner - after many defeats you no longer dare to hope that you will ever be able to eradicate this one sin. How liberating is the answer when you orient yourself directly to God's Word. When asked how far Christians can overcome Satan, sin and the world, John replies that there is no limit. He affirms: If you are a Christian, you are an overcomer! You don't just overcome lighter temptations and sins. No, you conquer the world indefinitely and totally, with all its cunning and brutality. The promise of victory in verse 4 allows no limitation. Because John you not only overcome lighter temptations and sins with the world, but also confirms the truth, it is therefore true that you can overcome every sin at any time of the day or night - without ifs and buts - in God's power. When asked about the extent of your chances of winning, arguments like stealing yes, but white lies no, adultery yes, but porn no, alcohol yes, but nicotine no, would be absolutely unacceptable. In all of this you overcome far through your Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:37). Our final question that we ask of the Bible text should be:
7 How Can Christians Overcome the World? What has been said so far may sound unusually positive, perhaps even unreal, from your perspective so far. However, I hope that by now, like me, you will base your opinion on the Bible alone. In some places this belief is unpopular and sometimes also controversial.However, let us firmly take the position: What does the Bible say about this? For example, what is written in 1 Jn 5: 4 and verse 5 about the conditions for a surviving life? In verse 4 it says: For everything that is born of God overcomes the world; and our faith is the victory that conquered the world. And in verse 5 it says: But who is it who overcomes the world, if not, who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This text clearly states three conditions. That makes it easier for you to be certain of it. The first condition would be fulfilled with you if you can testify beyond doubt: I am born again through God! (see also page 22) If you are often down in the fight against sin, then you should seriously clarify the question: Am I really born again? In other words, am I sure that I am saved and am I completely certain that my sins have been forgiven? Notice that John did not say: Everyone who has been baptized overcomes the world. Baptism does not bring about regeneration without repentance and faith. Nor does he say: Whoever is a loyal member of his recognized church or free church, who prays a lot, sacrifices or does good, overcomes the world. You can appreciate and do all of these important things without being born again. Your rebirth occurs through a conscious change of heart (repentance) and faith in Jesus Christ. If you have experienced this concretely and personally, then the first condition for victory over sin would be fulfilled. 3 As not born again, you fight sin on your own, but without permanently conquering it. As a second condition, John expects your faith. He writes: Our faith is the victory that overcomes the world, indeed overcomes it. What is meant here is not your belief in the forgiveness of sins in rebirth. Instead, John asks you whether you already believe and courageously confess: Because of my rebirth, I am a conqueror of the world, and thus victor over sin and the world! With this you confirm: Victory over the world is not the result of my performance. He is God's precious gift and his great gift of grace. It follows, of course, that you take victory over the victory that the wicked do not have to achieve themselves. No, you take and the world has overcome, believing in right now! have your triumphant life in courageous faith and praise the Lord. It does not take you very long to accept this gift of victory. They make up their minds for it and just now believe in the victory that has conquered the world (for more details, p.24). And because you will then be a conqueror of the world by faith, you can and should thank God for it every day. But the basis of your faith is and remains only God's word. Faith speaks boldly: This is how it is clearly written - for example in 1 John! During the interrogation in Worms, Martin Luther confessed to the emperor and empire: My conscience is trapped in God's word. He wanted to be dissuaded from his faith in faith only by clear statements of the Holy Scriptures. And that is exactly what you are doing from today. You have probably met condition 3 for a long time. John mentions them in verse 5 and refers to another aspect of faith. He says: But who is it who overcomes the world if not the one who believes that Jesus is God's Son? All the apostle expects from you is the simple confession: I believe with all my heart that Jesus is God's Son. 3 Practical example of the liberating effect of rebirth p.19 7
8 They confess that only as the Son of God was he able to redeem me from all guilty sin through his blood. At the same time, he freed me from Satan's power over my life. You have thus met all the requirements for a survival life. As a born again you have the privilege to boldly face the devil and the world wherever and whenever. Like Jesus, command: get away from me, you Satan; because it is written! Defy it: Christ in me is stronger than you. That is why I will resist and overcome everything and keep the field! (Ephesians 5:13). You have plenty of reason to praise and thank God from the bottom of your heart. After the sermon I mentioned on this topic, I invited the audience to confess their current state of faith to the neighbor next to them. I suggested that anyone who believed the word of God that they were conquering the world should hold out their hand to their neighbors with the words: Be happy with: I am a conqueror of the world! After a few moments they started doing it. It became a joyous confession and blessing in the name of the Lord. Confess your belief in victory too! Tell all Christians who are still in doubt: Believe it! Because you have Jesus, you are a world conqueror! Through Jesus you will triumph over Satan, sin and the ungodly world. Because you are now a world conqueror by faith, you need practice areas to train this belief in your overcomer potential in everyday life, as it were. Before I get into that, let's examine some behavioral principles that you need to know about in the winning position. 8th
9 How do I live as a world conqueror? But we know that all things are for the best of those who love God, those who are called according to his counsels. Rom 8, After my sermon over conquerors in that church, I saw many happy and relaxed faces. The majority of those present had acknowledged their new status as world conquerors. They were ready to accept their victorious position because of their rebirth and the promise of God as his gift. They were relieved that they weren't allowed to fight for this outstanding position first, but were allowed to acquire it immediately in an act of faith. After the service, however, there were questions about how world conquerors actually fare in everyday life? From this the above topic for my next sermon arose. At the beginning of this sermon after a few weeks, I emphasized that everyday life with its challenges and problems would have caught up with everyone again. I was curious to see how many of them still believed they were overcomers. Astonishingly many answered. They had understood that one must first be a world conqueror in order to then prove oneself as such. They understood that one must first be a world conqueror in order to then prove oneself as such I now reconsider with you on the basis of Romans 8. But wait! If the overcomer belief still seems problematic to you, I would like to encourage you beforehand with a song text: Believe, believe and trust, it says, believe against all appearances! Believe, believe and trust; believe and the victory is yours! I remind you that if you are born of God and believe that Jesus is God's Son (1 Jn 5: 3, 4), then the conditions for being a world conqueror are fulfilled with you. Do not be irritated by doubtful feelings, experiences and arguments! They are because it is written: Everything that is born of God overcomes the world (5: 3). Consciously accept this truth - like that of your forgiveness of sins - in faith and thank God for it with all your heart. Once you take this step of faith, you will be in a victory position. You are certain: for the sake of Christ who lives in me, I share in his victory. You are no longer a failure, but with him a conqueror of the world. But by no means all problems have been resolved and all victories have been achieved. Their location is similar to that of the people of Israel after they entered the Promised Land. The desert hike was over and the Jordan crossed. The Israelites were certain of victory, but secretly still had respect for the high walls and giants that had ruled Canaan up to now. You now had to learn to think, act and fight as winners. And that took time. With the constantly new challenges, it was even associated with dangers. The same will happen to you when you take the land in the Canaan of your heart. Let the 4 rules of life for world conquerors encourage you in your struggle of faith: 1. I let God's spirit help me up (verse 26) In the chapter of overcomers in Romans (8) the apostle Paul unexpectedly speaks about our weaknesses (8, 37). In verse 26 he confesses: the Spirit helps our weaknesses because we do not know what to pray, how it is due. World conquerors and
10 weakness? we ask immediately. How does that fit together? Why does Paul suddenly claim that he is not even able to pray properly? Concerning his confession in Romans 7:18: I have will, but I lack the accomplishment! so every Christian after all? The logic says: Either one is strong and overcomes his weaknesses including Satan and the world, or one is weak, fails and is overcome. May I ask how you would resolve this contradiction? I myself admit that at first only an either / or seemed to me to be conclusive and therefore justifiable. But the Holy Spirit helped my inability to think spiritually or divinely. He taught me that rational contradictions can be perfectly acceptable to the belief system of the born again. Yes, I understood that the apparent opposites even complement each other from a spiritual point of view. In 2 Corinthians, for example, Paul was most fond of boasting of his weaknesses (2 Cor 12: 9). He even asserted quite boldly: because if I am weak, then I am strong (v.10). This insight that God's power is mighty in the weak (v.9) will not immediately be plausible to you - like me - after the rebirth. Even Paul wanted to quickly get rid of the stake in the flesh that made him weak. The otherwise rather lively pioneer type felt as if he had been beaten with his fists (v.7). Only after repeated pleading did he accept his weakness and even see its usefulness. Because it saved him from being arrogant. You too will often find it painful to experience your limits. However, like Paul, you will increasingly find a yes to your weaknesses. You will be disappointed at times. You will experience wrong decisions and probably also mishaps. Affirm that in yourself you are incapable of living as an overcomer, in fact unable to even pray properly. But as a child of God you are and will not be alone then. During your rebirth you received divine support and helpers. God gave you his Holy Spirit (Tit 3: 5-6). But this mind is more than a force or an influence. He is part of the Trinity and therefore an omnipotent divine Person. Jesus promised his disciples: My father and I will come and live with him (Jn 14:23). And that is exactly what happened in your spiritual rebirth. Jesus himself and God with him have entered your heart through the Holy Spirit to stand by you and to do all that is good from now on. The bottom line of this glorious fact is that God and Christ are strong enough to help you in any and every weakness. And both of them are waiting to do it. That is precisely why they came into your heart as your temple. You do not want to be a watchdog or an appraiser of your achievements, but rather to prove yourself as your supporter, helper, comforter and teacher. What luck to be a child of God! It is therefore only a matter of trusting Christ's care and no longer wanting to do everything yourself. You can be as weak as a baby in the womb. You can let God, the Father, the Son and the Spirit pamper you, care for you, educate you and let yourself be helped wherever necessary. How lucky to be a child of God! 2. I Accept God's Calling Purpose As you read on now, you are already doing something important to support your perhaps still tentative belief in victory. You deal with the basis of your Christianity, the unmistakable word of God. Let us examine the question in Romans 8: Does God have a certain concept, that is, a plan for my life? And if so, what did he call me to do after his counsel (v.28)? At the same time, we have asked about the meaning and goal of your life. In the next verse the clear answer is: For those he has chosen, he has also predetermined that they should be like the image of his son, so that he may be the firstborn among many brothers (v.29). So God has more plans for you than to bring you to Heaven. There is a high calling associated with your choice to stand before him. Their character, their behavior,
11 Your thinking, feeling and willing are to be restored for heaven, as it were. The model of this profound renewal of life is the flawless image of Jesus Christ. That is undoubtedly an ambitious goal - a very high calling. Because we are all still quite a long way from this high goal. You may therefore rightly ask yourself: Can and will I ever achieve this high goal of being like Jesus? If you're looking at yourself alone, then you certainly won't. But your special educator, the Holy Spirit, has already reached you. And God always remains your good Father. So the question is not whether you alone, but whether the three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit - together with you - will make it. You can be sure that God, as your Father, will invest much, very much with you for this purpose. While I was speaking on this topic in a ward, a happy young father stood in the back row. I asked him to come forward with his baby after all. I then asked him if he and his wife felt totally responsible for the growth, upbringing and education of their child. When he replied in the affirmative, I asked the congregation what chances this weak baby would have for its future with these parents. It sounded good unanimously! I repeated whether they would really trust their parents, which everyone happily affirmed. Now I turned to Andre, the child's father. When I asked how long he had been a Christian, he replied: A little over a year. At his age as a Christian, he was like the baby who was still wearing diapers and couldn't even walk. I reminded the congregation of God's caring fatherly love and now asked what chance Andre would have for his future as a spiritual baby with these parents. It sounded almost unanimously in the room: Very good chances! Despite the best opportunities, however, a certain factor of uncertainty remains in every maturation process. There is, for example, the son of a factory owner who his father chose to take over his large company later. For this demanding goal of his son, the father takes a lot in terms of upbringing and training. In terms of talent, the son could very well achieve his father's high goal; but at some point he no longer agrees. Perhaps the educational path seems too stressful to him. He wants to enjoy his youth, botches the exams and makes a conscious decision for an alternative, more comfortable life. God's calling purpose for His children is that they should become like His Son's image. You have probably already realized, dear reader, what this consequently means for you. After all, Jesus once said: Take my yoke on yourselves and learn from me because I am meek and humble in heart (Mt 11:29). He himself therefore urges you to estimate the costs of consequent succession. And Peter sketches the image of the Son of God with the words: He who has committed no sin and in whose mouth there was no deception; who did not revile when he was reviled, nor threatened when he suffered; but he left it to him who judges righteously (1 Pt 2: 22-23). Peter had already made it clear beforehand: For this is what you are called to follow in his footsteps (verse 21). Normally, when you were converted, you would have chosen to be formed into the image of Jesus. But perhaps own, attractive goals of this world have pushed themselves in between, as it were. Therefore it will be helpful or even necessary to consciously renew your yes to God's life goal. That could mean: 11
12 3. I accept God's training program Christians who accept God's goal in life instead of earthly concepts have answered the question in the affirmative as to whether they really love God. Asking about the father's will and taking it seriously is sufficient evidence of this. Knowing this is again necessary in order to be happy and relaxed in the vicissitudes of life. For only those who love God, according to Rom. 8:28, will all things serve for the best. To be able to believe that drives away fear of the future and brings about peace and happiness in life without limits. Displeasure, bitterness, frustration and the like arise when your often secret life priorities collide with everyday reality. For those who love God, another, latent question is relaxed . The question is: What is the best for me? Especially in tricky life situations, you want to know what is good, yes, what is best for you. The answers to this are always subjective. You are guided by what is most important to you personally, what you consider best for yourself. Anyone who favors health as the greatest good, for example, will soon be depressed by an illness camp. If you want to make a great career, only top exams and recommendations will serve you well. Anyone who aims to get rich quick as a life goal will certainly not consider frequent rivets in the lottery game to be the best.Displeasure, bitterness, frustration and the like arise when your often secret life priorities collide with everyday reality. As a conscious Christian, you have already decided on the question of priorities. You have carefully accepted God's definition of what is best for your life. Your best is - to redefine it - to resemble the image of the Son of God, yes, to become equal (V29). There is no higher and more valuable goal in life for you. Because they believe that it is worth pursuing because there is a resurrection, a heaven, and an eternity in which to glorify God. This saves you from disappointment, as all goals and values related to this world often burst like soap bubbles before your eyes. We only need to mention cancer as an example. Admittedly, this line of sight to the heavenly goal remains contested and contested on a daily basis. What the world offers with its shimmering lust suggests heaven on earth to us here. But since God is your loving Father, trust that his spirit will help you to keep a firm eye on the divine goal in life and to achieve it. With the biblical promise that all things serve for the best of those who love God, you discover another great plus. Trusting Christians learn to see all the turbulences of everyday life and holidays from their positive side. The best thing for Christians, as we saw, is that all things, events, quarrels, etc., must contribute to the transformation of character into the image of Christ. The taunts at home or at work can turn from catastrophic bullying into useful learning impulses. Where non-Christians complain, accuse and maybe even curse, world conquerors learn to thank them in faith. I want to underline that they are learning. Because in order to learn patience, for example, the heavenly teacher sometimes needs a lot of time. The disease therefore does not go away immediately; profit-conscious colleagues do not want to change; the moody-reproachful boss or spouse, or, or doesn't stop insulting and beating you down. Sometimes everything stays the same for what seems like forever. But only apparently. Because under the pressure of suffering, your character is transformed from its Adamic caricature into the image of the being of Christ. Only when you have learned to be patient, to forgive, not to bark again, etc., do circumstances change - and sometimes even people. But sometimes God also leads his children - like Daniel's friends - out of the fiery furnace to another place. But it could be that a lions' den is already waiting for them at the new location. Would you be willing to go there if you knew? If you are already reasonably well trained, you would answer me: Why not? God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit stay with me. You have me intact, yes strengthened from 12
13 led out of the furnace. I am sure they will shut the lions' jaws if that is good for me. You will not be able to prove to anyone that all things are for your best. But you can believe it. They believe that God loves you infinitely as his child, that he has an individual training program for you in order to achieve his ultimate goal of renewing your heart. You have fully entrusted yourself to his care. You believe that he is omnipotent, always in control and that challenges you, but never overwhelms you. How and where he will lead you is entirely up to your Heavenly Father. There can be times of all kinds of hardship or surprising blessings. With the two words all things, however, you will be a learner for the rest of your life. How and where he will lead you can be confidently left to your heavenly Father. It is not easy to rely entirely on his own wishes and ideas as to how it would be or should be better to renounce. Even Jesus had to learn this during the agony in Gethsemane and on the torture cross of Golgotha. All things really include everything. But you can be confident. As Jesus found a conscious yes to the path of dying, so will you find a full yes to true following. The Christ in you enables you to confidently find your say yes during times of sickness, times of temptation, times of exclusion, times of humiliation, times of persecution, and even times of death. And just as Jesus experienced God's victory on Easter morning, so you too will be able to overcome everything that comes your way and experience God's omnipotence. Perhaps you are not used to thinking so positively about yourself and your Christianity. But this self-affirming view of life is biblically legitimate and, for a Christian, fully founded. Jesus and the apostles made many efforts to increase the self-esteem of all of God's children. Let's get to the topic: How do I live as a world conqueror? in verse 30: 4. I consolidate my belief in overcomers In this one verse we find four attributes that encourage us to value our Christian status and thus ourselves highly. In it Paul describes how much the highest majesty of the universe, namely God, has invested for the dignity of his sons and daughters: but those whom he has predetermined, he has also called; but those whom he called he also justified; but those whom he has justified, he has also made them glorious (Romans 8:30). As a Christian, you need a positive, value-conscious attitude towards yourself. And as a child of God Most High, you have every reason to do so. You can, among other things, called to your predestination, calling, justification and glorification by God, the absolute sovereign. Of course, you know very well how sinful, guilty, and lost you are by nature. But God acted on you. Your sin guilt is forgiven by the blood of Jesus. He has chosen you to be his child and heir. They were born of God and thus, as it were, placed in the nobility. There is no higher nobility than being a child of God. The last and most exalted attribute Paul mentions in verse 30, we hardly dare to apply to ourselves, much less to pronounce it. Nevertheless, it is true, because it is clearly written: those whom he has made just, he has also glorified or made glorious. This certainly does not mean any external gold jewelry that earthly majesties like to hang with. Rather, it is the inner ornamentation of the heart and thus nothing and no one other than Christ himself. He came into our hearts when his temple came. And he fills us with his glory and its splendor. As I said, such an excellent appreciation of yourself as a personality is almost unbelievable. But the tense that Paul uses confirms this for you. It actually says: He glorified us, not about, he will do it sometime in eternity. Believe it! Rejoice and thank God for such an election! You can and should deepen this new status as a king's child, this position as a conqueror of the world, through faithful reading of the Bible every day. We want to deal with this elementary question in detail in the next chapter.
14 How do I triumph as a world conqueror? If God is for us, who can be against us? - For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither high nor low, nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8, Through the letter to the Romans of the apostle Paul, God gave Christianity very rich gifts. In chapters 6-8 in particular, fundamental truths of salvation are brought near to those who are in Christ. In the text we looked at last (Ch. 8, 26ff.), We perceived four basic rights in following Jesus: We can regard ourselves as predestined, called, made just, and even glorified by God (v. 30). With the above statements, Paul starts a triumphant song to which all believers can gratefully join in. Let's try to do that together now: With the question: What do we want to say about this now? (V.31) Paul looks back on everything that has been said so far. He wants to draw a conclusion and, as it were, to summarize the privileges of being children of God. Paul wants Christians not only to agree to their new quality of life, but to appropriate it, to take it for themselves in faith. The following scene may show you how important this conscious acceptance is: A beggar stands at your door and asks for money. They see his worn out suit, feel sorry for him and get a well-preserved suit from their closet. To the beggar's hesitant objections, you answer: Take him! The suit is really yours now! You would look forward to shining eyes and two outstretched arms that gratefully grasp the present. It would also be quite normal for the recipient to proudly tell his fellow beggars: Be happy; this gem really belongs to me! However, changing his clothes would be another necessary step for him to enjoy the gift. Something similar happens when, as a beggar in the Spirit, you consciously accept God's abundance of grace in Jesus Christ. Self-esteem - highest personality value This example of the beggar who received a gift illustrates another plus point for you as a Christian. There is a considerable increase in your self-worth associated with God's gift to you. As we have seen, Paul gave all Christians an astonishingly high quality of life. His question: What do we want to say about this now? therefore includes the question of the status, the new identity and the awareness of values as a Christian. It is therefore logical for you, as a child of God, to ask yourself: What can I now think of myself? How can I assess myself, how can I think about myself? Paul gives an enormously positive, liberating answer to those who belong to Christ. But before we get into that, let me say something in general on the subject of self-assessment: A positive self-esteem is eminently important for a successful life. The clear yes to yourself can in the long run satisfy you more than an abundance of food, luxury and sex. On the other hand, you will find it harder to cope with an inferior self-assessment than other deficits in life. Our awareness of values is built up and strengthened on the basis of recognition and attention from caregivers. Appreciation is therefore demonstrably one of the basic needs of human existence. During an identity crisis, you literally hunger to be recognized and respected. One unconsciously looks around, as it were, asking oneself constantly: Who likes me? Who values and affirms me? Who am I loved by? Who am I accepted by? I know a young married woman with four children. We want to call her Heike. She copes with her everyday life quite well. But she knows that she herself is one of nine children that her mother, probably a prostitute, left behind in the baby ward immediately after giving birth. The desire for identity was pressing 14
15 the outcast nevertheless to look for her mother. When contact with her failed, she tried to find her father. But the male voice on the phone also did not want any contact. It was completely uncertain whether he was really her father, the young woman learned, since her mother also had conversations with other men.But the male voice on the phone also did not want any contact.You are probably asking yourself, rightly, whether such serious value deficits will ever compensate for each other , so let it be balanced? Perhaps, like many others, you have already sought advice and help from a psychiatrist yourself. This has probably revealed the causes of your emotional distress, but has not really been able to resolve them. You now know that psychiatric treatment in the event of deficits in value and bad conscience can probably suppress the necessary symptoms in the short term. But that doesn't help you in the end. The therapeutic attempt to suggest dubious substitute values in the case of inferiority problems also remains inadequate. Your conscience differentiates very precisely. It's not that easy to outsmart. The structure of needs in your heart But what happens, you will continue to ask, when people like Heike become Christians at some point? Are all origins deficits and conflicts of guilt in the root area thereby healed and holistically overcome? And if so, how does it happen? Who is the doctor and what therapy is needed? The apostle Paul answers the first question with an authentic one: Yes, it is possible! Inferiority problems are healed in Christians. The specialist in this complex area is its creator, God himself. He is assisted by his Son, the co-creator and redeemer of the universe, Jesus Christ, as well as by the supporter and helper, the Holy Spirit. In order to understand the therapy question, we must first rethink the structure of our personality's needs. God has not only determined and enabled us humans to deal with his creatures, that is, with our own kind. Because God is a person, he wanted to allow us direct contact with himself. For both communication levels - man and God - we therefore feel a basic need for harmony and trust. In order to be able to live happily, you therefore need the benevolence of God or peace with God on the vertical level. And on the horizontal plane, you crave affection, trust, and love from people. However, the desire for intimate contact with God is dominant in your sensations of need. Assured of his affection and love, you can deal with the loss of human favor and respect. Conversely, you remain unsatisfied and empty inside, even if you have the sympathy of many people. God for us - the value of all values A look at the earthly and heavenly structure of needs will change your scale of values. You get new priorities. This view of existence inspires you to long for God. You will be motivated to seek his benevolence - yes, to seek him yourself. And God has invested a lot so that you really find his loving heart. The very first statement in Paul's triumphal song confirms that for Christ's sake God is for you and no longer against you. This leaves no doubt that he also values and loves you as a sinner. At this relationship level a door opens for disappointed, unsatisfied and discouraged people. Admittedly, it is difficult for disadvantaged people with Heike's origins and past to believe in a turnaround. The prodigal son, for example, aptly judges himself with the words: Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy of being called your son (Luke 15:21). He had moved out confidently once. But since dealing with the pigs, his self-worth was gone. 15th
16 But he was no longer there. He got up and came back to his father. And with his decision to do so, the astonishing turnaround began. When his father then took him in his arms, he felt and began to believe that this is now for him and no longer against him. What a chance there is for Heike, the identity-hungry daughter of a prostitute! She can receive Jesus Christ so that she can henceforth be a child of God, the Most High. For it was precisely towards the dishonored, the identityless, the stranded that Jesus leaned down. Jesus leaned down to the dishonored, the unidentified and stranded, especially to the tax collectors and sinners, he called the troubled and burdened to him. He assured a whore that your sins were forgiven and that the despised adulteress he said kindly, I do not condemn you. Jesus' benevolence freed them from the inner compulsion to seek love, acceptance and recognition in people. In Jesus' love she found a new relationship horizon, a real home. Whoever you are: The familiar contact with Jesus Christ will free you from human dependency and make your personality stable. If God is for me, then step everything against me! You will be able to exclaim boldly with Martin Luther. He once said: If God's favor remains with me, man will find favor. If she can't be found, drive her to the devil! God's favor is enough for me. New self-esteem basis through well-founded faith In his triumphal song of faith, the apostle Paul is very sure that God is for him and loves him. It is true that he, too, confesses that he is not worth being called an apostle, because he had persecuted the church of God (1 Cor 15: 9). But now he praises: For I am certain that neither death nor life can separate us from the love of God, which is (sealed) in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38, 39). This triumphant faith of the apostle began rather timidly when he was converted before Damascus. Only after the brotherly encouragement from Ananias could he grasp that God was now for him for Christ's sake. The same happened to the returning son when he embraced his father. It may be that the happy father deliberately hugged his repentant son several times. Because every warm hug deepened the good news: Believe it, I will accept you, you are very valuable to me. I forgive you everything and I love you! In order to strengthen his trust, the father grants his son further helping signs. To prove his love, he receives new clothes and shoes and a ring on his hand.He was also encouraged by the lavish celebration with a place of honor for the now rescued son. You may object that you would like to see similar signs of God's fatherly love, but still miss them. Paul meets your wish in his triumphal song. In Romans 8:32 he gives you the proof of all proofs of love: God did not spare his own son, but gave him away for all of us. How should he not give us everything with HIM? There is no greater sign of God's forgiving love for you and all of humanity. In saying for all of us, Paul confirms that there are no exceptions. Neither you nor anyone in the world is excluded from God's love. He did not spare his beloved son: he did not spare him when he was condemned to a cruel death at the curse wood. He did not stop Jesus being whipped and sharp thorns pressed on his head. God held back his host of angels when his beloved Son's hands and feet were pierced. And he did not spare him as he hung between heaven and earth covered in blood, when he screamed loudly in agony and then fell silent in death. The incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ are well documented as historical facts. That Christ wounds for the sake of all of us, therefore also for your iniquity and for your sin
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