I, therefore, thus run, not as uncertainly, thus I fight, as not beating air; but I chastise my body, and bring [it] into servitude, lest by any means, having preached to others -- I myself may become disapproved. -1 Cor 9:26-27 (Young's Literal)I am working on a short study of walking in the new nature (spirit). I wanted to give a little context to help us see the importance of the warnings and encouragements surrounding such an endeavor.
The greatest motivators should be love of the Lord and a peaceful heart and mind. The carnal Christian will experience misery in this life and loss in the next. We want to avoid both of these, and thankfully, there is a remedy. But more details about the remedy in another study.
Today, I just want to quickly look at Paul's warning and guidance in 1 Corinthians (quoted above).
The Christian life is a race.
have ye not known that those running in a race -- all indeed run, but one doth receive the prize? so run ye, that ye may obtain; and every one who is striving, is in all things temperate; these, indeed, then, that a corruptible crown they may receive, but we an incorruptible -1 Cor 9:25 (YL)We are to run this race with all the effort we would give in striving to win a temporal race. There are rewards and crowns and prizes which await the Christian who learns to fully walk in his new nature. To be sure, the gift of resurrection (eternal) life is free. It requires faith alone (John 3:16; 5:24, Rom 6:23, etc.), but we will all still stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ.
For we must all be manifested before the judgment-seat of the Christ, that each may receive the things [done] in the body, according to those he has done, whether [it be] good or evil. -2 Cor 5:10 (Darby)Christians can do evil things. Christian do do evil things when we walk in the flesh. We will look at walking in the new nature and not in the flesh next time, but here let us see what Paul instructs in our opening verse:
We must not "fight" the flesh with great outward swings for the world to see, We must actually "land blows" as it were. Our striving must have consequences. The old nature (carnal, fleshly) must be dealt with personally and in concrete terms.
How many of us chastise the world for its wickedness as we ignore the carnality in our own lives? The world has not the new nature. Our message to the world is John 3:16 and 2 Cor 5:19. God has already been reconciled to man. Their sins are already forgiven. Yet they do not have "life" without faith. We are the ambassadors of that message of reconciliation.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. - 2 Cor 5:18-20 (ESV)We do not have the ministry of condemnation. The world is condemned to death already (John 3:18). We who have found life through His name (John 20:31), have a message of reconciliation for the world, and a message of walking in the new nature for the church. Let's not confuse the two ministries. Both involve forgiveness and patience (which is hard because of our old nature).
One last thought related to hymnology. Here are just a couple of really awful hymns about the Judgement Seat of Christ. One of which is in the 1860 Hymnal "Sabbath School Bell No. 2" (lots of problems there as well). But, hey, they didn't use drums, right?
Remember the three most important things in discerning what music we should be using: