The Responsibility Of The Believer

                                             The Word of God - Lesson V B

        The Responsibility of the Believer 

We have studied the subject of our position in Christ, which is a position we have come into because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That position has made us acceptable to God. However, we need to then as believers, begin to make that position a reality in our lives as we can see from the following passage.

Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed –not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence –continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

Many passages in Scripture tell us what we are to do as believers to make our position in Christ a reality in our lives.

For instance the Apostle Paul teaches that we who are believers are to not to give in to sinful desires as we can read in:

Romans 6:12-13

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God , as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.

And in Romans 8:12-13

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation –but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

And in Galatians 5:16-21

So I (Paul) say, “Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit to what is contrary to the sinful nature. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

And in Ephesians 4:22-24

You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in righteousness and holiness.

And in Colossians 3:5-11

Put to death therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of such things as these; anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

The Apostle Peter likewise teaches those of us who are believers not to give in to our sinful nature as we can read in:

I Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

And in I Peter 2:11-12

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.

The Apostle John writes along similar lines as we can read in:

I John 5:18

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe and the evil one cannot harm him.

Paul urges those of us who are believers to have a renewed mind as we can read in:

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God –this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.

And in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -if anything is excellent or praise worthy- think about such things.

And in Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

And in Colossians 3:1-3

Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

The Apostle James too focuses on the importance of a renewed mind as we can read in:

James 3:13-18

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that come from wisdom. But if you harbour envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Peter likewise teaches on the importance of a renewed mind as we can read in:

I Peter 1:13-16

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your minds fully on the grace to be given you when Christ is revealed. As obedient children do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: “Be holy because I am holy.

This is a reference to Leviticus 11:44a

……and be holy, because I am holy.

And in I Peter 4:7-8

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Paul teaches those of us who are believers that we are to honour God in everything and not be concerned about the world’s standard as we can read in:

I Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

And in Colossians 2:16

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink or with regard to a religious festival, a New moon Celebration or a Sabbath Day….

Paul teaches those of us who are believers that we are not to have an intimate relationship with unbelievers as we can read in:

II Corinthians 6:14-16a

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Chris and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

And he teaches us that we are to avoid those who claim to be godly but are not as we can read in:

II Timothy 3:1-5

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Paul teaches those of us who are believers not to be envious of others as we can read in:

Galatians 5:25-26

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

James teaches us not to show favouritism as we can read in:

James 2:1

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favouritism.

Paul teaches those of us who are believers that our speech is to be influenced by the Holy Spirit as we can read in:

Ephesians 4:25-28

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are al members of one body. In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

And in Ephesians 4:29-31

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

And in Ephesians 5:3-7

But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person –such a man is an idolater has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no-one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes of those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

James teaches us likewise as we can read in:

James 1:19-21

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word that is planted in you, which can save you.

And in James 1:26-27

If anyone considers himself religious and does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Paul tells those of us who are believers to rejoice in the Lord always regardless of the circumstances as we can read in:

Philippians 4:4-6

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

He teaches us of the importance of love as we can read in:

Romans 12:9-21

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is Mine to revenge, I will repay,” says the Lord.

(see Deuteronomy 32:35 It is Mine to avenge; I will repay.)

On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; in doing this you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And in Ephesians 5:1-2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us, and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

And in Colossians 3:12-14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Peter teaches us on the importance of love as well as we can read in:

I Peter 2:16-17

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone; Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king.

And in I Peter 3:8-9

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessings, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Likewise, John teaches us on the importance of the right kind of love as we can read in:

I John 2:9-11

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother is in the light and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

And in I John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

And in I John 3:16-18

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

And in I John 4:19-21

We love God because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

And in I John 5:3-4

“This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Paul teaches those of us who are believers to walk in peace as we can read in:

Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

James teaches us to submit to God as we can read in:

James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

He teaches us of the importance of patience as we can read in:

James 5:7a

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming....

James teaches us as well not to be a complaining people as we can read in:

James 5:9

Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is at the door.

Peter teaches those of us who are believers that we will suffer as we can read in:

I Peter 2:20b-21

….But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.

And in I Peter 3:13-14a

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.

And in I Peter 4:1-2

Therefore, since Christ died in His body, arm yourselves with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

And in I Peter 4:12

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted, because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

And in I Peter 4:19

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

As we who are believers submit ourselves daily to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives we will live in a manner that is pleasing to God and honouring His Name in an increasing measure. 

In our next study we will look at the subject of the authority of the believer.

Lesson V C - The Authority Of The Believer