This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Learning to Possess Your Possessions.
Many Christians are saved, but don't act like it. Most believers are victims rather than victors.
The Bible says that the saved have peace that passes understanding, joy unspeakable, and will be full of glory. How many Christians would you describe that way? How many people in your congregation would say, “I am completely satisfied in Jesus”?
We want to bring the Bible down, rather than bring our lives up to the Bible. We need to bring our lives up to the standard God has for us.
The Bible says that when Jesus died, His death had our name on it.
Colossians 3:3; see also Galatians 2:20
“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God…”
That is true about every mother’s child who is saved.
“…Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth.”
Wait—doesn't the Bible say we are already dead? Is that a contradiction? No!
Paul is saying that while, technically, you died with Christ and are now alive with Him, practically, you must appropriate what you have in Christ.
When Israel was going into Canaan, God told Joshua,
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.”
It was already theirs. God said, “I have given it to you—now go in and possess your possessions.”
Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
What does that have to do with victorious living? Why did Paul start talking about marriage, divorce, dying and remarrying? He is giving us an incredible object lesson. Paul is saying that, yes, by nature we are married to the law, and the law makes demands that we cannot meet, no matter how hard we try.
But when Jesus died, we died with Him.
“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”
Now, we are the Bride of Christ.
So the first step is to learn dying and start living. Die to the old ways. Jesus said,
“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Say, “I can't please the law, Jesus. You died for me, I died with you, so I come to the end of that old way.” Then you will start living.
You have to go through death to get to Heaven, and you have die to yourself to get to the victorious life. This is not morbid; this is joyful—Jesus said,
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
But you will not live abundantly until you say, “Yes, Jesus, I died with you. And thank God, I rose with you.”
The Apostle Paul here starts to give his biography as an early Christian.
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.”
Then he finds out that love’s requirements are even higher. The law said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Love says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).
We think that when we get saved, we won't sin anymore. But then that old flesh rises up, and we think, “Where did that come from? Oh God, I’m sorry.”
The devil whispers, “Maybe you weren't saved at all. Don’t go to church and be a hypocrite—you know what a rotten life you’re living. Maybe you don't have what it takes.”
A lost man cannot keep the law of God, and a saved man cannot keep the law of God in his own strength. This is what Paul found.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”
Paul came to a place where he was almost brokenhearted.
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
The way to live the victorious life is not by trying. God has provided a victory for you, and that victory is with the person to whom you are married: that is, Jesus Christ.
The law said to go one mile, but love says to go two. But do you know what you will discover? Everything love tells you to do, it will do with you, or for you. Christ says, “I want this done this way. Come, I'll help you do it.”
Every demand of God upon your life is a demand on Jesus Christ who lives in you. You cannot do it. The sooner you throw up your hands and you say, “Oh, wretched man that I am!” you will hear the answer: deliverance comes through Jesus Christ.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
How do you live the Christian life? By the Holy Spirit of God in you.
There is the law of sin and death, the righteous law of God, but there is another law: the law of the Spirit. This is when you say, “Oh God, I can't. But you can, God, and you always said you would, so now I stop trying and I start trusting.” At that time, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes you free from the law of sin and death.
Quit crying, “Oh wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24a) and start praising: “ I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)
What would happen if all Christians really laid hold of their possessions—if they didn’t make a Bible that would match their lives, but let their lives match the Bible?
This is not for an unbeliever. No unbeliever can live a victorious, abundant life, with the Spirit of God in him. And to be saved, you must receive the gift of salvation: the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 7, 8:1-2; Colossians 3:3,5; Galatians 2:20; Joshua 1:3; Matthew 10:39; John 10:10; Luke 6:27
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.