Isaiah 66:5 “Hear the word of the LORD, You who tremble at His word: “Your brethren who hated you, Who cast you out for My name’s sake, said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, That we may see your joy.’ But they shall be ashamed.”
In today’s society it seems the need to lay claim to personal rights is at an all time high, or at least the determination to see them realized. From the right to bear arms to the right of having an abortion, the endless struggle to maintain autonomy over one’s life is fought with endless fervor.
Many have seen their loss of rights, for instance in many communist countries your rights are what the party proclaims them to be. If you try to exert a personal right for which the party disagrees, you’ll be arrested and tried for insurrection. In like fashion, many muslim countries that practice sharia law remove the rights of the individual unless they fall in alignment with the Quran. If you practice a faith outside of the law, you are castigated as a heathen and you could lose your life. The threat of being arrested and thrown in prison is a common concern among many believers throughout the world.
A New Order
When a person dedicates their life to Christ they make a decision to forsake their perceived rights as individuals and adopt the standard that God has set before them.
Philippians 3:8 "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ"
Just because a believer chooses to relinquish the autonomy they knew apart from Christ doesn’t mean they have no rights, it just means these rights look different now. We have been redeemed from darkness and brought into the light of Christ, it is by this light we see the world from a different perspective. Before we lived according the world’s standard of goodness, now we embrace God’s standard of righteousness, His Moral law. It was by this law we understood our sin and the need for grace and it is by this law we now live as an expression of our love for God and others.
The order of our life has shifted dramatically if our lives are being led by Jesus. It is along this path that we find a reality of God working around us and in us that changes the dynamics of who we are, of what we do and say, and ultimately by what guides us in our journey.
John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”
To know God is to communicate with God, to walk with Him, to listen to instruction, and then respond with obedience. The Lord has a vested interest in our growth and maturity, His desire to see as many people saved from death is the motivating factor for building into us His image.
The Lord has not left us alone to fend for ourselves but He has empowered us to walk in step with His Spirit.
As we walk in Christ there are certain privileges we have a right to as His people.
Our Rights as Believers
1. We have been adopted as children of God.
Ephesians 1:4-5 “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,”
With our adoption comes certain privileges as children of God.
A. God has given us His Spirit as a guarantee for salvation.
2 Corinthians 5:5. “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
B. With God’s Spirit comes the opportunity to walk with God and hear His voice.
1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
C. We are co-heirs with Christ. His Kingdom has been granted to us as sons and daughters of the King.
Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”
The privileges we have obtained in Christ are immediate in the sense that we are elevated into a position of freedom from sin and death but there are other privileges that are realized over time as we grow in our faith and learn to submit to His Spirit working in us. The move from new believer walking in the milk of the Word and starting out in a basic understanding of God’s Truth continues to progress into a maturity in faith that manifests itself in wisdom and the revelation of God’s power in and through us.
How does this growth occur?
By forsaking our old life of habitual sin and walking in obedience to God’s moral law.
1 Peter 1:1-3 “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
Still not sold on the idea that God’s moral law as key in not only evangelism but in walking in righteousness? Look how this short list in 1 Peter 1 parallels God’s moral law.
*Malice and evil speaking about others is equal to murder in God’s eyes—6th commandment
*Deceit is the same as lying—9th commandment
*Envy is the same as covetousness—10th commandment
You can take any list in the Bible that reveals the attributes of rebellion and sin and apply it to God’s moral law, you’ll find they parallel in the same fashion.
*Growth occurs by forsaking the ways of the flesh, the flesh or our corrupt human nature is counter to God’s righteousness. Walk in righteousness and the obedience gives way to the revelation of God’s holiness by His Word and develops an intimate relationship with the Spirit who works in us.
The Word of God is a revelation of His nature and His nature is love. If you desire to grow in Christ, spend regular time in devotion with Him, by His Word and in prayer. It is through the Word that you will realize the untapped potential that awaits all God wants to work through you. The ability to hear God’s voice is a right not just a privilege. Many have relegated this right to only pastors or priests but the very definition of a saint is one who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Many have corrupted this concept into an idolatrous worship of those who have died previously within their church, so the idea that we regular people can have a significant impact in God’s Kingdom becomes foreign to many.
Daniel 7:18. “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’
Do you see?
You are special.
The Spirit of the Lord empowers you.
Walk in Him and you will realize all that He intends for you to be.