‘You know that he is righteous, you know that every one that does righteousness is born of him.’ (1 Jn.2:29)
Christian living is the living in righteousness. It makes him a citizen of two worlds. Righteousness is a theological term when applied to the physical world, is integrity. It is in the latter sense we need to see St.Paul’s injunction,’defraud.(1 The.4:6)’ His obligations to his nation are also clear cut. Rules of good citizenship enjoin him to observe the higher laws and look upon the rulers as stewards of God. ‘follow that which is good both among yourselves and to all men’ (1 The.5:15) Many verses in the Scriptures exhort the Christians to live honorably by industry and keep fellowship with men. They are also enjoined to keep peace and not meddle in business of others or disturb the even tenor of society. In short Christians everywhere are to be active citizens in upholding laws that are set in place to the smooth working of human society.
A Christian is a natural citizen of a physical world where his body would make immediate claims, which are only natural. Mt.6:25. He is born into the world and into a delicate web of affections, custom and traditions. It is the land of his or her fathers where from birth till death personal details,- record of birth, marriage, extent of land holdings, tax particulars, political affiliations ad nauseum would fill pages and would form a record as to his physical life in entirety. As a citizen his or her duties require careful attention that will have significant bearing on the individual as well others about. He also has an inner life that begins by fits and starts as an infant. The child must choose for itself the second world which for a Christian begins by a new birth. He or she is responsible to understand its momentous import. It is a world that has no end as natural citizenship would entail.
A Christian has a dual passport in which that of the inner world is stamped by faith.
It is not homegrown but faith of the individual grafted to the divine quality of inner life. In the epistle to the Romans we read Abraham did not ‘stagger at the promise of God’ In our case we are not blown away by our unbelief at what Jesus promised. We were fully persuaded by the word that we have ‘passed from death unto life’(Jn5:24) In abiding with him as vines we are drawing our sustenance which is to be spiritually discerned.
It is our life in the spirit. It is only for those who have righteousness. It is God who justifies a Christian and is counted righteous. This new birth is a seal that we have been raised us up together..sit together in heavenly places,’(Eph.2:6) As I said earlier, Jesus Christ is the vine(jn.15.1)
In our physical world do we not see the world as bright and cheery when our heart is light and merry? It is a transient mood and how we shift over to a somber mood when faced with many issues that cannot be wished away? Think of this in a wider context where our spirits attest to the fact that we are indeed are the citizens of the heavenly place (Heb.13:14). Assured of such a city which has foundations (Heb.11:10) we do our stint as thought this sojourn is also part of God’s plan. It is however a wider plan where unless we lived as responsible citizens and proved faithful what shall be our credential to be faithful witnesses of God or his kingdom in the world to come?
God the Spirit
Christian living is not an instant perfection. There is a babes in Christ phase and purposely we are left among the ungodly and those who despise the religious experience that we wear it on our sleeve. It has to dive deeper filling us so Christian living and experience are adequate to hold us for every difficulty that we may face. The stage where we can accept fiery trials as a matter of fact and see our faith and grace from above shall let us face it. It is here we begin our live as mature Christians. For we se what these tribulations create: patience, experience and hope(Ro.5:3-4) It is spirit that is guiding us into paths of righteousness.
We are communing with spirit which is holy and far superior to the spirit of this world. St. John expressly warns us to be careful.’ Believe not every spirit 1 Jn4:1 Spirit of God testifies Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Greater is he that is in us than he is in the world(4:4-6) spirit of truth, Jn 15:26. It proceeds from the Father. This was realized on the day of Pentecost. All the earthly churches are built on this promise. In order to fulfill his promise Jesus had to to suffer death and overcome the world. As an example we know death is merely parting of the veil and we shall move onto the world of the spirit where we shall be clothed with the spirit. St. Paul calls it as spiritual body (1 Cor.15:44).
(To be continued)