“Standard of Living”
Because we are loved and chosen by God, we believe we can get away with crossing over the lines and ignoring the boundaries established by God. After all, God is loving and forgiving, and if we are His special children, then He will go easy on us. It only makes sense. That is what His favor is all about. That is just an excuse for us to live our lives without standard.
We must find comfort in admitting that we are not our own – we belong to Jesus Christ. If we can do that, it will not only help us to live our lives between the lines but will establish our standard of living upon this comfort: we are not our own – we belong to Jesus Christ.
In this passage, Paul teaches us three things that we should based our lives on that will help us establish our standard of living between the lines:
I. Comfort of Belonging——–V. 6
We belong to Jesus Christ. We are not our own but belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all our sins with His precious blood and has also set us free from the tyranny of the devil.
Jesus Christ assigns us meaning and gives us our purpose. We have no meaning apart from Jesus Christ. We get our meaning, our purpose, from Him. The essential meaning of a Christian is, in fact, ‘a Christ one.’ We belong to Jesus Christ. We find our purpose in Him.
But the choice is ours – will we be what Jesus wants us to be or what we want ourselves to be? Being anything short of what Jesus wants us to be is to struggle to be something we are not. It is not living a life of standard between the lines.
II. Character of Love……..V. 7
You and I are God’s beloved. We do not have to buy God’s love and acceptance. We are already loved and accepted without any qualification or prerequisites. God does not say, “I will love you if you are talented enough, or good looking enough, or smart enough, or rich enough, or humble enough, or good enough.” God says simply, “I love you – because I choose to love you.” We are God’s beloved!
Once again, the choice is ours. We do not have to accept God’s love. But to reject God’s love does not release us from Lordship – it simply removes us from the most benevolent Lordship there is, and places us under something or someone that does not have our best interests at heart. Are we willing to establish our standard of living on the character of love, on the fact that God, in Jesus Christ, loves us – and that all things will work together for our health, wholeness, and salvation?
III. Condition for Rightness——–Vs. 7,17
We are saints! We are set apart to live for God, by God’s standards. Our lives are headed in God’s direction. In his famous “Through the Bible” series, J. Vernon McGee aptly wrote: “A person becomes a saint when Jesus Christ becomes his/her Savior. There are only two classes of people in the world: the saints and the evildoers. If you are not an evildoer, then you’re a saint.” But what does it mean to be a saint? Saints are those who are righteous.
And Righteousness means being in the right. To be righteous is to live between established lines. Throughout the Old Testament (Gen. 31:53; Ex. 19:12), boundary lines were important. They defined where and how God’s people lived.
My brothers and sisters, because we belong to God, let us rely on the Holy Spirit to help us live lives of standard between the lines today and always!
Pastor John Punni