Christ's Unchanging Love

Believers, those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, are described in a unique and profound way in John 13:1. They are referred to as “Christ’s own.” This term not only applies to the original disciples of Jesus but also to all who believe in Him throughout the ages. Believers are truly Christ’s own, and this truth has significant implications for their lives.

As Christ’s own, believers can take comfort in the fact that they are deeply loved by Him.

This love is unchanging and unwavering, as evidenced by the phrase “he loved them unto the end” in John 13:1.

Let us delve into the meaning of this verse and explore how Christ’s unchanging love inspires and motivates believers to live for Him.

Believers Are Christ’s Own: A Peculiar Description

The term “Christ’s own” is a remarkable description of believers. It encompasses several profound truths about their relationship with Jesus Christ.

First and foremost, believers are Christ’s own by virtue of His purchase. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ redeemed believers with His own blood (Eph_1:7; Rev_5:9). He paid the price for their sins on the cross and secured their salvation through His sacrifice.

Believers are not their own, but they belong to Christ because He has bought them with the highest price imaginable – His own life (1Co_6:19-20).

Furthermore, believers are Christ’s own by gift. God the Father has given believers to Jesus as a gift (Joh_6:37-40; Joh_10:29). They are His inheritance, His reward, and the result of His redemptive work.

Believers are not only chosen and called by God, but they are also given to Jesus as a precious gift from the Father, demonstrating the special relationship between Christ and His people.

Moreover, believers are Christ’s own by their voluntary and wholehearted consecration to His service. They have willingly and joyfully given themselves to the Lord, surrendering their lives, desires, and ambitions to follow Him wholeheartedly.

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They have left all to follow Christ (Luk_9:23) and have yielded themselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God (Rom_12:1). Believers have made a conscious decision to make God their God forever and to live for Him with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mat_22:37).

Finally, believers are Christ’s own as they bear His image and manifest His Spirit. Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, believers are transformed into the likeness of Christ, reflecting His character and nature (2Co_3:18).

They share in His divine nature and are empowered to live a life that is pleasing to Him (2Pe_1:4). Believers strive to imitate Christ in all aspects of their lives, following His example of humility, love, compassion, and righteousness (1Pe_2:21).

Present Condition of Believers: In the World but Not of the World

Although believers are Christ’s own, they are presently living in the world. The Bible describes them as being “in the world” (Joh_13:1), but not being “of the world” (Joh_17:16).

This means that while believers are physically present in this fallen world, they are not to conform to its values, mindset, and sinful ways (Rom_12:2). Instead, they are to live in a way that reflects their heavenly citizenship and brings glory to God (Phi_3:20).

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Believers are called to be in the world, but not of the world. This distinction is crucial to understanding the proper posture of a believer in their daily life.

Being in the world means that believers are physically present in the fallen world, interacting with people and facing the challenges and temptations of life.

However, being not of the world means that believers do not adopt the values, mindset, and sinful ways of the world.

The Bible teaches that believers are a chosen people, set apart by God for His purposes (1Pe_2:9). They are called to be a light in the darkness (Mat_5:14-16) and salt in the world (Mat_5:13), bringing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to those who are lost. This requires believers to live differently from the world, to be counter-cultural in their values and actions.

Living according to God’s standards: A call for believers to resist conformity and pursue righteousness.

Believers are called to live according to God’s standards and not to conform to the patterns of the world (Rom_12:2).

Romans 12:2 (ESV) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

This means that they are to be guided by God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, rather than being swayed by the ever-changing opinions and values of the world. They are to pursue righteousness, holiness, and purity, and to avoid the sins and temptations that are prevalent in the world.

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Living in the world but not of the world also means that believers are to be discerning and wise in their interactions with the world. While they are called to love and serve others, they are also called to be vigilant and cautious, being aware of the dangers of the world’s influences and avoiding compromising their faith.

They are to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Mat_10:16), navigating the complexities of the world with godly wisdom and discernment.

Living in the world but not of the world also involves being intentional about one’s witness and testimony. Believers are called to let their light shine before others, so that they may see their good works and glorify God (Mat_5:16).

This requires living a life that reflects the character of Christ, being kind, compassionate, honest, and gracious in all interactions with others, and being bold in sharing the gospel with those who do not know Jesus.

Conclusion

In conclusion, being in the world but not of the world is a challenging but essential aspect of the Christian faith. Believers are called to live in a way that reflects their heavenly citizenship and brings glory to God, while not conforming to the values and sinful ways of the fallen world.

By being discerning, intentional, and guided by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, believers can effectively live out their faith in the world, shining as lights and making a positive impact for the kingdom of God.

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