1 – Welcome to life in Jesus Christ

Welcome to God’s family!

We want to encourage you in your new life of following Jesus Christ through a short series of foundational Bible lessons. Life in Christ is a wonderful exploration of knowing God and incorporates many facets of personal development as Jesus impacts our lives.

As Christians, we find our identity, our motivation, and our strength for life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our relationship with Jesus is discovered and advanced through our exploration of God’s Word, which is the Bible. In this lesson we shall introduce some of the foundational aspects of knowing God through Jesus and the Christian life.

Because you are reading this lesson, we assume you have Christian friends, that you believe in Jesus Christ, that you have a Bible, and you can attend a Bible teaching church. We pray that these lessons will help and encourage you while clarifying some of the common questions about God and the Bible.

We suggest pausing throughout this lesson to read the Bible passages that are referenced but not quoted. By doing this you will maximise the impact of God’s Word in your life. Also, write extra notes that will help you to remember the lessons learned. It is also helpful to highlight verses in your Bible that had impact upon you. We suggest using coloured pencils or a fine-tipped pen.

Amongst the wonderful gifts God gives to believers in Jesus, is eternal life.
John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God says we have eternal life as His response to our belief in His Son Jesus.

Jesus explained to His disciples, that He gives them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand (John 10:28). And God testifies in 1 John 5:11-12, that He gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all endorse the gift of eternal life. When this body ceases to operate, our spirit/soul will appear with God in heaven and never experience death or separation from God.

Eternal life is possible because believers in Jesus are forgiven.
Sin separated us from God from birth, but that is now history because of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul explains this change in our lives from God’s perspective in Colossians 1:12-14. He says, it is God the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

In response to us confessing our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Not just the past, but the present and future sins also.  Furthermore, God promises not to remember our sins again in Hebrews 10:17.

This can take a little time to accept because we tend to remember our sins. Our minds often remind us of past wrongs and present failings with the associate guilt. But that is past. Because our forgiveness is from God, and not from self or from other people, we are truly forgiven with a lasting forgiveness.

Forgiveness enables adoption into God’s family.
God not only gives eternal life and forgiveness, but He adopts believers into His family. This makes you His son or daughter through the Lord Jesus (John 1:12, Galatians 3:26). The gift of adoption was received by you when you repented of your sin and believed in the Lord Jesus. And that was precisely God’s intention all along. In fact, God predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:5). Your salvation and adoption into His family was the direct expression of His specific will for your life.

Adoption into God’s family is wonderful because we can never be adopted out of God’s family. We are now part of a very large and eternal family of believers in Jesus Christ.

Believers are given the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.
At the moment of your belief in Jesus Christ, God gave you His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of ownership (Ephesians 1:13-14). This is one of many invisible things that took place on that occasion. You would not belong to Christ if you did not have His Spirit (Romans 8:9). You have been baptised (immersed) with the Holy Spirit into God’s family (1 Corinthians 12:13). Consequently, you can never fall from this Holy Spirit secured position in Christ (Jude 24). You cannot lose the Holy Spirit, and you cannot receive any more of the Holy Spirit. But we do have a say in how we allow the Holy Spirit to live through us. We shall learn more of this in another lesson.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. And Philippians 2:13 says, it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure. We are to allow God’s Holy Spirit to control our lives. As we live in surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will produce His fruit as explained in Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.

Believers are secure in Jesus.
Even though you may fail God at times and feel discouraged as a result, remember, God promised in Hebrews 13:5, never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. The security of your relationship with God is not based on your performance. Romans 8:1, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. In Christ, our default position is one of positional innocence before God. Condemnation from God is no longer valid for everyone who by faith, lives in Christ.

As Christians, our future is with the Lord, both here on earth and later with the Lord for ever in heaven. Romans 14:8, for if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. It is our perseverance in the faith which provides us with assurance of the authenticity of our salvation (John 15:4, 7; 2 Timothy 2:12). Therefore, we live knowing that nothing in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God [which is] in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

Believers pray and study God’s Word.
As the children of God, believers are able to daily walk and talk with God in prayer, praising Him, thanking Him, and making your requests to Him. Pray to God the Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17).

Read, meditate on, and obey God’s Word, then you will prosper in your relationship with God (Joshua 1:8). Don’t neglect God’s Word but crave for its spiritual nutrition (1 Peter 2:2-3).

Keep yourself in the Word of God, which is called the Sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17. The Holy Spirit uses His sword to teach us the things God wants us to know. In John 16:13-15, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit speaks truth, and He only says what the Lord Jesus gives, so Christ receives all the glory. Plus, the Holy Spirit has given us everything needed to live a successful Christian life (2 Peter 1:3) through our growing knowledge of Him found in the Word of God which the Holy Spirit authored (2 Peter 1:21). All that remains is for us to walk in obedience and dependence on His truth.

Believers desire holiness.
If we truly want to live for God, it is our obedience to Him that will show our authenticity and that we do genuinely belong to Him (1 John 2:3-5). Because we want to be like Jesus, we possess a desire to be holy as Jesus is. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct (1 Peter 1:14-15). This happens progressively over time and requires much patience with ourselves.

Believers love other Christians.
Another indication that we belong to Christ is a love for other Christians. The Holy Spirit causes us to prefer their company because you and they belong in God’s family. Showing love to other Christians is a sign to unbelievers that we belong to God. In John 13:34-35, Jesus gave a new commandment… that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Believers desire to tell others of Jesus.
Wanting to share the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ with others is a healthy sign of God’s love living in you (Acts 4:20). Andrew, in John 1:41-42, immediately found and introduced his brother Simon to Jesus. Many people are secretly hungry to know the gospel truth without all the man-made trappings. Ask God to bring you into contact with such people so that you can share the Gospel with them. Show the love of Jesus and tell them how Jesus Christ saved you.

Believers want to live a victorious life.
If you are putting into practice the things taught from God’s Word in this study, you will live victoriously. Not because you have gained lots of knowledge, but because you are allowing God, by His Spirit, to control your life. Even though problems and struggles remain part of life, we look past them to attach our thoughts to Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:18).

We look past present difficulties to the Lord’s return for us (1 Thessalonians 4:16-19, John 14:3) which inspires hope within us. We give thanks to God for everything (Ephesians 5:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:18), talking with God daily in prayer, listening to Him by reading His Word, and learning the wonderful benefits we have inherited as a child of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we continue to study God’s Word, we shall discover that the truths mentioned in this lesson are just the beginning.

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