Blog

13
Apr
Question: "How should we live our lives in light of our identity in Christ?"

Question: "How should we live our lives in light of our identity in Christ?"

Answer: Our identity in Christ is first and foremost one of newness. We are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Identity is defined as “the collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known,” so our new identity in Christ should be recognizable both to ourselves and to others. If we are “in Christ,” that should be evident, just as being “in the world” is equally evident. A further definition of identity is “the quality or condition of being the same as something else.” In the case of our identity in Christ, our lives should indicate that we are the same as Christ. The name “Christians” means literally “followers of Christ.” In our new identity in Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6), but we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:10). This new identity completely changes our relationship with God and our families, just as it changes the way we see the world. Our new identity in Christ means we have the same relationship with God that Christ has—we are His children. God has adopted us as sons. We are able to call Him “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15–16). We are both joint heirs (Galatians 3:29) and friends (John 15:15) of Christ. And this relationship is even stronger than those we have with our earthly families (Matthew 10:35–37). Instead of fearing God as judge, we have the great privilege of coming to Him as our Father. We can approach Him with confidence and ask of Him what we need (Hebrews 4:16). We can ask for His guidance and wisdom (James 1:5) and know that nothing will take us from Him (Romans 8:38–39). We also rest in His authority and respond to Him with trusting obedience, knowing that obedience is a key part of remaining close to Him (John 14:23). The family of God encompasses a vast body of believers who strive together to grow closer to God (1 Corinthians 12:13). It’s a family that is stronger for the gifts of each person in it (Romans 12:6–8). Members of this new family seek the best for one another (1 Corinthians 10:24), encourage each other (Galatians 6:1–2), and forgive each other (Matthew 18:21–22). Each member has a specific role, but the roles are acted out with respect and grace (1 Peter 5:1–5). Most of all, we respond to each other in love—not the feeling, but a selfless, conscious act of sacrifice, which is reflective of the agape love of the God who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20). We are no longer citizens of the world but apart from it (2 Corinthians 6:14—7:1). We understand that we are a part of a heavenly, God-ruled kingdom. Things of the earth no longer draw us (Colossians 3:2). We don’t fear or over-emphasize suffering on earth or the trials we face (Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 3:14; 4:12–14), nor do we place importance on things the world values (1 Timothy 6:9–11). Even our bodies and our actions reflect that our minds are no longer conformed to the world (Romans 12:1–2) but are now instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:13). And our new kingdom perspective means we understand that our enemy is not the people around us but the spiritual forces that endeavor to keep the people from knowing God (Ephesians 6:12). All of this is the ideal—the character of a mature follower of Christ. One of the greatest blessings about our identity in Christ is the grace we’re given in order to grow into the spiritual maturity that truly reflects our new identity (Philippians 1:6). Our lives in light of our identity in Christ are filled with a heavenly Father, a large, loving family, and the understanding that we are citizens of another kingdom and not of this earth.
07
Apr
Question: "What does the Bible say about prosperity?"

Question: "What does the Bible say about prosperity?"

06
Apr
Why should I forgive?

Why should I forgive?

Question: "Why should I forgive?" Answer: Forgiveness is a familiar topic in the Bible. In fact, God’s plan to forgive mankind of their sins is the major theme of the Bible (1 Peter 1:20; John 17:24). So, when wondering why we should forgive those who sin against us, we need look no further than the example God gave us. Christians must forgive others because God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). Jesus gave a parable in Matthew 18:21–35 about why we should forgive. He tells the story from the perspective of a king who has forgiven a servant of tremendous debt. But then that servant encounters another servant who owed him a few dollars, and the forgiven servant deals harshly with his fellow servant and demands instant repayment. When the king learns what had happened, he is furious and orders the one he had forgiven to be punished until the huge debt was paid in full. Jesus ends the parable with these chilling words: “That is how My Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (verse 35). Forgiveness is mandatory for all those who have experienced the forgiveness of God (Ephesians 4:32). Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12), reminding us that God holds us accountable for paying forward what He has done for us. Refusing to forgive those who wrong us is an insult to the Lord who has forgiven us much more. We forgive as an act of gratitude for all we have been forgiven. Those who have been forgiven by God are transformed into forgiving people. To approach the Lord and ask for His forgiveness while at the same time refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters is the height of hypocrisy. If a person who claims to be a Christian refuses to extend forgiveness to others, that person is showing evidence that he or she is not truly born again. We forgive others because it is in our (new) nature to forgive (see 1 John 3:9). Forgiveness is not letting an unrepentant sinner off the hook. Rather, it is an eager readiness to extend mercy to those who have wronged us. When we forgive, we free ourselves from the bondage someone’s wrong has created for us. It is impossible to live in complete obedience to God when someone else controls our emotions. Followers of Jesus are to be controlled by nothing but the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). In order to grow spiritually and live in submission to God’s Word, we must obey even the difficult commands about forgiveness (Luke 6:46). Forgiveness is often a window through which the world glimpses the mercy of God. As the popular slogan goes, “You may be the only Bible some people ever read.” When we forgive, we model God’s teachings on kindness, mercy, love, and humility. People cannot see Jesus in us when we are walking in bitterness and anger. When all we can talk about is how we were wronged, how someone betrayed us, or the wounds we are carrying, we lose sight of our primary mission, which is to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Unforgiveness makes us self-focused instead of God-focused and steals our love, peace, and joy (see Galatians 5:22). Forgiveness comes more easily for some than it does for others, but we are all required to forgive if we want to walk in fellowship with God. Some find it hard to forgive because they have a misunderstanding of what it means to forgive. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. We can forgive from the heart while keeping betrayers at a distance. Forgiveness does not allow unrepentant abusers back into our lives, but it does allow the peace of God back into our lives. From the cross, Jesus prayed for His murderers: “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). We are never more like Jesus than when we forgive the ones who wronged us, and for believers that is the ultimate goal (Romans 8:29).
05
Apr
Question: "What does it mean to be a born again Christian?"

Question: "What does it mean to be a born again Christian?"

Question: "What does it mean to be a born again Christian?" Answer: What does it mean to be a born-again Christian? The classic passage from the Bible that answers this question is John 3:1-21. The Lord Jesus Christ is talking to Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jews). Nicodemus had come to Jesus at night with some questions. As Jesus talked with Nicodemus, He said, “‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again”’” (John 3:3-7). The phrase "born again" literally means "born from above." Nicodemus had a real need. He needed a change of his heart—a spiritual transformation. New birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1-4, 18). John 1:12, 13 indicates that being "born again" also carries the idea of "becoming children of God" through trust in the name of Jesus Christ. The question logically comes, "Why does a person need to be born again?" The apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (NKJV). To the Romans he wrote, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Sinners are spiritually “dead”; when they receive spiritual life through faith in Christ, the Bible likens it to a rebirth. Only those who are born again have their sins forgiven and have a relationship with God. How does that come to be? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." When one is saved, he/she has been born again, spiritually renewed, and is now a child of God by right of new birth. Trusting in Jesus Christ, the One who paid the penalty of sin when He died on the cross, is the means to be "born again." "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, will you consider the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your heart? You need to be born again. Will you pray the prayer of repentance and become a new creation in Christ today? "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God" (John 1:12-13). If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and be born again, here is a sample prayer. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. It is only trusting in Christ that can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. "God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness—the gift of eternal life! Amen!"
1-941-244-4522
info@pastorcarlosmorales.net
2230 Hariet Street
Port Charlotte, FL. 33952