I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
- Philippians 3:14-16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
- Romans 1:16
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
- Titus 2:1-8
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
- Philippians 1:21
“Here we ﬁnd yet another reminder of the importance of what we might call ‘gospel-centrality.’ Why is it important to center on the gospel of Jesus Christ?
“First of all, we should keep the gospel ever before our eyes, because we receive Christ in the gospel, and we are told to ﬁx our eyes on Him (Heb. 12:2). 1t’s in beholding Jesus that we are transformed (2 Cor. 3:18), so it makes sense to keep our eyes ﬁxated on Christ.
“There’s another reason we want to center on the gospel: because the gospel is where we ﬁnd the power for the Christian life. Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 1:17, Ephesians 3:7, and 1 Thessalonians 1:5 all conﬁrm this. Colossians 1 reminds us that the gospel is going forth into the world and bearing fruit. First Corinthians 15 reminds us that the gospel is not just what we received but the power in which we currently stand and by which we continue to be saved. And since we see throughout the New Testament that even our faith is a gift of God’s grace and that every imperative of obedience is attached to an indicative of the gospel, we want to stay focused on the gospel so we can follow God. The power to walk by faith in obedience is sourced in the grace of the gospel. So now then: in all our toiling and striving and straining and pressing, ‘only let us hold true to what we have attained.’ Or ‘hold fast,’ as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:2.”
- Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
We could eliminate most of the Titus quote and boil the entire thing down to living so that others will only see a person living a blameless life – that last phrase: because they have nothing bad to say about us. But how can we do that with temptations at every turn? And the idiot drivers that cut us off in that turn?
That last question harkens a memory from 2-3 days ago. The parcel carrier parked in the road to deliver a package. I shouldn’t worry because he was in the on-coming lane and my side of the road was clear, but I saw a woman driving up toward the truck, estimated to get there as I was passing the truck. The road was marked no passing, but I started to slow down. I then slammed on my brakes as the woman coming toward me, switched to my side of the road, telling me that she had no intention of slowing down. I stopped, and she sped around the truck and pulled back into her lane. If I had not been cautious and prepared, someone would have died. I know it is inconvenient to wait until traffic is clear, but it is insane not to.
We cannot live a blameless life on our power, but with God in us, we have the power to do so.
It is not a bunch of rules. It is not a checklist to follow. It is keeping our eyes on Jesus, and thus keeping our eyes on the prize, and relying upon God’s power in us to have us set an example for all those around us.
Rev. Chandler says that it is not our job to simply skate by and slip in the back door of heaven. We are to spread the Gospel. But in spreading the Gospel, we need to know who Jesus is through Bible study, prayer, and communing with other Christians, but more importantly living a blameless life one step at a time. I do not say sinless life, but a life that no one can easily find fault in it.
I confessed the other day in a post that I had a nearly sleepless night recently. I was worried because two of the nights previously, my wife had a bad reaction to the medication she was taking and she fell, unable to get back up, although nothing was structurally wrong. Jesus tells us not to worry, so worrying would be something that God did not want me to do (actually sinning from the standpoint of not placing all my trust in God). But no one would have known if I had not confessed it openly.
Now enters the neighbor down the street who is an atheist. When he sees me obviously tired, he might place great blame upon me for not trusting in God, even mocking my statement of faith.
We do not need to openly break one of the “Big Ten”, like murder someone, to not be blameless. In fact, where we fall is in the little things.
Am I saying to live a life of thousands of rules? No, only one. Keep your eyes on Jesus and trust in Him.
Lord, guide me. Remind me daily of those things that I habitually do that may not be your perfect will in my life, but above all, help me to keep my eyes on Your precious Son, Jesus. In Thy Name I pray. Amen
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.