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Bible Basics (5th. ed.)


Study 1: God || Study 2: The Spirit Of God || Study 3: The Promises Of God || Study 4: God And Death || Study 5: The Kingdom Of God || Study 6: God And Evil || Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus || Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus || Study 9: The Work Of Jesus || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus || Study 11: Life In Christ   11.1 Introduction || 11.2 Holiness || 11.2.1 The Use Of Force || 11.2.2 Politics || 11.2.3 Worldly Pleasures || 11.3 Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1 Bible Study ||11.3.2 Prayer || 11.3.3 Preaching || 11.3.4 Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5 The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4 Marriage || 11.5 Fellowship



Due to its lack of a true relationship with God and of a realistic hope for the future, the world has devised countless forms of seeking instant pleasure. Those forms of pleasure which seek to please the sin-prone side of our personalities should be shunned by those who are trying to develop a spiritual mind. “... the sinful nature wants what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature” (Gal. 5:17 NIV). Because of this fundamental opposition, it is impossible to reason that we can legitimately give way to our sinful nature and also claim to be following the Spirit. The world is structured around “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does” (1 Jn. 2:16 NIV). “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Spending our time, thinking and money on sinful things of the flesh, watching worldly movies etc. is being “a friend of the world”. The desires of the world will soon pass away, and those who have sided with the world in this life will pass away with it (1 Jn. 2:15-17). “The world (i.e. society) of the ungodly” will be destroyed by the second coming (2 Pet. 2:5), seeing that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 Jn. 5:19 NIV). If we are to avoid that destruction, we must be “not of the world” (Jn. 17:16 cf. Rev. 18:4).

Many of the world’s ways of getting temporary pleasure involve doing so at the cost of bodily health: hard drug taking and excessive drinking are examples of this. Our physical health, our money, indeed all that we have really belongs to God. We are therefore not free to use these things just as we wish, but must act as stewards of what God has given us. We will be asked to give an account of our management of them at the judgment seat (Lk. 19:12-26). Habits such as drug abuse and alcoholic bingeing are an abuse of both our finances and health. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him ... your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you ... you are not your own were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body ...” (1 Cor. 3:16,17; 6:19,20). Abuse of the body is therefore a serious matter.

However, it is recognised that if habits like these were formed before conversion, it may not be possible to break them in a moment. What is expected is a recognition of the badness of the habit, and a realistic effort being made to stop it. The stresses of life should increasingly be met by recourse to the Word of God and prayer, rather than to any human form of relaxant.

Underlying all these examples is the fundamental question whether we are allowing our minds to be changed by the influence of Christ working through God’s Word. If so, we shall see that all these things, together with dishonesty of any kind, are incompatible with a Christ-like life.

“You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members one of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” (Ephesians 4:20-28 NIV)

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