In my post A Narrow Path – https://deepcave.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/a-narrow-path/ – I laid a Biblical groundwork for what a true Christ followers faith looks like. Faith is only vibrant and authentic when our lives and actions match what it is we claim to believe. Faith is only real when our words and deeds resemble that which we claim to believe in – otherwise our faith is dead.
I also discussed the differences between the broad and narrow paths; The only thing necessary for the broad path is an indifferent and apathetic attitude. The narrow path however requires sacrifice, commitment and dedication. At times traveling the narrow path can feel overwhelming. At times even the strongest Christ follower will become weary and tired; so I thought it would be important to remind you of God’s immeasurable grace that He pours out on those that earnestly seek Him.
What is grace? It is the favor God places upon us, even though we do not deserve it. Grace is also the God-given desire and power to do God’s will. It is through grace that we are even capable of finding the narrow path to begin with and it is grace that sustains us so that we have the strength to press on without turning back or collapsing.
And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
The very word of God’s grace is able to build us up. To be built up means to be supported and strengthened. God’s grace not only builds us up but it sanctifies us with an inheritance. What is the inheritance?
If we are his children, we are also God’s heirs. If we share in Christ’s suffering in order to share his glory, we are heirs together with him.
When we commit to following the narrow path, we are committing to sacrifice and suffer for Christ’s sake. If we suffer with Him then we will also share His glory. The fullness of a true Christ followers inheritance has yet to be revealed, but we know it is a beautiful thing. At the end of the narrow path is life – life everlasting shared with Jesus Christ Himself, in His glory. All true Christ followers look forward to the moment when we reach the end of the path and step into eternity to share our masters glory.
You heard and believed the message of truth, the Good News that he has saved you. In him you were sealed with the Holy Spirit whom he promised.
When we believe the good news that Jesus Christ has saved us, not only will our lives be radically changed so that we act in a manner that highlights our faith, but we are also sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the power in us that pours out God’s grace upon us and transforms our lives so that we have the strength to persevere on the narrow path. Without the Holy Spirit we would surely become tired, weak and collapse. we would lose our way and eventually find ourselves back on the broad path. But because His Spirit is sealed up within us we can rest assured that He will provide the strength we need to press forward.
I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me.
Jesus makes it clear that unless we are living in Him then we are unable to do anything. We will not be able to produce fruit and we will not be able to walk the narrow path. It is only in Him that we are given nourishment to stay alive, just like branches on a vine. If the branches were cut off the vine they would shrivel and die and if we were separated from Him, we also would shrivel and die.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
FOLLOWING CHRIST IS NOT EASY!
You may remember this statement from my previous post. One of the reasons following Christ is not easy is because it requires us to admit that we are weak, something most people have a hard time doing. However if we can humble ourselves and admit our weaknesses then we open a doorway through which grace can freely flow. It is when we surrender ourselves and recognize our weaknesses that Jesus Christ can be made strong in us and His power will rest on us.
So all in all, what is the big picture?
We are all called out of our lives of sin to follow Jesus Christ on a journey down the narrow path. Those who commit to this journey will find themselves sustained by His grace and nourished by His vine. The Holy spirit will be sealed within them allowing them to bear fruit of the Spirit, prompting them to do good works and guaranteeing their inheritance with the Holy One. The fruit of the spirit and fruit of their good works will support their claims of faith, truly making their faith vibrant and full of life!
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.