In the Old Testament, when God chose Israel as His nation and set them apart from the pagan nations, He established with them His covenant with many laws and commands that was in contrast to those other nations. In the New Testament, He revealed Himself and His grace and mercy through the person of Jesus Christ, establishing His new covenant with the Jews and as well as with the Gentiles.
A covenant is defined as: an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified; a contract or agreement between two parties. Thus the Old Covenant required, of Israel, complete obedience to the Law in order for God to keep His part of being their God and sustaining them in their land. Whenever Israel adapted to the ways of the pagan, the Lord would sent His judgment upon them. The New Covenant of grace requires obedience to Christ through faith. (The Law is fulfilled in Christ as He was sinless and was completely obedient to it on behalf of the people as required by God.) So when one repents of their sins and believes in Christ and abides in Him, that person, through Christ, keeps the requirements of God:
And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 1John 2:28
Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. 1 John 3:6
In order to belong to Christ, one must abide in Him, and not merely ‘ask Jesus into their lives’ and continue to live as the pagans do.
To ‘abide’ means to:
– to remain; continue; stay
– to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, etc.; last.
– to wait for; await: to abide the coming of the Lord.
– to accept without opposition or question
– to pay the price or penalty of; suffer for.
– to act in accord with.
– to submit to; agree to
– to remain steadfast or faithful; keep
So when we are in Christ, we are to:
– remain and continue in Him (not get carried away by the trends of the world)
– wait in Him, not try to have our way
– accept His Lordship over us
– suffer for being in Him; the world hates those who are His
– act in accordance to Him, obey Him
– remain steadfast and faithful to Him; that means set ourselves apart from the ungodly in every way.
Often Christians think they’re saved because they had once upon a time responded to an alter-call and said a “simple” prayer, and voila! They are saved. They continue in their old ways and the ways of the world with the false assurance of salvation. Or they think that as long as they do things for God, they can be whoever they want to be, and they will please Him. The New Covenant of grace also is between 2 parties; Christians are required to keep their part of the covenant and not to take the covenant of grace for granted!
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Rom 6:15-16
Dear saint, please examine yourself, whether you be in the faith; prove your own self. Don’t you know your own self, how that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are immoral? (2 Cor 13:5)
Are you conformed to the taste and fashion of the world because it’s too hard to let go? Are you giving a ‘Christian’ appearance to such things in order to justify yourself? Or are you abiding in Christ, remaining in Him?