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BLESSINGS OF BEING 'IN CHRIST JESUS'"
...a new study by Ron Martin
is searching for the truth about how to obtain a “blessing.”
A “blessing” is defined as felicity, joy full and
great happiness. In our search for how to obtain a “blessing,”
we discover various philosophies on how to obtain great happiness.
It is the premise of this article that there is only one unfeigned
truth that leads to a “spiritual blessing.” Truth
is immutable and unchangeable. Truth is true if what I believe
“is so,” then it “is true in reality.”
What is the truth about obtaining a “blessing” in
reality? To us who are saved and born again, “blessed”
is a description of our inner condition.
When Jesus preached
His sermon on the mount, found in Matthew chapter 5, He began
with His beatitudes. Beatitude means felicity, “blessed,”
joy and happiness of the highest kind. The Beatitudes do not emphasize
how to be saved, but describe the characteristics manifested by
one who is born again; inwardly born anew; God the Holy Spirit
abiding “in his spirit.” Jesus’ first beatitude
was “blessed” are the poor in spirit; emptied of self,
filled with the Holy Spirit, the presence of God – opposite
of proud in spirit. Those who have recognized their poverty in
spiritual things and being “in Christ Jesus,” are
“blessed” by having access to the kingdom of heaven.
has two contrasting dimensions. If we perceive a “blessing”
of great happiness to be the obtaining of things external, earthly,
seen and temporal, then our diligence of effort, exertion and
time will focus on earthly prosperity and success. But if we perceive
a “blessing” of joy full to be the obtaining of those
things internal, heavenly, unseen and eternal, then our diligence
of effort, exertion and time will be the prayer of Jabez:
“And Jabez called
on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest “bless”
me indeed (God’s presence), and thou wouldest enlarge my
coast (God’s purpose), and that thine hand might be with
me (God’s protection), and that thou wouldest keep me from
evil (God’s power to resist secular humanistic imagination
“in Adam”), that it may not grieve (curse) me! And
God granted him that which he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Jabez is petitioning
God to “bless” him with his presence, His purpose,
His protection and His Sovereign power. Jabez confesses that only
God (thou) can “bless” him. Our prayer should be,
“Oh, that thou wouldest bless me.”
means that every “spiritual blessing” comes from God
and is full of joy. John says, “…these things write
we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:1-4).
Peter writes, “Blessed”
be the God and Father of our “Lord Jesus Christ,”
which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto
a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”
(1 Peter 1:3).
not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing,
ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” (1 Peter
May we, as Christians,
seek the “blessings” of His presence, His purpose,
His protection, and His sovereign power.
A secular humanist
would perceive a “blessing” from an “in Adam”
sinful human nature viewpoint. The spirit filled man would sing
the song “Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise
Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” A spiritual man, with a spiritual
nature, would proclaim that only “in Christ Jesus”
do we have access to the Kingdom of Heaven and God’s “blessings.”
“Blessed” are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).
A man “in Adam”
would deduce that the source and cause of his felicity, happiness,
prosperity and success are a product of secular humanistic imagination.
Secular humanism is a philosophy that either elevates man above
God, or believes there is no God, and that natural laws can explain
creation and reality. Secular humanists advocate that obtaining
earthly “blessings” is the ultimate value in the universe,
and that there is no sovereign God, Creator, who upholds and governs
all things according to His will. They believe human beings are
the pinnacle of evolution: that man is capable of determining
truth. Man’s will is the human mind choosing truth he has
conceived. All knowledge is within his ability to analyze all
phenomena. With this power, “in Adam,” we control
our destiny and our blessings. “In Adam” we formulate
our moral values, and “in Adam” we walk according
to the laws determined by the “in Adam” sinful human
nature. “In Adam” we determine all social and cultural
behavior, and man, not God, is the measure of all blessings.
This philosophy births
truth and reality from observing phenomena seen thru the organs
of sense. He would then formulate, assimilate, proposed truth
from data seen. “In Adam” a secular mind will trade
the truth that all real blessings are “in Christ Jesus”
for a compromising deception and for a bias preference: For an
imagined ideal he has made real in his mind.
Man cannot conceive
truth, but receives truth from God the Holy Spirit. How can man
conceive (birth) a truth that already exists? The Holy Spirit
reproves the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He guides
man into all truth (John 16:13).
“And when he
is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness,
and of judgment:
“Of sin, because
they believe not on me;
because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11).
He speaks God’s
thoughts and ways, which are as high above secular humanistic
thoughts and ways as the heavens are above the earth.
The greatest “blessing”
for a Christian is for God the Holy Spirit to speak God’s
thoughts and ways to others thru our spiritual gifts (see 1 Corinthians
12:1-11; 13:1-2; 14:1-4). A spiritual blessing is not determined
by which spiritual gift God has given to you, not by how many
spiritual gifts you possess, nor by how impressive the gift is
by earthly standards. A blessing is not determined by what social
status or click you claim membership to. I’ve seen those
who thought they were an eagle on a hummingbird’s nest.
These are the feigned thoughts and ways of secular humanism.
Paul expresses his
felicity, the source and cause of his joy full, “And now,
behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the
things that shall befall me there:
“Save that the
Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions
“But none of
these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which
I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify (God’s thoughts
and ways) the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:22-24).
“In Christ Jesus,”
my spirit perceives “a blessing” from internal things
unseen. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 tells us, we are troubled on every
side, yet “in Christ Jesus,” I am not in despair;
persecuted, but “in Christ Jesus,” not forsaken; cast
down, but “in Christ Jesus,” not destroyed. “Always
bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the
life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2
“For which cause
we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward
man is renewed day by day.
“For our light
affliction (external circumstances), which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory
(internal joy full);
“While we look
not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are
not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the
things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
“For we are saved
by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth,
why doth he yet hope for?
if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait
for it” (Romans 8:24-25).
of Part 1
only the beginning! Ron Martin’s series on “The Blessings
Of Being In Christ Jesus” promises to shine a light on difficult
scriptures, making them more revealing, and in understanding them
in more depth, we will discover new encouragement and new found
strength for our daily life.
want to miss Part 2 of this exciting series, coming the last week
Of Ron Martin, MS, Eds
When we read the writings
of someone, it's vaguely interesting to know something about the
author. Though we may never meet them personally, a brief biography
will help us form a picture of just who is writing this book,
When you are raised to common, every day folks,
in a small town in the south, there is not much to intrigue us
about the author.
Ron was born in Lafollette, TN in 1942. His father,
Brother Kyle, pastored country churches, his mother Eulalia, was
a talented pianist, faithful to the cause of Christ, the daughter
of a fine deacon of the church, Walter Goins, and a quiet little
The writer of this series, "The Blessings
Of Being In Christ", sounds very average, almost quaint.
Nothing, however, could be farther from the truth. What makes
most men extraordinary is their accomplishments; they have done
something unusual, out of the ordinary, makes one intriguing,
makes us want to know more about them and encourages us to read
what they have to say.
With Ron Martin, just the opposite is true. He
is not without credits, he has a fine education from the University
of Tennessee. He is in the Basketball Hall of Fame at Lincoln
Memorial University, and was a successful basketball coach and
a dedicated educator for thirty years. These credentials are not
spine-tingling, but admirable.
What makes Ron worthy of your time is not his
accomplishments, but what God has accomplished in him! If you
had known this man as a boy and young adult, known him even up
to his mid-thirties, your opinion would be one of hopelessness
for even a reasonable expectation of him becoming a great man
God, Omnipotent, Holy, Divine Deliverer, Rescuer
of the hopeless; The God of sufficient grace and plenteous mercy
accomplished the impossible in a man who, by all outward signs,
He was a rebel, inherently rebellious. Loving
sin, loving his own will and way, became a servant... a slave
and prisoner of Jesus Christ.
He could not have just suddenly rescued himself,
just… on a whim, decided to dedicate himself to God, to
offer himself sacrificially to no other purpose but "knowing
Christ." Not only knowing His name, but knowing Him as the
Apostle Paul did.
what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:7-8).
had to foster this change in a man committed to rebellion and
self-will. God did it all! But what moved His hand to do so was
a father who wouldn't give up on his son, and a mother who labored
on her knees, tirelessly and tenaciously.
came to her, and through the Holy Ghost, spoke these words, "I
am going to use your boy," her prayers for Ron's deliverance
turned to unwavering faith - "God will use my boy."
He was only fifteen years old when that promise came, and for
the next twenty years it was, to her, an immutable Truth. And
so it was.
of God's Word, untiring in his pursuit, "That I may know
him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of
his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death" (Philippians
3:10). Ron's commentaries shine a brilliant light on what it means
to be a child of God, a prisoner of Christ.