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Author Archives: Dr. Larry Dixon

About Dr. Larry Dixon

Seminary professor, teaching systematic theology and other topics. Grandfather, wicked tennis & table tennis player, loves playing chess on letsplaychess.com. Please check out the ten books I've written. "The heart cannot rejoiced in what the mind rejects as false!"

Keys to Living Out the Christian Life! (A Study of Galatians 2:19-21) Part 5

How in the world do I live out my Christian life?  What principles does God’s Word give me to make significant strides in following Jesus?  We are camping on Galatians 2:19-21 to see what “keys” are there that can help us.

We have seen the first key in verse 19 that I must have a proper relationship to the law. The law brings death and I have died to it. The second key is that the old me is dead! We read in verse 20- “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.” The third key that impacts me here is this: There is a NEW ME who is to live by faith! (v. 20). I have not ceased to exist. But now I can live a new life by faith in the Son of God.  The fourth key that I see in this passage is: I have been paid for! Please notice the expression in verse 20- “the Son of God . . . who loved me and gave himself for me.” Theologians refer to this as the doctrine of substitutionary atonement! [We get paid by the big words].

The last key that I notice in this passage is found in verse 21- “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.”  The principle I see here is I can never pay back God for my salvation — nor should I try to!  Salvation is a free gift of the grace of God in giving Jesus for my sins.  Gifts are to be received — and given thanks for.  But never paid for by the recipient!

I suspect that many believers live out their lives trying to repay God.  And that’s not the Christian life!  In perhaps their best-intentioned response to the grace of God, they nullify it.  They live as if righteousness could be gained through the law.  And the awful conclusion to that perspective is . . . Christ died for nothing!

Motivation is everything, and the reason I should live for the Lord is a grateful heart that wants to show my appreciation every day for His saving me.  My best good deeds are not good enough to pay for my sins.  But Jesus did for me what I could never do for myself.  Payback or praise?  It’s my choice.  And yours.

 

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2018 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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Time for a Great Quote: Michael Horton on Doctrine!

“Many Christians assume that we can just experience God in a personal relationship apart from doctrine, but that’s impossible. You cannot experience God without knowing who he is, what he has done, and who you are in relation to him. Even our most basic Christian experiences and commitments are theological. “I just love Jesus,” some say. But who is Jesus? And why do you love him?”
― Michael S. Horton, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2018 in doctrine

 

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Keys to Living Out the Christian Life! (A Study of Galatians 2:19-21) Part 4

Here in Galatians 2:19-21 we learn a number of truths that will help us navigate this thing called the Christian life.  These “keys” are not automatic or easy.  But they are essential IF I am to live out my new life in Jesus.  Let’s look at our text once more:

What have we seen so far?  We’ve seen that the first key in verse 19 is that I must have a proper relationship to the law. The law brings death and I have died to it. The second key is that the old me is dead! We read in verse 20- “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.”  The third key that impacts me here is this: There is a NEW ME who is to live by faith! (v. 20). I have not ceased to exist.  But now I can live a new life by faith in the Son of God.

There is a fourth key that I see in this passage and it is this:  I have been paid for!  Please notice the expression in verse 20- “the Son of God . . . who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Theologians refer to this as the doctrine of substitutionary atonement!  [We get paid by the big words].

Notice two truths in this expression “He gave Himself for me”:  First, He gave Himself.  Jesus said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” (Jn. 10:18).  Jesus voluntarily sacrificed Himself for me.  Notice also that the verse says “He gave Himself for me.”  Jesus’ death on the cross was intensely personal and specific.  It is hard to believe — but we must — that the Second Person of the Trinity had me in mind when He went to Calvary!

If this is indeed true — His death was voluntary and it was for me — how could I ever doubt His love for me?  How could I ever look at my life as insignificant?  How is it that I can choose at any one moment to live for myself, instead of for Him?

But we do, don’t we?  Today’s challenge: Focus today on Jesus’ giving of Himself for you.  Thank Him for His sacrifice.  And ask Him not how you can repay Him (an impossibility), but how you can moment by moment live for His glory.  Today. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2018 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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Who Do You Know? (Time for a Great Cartoon)

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2018 in relationships

 

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Keys to Living Out the Christian Life! (A Study of Galatians 2:19-21) Part 3

Principles, not keys, to victory in the Christian life might be a better way to describe what we are studying for the next few days.  The truths that I see in Galatians 2:19-21 will help the believer in Jesus understand some aspects of living for Him.

Here is our text:

We’ve seen the first key in verse 19 that I must have a proper relationship to the law. The second key that we’ve noticed is that the old me is dead! We read in verse 20- “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.”

The third key that impacts me here is this:  There is a NEW ME who is to live by faith! (v. 20).  There was a movement years ago called “the Victorious Christian Life” movement.  Some in that movement suggested that Christ now lives His life through us — and we are to be passive channels through whom He lives.  There is certainly some truth to that perspective, but understood wrongly (I believe) can lead to static, passive Christians who don’t take responsibility for their lives.  This kind of Let Go and Let God mentality runs counter to such challenges as Peter’s when he writes, “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Pe. 1).

There is a NEW ME who is to strategically and aggressively live out what it means to be a new creature in Christ!  This is not sanctification by the flesh (which Paul addresses throughout the book of Galatians), but an active dependence on God the Holy Spirit to help us follow hard after God.

Today’s challenge: Are you ready to count your NEW SELF ALIVE today? What additives do you need to focus on in your life in obedience to Peter’s challenge in 2 Peter 1? (to be continued)

[For those who are interested, the Victorious Christian Life Movement (sometimes called the Keswick Movement) is evaluated here.  A primary source critiquing it is found here.]

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2018 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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Benny Hinn and Healing Children (A Babylon Bee satire)

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2018 in Benny Hinn

 

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Keys to Living Out the Christian Life! (A Study of Galatians 2:19-21) Part 2

Like many of you I am somewhat skeptical of “keys to victory in the Christian life” or some such programs.  On the other hand, I’m extremely grateful for good directions that help me — step by step — to get something important accomplished.

For example, I was glad to have the SEVENTY-TWO PAGE booklet showing me how to put together the play set for my grandchildren!  True, none of the boards were marked and each had to be measured to make sure I was using the correct one for the next step, but I got it put together AFTER THREE WEEKS  of following the directions!

In some ways the Christian life is a bit easier!  We are looking at several well-known verses in Galatians 2 and asking, what truths are here that will help me live out the Christian life?  Here is our text:

We have already seen the first key in verse 19 that I must have a proper relationship to the law.  Paul says, “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.”  We die to the law as a way of salvation.  It was never intended to be so.  We die to our self-efforts at redemption.

The second key that I see this morning is that the old me is dead!  We read in verse 20- “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.”  I am to so identify myself with Christ that it is as if I were on the cross with Him, not as some kind of co-redeemer, but as a criminal who couldn’t live up to the law and deserved to die!  That’s what the law did for me.  It showed me my sin and my need of a Savior.

Have you ever been embarrassed at a Christian funeral? I have.  The believers there were rejoicing and laughing and, well, being very unfuneral-like in their celebration of their saved loved one’s homegoing!  Funerals are no laughing matter.  But if the funeral is a mere step to eternal life, then . . .

Today’s challenge: Are you ready to count yourself DEAD today?  The old me is gone.  Crucified with Jesus.  Now there’s a new me ready to . . .  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2018 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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