In our prior lesson, we discussed the first giant step to heaven: stepping out of self. To step out of self, we must deny ourselves, put off the old man of sin, and then give ourselves to the Lord without reservation!
THE SECOND GIANT STEP TO HEAVEN IS THE STEP INTO CHRIST.
What does stepping into Christ entail?
- Stepping into Christ requires putting on Christ.
This is essential if we are going to be saved. Galatians 3:26,27 - "For you are all sons of God through the faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." It is by faith that a penitent individual is baptized into Christ, thereby becoming a child of God (cf. John 8:24; Luke 13:3). Baptism puts one into Christ and it is also when that individual puts Christ on. To put on Christ is to seek those things that are above--those things which are spiritual, not physical and sinful. Paul commanded in Colossians 3:1,2 - "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." The apostle also wrote in Romans 6:3,4 - "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
- Stepping into Christ requires becoming a new creation.
This is a result of our obedience; that is, we are born again spiritually as a new creature. II Corinthians 5:17 teaches - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Ephesians 2:10,19 - "For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them...Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." Isn't it wonderful to think about being a new creation? When we obey the gospel, God takes us and cleanses us of our sins--of the filth and blackness that tarnishes our souls. He removes it and makes us new, beautiful, white, and pure--as His children!
- If one steps into Christ, he will receive spiritual blessings.
Ephesians 1:3 - "Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Did you notice where Paul said every spiritual blessing is found? In Christ! And how do we get in Christ? Through baptism (cf. Gal. 3:26,27)! Paul declared in II Timothy 2:10 - "Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." Salvation is one of the wonderful blessings to be had in Christ, but there are so many others: peace, contentment, hope, joy, forgiveness, purpose in life, just to name a few! Those who refuse to step into Christ cannot receive these spiritual blessings.
To step into Christ, we must put on Christ (via faith, repentance, and baptism), we must become a new creation, and, in so doing, we will receive great spiritual blessings! We will consider the third giant step to heaven in our next lesson.