Being children of God by faith in Christ Jesus is amazing to say the least. So many today, because of a lack of knowledge, have left the clear language of the Bible. Denominational jargon has not only infiltrated, but has overtaken the people of God in many locations. No longer is there a pure language among many in the church (Zeph. 3:9). Many have adopted the language of Ashdod, as the Israelites did when they left the Lord (Neh. 13:24). Friends, there are great benefits to being a faithful Christian.
The Christian has the benefit of being likeminded with God through His divine will. The Bible calls this the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16; Phil. 2:5). This benefit comes only through abiding by the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). Paul would command the brethren in Philippi to walk according to the same rule (Phil. 3:16). The word rule is “kanon” in the Greek, which literally means “standard or reed.” When we fail to think straight about God and the Bible, it is almost impossible to obtain unity and be of the same mind and same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10). Our views of the Bible and the message it contains should foster the like precious faith through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:1).
The Christian has the benefit of praying to God continually through Jesus Christ (1 Pt. 2:5). Everyone cannot approach God in prayer, even in the church. Having the ability to approach God and cast our cares upon Him should overwhelm us with joy unspeakable (1 Pt. 5:7). To approach Him as Abba Father should cause us to see the distinction between the sinner and the saint according to Galatians 3:26–4:7. Only those who have been baptized into Christ and are heirs according to the promise (remember Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3) are privileged to go to God in prayer and be responded too.
Unfortunately, some among the church believe the Father hears everyone, and this is false. Do we realize that those who are living in rebellion are not in fellowship with God and therefore are not heard by God? Peter stated, “for the eyes of the LORD are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the LORD is against them that do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12). God is not hearing the unrighteous, in or out of the church. Peter also addressed the husbands and their conduct towards their wives, notice, “likewise you husbands…that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). James said the prayers of a righteous man avails much and, then talks about a Christian who errs from the truth and needs to be converted back, thus saving his soul from death (5:16-20).
Friends, God is not hearing sinners as the uninspired blind man said in John chapter nine, which is no contradiction at all to the rest of God’s teaching on prayer. Solomon in all his wisdom and understanding said these things concerning the one who is unfaithful to God, “the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight” also “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination” (Prov. 15:8; 28:9). Yet, the benefit of being a Christian is that God hears and responds to us when we are obedient to His will. John said, “and this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 Jn 5:14). Friends, we have a great benefit in Christ (who is the way) to be able to approach God (Jn 14.6). No wonder we can go to God in boldness as Christians to the throne of grace and find mercy and grace in time of need (Heb. 4:16). This is only because we have had our conscience cleansed from dead works to serve (spiritual worship) God (Heb. 9:14).
As Christians, we have the benefit of being in fellowship with one another on the first day of the week (Acts 20.7; 1 Cor. 16.1-2). John would call this day the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10). We have the pleasure of extending that fellowship throughout the week on Wednesday night and other times. Our fellowship again is with those of a like precious faith, not with those who teach another gospel (Gal. 1.6ff). As the people of God we have the responsibility to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but to expose them (Eph. 5:11). Unfortunately, many preachers and elders are in fellowship with denominationalism, even to the point where they attempt to justify their relevancy as a religion or association with the body of Christ. This is false and this type of thinking must be avoided.
Brethren, as we come to a close, we have the benefit of knowing we have remission of sins right now. When we were baptized, God gave us life through His Son (Acts 2:38-47). We have the hope of heaven and a new body (Romans 8:23- 25; Rev. 2:10). We have the confidence of seeing the face of God and freedom from the horrors of evil throughout eternity (Rev. 22:3-15). These are the benefits of being a faithful Christian.
Mike Bonner is the preacher and one of the elders of the 9th and Main Church of Christ, San Angelo, TX.