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In the world, we gain by gaining, in the kingdom of God, We Gain By Losing First

Posted by on March 1, 2021 — Drop A Comment

In the world, we gain by gaining, in the kingdom of God, We Gain By Losing First

Femi Aribisala

What does it mean to be in Christ? Does it mean we will have a lot of money? Does it mean we will never fall sick? Does it mean our businesses will prosper? Does it mean we will have lands, and houses, and property and investments?

Many Christians quickly answer this in the affirmative, often misunderstanding Paul’s assertion that: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

These questions also preoccupied Peter. So, her queried Jesus: “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore. what shall we have?” (Matthew 19:27).

Jesus answered him enigmatically: “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions- and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30).

Carnal Christians have run a marathon with this, failing to realise that Jesus’ hundredfold promise cannot be physical but spiritual, for his words are “spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63). While they harp on a hundredfold of houses and lands as their inheritance of faith, they fail to realise that it is not possible to be born by 100 mothers, and Jesus would hardly prescribe that we have 100 wives.

The hundredfold brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers are all spiritual; as are the hundredfold lands and houses. When we are born again by the Spirit of Christ, we are born into a new family of God. In this new family, we inherit mothers and siblings we never had before because, through Christ, “(God) has made from one blood every nation of men.” (Acts 17:26).

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Therefore, our Christian neighbour now becomes our mother, and our parishioner now becomes our brother or sister in Christ. But we now all have just one Father, God in heaven. Jesus says: “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, he who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9).

The hundredfold lands and houses arise from Jesus’ insistence that: “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33). When we forsake all for Christ’s sake, we inherit all in Jesus’ name. As a result, the same way the Lord can request that we give our entire salary to someone in need, so can he request that someone should do the same to us when we are in need.

The disciples of Jesus practicalised this: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32).

In short, to be in Christ has no application to carnal distinctions. To be in Christ means we have access to God and are amenable to godliness. It means we have fellowship with God. It means we are partakers of God’s divine nature. It means we are: “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17). It means God has built his mansion in our heart and we are: “signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 1:13).

Case of Esau

However, these spiritual distinctions are unsatisfactory to many Christians who believe gain is godliness and refuse to accept that godliness with contentment is great gain.

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Esau was the firstborn of his family. The firstborn son in Israel was regarded as sacred to God. God said to Pharaoh: “Israel is my son, my firstborn. So, I say to you, let my son go that he may serve me.” (Exodus 4:22). As God’s firstborn, Israel was designed to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6).

So also, the firstborn son enjoyed a favored position. He was entitled to a double portion of his father’s assets upon his death. (Deuteronomy 21:17). He was also entitled to a special blessing from the father and had the privilege of leadership in his family. (Genesis 43:33).

However, those distinctions had no immediate physical significance for Esau. When he went to the supermarket, his birthright earned him no discount. When he went to the bank, he could withdraw no money with his birthright. Everyone made a big deal of the fact that he was the firstborn, and yet there was no immediate profit in it. Therefore, he despised his birthright and sold it to the lowest bidder.

He was hungry and his brother Jacob made him an offer in exchange for food. He said to him: “‘First sell me your birthright.’ ‘Look, I am about to die,’ Esau said. ‘What good is the birthright to me?’” (Genesis 25:31-32). And so, Esau despised his birthright. For one morsel of meat, he sold it to his twin brother. Esau did not die of hunger, but he died spiritually.

Similarly, what is the physical point of being born again? What physical gain is in it? How does it put money in the bank and put food on the table? How does it pay the rent? He has been born again for ten years, but he still does not have a job. She is in Christ but still does not have a husband. He has been going to church for years, but still cannot afford to buy even an okada. So, when someone makes him an offer he cannot refuse, he accepts it.

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A little bit of pen-robbery and he was two million naira in the black. By the time she became the Governor’s mistress, he bought her a Mercedes Benz. In effect, both of them ended up selling their birthright because they are carnal and have no appreciation for spiritual life.

“Are the consolations of God too small for you, and the word spoken gently with you? Why does your heart carry you away, and what do your eyes wink at, that you turn your spirit against God?” (Job 15:11-13).

Losing to gain

A long-lost friend phoned me all the way from the United States with a burning question. “Doctor,” she said, “since you committed your life to Christ, what have you gained?” She hit the nail on the head by asking the wrong question.

I told her that her question came from a lack of understanding of kingdom dynamics. In the world, we gain by gaining. But in the kingdom of God, we gain by losing first. Her question should, therefore, have been: “Doctor, since you committed your life to Christ, what have you lost?” In order to inherit the kingdom of God, we first have to lose in order to gain.

In Christ, we lose the works of the flesh including adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, and revelries. (Galatians 5:19-20).

And then we gain the righteousness of God, which comprises love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:20).

However, this fruit of God’s Spirit does not come with money in the bank.

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