We have looked at Christian Ministry as noted in Scripture and in the writings of Paul. Christian Ministry is an outflow of Christian life; it is the genuineness and the reality of the Life that gives forth true and meaningful ministry.

We cannot claim to have true fellowship with Christ unless we have a genuine knowledge of Him and a real relationship with Him from the Gospel i.e. there is no real Christian life apart from this.

The Apostle Paul denies that anyone has truly learned the new way of life in Christ unless he has learned to put off the ‘old self’, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires ( Eph. 4:22), and put on Christ. (Eph.4:24). Theology is fundamentally not a matter of talk but of Life.

Following this, the theology ought to move into the heart and on to our behaviour.

We are not advocating that the life of the Christian ought to be perfect, although this would be desirable, and should be attempted (with the enabling and ministry of the Holy Spirit), but with the full realisation that the perfect life only awaits us in the new heaven and new earth. But Scriptures does exhort us to run towards the goal, aiming for perfection (Philippians 3:12-13; 1 Corin. 9:24-27).

We cannot be half-hearted in our Christian life and be complacent and ‘luke-warmed’ in our commitment to God; obeying some of His Word which is palatable to us, and ignoring some at will. The real important ingredient of worship of God is singleness of mind, integrity, and an undivided heart. The spiritual start of a good Christian life is undivided focus on God, as we cultivate holiness and Christian character. While we are still in our fallen bodies, not one of us has enough strength to go ahead with the eagerness we ought to show, and many of us are so held back by weakness that we make little progress as we falter and even fall back. But we must go on as far as we possibly can, and complete the journey we have begun (with the enabling and ministry of the Holy Spirit) and the fellowship of God’s community (the church), in the midst of a fallen world and the relentless attacks of the evil one. The triune God (the Father watching over us and overruling; the Son interceding for us at the Father’s right hand; the Holy Spirit executing all the desires of God for our lives), – would fulfil His promise and enable us to finish the race (Heb. 12). We must continue to trust, to obey, and to press on, persevering, against all the odds the triune God has allowed to come our way, in HIs love, and in His wonderful plan to mould us into the image of God and to present us as an unblemished bride for the Son.


We have been considering the Christian life which is the basis of Christian ministry and the recognition that ministry is an outflow of a wholesome Christian life.

Our study of Galatians revealed that the believer no longer lives, but Christ lives in him (2:20), and reigns in him – this is the essence of the life of a believer. Paul also indicated in another Scriptural text that the Christian no longer lives for himself but for Him who died for him and rose again.
It is tantamount to handing ourselves over to God, and devoting the total energy of our minds to serving Him – it calls for a renewal of the mind (Eph. 4:23; Rom. 12:2) and a transformation of the whole being. Henceforth, the believer no longer follows his own way but the Lord’s will, and aims always to promote His glory. Putting aside our own way of thinking, we genuinely seek to obey God and His commandments.

Scripture tells us to put aside selfish interests; to remove undue desire for wealth, power or popularity from our minds, and to wipe out all ambitions for worldly glory and various secret temptations (taught in the various epistles).

This is in effect self-denial, taught by the Lord Jesus and exemplified supremely in His life on earth ( Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23). The Lord Jesus emphasised this clearly to His disciples from the outset, and self-denial would leave no place for pride and ostentation, no room for self-indulgence, vices brought about by love of the self.

Instead, it leads to a call to love our neighbour and to seek his good – how can we display such a love for others unless we ‘renounce’ ourselves and devote ourselves to others? (1 Cor. 13:4-5). By nature, we are inclined to love only ourselves and we will not spontaneously relinquish our rights and interests to others.

We need to remember that whatever we receive from the Lord is given on condition that we use it for the good of the whole Church. The right use of our gifts is warmly and generously to share them with others, to edify the brethren and the community (1 Corin. 12:12). No member exists for his own benefit; we are fellow members of the body of Christ; all the gifts and talents are entrusted to us as stewards of the Lord God (1 Cor. 3:5-10).

Remember that while we were enemies of the cross, Christ died for us (Rom.5:8). God loves us not because we are lovable; we love because He first loves us. As we continually remember this, we would learn to love others because they were created in the image of God; even when they are fallen creatures, they still were intended to bear His image.

Christian ministry, springing forth from all these various understandings, would be such that it brings glory and honour to God by displaying the wondrous love and grace of God in our own lives that enable us to serve others just as Christ came to serve and not to be served.


We have considered the Christian life and we focused on self-denial in the last sharing.

The subject of self-denial is intimately involved in ‘Repentance’; repentance can be considered to consist of two parts: mortification of the flesh and the quickening of the Spirit. It is most difficult to renounce self and put our own desire aside; the flesh cannot be considered dead unless everything of ourselves is thrown out. All the desires of the flesh are enmity against God (Rom. 8:7); the first step to the obedience of the Law of God is renouncing our own nature. Renewal becomes evident by the fruits produced; the mind and heart must already be filled with the desire for righteousness. This happens when the Holy Spirit, instilling holiness within, so inspires us with new thoughts and affections that they may be rightly considered new. We, by nature, are averse to God, and unless self-denial takes over, we shall never lean to what is right. Hence Scripture urges us to put off the old man, to renounce the world and the flesh, to forsake our lust, and be renewed in the spirit of our mind.

We cannot learn fear of God and the basic principles of godliness, unless we are ‘pierced by the sword of the Spirit, and destroyed’ Our old nature, that belongs to the fallen man, must be wiped out; it has to be put off continually, and at the same time, the ‘new man’ must be continually put on – it is a daily ‘battle’ for righteousness and godliness.

Putting to death the flesh and quickening of the Spirit both come from our union with Christ; if we have true fellowship in Christ’s death (Gal. 2:20), the old man is crucified by His power. The body of sin dies, so that the corruption of our old nature can never really flourish again (Rom. 6:5-6). If we share in His resurrection, we are raised by it to newness of life, which makes us conformed to the righteousness of God.

The children of God are delivered from the bondage by new birth. This does not mean complete freedom and absence of temptation. A ceaseless battle goes on, to exercise the believers and to help them understand their weakness. There is still a spring of evil in every born-again individual, which gives rise to sinful desires and actions (termed as ‘indwelling sin’ or the ‘law of sin and death’ explained in Romans 7). Wrong appetites still flourish and, even though resisted, incite us to lust, greed, ambition and other vices (only to be resisted and overcome by the law of the Spirit, explained in Romans 8).

Although we say that the old man is crucified and the law of sin abolished in the children of God (Rom. 6:6), the traces of sin survive, not to have dominion (not the purpose of God), but to humble us with a realisation of our own weakness.

The Lord God has ordained that those who will one day be crowned in heaven must have fought the good fight here on earth. There can be no triumph until we have overcome the struggle of this life and gained the victory (see the letters to the seven churches in Revelation). Another reason for gratitude is that we begin to experience, in various ways, a foretaste of divine blessing so that our appetites are whetted for the full experience of what is to come in eternity. Also, God is teaching us not to be attached to the things and temporary ‘tents’ here on earth but to long for the eternal homes and inheritance that await us in the new heaven and new earth (see 2 Corin.chapter 5).