Who We Already Are
This past Sunday we looked at Galatians 5:16-24, and talked about who we already are in Christ, and the who we are called to become.
Those who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit experience a tension of desires. The first desire a Christian feels is to “Keep in step with the Sprit”, which means our deepest desire, and honest yearning is to know and to obey God. But the reality of indwelling sin battles against our deepest desire to keep us from fulfilling our obedience.
Galatians 5:17 “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
A Christian is one who WANTS to obey Jesus. WANTS to grow in knowledge and love for him and others. Jesus himself said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 )
But our desires do not naturally carry themselves out. We must willingly, routinely and sacrificially “keep in step with the Spirit”, in doing so is the only way that we will not gratify the cravings of the sinful flesh remaining.
This call to grow and mature in our knowledge and obedience to Christ is referred to as “Holiness”. And this is what it means to live as a Christian in this world that is not yet fully redeemed by the return of our King. Holiness is increasingly bringing the Character of God to bear on every part of our life.
It is a sinful thing to presume upon God’s grace, and justify our own sins, laziness, or apathy towards God. Rather the death of Christ was in order to secure our standing before a Holy god and to call us to walk in “Newness of Life”.
Romans 6:1-4 makes that clear “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
So for those who repent and believe in Christ’s Life, Death, & Resurrection once and for all have forgiven their sins.
Likewise for those who repent and believe in Christ’s Life, Death, & Resurrection once and for all have put no faith in their “good works” as a means to attaining God’s favor.
YOUR IDENTITY IS NOT ESTABLISHED OR UPHELD BEFORE GOD BY YOUR OWN PERSONALITIES, BACKGROUNDS, ACHIEVEMENTS, YOUR GOOD DAYS OR EVEN YOUR BAD DAYS.
IT IS ESTABLISHED AND UPHELD BY JESUS CHRIST’S LIFE, DEATH AND RESURRECTION ALONE.
BUT SCRIPTURE AND OUR EXPERIENCE in the Flesh reminds us to the tension that we live in each day, yet are called to walk as redeemed people of God.
THE TENSION IS THAT
HOLINESS, OBEDIENCE, AND SACRIFICIAL LIVING IS
1) A GIFT AND 2) A COMMAND
The quote from Theologian David Peterson balances the tension well:
HOLINESS IS NOT SIMPLY ATTAINED BY HUMAN EFFORT, IT IS A STATUS WHICH GOD IMPARTS TO THOSE WHOM HE CHOOSES TO BRING INTO SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIMSELF THROUGH COVENANT AND REDEMPTION.
HOLINESS MEANS TO BE SET APART FOR A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLY ONE, SET APART FOR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CREATOR OF THE HEAVENS AND EARTH, AND THROUGH OUR KNOWLEDGE AND RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM WE SEEK TO DISPLAY HIS CHARACTER IN EVERY SPHERE OF LIFE.
Holiness and Christians Maturity is only possible if understand that your standing before God and the retention of it, is NOT of your own doing but the Grace and Mercy of God.
UNLESS YOU EMBRACE THE GIFT YOUR CAN’T FULFILL THE COMMAND.
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Because Jesus COMPLETELY, WHOLLY, ETERNALLY saved us, we are no longer are debtors to the flesh, who once reigned in us unopposed, rather we are not consumed with a new passion to serve a new person, Jesus Christ.
May we through our new status of Holy, seek to display Him who made us Holy in our families, our friendships, our vocations, our schools, our hobbies, our entire lives.
All the while looking towards the day when the tension will cease and God will destroy Satan, Sin, and death itself.
Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.