Saturday, December 8, 2012

If You Are A Christian ...

Are you a Christian? Are you a Christian in name only? Do you know Jesus or know of Jesus? There is a difference. Do you have any idea what you are proclaiming when you take on the name Christian? You aren't saying that Christianity is your religion, you are telling all of creation that you are a little Christ, a little Jesus; you are proclaiming that you are like Jesus.

Christianity is not something you are taught; it is something you are. Yes, you can be taught Bible passages and what they mean but the Bible is not a rule book to which we conform; it is an explanation of who we are. It shows us, reveals to us what we have become because of Jesus Christ; because of the cross; because of the empty grave; because of the Holy Spirit. The Father's love, when accepted, transforms us through the Son so that our pattern of thinking and behaviour changes. It is not our determination that changes us but God who changes us.

So when Jesus taught us to love our neighbour, it wasn't a rule but an explanation of what happens with the transformation of our heart. He showed us what it is to love your enemy when he was nailed to the cross. Jesus was not a victim. Don't rob him of his glory by thinking that he was powerless concerning what happened to him. Jesus went to the cross by choice, to save the enemy of God; us.

The Word tells us that it was while were were still sinners Jesus died for us. It was the only way that we could be freed from our sin nature. But as sinners we were the enemy of God. Sin separated us. Rebellion, self-determination, independence turned the creation into the enemy of the Creator. I can't stress this enough because it is incredible what God did for those who wanted nothing to do with him:

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. (Colossians 1:21)

People today believe there is good and evil in all of us but it doesn't matter. One act of rebellion is enough to separate us from God and turn us into his enemy. Imagine how many acts of rebellion we go through in a day, but those who have chosen life in Jesus are covered by God's grace. He has reached out to his enemy and made it possible for us to become family:

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. (Colossians 1:22)

He has covered his enemy, transformed them into his children and has covered them by his grace so that now we are presented before him as holy, without blemish and free from accusation. That means right now, today, at this very moment, you are blameless and innocent, covered by the blood of Jesus. Your rebellious acts from yesterday are covered by his grace. It is so incredible and that is why the Word tells us not to abuse this grace because it can be abused. You, who were once the enemy of God have been reconciled to him, adopted as his child and covered by his grace.

So when we read the words "Love your enemy" we can understand they are not just words to Jesus. It cost him everything to love his enemy. When we take on the name Christian we are stating that God's love has transformed us so that we too love our enemy. Not a choice we make but the action we take compelled by the love of Jesus. Not self-determined but Holy Spirit shaped by the love of Jesus. Not a rule to follow but a pattern embraced because of the love of Jesus. "Love your enemy"; not a command or rule but the nature of Christ's character in us.

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