We need to rise from our baptism to the new life God gives us when baptized Romans 6:4; to live UP TO that new life, not just Live it Up, as if no change has occurred when accepting Christ’s forgiveness. As if church is all about having a good time, good singing, good food and fun, good people and good fellowship. As if it isn’t first of all submitting to the Holy Spirit’s work in re-making our brains after the mind of Christ. We’re entitled to enjoy the benefits of grace, to delight in all the auxiliary benefits of Zion that people like by being Christians. But only within obedience to Christ’s will.
Instead, so much worldly behavior has entered the church that we often see no sharp distinction between saved and unsaved. A condition Christians have allowed to exist. Not only do we NOT produce the Spirit’s fruit, we too often say, “We’re just forgiven sinners,” emphasizing sinners instead of forgiven.
We can never forget or ignore the demands placed on us as the forgiven by taking refuge in being sinners. Jesus expects and demands change in his people, as his people. Colossians 1:13-14 summarizes the challenge facing us. Jesus has rescued (forgiven) “us from the dominion of darkness.” We like that. We live in Christ’s grace. We don’t give account of our sins.
Don’t ignore what Paul added to “rescued us”. God also “brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Understand “brought us into” as the step beyond forgiveness. I still remember Professor Marion Henderson saying in Prison Epistles class, God didn’t discharge us when he forgave us. He merely transferred us from Satan’s servants to being his own. From useless ways to Christ’s ONE WAY of living. From behavior that at its best offered a mere shadow of Christ’s life, not the substantial fruit the Holy Spirit grows in each disciple Galatians 5:22-26, Colossians 3:1-14, II Peter 1:5-11.
God demands we as equally accept our obligation as believers as our privilege as believers. To as powerfully “continue to work out our salvation,” as we gladly embraced Christ’s forgiveness of our sins. To as perseveringly commit to the former as a lifestyle as we made a one-time decision in the former.
What we cannot continue as individual Christians, and corporately as a church, is keeping Christ’s LIGHT of the WORLD-nature under our worship-service bowls; and keeping Christ’s SALT of the EARTH flavor and preservation-nature inside our Jesus and Me isolation.
Indeed, Christian leaders can no longer dare refuse to banish the growing secularism in our sacred assemblies for fear of exposing themselves to banishment as its perfect examples. The time has come for judgment to begin in the family of God I Peter 4:17. End, Part I