If Christ - As Seen on Sunday
We confess that we try to earn a salvation that you've already given to us
We try to make you love us more when you already love us more than we can fathom
You said if Christ is in us then everything changes.
Father, help us realize that.
"But if Christ is in you"
This is the demarcation line. When you hear Christian say things like "this changes everything" or "my life is so different now" it because there is distinction of life before and life after the presence of Christ.
If you are to believe the Gospel message - that sin entered the world and destroyed the relationships between God and people. And that God reached out in an act of reconciliation, even thought he was not at fault, and provided a way of atonement for sin in the form of placing the punishment of our sins upon the shoulders of his only Son. And through Jesus' sacrifice we not only have forgiveness of sin, but the very Spirit of God working inside of us to untangle the chains of sin death that trapped us all our lives so that we can be free both now and for all eternity...if we are to believe this message of freedom, glory, and love then we must simply begin with this proposition: if Christ is in you.
Conditional sentences start with an if and lead us into expected outcome.
If my wife make me a sandwhich, I will eat it.
Each verse in Romans 8:9-11 has an if clause.
- v. 9 - If the Spirit of God dwells in you, you are not in the flesh
- v. 10 - If Christ is in you, the body may be dead but the Spirit is life
- v. 11 - If the Spirit dwell in you he will give you life
There is a lot hanging on that tiny word if.
If Christ dwells in you, you have been set free. That is the conditional statement. It is fact.
If Christ is in you, then
A person changed by the indwelling presence of Jesus is different than those who do know this divine communion of the soul.
Last week Sean walked us through the first 8 verses of the Romans chapter 8. It was clear that there is a difference between those who are in Christ and those who are not. Let's look back at those 8 verses to find to look at the characteristics of a Christian:
If Christ is in you then you:
- Are not condemned (v.1)
- Have been set free from the law of sin and death (v.2)
- walk according to the Spirit (v.3)
- set their minds on Spirit-things (v. 5)
- have life and peace (v. 6)
- will please God (v. 8)
Stop Trying to Earn Your Spot
But the problem we face is that we as Christians approach our relationship with Jesus as job. We are looking to gain favor with the boss by doing what he says.
We try to make Jesus like us more and we approach Christianity as a checklist of do's and don't to earn affection from our Heavenly Father. Here is a short list of chores we do to make Abba shine affection on us:
- Read Bible
- Pray for #currenttragedy
- Tithe (though this may be just to make your Pastor like you more)
- Feed widows and orphans
- Plant a church
Good actions, though, turn toxic when they are an only attempt to earn something you already have.
I have often said that you cannot legislate morality.
I was wrong.
Morals are the definition of how people feel the world ought to operate. All legislation stems from the personal moral code that is emodied in a society's leaders and lawmakers. Legislation is the documentation of society's morals.
I have come to realize that when I used the phrase, "You cannot legistlate morality" what I really meant to say is that you cannot legislate your righteousness.
To me, and this I confess is only conjecture because I do not know a person's hearts and motives, it appears that Christians have turned to the law of the land as a way to find the freedom that only Christ can provide.
Sometimes it feels that American Christians have this anxiety concerning how the state of their nation will affect their salvation. That if America turns it back on God that God will turn his back on the Church.
So they turn to the legal system to re-establish the righteous requirements of the law in hopes that they earn the freedom that only God can provide.
But as Paul has told us, "God has done what the law cannot do." (Romans 8:3)
Pursuing a world that lines up with God's foundational intentions is a worthy cause. Christians should be engaged in politics and social issues because of their trust in God's sovereign wisdom.
But we should not pursue any attempt to earn our salvation or "God's favorite nation" status as a substitute for the righteousness that only Christ can provide.
Why do we try so hard?
Our attempts to earn our righteousness are well documented. We do because we feel something must be earned. There must be an exchange between us and God. We give him what he wants and then we get love, hope, safety, or whatever you are looking for in return.
It is the Christian economy based on the bartering system.
But as we pointed out this was the very weakness of the law - our attempts to please God stem from a sinful mind that is hostile toward him.
Yet still we try.
- Is it a natural skepticsm that the deal is too good to be true?
- Is it a lack of trust in the God's promises?
- Is it because deep-down we want to control the terms and services of the agreement?
Maybe it is all these and more.
While we find value in the promises of Christ, but so long as they fit our ways of thinking and are subjected to our rules and way of life.
Trust the Process
We get into trouble because we don't trust the process. We would rather attempt to take control of our faith journey, craft religion to fit what we think is best, instead of relying on the promise of a sovereign God.
We would rather be the cause or the reason we "succeed" in faith rather than resting in the fact that Jesus is the ultimate victor and has supplied our freedom for us.
But as Paul plainly points out, all of our attempts to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law fall massively short. They are rubbish. Our hostile attempts to serve God apart from Christ still lead us toward death and despair.
If Christ is in us, then...
We provide a recap of the Sunday sermon to encourage you in the faith each week but it's not the same thing as being here.