Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sanctified, Not Sancti-faked

Think about the five best Christians that you know. List them, 1-5, for how ‘good’ they appear to be.
Now let me tell you about your list. Each one is a failure, has failed both God and themselves many times over.
In baseball, the best hitters fail 2/3rds of the time. In major league baseball, they get paid millions of dollars, not for that 2/3rds failure, but that golden 1/3 success rate.
As a Christian, you won’t hear me proudly proclaiming my success/failure rate. I would be ashamed to speak of how often I have failed God and myself.
But here’s the great part. It’s not my righteousness that makes me right before God-Jesus Christ and His righteousness do. And Jesus is batting 1.000, meaning He never fails. It’s because of His righteousness that we can proclaim with Paul: “1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4
So why do we Christians continue to struggle with sin? The struggle is good, as it is evidence of our belonging to Christ-those who do not belong to Him revel in their sins, are still carrying ‘condemnation’ within them.
A baseball player will work on raising his batting average, cutting down on his failures. So too we Christians need to work on cutting down on our sinning, by allowing God to hold sway over our lives, be our Lord, without a lot of backtalk and complaining. This is progressive sanctification, and the longer we’ve belonged to Christ, the more time we spend in prayer and study of His word, fellowshipping with other believers, the better we do. We will never bat 1.000, but we can improve our average. And eventually we become “All Stars”. (In Heaven!)
Watch out for Sancti-fakers, though. There are wolves among the sheep, and some of them look mighty sharp, appear to be Christians when they are, in fact, anti-Christians.
Both Peter and John in their letters warn us against Sancti-fakers. One ‘tell’ or sign:
“2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” 1 John 4:2,3
Batter up!

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