Theme of the Week: Essential Spirituality
Bible Verse: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27
Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:1-23
Every sermon, each hour of public worship, every private prayer assumes a basic understanding of the Christian life. Yet many believers, would hesitate and ponder, and not be able to respond with clarity and confidence if asked directly, “What does it mean to be a Christian?”
Many people have come to think that the Christian life consists of a pattern of behavior. Others see the Christian life as a series of religious duties distinct from non-religious activities. These may include everything from the public act of worship, to private prayers, to dedicated service – but the Christian life, in their minds, still consists of these religious activities.
The Christian life is fundamentally a relationship – a relationship with the Living God. This cannot be overstated, or stated too frequently. The Christian life is a relationship between the Triune God and his people, the church, made possible by the death of Jesus on the cross.
But this poses a problem. Our understanding of personal relationships has many dimensions. But even the most imaginative person would have to struggle to envision a relationship with someone whom we cannot see, hear or touch. How do we maintain and nurture a relationship with a majestic, holy and mysterious God?
We must recognize that this relationship is one that crosses two spheres of existence, between nature and supra-nature. It is a mystical relationship in that it transcends the material world.
Through picture language, the Bible helps us to understand what it means to be a Christian. Images taken from all dimensions of human life, serve as windows into the reality of God, and what it means to be in a relationship with him. Three of these images, I believe, are central. They portray the mystical dimension of the Christian life.
First, this life is pictured as a . The believer is portrayed as a child of the heavenly Father (Galatians 3:26; 4:4-6). Christ came specifically so that we might become children of the Father.
Second, the Christian life is pictured as a union with Christ The believer is portrayed as one who lives in a unique bond of fellowship with the Ascended Lord Jesus. Our baptism, initiating us as Christian believers, symbolizes our union with Christ in his death and resurrection (Romans 6:3,4). In coming to Christian faith, we entered into a relationship with Jesus. Our commitment is to deepen and strengthen that bond. True spirituality is knowing, loving and serving Jesus.
A third image of this relationship is that of walking in the Spirit. We are children of the Father for we have the Spirit present within us. We are united with Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, for it is by the Spirit that we are born again to new life.
The images found in the New Testament are merely different ways of viewing this central truth, that by virtue of the saving work of God in Christ, we can enter into a personal relationship with Him.
Gordon T. Smith in Essential Spirituality. Copyright ©1989 by Gordon T. Smith.
As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commission from qualifying purchases on Amazon.ca. Learn more.
Copyright © 2022 Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.