Theme of the Week: Christ Formed in You
Bible Verse: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. Galatians 3:13a ESV
Scripture Reading: Acts 4:12; Hebrews 2:17, Galatians 3:13
God accomplishes his transforming purpose in us through the gospel. The implications of the gospel for spiritual formation are profound. Through Christ and his work for us, we are justified, counted righteous before God, and therefore pursue holiness not for grace, but from grace. The doctrine of justification by faith steadies our feet on the path to holiness, preserving us from the downfall of legalism.
But we are not only justified, we are sanctified: set apart by God for holiness through our union with Jesus Christ. We are freed not only from sin’s penalty, but also its power. The curse of sin has been canceled and its bondage has been broken. In other words, we really are changed—transformed. Through the indwelling of the Spirit in our hearts, God has established a protection for his ongoing work in our lives.
This week we will discover how these definitive, once-and-for-all events (justification and sanctification) get worked out in the actual pursuit of holiness. We will learn that holiness is both threatening and beautiful and that to pursue holiness requires both unrelenting effort in putting sin to death and unfailing trust in the Spirit’s work of molding us into the image of Christ.
Martin Luther said it well, and his words are fitting as we embark on our journey:
“This life, therefore, is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness; not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it. The process is not yet finished, but it is going on. This is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”1
1 Martin Luther, “An Argument in Defense of All the Articles of Dr. Martin Luther Wrongly Condemned in the Roman Bull.” Available online at: http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/NEW1luther_c4.htm. Accessed 12 March 2008.
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