We are Christians, yes. We are God’s children. We are his Church. Yes, we are sheep. We are saints. We are co-laborers with the Lord. We’re disciples. We’re a family. Yes.
But who we are only has meaning, it only brings us great joy, it only really matters, in relation to who we were.
Immoral. Idolaters. We are sinners. We are enemies of God. We’re dead. Dead in our transgressions. Dead in our sins. We are disobedient. Rebellious. Following the ways of the world. Following our own evil desires and thoughts. We are prisoners of Satan. Slaves to iniquity. We’re held captive by the devil. We’re in jail. We’re not going anywhere. Condemned by a holy and righteous God. Destined to be forever separated from the One who created us. We are hell-bound. Facing an eternity in a lake of fire and powerless to do anything about it. Powerless. We can do nothing. This is who we are. Not tired, not asleep, not sick, not even in a coma. Dead! It’s over. We’re finished. No hope. No luck. No chance. Only a promise. The promise of eternal damnation.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions.” ~Ephesians 2:4-5
The noose was around your neck. The chair had been kicked out and your legs were dangling when God rode in and rescued you. Through no merit of your own — nothing! not a single thing you did or could ever do — you were saved.
You were dead, but now you’re alive. You were lost, but now you’re found. You were headed to hell, but now you’ve been re-routed to heaven. And you’ve never done anything to deserve it. Christ Jesus took the punishment for you. Jesus took your place. Jesus stepped in and did for you what you could never do for yourself.
His love, his mercy, his grace, it makes no sense. It’s incredible. It’s amazing.
We are saved!
And this is what identifies us. This is who we are. This is what shapes the way we think and informs the way we behave. This is at the very heart of how we view our God and ourselves and one another. This is what gives us our great joy.
Who we are in relation to who we were.
Praise God for his amazing grace!
“The one unifying constant that defines whether or not such a congregation is included…is the practice of a cappella worship services.” ~Carl Royster, from his introduction to Churches of Christ in the United States
Wow. I had no idea we had just added a quarter-billion Eastern Orthodox to our movement! Who says our numbers are declining? Cool.
Sarcastically and sadly,