Christiantity is Christ-in-you!

Jesus said, "I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). "I am the life" (John 14:6), Jesus declared. The Christian can affirm with Paul that "Christ is our life" (Col. 3:4); therefore, "for me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). The Christian life is the "saving life of Christ" (cf. Rom. 5:10), whereby we are "made safe" from dysfunctional humanity in order to function as God intended by the divine impetus of Christ within the Christian.

By His Holy Spirit, the living Lord Jesus wants to fill us (cf. Eph. 5:18) and control our behavior in order to manifest His character. This is not ethical conformity to a Christian value-system, but is the manifestation of the "fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal. 5:22,23). Thereby we allow for His holy character to be expressed in the process of sanctification (cf. I Cor. 1:30; I Thess. 5:23).

Because we have such a performance-oriented, work-ethic mentality of accomplishing the objectives of any task, there is a constant tendency among Christians to question their responsibilities, what they must do, to live the Christian life. It is not what we do, but what He does that constitutes the living of the Christian life. Jesus told His disciples, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Paul, a religious activist if there ever was one, admitted that "we are not adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God" (II Cor. 3:5).

Being the Christian we have become is not effected by increased dedication and commitment to God or the church. Nor is Christian growth and behavior enacted by "studying to show oneself approved to God" by the gnostic acquisition of additional biblical and doctrinal knowledge. Emotional experiences do not make one a better Christian. Participation in activistic causes, or serving the Lord in ministry or missions opportunities are not creditable means of enhancing the Christian life. God is "not served with human hands, as though He needed anything" (Acts 17:25). Paul credited Christ for everything in his life and ministry, when he wrote, "I do not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me" (Rom. 15:18).

"As you received Christ Jesus, so walk in Him" (Col. 2:6), wrote Paul. How did we receive Christ Jesus in order to become a Christian? By faith! In like manner, then, the Christian is responsible to continue to make the volitional choices moment-by-moment to allow for the receptivity of Christ's activity in our Christian lives. Such receptive faith allows for the vital outworking (cf. James 2:26) of the life and character of Jesus Christ in our behavior. "Christ lives in me," Paul explained, "and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20).

What does it mean, then, to be a Christian? Christianity is Christ! A Christian is one in whom Jesus Christ lives by His Spirit, and one who allows the life and character of Jesus Christ to be lived out through his behavior, in order to function as intended to the glory of God (cf. Isa. 43:7).

 

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