Saturday, August 14, 2021

Reducing Life in Christ Down to Rules and Principles Instead of Knowing God

The church today has reduced life in Christ down to rules, regulations and principles... and lots of them. Isn't that about what you get when you go to many churches and listen to or read many online/radio preachers and teachers?

But the miracles of Christ becoming one of us, and then dying for our sins and being raised again from the dead so that we could also be raised with Him and receive the gift of eternal life, weren't accomplished for the purpose of giving us a daily existence of trying to accomplish living by a bunch of laws, rules and principles!

Many believers know the things that they think they're supposed to do and not do. But do they know Christ apart from what they do and don't do? Is their relationship with God real to them apart from making sure they're following certain rules, guidelines or principles?

Do they know "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2) and do they "know the power of His resurrection"? (Phil 3:10). Or do they simply know a daily life of trying to "live right," and sometimes failing and sometimes feeling like they're doing OK.

It's not Christ who has set you up for a cycle of success and failure, success and failure, success and failure, when it comes to your daily life in Him. The church has done that, with their constant teachings of "how to's," principles, rules, laws and behavior modification programs and messages.

Did Paul and the others share some wisdom in their epistles that helped the early churches with their understanding of what daily living in Christ is and isn't about? Certainly. But with our ready access to a collection of those epistles, we forget (or don't realize) that those apostles didn't set out to write a book about "rules, principles and guidelines for daily living in Christ." Often they were responding to false teachings and misunderstandings that had arisen in specific churches, and addressing errors that needed to be corrected... but these things were not their core message.

The central message of Christ and the gospel is knowing Him. It's knowing our union with Him. It's knowing that we died with Him and were raised together into new life with Him that isn't focused on behavior, but rather took the focus on behavior away so that we could truly know God!

Is behavior important? Sure it is. But by far it is not the focus of life in Christ. It's knowing God and His love, grace and faithfulness, and our union with Him, apart from our behavior. This changes a person without even having to focus on changing!

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