The Heart of the Gospel…
Do we actually believe when we are born again we become a “new creature” leaving behind who we were? Is there something different about us when we come up out of the water during baptism or did we just get dunked in a pool of water before a group of people? What changed and when did it change?
For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. ~II Corinthians 5:13-15 NKJB
Paul makes such strong arguments about living for Christ, living through Christ and living like Christ that it should get every believers attention. Sadly, over the past several years, when in attendance at “church”, this is not seen, this is not experienced and in the interactions with people afterwards, this is not part of their daily life.
Asking again, what changed and when did it change?
The heart of the Gospel is our identity in Christ Jesus. If we are unable to be named, in community, by Christ it is very clear their are consequences.
And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ~Matthew 7:23 NKJB
If one thinks using this one verse is making something from nothing, please read the entire chapter and let us discuss. If Jesus doesn’t name us how can He know us?
Being baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, makes us into a “new creation”. We can be named in group prayer, we can be named sitting at a dinner table with multiple friends or we can be named during a ceremony, like a Bar Mitzvah. When Jesus Christ names us it will be in community.
Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ~II Corinthians 5:16-17 NKJB
Most of us go through life with an identity that was given to us from society / culture and never realize our identity in Christ Jesus. – who Jesus calls us. We call ourselves our job, our marital status or parental status or some other name that society / culture has foisted upon us. How can we expect to live in Christ when our identity comes from man? This must stop if we are going to be a true Christian community. The importance of this aspect of the Christian life can not be overstated.
Either the Gospel is the divine Word of God teaching us how to live and how to be a reflection of Him, or it’s nothing more than a historical account of events.