Saturday, June 15, 2013

Won to be One



Core Scriptures: Ephesians 4, 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, 

Victory has a way of marking those who believe in Jesus. Whether we know it or not, the light we carry inside us bears a fragrance divinely designed to lead people to Christ. And as we live a life pleasing to the Lord, we grant God access to work through us, allowing His victory to become known to not only the lost and downcast, but also to our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Although our actions do not negate Christ's victory (i.e. salvation, eternal life, conquering death and sin), they have the power to reveal or conceal it, while influencing the quality of unity we experience.

The Bible has much to say about victory in Christ and how we're won by Him (see Romans 8, Philippians 4, Ephesians 2, etc). In the same way we love because we were first loved, we can conquer (sin, self and schemes of the enemy) because He first conquered. Our unworthiness combined with God's worthiness should motivate us to live "a life worthy of the calling [we] have received" (Ephesians 4:1). But sometimes, it's hard to muster up the want to live Jesus-first and others-centered. In this day and age, many confess God as #1, but lack supportive evidence to the claim. We rather have our own flock of followers and watch our notifications skyrocket, then corporately die to ourselves and perpetuate the goodness we take credit for instigating. Truth is: regardless if life seems fun or miserable, when we take our eye of the ball of Christ's victory, we rob ourselves of seeing how God sees. With the loss of spiritual definition, the marks of spiritual maturity can become hazy to us. 

Christ gave himself so we could give ourselves. So whenever we stop giving ourselves, it's like refusing to shower. When we stop showering, our fragrance changes and affects how we impact not only the unsaved, but the saved. In Ephesians 4, Paul alludes to this concept by emphasizing the maintaining of "unity". In v. 3, he stresses maintaining the "unity of the Spirit" (the bond of peace) in addition to "the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God" in v. 13. But what does Paul really mean by these uses of unity?

Unity is much more than a general sense of camaraderie. It is both product and provision: it's the product of calvary and God's work in Christ and an organic provision by the Holy Spirit (organic in the sense it starts from within and manifests itself outward). Without the cross, without sanctification, Christian unity cannot stand on its own. 

When we examine our unity in calling and purpose, we understand how all believers are the called of God. Our calling is our responsibility to respond to what we have already become in Christ: to live as an extension of Christ to the world. Our purpose is to mature into the likeness of Christ, being conformed to the measure of the stature of His fullness. In this, we are continually equipped to know more of God's character and heart. And it's here where the snowball of unity gathers momentum. 

As a uniquely created people, our lives speak. However, it's not about what we say, but what our actions and very presence reflect. As Paul declares,  "Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of [Christ's victory], we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 MSG). And it's in the victory, we discover the unity, and how Christ designed the two to co-exist. Ultimately, he relentlessly pursues us so we may know in greater detail how we're 1 (won) to be 1 (one) with Him and one another.


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