Many of us who become Christians enter the faith through an awareness that we’ve done wrong and need forgiveness. We believe this is the prescription not only for entry into the faith but also how we’re to live our faith day by day.
We attempt to be the best Christian we can but believe if we fail all that needs to be done is to ask for forgiveness and try harder again next time. Living like this for any period of time creates problems for us because forgiveness is good at dealing with failures but doesn’t change or empower us to live differently.
How would I illustrate this to you? Think of it this way. Someone has a broken leg which is keeping them from being able to walk because of pain. They seek help and are given pain killers. There’s no more pain but they’re still unable to walk. No matter how many pain killers they take, the broken bone will never heal.
The same is true in our spiritual lives. Believing that the wrong actions we do are our biggest problem causes us to look for help. We’re prescribed the pain killers of forgiveness and use them diligently near the point of overdosing. The sting of failure is diminished but the way we live isn’t different.
To live differently we need to understand the problem our symptoms are exposing. The fundamental issue we have is a spiritual one. It can be traced all the way back to Adam and Eve when they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree and died. This death wasn’t physical, intellectual, emotional, or in their ability to make decisions, but it was spiritual. Their fellowship with God was broken and spiritually they ceased operating as intended.
Their defective spiritual condition was hereditary and has been passed down to all humanity, generation after generation (Romans 5:12). We too were born spiritually out of order. Like an engine without all it’s pistons firing, we sputter all over the place failing and doing wrong because we aren’t working as we were designed. In salvation God made provision for these two problems: our wrong actions and inoperable spiritual condition.
Most know Christ’s death for us and shedding of His blood is what has granted forgiveness for all our wrong actions past, present, and future (Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 10:17, Psalm 103:12). But, many don’t know that in salvation we were also granted a death with Christ which terminated the spiritual life we received by being in Adam and Eve’s family line (Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20).
In addition, we were raised with Christ spiritually; given a new spirit that is joined to His spirit (Romans 8:10-11, 1 Corinthians 6:17); and are transferred to His spiritual family line (Colossians 1:13). This is why we can live differently, because we are different (2 Corinthians 5:17), able to function spiritually as God always intended, and having all the power we’ll ever need to live life day by day (Romans 8:11, Ephesians 1:3).
If I can encourage you in any way please don’t hesitate to contact me. Also, if you’d like to learn more about being new spiritually, our conference is a great place to start. There’s also a blog post on our web site (elmco.org) that contains a list of recommended reading you may find helpful.
We’re able to live because of Christ (Philippians 1:21)!
Mike Roncaglia, Executive Director