[ECC Lead Pastor, Scott Moore / Covington Campus]
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:17-32 NIV)
There are two approaches/responses to this Scripture:
1. School of Legalism
- Identity: sinner
- Saved (?) but working really hard to be good and holy.
- Result: futility (frustration and self-condemnation)
There is no life is legalism. The lie becomes that the Christian life is for everyone else but not me. I can't be good enough.
2. School of Christ
- Identity: saint (Being a saint has nothing to do with my actions but with my master.)
- I am saved by grace and walking in it. I am good and holy.
- Result: true righteousness and holiness.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. (Romans 7:18, 24, 25 NIV)
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13 NIV)
to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:23, 24 NIV)
We need the Word of God and each other. When we're in the Word and we're surrounded by our brothers and sisters in Christ we CAN renew our minds.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. (Hebrews 10:14-18 NIV)
But don't we still struggle with sin?
Yes! But we are no longer a slave to sin and its consequences.
I am weak.
I do sin.
I am imperfect.
BUT Christ is strong.
Christ is holy.
Christ is perfect.
And if Christ is my master then I shall be known by His name and His attributes instead of mine.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:2, 3 NIV)
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength (Ephesians 1:18, 19 NIV)
What would happen if we all lived in the School of Christ and NOT the School of Legalism?
What effect would that have on our lives, our church, and our community?