Christians are described as a special people, royal people, holy people (1 Pet. 2:9). These descriptions say something about us. What makes us a special people? Is it our stand against institutionalism that makes us a special people? Is it our practice of immersion as opposed to sprinkling that makes us a peculiar people? Does partaking of the Lord’s Supper the first day of each week make us holy? Is it the fact that we can take the truth and refute denominationalism that makes us a royal people? Are we a peculiar people because we can tell everybody in the religious world what they are doing is wrong? Have you ever thought that we can do all these things right and still be wrong? We can be wrong because we are not what we ought to be inwardly. Special people, royal people, holy priesthood describe who we are, not what we do.
Through the Bible there is great emphasis given as to “what manner of persons we ought to be.” When we talk about what we ought to be, we are not talking about what we do but who we are, our character. It is right, and necessary, that we spend time teaching about what we need to be doing. But, have we done that to the neglect of something even more important? That is, emphasizing what we ought to be. As a result, is it any wonder then that we find ourselves deficient in character? Is it any wonder we have an integrity crisis? Is it any wonder people have problems honoring covenants? Should we be surprised we often have difficulties arising from mistreatment of one another?
Moreover, it is just common sense that most, if not all sins of the flesh could be successfully solved by placing an emphasis on what we ought to be. When we look at the sins listed in Galatians 5:19-21 would they be a problem if we properly understood what we ought to be? Have you ever considered the reason those sins exist is because we are not what we ought to be? Even if we did not have God’s revealed will relating to the sinfulness of those sins, would it not naturally follow if we are to be like God that such things as adultery and covetousness would be no problem? Would envy or selfish ambition be a problem if we developed the mind of Christ? Yes, the sins of the flesh are a problem. They are sin! But, the solution is not more fist pounding and “R” rated sermons about how heinous they are. And, yes, I have preached them. The sins of the flesh dwell in us because we are wrong in who we are. They are characteristic of the devil and those like him. The solution is simply found in what we ought to be. If we are a people who fit Godlikeness, the flesh will not be controlling and leading. When God’s Spirit dwells in me, rules and controls me, how is there room for Satan to dwell in me? When my passion is to do always all things that please the Father how does the love of the world motivate me? I love what former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda said, “If you cut a hole through the center of me all you would see is Dodger blue.” Well, if there were to be a hole cut in the center of us what would be seen? Christ and His image or Satan and his image? Only when Christ is our all in all can and will we be transformed to be in His image. People in His image are not described by the sins of the flesh. They are called children of God.
“Christian” is not a term to be worn on a lapel. It describes people in relationship to Christ. Not only have they obeyed a particular form of doctrine (Rom. 6:17-18), but they “are” a particular kind of people (Tit. 2:14). They are a people who try to be like God and who try in every action and attitude to represent Christ to others. Christians are people who may not be perfect (mature) yet, but they are striving with all their might to grow to be like God (Phil. 3:12-14).
Where is adultery when I am like God? Where is hatred when I am like God? Where is drunkenness when I am like God? Where is envy when I am like God? Where is lying when I am like God? Where is envy when I am like God? Where is homosexuality when I am like God? We want to be children of the Father, not children of the devil. When I am like God He is dwelling in me. When we strive to be like God sin will not be a part of our being.
Yes, we may struggle with weakness, ignorance or consequences of bad habits, but we will, through Christ, Who is controlling us, not only do right but be right. In fact, if we will concentrate on being right, doing right will naturally follow. Even if we don’t know all that we ought to do, we will to do all we ought because of who we are. Therefore, when we find out what to do, it will be no problem doing it. Be Right!
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
by Rickie Jenkins