Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Victorious Christian Life – No Cliché

The Apostle Paul propounds to the Romans:
“What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”
— Romans 8:31 (NRSV)
God’s love in Jesus Christ is the perfection of glory for living as any could be.
But instead of living this radical truth, many have taken a liking to claiming victory without living it, and many continue to do this. I’ve learned to be cautiously sceptical of the person in the faith who spruiks the victory-in-Christ message too much. This is especially the case where there is scant evidence of the grace of Christ and spiritual maturity—borne upon patient humility, kindness, gentleness, wise discernment, and merciful love—to be observed in their lives. Can the braggart truly claim to be living the victorious Christian life? Are their thoughts sufficiently of God and others—of faithfulness and love? Remember this victory is lived in an upside-down way of conquering the world in Jesus’ name. It’s not about us.
There really is no point in claiming the victory of the Christian life if we cannot, or will not, live it. That must be such an obvious statement, but it’s one that many overlook in not being really subject to God.
God Has Answered Every Allegation & Found the Elect Innocent
This good news is the greatest news that humankind could ever experience. As Paul eloquently puts it, in Romans 8:31-39, there is no charge, no allegation, and no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This is a basic gospel truth.
Unpacking that truth so it makes a difference in our lives is, however, our bigger task.
Because God has answered every allegation and has found us, the elect, innocent—because of Christ’s eternal act for redemption on the cross and his resurrection to be with the Father—we now have the way for life that makes sense of the nonsensical.
When we are converged by the ‘allegations’ of hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword (Romans 8:35) we have a way—through the grace given us in God—to contend by faith.
Everything that would otherwise be against us is actually for us—and more for us than we could ever imagine. We find this out by expressing faith.
This is no victory that the world has access to, i.e., through conflict. Our victory has already been won for us; it’s beyond question or argument. Our victory is a victory of working out our salvation, a moment at a time, by faith. By faith, the victory is assured, lived, and experienced.
Working Out Our Salvation
When we live life in the way of faith, to trust God beyond our pride, anger, impatience, etc, we find very quickly that God is transforming our situations. Once we get out of the way, God’s Spirit does then work.
Working out our salvation (Philippians 2:12-13) is how we live this victorious life.
We cannot live this victory by mere words; it’s our actions that will judge us. It’s our actions and inactions of faith that prove the certainty of the hope nestled deeply within us. The Spirit of God has burrowed into our souls and has infiltrated our thinking. When we live congruently with the biblical Word we live with power; nothing can truly be against us.
If God is for us, who could be against us? But that is likened, too often, to a cliché. Living with hope that has infiltrated our psyches is the only true power for life. This is a life where actions-of-rare-virtue have abundantly more power than words. Living the victorious Christian life is the life of victory because others have victory and because God has already won the battle for us in Christ.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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