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Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Necessity of Christ

Today in Sunday school I was making a plea for non-Christians whose lives nevertheless simulate the lives of Christians.  If they believe in and live by the disciplines of love in all aspects of life that is certainly more meaningful than if people claim to be Christians yet are devoid of these attributes.  After all, it is easy to say “I believe in Christ” yet live the life of a scoundrel.  An apparent dangerous question arises—if one can live like a Christian yet not be a Christian where lies the necessity of Christ?  My teacher Mitch Marsh immediately provided the answer.  Humanity alone lacks the perception and strength to sanctify life—only the costly grace of Christ can provide that.  Without the intervention of the Holy Spirit provided to us by divine grace, we lack the essential ingredient to live a Christian life.  Courage alone, intelligence alone, conviction alone, even love alone cannot prevail without the spirit of Christ.  An inescapable test faces all of us—what do we do in the face of persecution and temptation?  For it is in the nature of the world that evil (both within ourselves and starkly threatening us from without) makes hash of human commitment.  Only the grace of God gives us strength, intelligence, direction, and faith to hold fast.  There is no other option; we must derive strength from outside ourselves or surely fail.  The conclusion is unavoidable—in the final analysis one cannot live like a Christian without Christ.  This is made plainly evident under conditions of severe stress when we share in the passion of Christ.

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