ONE IN CHRIST
Fitting in kills you.
We all want to be accepted by someone or a group of people but at times we pay a heavy price for it. Conformity or fitting in is not the same as unity. They look like each other but they are worlds apart.
Conformity is the idea that you have to look a certain way, act a certain way, and be a certain way to be accepted into a group. There is no room for uniqueness and there is no room for any change. If you don’t act like us, talk like us, or look like us then you can’t be with us. We are then presented with a problem of whether we want to effectively get rid of who we are to be who we are not.
Unity is a different picture! Unity can thrive off of diversity. Unity is when people are united for a common purpose or idea but celebrates at the same time differences. It is unified because people are gathered for that one purpose but it is different because people are allowed to express themselves as there is room for people to be their unique self.
Christianity is about unity not conformity. As long as we gather for the purpose of glorifying God and believe that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of our lives then we can be united under that purpose and person but also appreciate that we all may connect with Him differently. Not everyone has to raise their hands or cry when they pray. Some will dance some will not. Some will paint and some will walk through nature to connect with God. All in all, the person of our desire is the same but our unique relationship with him is also accepted if not celebrated.
In Ephesians two, we see that through Christ He has made a unique group of people known as the church through His death so that the definition of is considered the people of God has changed. Let’s look at what Paul has to say about this.
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world
A gentile is anyone that is not a Jew. Paul is saying here that in the past, anyone that was not a Jew did not have the special grace of God to readily connect with Him. Notice how at the end of verse twelve that Paul states that because of the lack of the close presence of God that we do not have hope for this life. What is that hope? The hope of being free from the power of sin and it’s corrupting power.
Take Away: In Christ, EVERYONE now has the ability to experience close relationship with Him.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
The blood of Jesus Christ is in reference to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. We hear it so many times but we fail to live it out so many times the power of this statement! What does this mean? That because Jesus died for you, you don’t have to die for your sins yet a lot of us live as if we are judged to do so. What does this mean? It means that because we have peace with God and now have a relationship with Him, we are now able to say no to sin. We now have the ability to choose God because our hearts were made new because of Jesus Christ to choose God once again where before we were unable to because we didn’t have the Holy Spirit in us.
Paul tells us that we are now spiritual revived beings because of Christ and not because of what our ethnicity is so therefore Paul is saying that the community of God has to be redefined. It is not about whether you are a Jew or not but whether you believe in Jesus as Lord or not. In verse fifteen, it says that Christ abolished the law. That is a huge statement! Why?
God has standards. To say He doesn’t means that sin is ok, which in the eyes of God is never ok. Like a basketball team that represents your school, the school “loses” or “wins” by the efforts of a handful of people. This does not mean that every member of the school played the game but that a group of people represented the whole and their actions determined the outcome for the rest. In this way, if you choose Jesus to be your representative, then you are allowing Jesus to be the one that determines your fate. Now if Jesus lived the perfect life by meeting everyone of God’s standards then you too in Him have met it! That is grace! That has nothing to do with your power or effort. BUT what this also means is that as you receive this blessing that you also must share in the sufferings of Christ, meaning you must also bear the burden of being a person that follows God in a world that is against Him. As we stated earlier, God created a new group of people that gather together from their unique pasts for the one purpose of being with and being like God.
Take away: If Jesus is your representative then He is also your LORD. This is an act of grace and is your choice to receive it or not but once you do there are standards to which we are to live by.