Have you ever noticed that when you read something a second time new truth is often brought to light? If you’ve read any portion of the Bible more than once you’ve probably found this to be true. Just take a look at what you underline in your Bible. I’ve reread portions of Scriptures before and thought, “Why did I not underline that verse the first time! How did I not catch that?”
In case you didn’t catch it the first time I thought Sunday’s message from Brian was worth listening to a second time (or a first time if you were busy feeling the sand between your toes). What I loved (other than his sweet Michael Jackson jacket and suspect dance moves) was his emphasis on who we already are as children of God. Part of the quest to be Christ-like is not simply trying harder to be someone we are not, but realizing that in Christ we already are who he has created us to be.
Michael Horton in The Gospel Driven Life puts it this way:
Paul does not say, “Be like Jesus.” He says, “You are like Jesus.”…It’s easy for us to rely on the gospel for forgiveness and justification but then to look elsewhere for our renewal and sanctification. However, Paul says that it’s all there: “in Christ.” Only after saying this does Paul then issue the imperative to live a life that is consistent with this truth…Being in Christ is the perpetual source of our becoming life Christ, not vice versa.
The beauty of the Christian life is that we don’t have to strive to become something we are not, but we do have to work hard to remember who we are. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t some self-help talk that says, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And dog-gone-it people like me.” That may have worked for Stuart Smalley, but it doesn’t work for us. We’re not good enough, or smart enough, and it doesn’t really matter if people like us. It doesn’t matter because Christ was good enough on our behalf. “In Christ” we enjoy the benefits of his obedience, his sufficiency, and his being “good enough” (or perfect!). I know you may have heard it before, but it’s worth reminding yourself a second time.