9 Feb 2004

Does it follow that Christ is in everyone?

Submitted by theshovel
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If sin entered the world through Adam and Righteousness through Christ, then it follows that He is in everyone.

Why does this follow? Is it because there is a desire for it to follow? Is it because the logic of it sounds similar to what Paul described in Romans 5 (and I don’t refer to “logic” in a negative way here, but simply as in the following of an established premise)? Why does the logic not follow in context?

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

Also, why didn’t Paul continue on with that premise throughout the rest of the letter? Why instead did he continue, without wavering, regarding the alienation of those in Christ from the world around them? In other words, why did he make sure to tell these believers what it was that made them different from what they once were so they would understand where the hatred against them was really coming from?

I often wonder if maybe we’re trying too hard to remove the sense of alienation we’ve received in Christ. Maybe we’re hoping that everybody is more like us so that we don’t have to feel as if we’re different - alone - in this world.

Hi Jim, I really liked this, just wondering if you could expand upon the last two sentences? R

Hello R!

Sure, I can expand on this thought. As a matter of fact, I was sharing quite a few of those thoughts with Sherri yesterday, before, during and after posting it. It really ran down a few rabbit trails in the process.

What I have come to recognize over the years is that regardless of doctrinal position, philosophical leanings or religious affliation there has always been the tendency for people to gravitate toward a place of acceptance. This need for acceptance can even drive a person to separate oneself from society altogether in order to establish a majority of agreement with the group of one or more. :)

I have often reflected on how the Roman Emperor Constantine made formal decrees in order to “Christianize” his empire. Now, I’m sure many arguments have been made to explain why it might have been necessary to unify a fractured nation, but the simple truth is that what was once a shameful embarrassment that caused many members of that society to become ostracized became the accepted “religion” of the Roman Empire. You really gotta ask how in the world something like this could happen. Of course, we have our own examples that make it pretty easy to understand how such a radical shift happens.

Consider the examples mentioned in the NT letters.

Abraham: Tthe man who, although having achieved great weatlh, remained a wanderer all the days of his life. The letter of Hebrews describes him as having his eyes fixed on a city not of this world. He realized that he was alone, alienated, from his peers. This driving sense of alienation was the reason that he was not drawn to the city-life, as did Lot. Yeah, that man tried so hard to fit in, and even though he seemed to have made a life for himself it turned out that Lot found himself ostracized from those who let him exercise authority in the city gates.

The prophets of God: Just for telling the truth these men became hated by those who didn’t like the news they brought. Once again, a trail of alienation.

Jesus is the prime example of what it was to be alienated by the world. He was the word of God by which the world had been spoken into existence, and yet he was rejected, even though there were times when it seemed he was so accepted by man.

Paul was one who had BEEN SOMEBODY in the eyes of his particular world. For intents and purposes, he had a charmed life. Everything was going for him. But then it all changed and he, who had been on the inside, found himself on the outside. It all went downhill from there! The truth is that not only could he not find acceptance within his former community, he also found himself ostracized by many of those who received Christ as a result of the gospel he preached when they realized what a “loser” he really was.

It all comes down to that underlying need for justification and acceptance. Not only can we not find it in the world at large, we can’t find it among the community of those who are of Christ! It is only in the place where it is realized that it is with ourselves ALONE that we are justified in Christ. That doesn’t mean we can’t encourage and teach one another about these amazing realities in Christ, but only in seeing that our acceptance is in Christ alone we will otherwise be looking around for a mutual sense of acceptance. But it is not there.

We are aliens together, and we might as well get used to the fact that though we enjoy great fellowship together we are not going to shake that underlying sense of alienation. Though we have received the mind of Christ we cannot force that mind into an outward conformity so that we find our justification in our conformed agreement. We are those who have been born from outside this world, and that which is not born of him cannot accept the one by which we are made alive. The real corker is that we have enough problems with it in our own selves based upon that which appears or doesn’t appear to be.

We are not of this world, that is the plain simple truth of having been made alive in Christ, and yet it seems we keep trying to find ways to take the edge off the conflict inherent in that reality. It is this reality by which the love of God has been brought into our hearts, so that this love is reflected to the world around us, and to one another in Christ.

Well, I’m sure I could go on, but I’ve gone on long enough already, and do have other things to do at the moment … so I’ll quit for now, at least.

Love, Jim

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Random Shovelquote: Adequate has come (view all shovelquotes)

The shadow demanded that something real was needed, it declared that something real was coming. And then the one who was able to fulfill the need came! End of story. And since the adequate has come, there is no more need for the inadequate. source