Who is on the Throne?

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” -Colossians 3:5 (NIV)

All sin is idolatry. When we indulge ourselves in wickedness, we are essentially bowing down before our sinful nature. In an effort to satisfy our Google+Photoinner corruption, we worship it through committing sinful acts that run contrary to the perfect righteousness of Christ as revealed through His Word. If we have failed to make Christ the center of our lives, by default we have given that position to our own innate wickedness. The problem with this is that our sinful nature is a brutal taskmaster and once we have allowed it to occupy the throne of our lives, our freedom is sacrificed. It will constantly demand that we bring before it sacrifices of vice and sin; sacrifices that will only continue to push the boundaries of our own integrity and dignity. In this way we are enslaved to sin; a slavery that will eventually result in our own destruction as we sacrifice our very lives to its needs.
In Christ there is freedom, and only Christ can free us from this slavery. When we personally accept His redemptive sacrifice for us on the cross and allow Him to reside in our hearts, He will break the chains which bind us to our sinful nature. Before we knew Christ, we knew only sin’s iron hand. But once we have Christ, He begins His restorative work of perfecting His righteousness in and through us. The only thing that will hinder His work is our own stubbornness and our willful desire to disobey Christ and voluntarily submit ourselves to sin’s yoke. Christ, because He has given us free will, allows us to exercise that free will in our choices. The question is whether we will make the right choice. If we choose to place our sinful nature at the forefront of our lives, we will suffer under the consequences of pandering to our sinful nature’s every whim. But when we choose to place Christ on the throne of our hearts, He will deliver us from our wickedness and give us freedom from it by molding and refining us in His righteousness. We cannot save ourselves. How can one steeped in sin save himself from something embedded in his nature? Only through Christ is our old nature broken, and through His enabling and power will we be able to put to death all those wicked practices that ensnare us, thereby living up to the new nature of righteousness which He has given us.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

What Do You Think?

“‘What about you?’” Jesus asked. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” -Matthew 16:15-16 (NIV)

Who is Christ to us? We cannot question His influence in the world because even two thousand years after His time, people are still talking about Him and debating over who He really was. Some adopt the position that He was a teacher; that His main mission was to instruct people on how to live a virtuous life but nothing more. Others say that He was a prophet; come to call people to repentance before God in an age of decadence.

But it is clear from this verse and Christ’s own subsequent confirmation that He is the Messiah and the Son of the Living God. For this reason, many deem Him to have been a lunatic. But how can that be given His eloquence of speech, and the fact that His followers came from many different backgrounds; ranging from the poor to the very peak of Judeo-Roman society. In addition, His disciples, the ones who spent every moment of their lives with Christ during His three year ministry, were killed on account of their faith; with the exception of John who died in exile. If Jesus was a lunatic, why would they willingly give up their lives for Him? Christ was certainly sane and He was certainly more than what people claim Him to be.

Why are we so hesitant to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God; Savior of mankind? Are we afraid that He will get personal? In a time where window-shopping for religion and philosophies is commonplace and the need to be politically correct is paramount, the absolute claims of Christ seem to challenge such attitudes. We are content to keep Him at a distance as a teacher or a prophet. We may admire Him and even want to live out what He taught. But because we want to appear “open-minded”, or because we want to retain our so-called “freedom” and live life the way we want to on our own efforts and understanding, we are reluctant to accept Christ as Savior.

However, if Christ is simply a mere teacher to us, then we have missed the point of His whole coming down to Earth. The standards that Christ has set for leading a truly righteous life are beyond the capabilities of man because of our inherent sin. It is because of this that Christ came; so that He may make our hearts His home, destroy the root of our problems, and aid us through His righteousness working within us and not our own. When we say of Christ that “He is a teacher”, we will set ourselves up for discouragement and disillusion. But if we say of Him, “He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and believe it sincerely like Peter did, we will find true freedom, fulfillment, and an investment secure in the promise of eternal life.

Who is Overcoming Who?

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” -Romans 12:21 (NIV)

Human behavior is tragically repetitive. It is repetitive because we use the exact same methods time and time again to deal with conflict. It is tragic because we often resort to such violent and vengeful means to somehow ensure in our minds that justice has been served. When someone strikes us, our instinctive response is to strike back and sometimes with even more malice. But if we do this, what is it that separates us from the one that has harmed us? Though we may think that we are justified in our reactions and that this gives us the moral high ground, we are no different from our enemies if we use the same underhanded and destructive methods they use. Instead of overcoming evil it has conquered us and made us its slave.

How then can we escape from this dilemma? As long as our sinful nature continues to hold sway over us, our concept of justice will be skewed and warped, and this will be reflected in our actions and reactions. The solution therefore lies in dealing with our innate depravity. But how can this be done? It is only through Christ, who entered this world so that humanity may be freed from their slavery to sin, that we have the hope of being restored. When we have acknowledged His death and resurrection for us and have allowed His Spirit to enter our hearts, He will give us wisdom and discernment as to how to live as His children. Through His righteousness being worked out through us, He will teach how to walk justly and to love mercy. In this we are able by His enabling to overcome the evils we may face with the light that He shines forth from us; bearing witness to the fact that we are new creations in Christ, holy and blameless before Him and before men.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.