Archive for the religon Category

The Gospel is Not for Sale

Posted in Christian Life, Eyob B Kassa, Eyob's blog, God, Religion, religon, Theology, Thought of the day on 03/12/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

Salvation: God’s free and undeserving bounty!

The scripture clearly says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” in Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV). If we don’t understand this basic foundation of the gospel message, then we lose everything. There are no “two paths or more” to be saved, and we cannot be accepted for our “works” because God is the only one who can save Isaiah 63:1. When the scripture says, salvation is free that means it has nothing to do with our works. And if it is free we have no claim; it is just a mere favor. We have absolutely no reason to say that we deserve it because it is God’s favor. And this God’s free gift, salvation is full available through God’s Son Jesus Christ (read Acts 4: 12; John 14: 6; John 10: 9 and so on).

Salvation is not something that any church or a minister can offer; it is God’s offering to anyone who believes in His Son Jesus Christ. Why? Because He (God) is not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Everyone is invited; nobody is excluded (Rev. 22:17).

Why is it free? Because if we want to buy our salvation we have nothing to pay, we are bankrupt spiritually (Romans 3: 23 says…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.) and Isaiah 64:6 also says “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” We cannot save ourselves in any way so we needed a savior. But what was the problem? Why we need a savior any way? Because we all have sinned! Sin is something that we are all guilty of. It is in our nature. It is who we are. As the scripture says in Romans 5: 12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” By the way, 5:12 The Greek word anthropoi in 5: 12 refers to both men and women; see also verse 18. But you may say, “I am not that bad” or “I haven’t done anything like so and so.” Well, it is neither about the degree nor type of sin that matter, because God doesn’t put degrees on our sin. There is no big or small or there is no this or that type of sin. It is about the fact that we all have sinners and violates God’s law.

Salvation: Free, but not cheap!

Yes, salvation is free and it costs us nothing. But our salvation cost God His only Son, Jesus Christ. Don’t think your salvation is cheap because you received it for free. God as a giver has to pay a price (His Son) to set us free because we are bankrupted (spiritually, morally, etc), with no ability to pay for our salvation. No good deeds of ours CANNOT merit us salvation. As the scripture clearly says, we are spiritually dead in sin and inclined by nature only toward evil all the time,” but God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.”

In 1 Corinthians 6:20, the scripture says, “for you were bought with a price.” For you were bought has an implication. It implies a price.  What price? The price of God’s own Son Jesus Christ. The price of His blood shed on the cross. If you want to know how much your salvation cost God, look at the cross of Jesus and you will understand. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold, from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,” says the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1: 18-21 “but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and without spot, the blood of Christ.”

As the Israelites were slaves for Pharaoh in Egypt and the LORD brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand, so were we. We all were enslaved to sin and needed a savior. No ‘hasty evacuation’ this time, but God send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us through His death. Jesus Christ, who is sovereign, glories, and everlasting deity taking upon Himself the form of a servant and willingly suffer the horrible and agonizing death on the cross. His death makes us precious because He bought us with His precious blood.

However, this salvation yet it is free it is not cheap either. The scripture clearly teaches us Jesus is our savior and also The Lord! Jesus died for our sins. He (Jesus) died for all, “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for HIM” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. This is not a “secondary effect” of God’s saving grace as many thinks but it is a supreme expression of divine grace. Salvation is God’s ultimate offering through His Son in which we live rightly from the beginning. Salvation is a loving act by nature. Without this loving act, which is salvation, through Jesus Christ, there is no other way that I can live for this loving act in the first place. To be saved means to live for Him.

Salvation: It is free, not cheap; and it is not for sale!

We are coming to the times where the gospel is put on a market like a commodity. The so-called “gospel,” marketing the “new-brand Jesus” to targeted consumers who treating Jesus as some kind of spiritual guru whose teaching is not different from any self-help franchise sold primarily as something to make our life much easier and simpler.  That is a pagan gospel not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” When Jesus taught or spoke, His words were not ordinary human words, but His words were divine, powerful, graceful and full of authority. In other words, God has made Himself known to us by becoming a man.

The Apostle Paul said, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4,5). Unfortunately, our evangelical methods are focusing on entreating the truth to a lesser degree that doesn’t offend the sinner as possible as can. But, the message of the gospel is not an invitation to a relaxing life. But doesn’t Christianity offer peace, joy, and abundant life? You bet it does! But whenever we put the message of the gospel to a lower level where it has no effect other than a “self-help message” it leaves multitudes in the “lukewarm” Christianity. They believe but not committed, they become followers but not disciples.

But we are saved by grace to fully commit to Jesus. Possessing saving grace and professing or living out grace goes together. Take one and ignore the other, you will end up like the modern cheap, misguided and ridiculous Christianity that has no power and grace but profess a “user friendly gospel”. Salvation is a gift from God, to live for God, and to walk with God. If salvation is not something we can do, it is not also something we do for God; but it is about what Jesus does.

The message of the gospel, which is Jesus, which is eternal life, is not something that is given to us to sell but to share. And it is not about our effective strategy or invitation, but it is about knowing Him, trusting Him, worshiping Him, loving Him, obeying Him, following Him and proclaiming Him. I am neither against our ambition nor using various mechanisms to spread the gospel. My problem is when we advertising the true message in a way that satisfying the desperate desire of the world, that makes the gospel irrelevant and powerless. I don’t think we have a message problem; our problem is delivering the message in its integrity.

So what are we to do about this? I don’t think I have the answer, but I do know we have the true gospel. The gospel that is powerful to save. The gospel that is powerful to save us from the bondage of sin. But, when the gospel becomes man-centered, when we are more concerned about our needs and wants than God’s glory, we don’t have the gospel of Jesus Christ but a perverted gospel that is miss-directed, miss- focused, and miss-presented.

Look! The gospel may be for us but it is not about us. The Gospel is about JESUS!  Now we do need to be careful here. Yes, God gave us something wonderful, powerful and precious, which is His gospel even though we don’t deserve it. But, because the gospel is free doesn’t mean either it is cheap or for sale. The gospel is the power of God.

Eyob B Kassa

March 12, 2012

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Lord, teach us to pray

Posted in A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, God, Religion, religon, Theology, Thought of the day on 07/18/2011 by Eyob B Kassa

Ever since our first son was born, my wife and I have always talking about having a family devotion each evening. We just knew the importance of teaching our child the Word of God and keep that tradition as much as we could consistently. Thank God we can keep that commitment till this day. However, keeping that “togetherness” before the Lord, and preparing simple, clear and exciting materials was my responsibility. But I tell you this; that was not easy. Teaching the word of God to little kids requires a different creative approach so that they understand the truth on their level of understanding.

I remember this incident one night for example…

“Settle down boys,” I said,

“We are going to talk to God.”

“Talking to God?” asked my youngest son, his little hazel eyes wide open.

“We are talking to God?” asked the oldest one.

“Yes we do.”

They were surprised, with a good reason of course! I know what was in their mind at that moment, “How can we talk to God, we don’t even know if he can hear us.” That was a long time ago when we started our “family devotion,” which become a habit since then.

Prayer is a great privilege not an obligation

I am not sure how many of us do realize that prayer is actually means having intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with God. Mark; in his gospel tell us that Jesus went off by Himself, early in the morning to spend time in prayer with His heavenly father (Mk. 1:35). Luke 22:39 suggest that a place called the “Mount of Olives” was a favorite quiet time spot for Jesus. Do you have a quiet time with God? Do you have a special place that you want to be with God? Prayer is not about location or time. It is about having intimate and personal relationship with God. And intimacy cannot be hurried and cannot be confined with time and place. Yes sometimes we need a specific location and time to have fellowship with God, but the purpose of prayer is not about location but interaction with the living God. Some people think that as long as they go to church once a week, sing a few songs, and pay their tithe, that they are “in relationship” with God. But God doesn’t want your one-day in a week church attendance, your money, and your Bible study time, none of your religious list. What He wants is you! Walter A. Mueller said, “Prayer is not merely an occasional impulse to which we respond when we are in trouble: prayer is a life attitude.” This doesn’t mean we will pray without a pause all day every day. Don’t relegate the idea of prayer to just when you are on your knees. Make prayer a habit. Develop a constant communion with God.

We need to be taught to pray, because we are chronically prone to pray wrong, said Edward H. SchroederLord in his article, Teach us to Pray, printed in Nexus, Vol. 2:1 (Nov. 1961)1. When the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him “…‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1) His answer was very clear “when you pray, say: …” in (Luke 11:2-4) or in the gospel of Matthew He states, “In this manner, therefore, pray.” (Matthew 6:9). Now let’s pause here for a while and look what Jesus was trying to show them.

Prayer is about relationship

Prayer [Gk: “proseuche”] is “communion with God”. It means “intently engaged in; attend constantly to; persist in adherence to; constantly devoted to.” True prayer is not a mantra. Prayer is having intimate conversation with God. Through prayer we actually experience a relationship with God. The quality of our prayer life then determines the quality of our relationship with God. Prayer is talking with God. So, don’t make prayer a lecture. Prayer is neither to inform nor to impress. Prayer is having conversation with God. Remember: conversation is talking “with” not just “to”.

So, why the disciples came and asked Jesus? Even though there is no clear indication, they must have seen the way Jesus was praying every day in front of their own eyes, because He had been praying at certain times and places. Or “they had been struck with the Excellency and fervor of his prayers, and, recollecting that “John” had taught his disciples to pray, they asked him also to teach “them.”2 Whatever their reason was, Jesus’ response was direct and revolutionary. Surely the disciples of Jesus being Jews they recite the Shema, pray the psalms, offer spontaneous petitions to God and had some “idea” of prayer like their pious leaders and rabbis of their time. But now things about to change radically and there will be no more bigotry, prejudice, social elitism or religious arrogance about prayer or God.3 As Philip Yancey mentions in his book, Prayer, does it make any difference? “No one in the Old Testament addressed God as Father. But Jesus did it 170 times”4. In the patriarchal period, when people began to call upon the name of the Lord’ (Gen 4:26; compare Gen 12:8; Gen 21:33), prayer is naive, familiar and direct (Gen 15:2 ff; Gen 17:18; Gen 18:23 ff; Gen 24:12). It is evidently associated with sacrifice (Gen 12:8; Gen 13:4; Gen 26:25). As Joachim Jeremias has noted “this represents a radical departure from Jewish custom and tradition. Though Jewish people were given a lengthy number of appropriate titles for God in personal prayer, significantly absent from the approved list was the title “Father.””5

Prayer is not about words, but where our hearts should be

We have made prayer a ritual. We tend to think prayer is exercising a religious custom in a public assembly. Even when we pray, we sometimes do it in a way we talk to some “distant relative” who live far, far away. But if we could understand God’s main purpose for us is about fellowship or “koinania” according to 1 Cor. 1:9 and our God is a “relationship oriented,” and God’s desire is to have close and intimate fellowship with His children, then the whole idea of prayer would be clear. That was what Jesus trying to show the disciples in the first place.

Prayer is having intimate communication or relationship between the heavenly father and His children. Prayer is the outgoing of the heart. Beyond the content of discourse, prayer is “an overflow from the encounter between the living God and the living person.” In other words, prayer should come from a humble heart. C. H. Spurgeon said, “How many, too, have found a prayer upon their lips! It is a very common thing with those who pray in prayer-meetings, and those of us who pray in public, for our lips to run much faster than our hearts move, and it is one of the things we need to cry to God to keep us from, lest we should be run away with by our own tongues, as men are, sometimes, run away with by their horses, which they cannot restrain; and you know, the horse never goes faster than when he has very little to carry. And, sometimes, words will come at a very rapid rate when there is very little real prayer conveyed by them. This is not as it ought to be with us, and we must look into our hearts for the desire to pray, and if we do not find it in our hearts to pray a prayer, let us rest assured that we shall not be accepted before the throne of God.”6

Prayer is not a way to manipulate God into doing things OUR way

Often times we confuse “praying earnestly/diligently “ with “persuading God”. But there is a difference between “bringing our requests to God” and “trying to persuading God to do our will.” The New Bible Commentary aptly states, “…prayer is not an attempt to persuade God to do our will; rather it is an activity in which believing children approach their heavenly Father in a sincere endeavor to place themselves in the line of His will.”7When you switch the focus from you to God, you will experience His grace. Because what changes through prayer is not the “mind” of God but what changes through prayer is our mind and heart. Most of the time we get into disappointment and confusion when we don’t want to be change but We want God to change his mind about our situation. There is a prayer quote that I like very much, which says; “Our prayers must mean something to us if they are to mean anything to God” I think that is absolutely true. Prayer is not “God, you have to do this” or “God, you better do this before my life ruined” but it is acknowledging that He is in control and we trusting Him that He knows and do what is best according to His will (Romans 8:26-27, NIV). However, when a believer prays for help, that help will be given. This is absolutely true. But not rely on mystical powers of our words as the Word of Faith Movement teachers think. “Effective prayer is, as John said, asking in God’s will (John 15:7). Prayer is not a means by which we get our will done in heaven. Rather, it is a means by which God gets his will done on earth.”8

Prayer doesn’t require a certain formula

Prayer is exciting and powerful when it comes from within. Don’t make prayer a lecture. Prayer is neither to inform nor to impress. Prayer is having conversation with God. He doesn’t care about the words; He cares about your sincerity and the motive in your heart. God is not into making “things” complicated. He doesn’t lay down a complicated set of criteria before he’ll listen to us. He is eagerly awaited to hear us and to have conversation with us. Through prayer our job is not to impress or persuade God. We are not lawyers in courtrooms. As some one said, “God is bigger than you, so don’t go bossing God around.” Prayer is having an intimate relationship or communication with God who loves you and wants to have fellowship with you. Prayer is simple. Don’t make it complicated.

Eyob B Kassa

July 17, 2011

End Notes:

1 Edward H. SchroederLord. Teach us to Pray, printed in Nexus, Vol. 2:1 (Nov. 1961).

2 Barnes’ Notes on the Bible. Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834]. Luke 11

3 Morries, Derek. Walking with Jesus- part 6. The disciple’s prayer

4 Philip Yancey. Prayer, does it make any difference?

5 R. C. Sproul. Praying to Our Father. Renewing Your Mind

6 C. H. Spurgeon: Prayer Found in the Heart. January 16th, 1876

7 New Bible Commentary. G. J. Wenham, J. A. Motyer, D. A. Carson and R. T. France. 21st century edition. 1994. Inter-Varsity Press

8 Norman L. Geisler, Creating God in the Image of Man? (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1997) 86

Waiting on God: God is a rewarder of those who wait for Him

Posted in A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, God, Relationships, Religion, religon, Theology, Thought of the day on 06/14/2011 by Eyob B Kassa

Waiting on God: God is a rewarder of those who wait for Him

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting…

Sound familiar?

What are you waiting for today? How do you feel about waiting—love it? Hate it? … No matter what your answer is I can tell you this; waiting is an unavoidable part of human life, and it is painful. Nobody likes to wait; it is not entertaining at all! Waiting is exhausting. It is not relaxing. But, you know the good part? Waiting is not life itself.

“We never live; we are always in the expectation of living” said Voltaire

If there is one thing most people hate to do these days, it is to wait. We want everything to be faster, better, and cheaper. “I hate this waiting,” said my friend in our recent conversation “it make me sick.” We DO live in a “short attention span world” these days, right? I guess so!

However, day after day, we find ourselves having to wait – in traffic, in checkout lines, in doctor office, at school, at the bus station, etc etc. Life is full of opportunities to wait. We wait for a phone call, we wait for an answer, we wait for one single visit or one single “shot”…whatever that means….we go through our lives waiting and waiting…until the  next big thing.etc etc., everywhere … anywhere… No matter how much we hate waiting, we always end up sitting and waiting somewhere for something or somewhere for someone. Isn’t it ironic? I think it is.

Recently I read an article on Psych Central by Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. The article called 8 Reasons Why Waiting in Lines Drives Us Crazy and it referenced an article called The Psychology of Waiting Lines by David H. Maister. Well, the article aimed at a different setting, but I found out that no matter where we are waiting, no matter who we are waiting, “waiting is painful as well as challenging” at least for many of us.

I got to be honest with you here though. Waiting, I’m not good at it. In fact, I hate to wait. I am really bad at waiting for anything.  That is too bad, right? Tell me about it! And at the end of the day I still end up at square one because I just wasn’t patient enough. But now I am just going to wait for God…… He knows be better than anyone. So, I’ll wait patiently!  Yes, it is not easy most of the times. Sometimes I find myself arguing with God, saying, “…God I have been waiting for this so l-o-n-g…! Can’t you see it? How many more hours, days, weeks, years… want me to wait? Don’t you think you are not moving ‘fast enough’?”

And whenever I find myself in such kind of “conditions” or “situations” I feel like God saying “Patience… just be Patient.”

“Hello! Look who’s talking now?”

 My question is” God, hmmm… how long God?”

And He always says, “wait!”  And here I am today, anxiously waiting, and waiting…

What are you waiting for today? Are you waiting for the Lord? Have you ever wondered why you’re waiting so long?

I think knowing why we hate to wait is very helpful. But most us of even hate to wait to find out why we hate to wait. Because; we are living in a rather impatient society (not to blame society), and we are so used to everything moving at break-neck speed, we want everything now, immediately, or instantly. Perhaps there are many reasons for our impatience. But in most cases, it has a direct relation to our perception about everything. Everything? Yes!

But I want you to understand that waiting on God is different for some basic reasons.

God’s timing is different than our own.

There is a fullness of the time in respect of every Divine movement. As someone said it once, “There is no frenetic hurrying in heaven, only calculated purpose.” The concept of God’s timing is more than the “concept of time” because time is for us not for Him. Waiting on God is about being with Him, and that is why the question of time is outside His zone. God does not calculate time the way we do. But as the Bible tells us that God makes all things perfect in His time. I think so of make such a common mistake that we know what we want but we miss God’s timing in carrying it out. God’s timing is different that ours. ‘Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him’ (Ps 37:7). “God is the God of time as well as of timing.”

Waiting time may be a “grueling process” but it is a time of blessing.

Wait a minute here! Blessing? Oh really? Yes! It is a time of blessing and refreshment. Often time, we compare waiting time to stagnation. But waiting time is a season of learning, maturing and blessing. When we face situations which we don’t understand, or when we encounter obstacles which we were not expecting, it is easy to give up and lose sight of God’s purposes. But it is a time of learning how to give up on our will and a time of receiving “new” insight, perception, revelation, understanding and wisdom about ourselves, God, and life itself.

Why is waiting so very important? Read Psalm 62:1 & 2 and 5 & 6; ‘My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Defense and my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. My soul, wait in silence only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation is from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress; I shall not be moved’. Waiting on God may be a “grueling process” but it is a time of transformation and maturity. Isaiah 40:28 –31 says “… But those who wait for the Lord shall change and renew their strength; they shall lift their wings and
mount up close to God as eagles mount up to the sun; they shall run and not get tired, they shall walk and not become weary’.

Waiting on God is not idle nor passive, but is an act of Trust, Hope and a time of Worship  

Waiting seems to be a long period of inactivity with no definite end point but “God is not idle in His house” and so we do. I hope you realized by now that waiting is an action verb. It is not only a time God is working with us but we are working within us too. Waiting gives us an opportunity to seek God diligently in prayer and studying
His word, it is a time of self-examination, and it is a time of preparation for what God is going to do in our lives. Time spent with God is not a wasted time unless we make it a waste of time. It is a character development time. Yes, it is not an easy season but it is a time we are “soaking in the presence of God” rather than distracted and get confused with other things.

My friend, if you are in a “waiting season” God is preparing you as a testimony of His greatness, so work with Him. God will not take you out of it! He will take you through. Your job is to trust Him do His work in your life, hope for His best in your life and Worship Him no matter what. “The ability to wait on the Lord stems from being confident and focused on who God is and in what God is doing.”

Someone said once, “Waiting is the DNA of faith.” This may not be a perfect message for most of us who live in an “instant gratification culture” in which everything is about NOW! But life should not be like that. Waiting on God is hard, no doubt about it. Nothing tries our faith like waiting on God. But when we exercise our faith by turning our needs to Him, He will surely direct our steps. God is a rewarder of those who wait for Him. When we focus so much on what we waiting for, our anxiety rises up. We experience no peace, but restlessness. Waiting is not wasted; it is a part of the faith journey. Waiting is not wasted because we wait in faith, we wait in hope and we wait

Use waiting to grow closer to God. View your waiting time as a season of growth and development and you’re your “big moment” comes, you’ll find you’ll be that much more ready, and matured enough for your moment on the stage. “To wait is not merely to remain impassive. It is to expect–to look for with patience, and also with submission. It is to long for, but not impatiently; to look for, but not to fret at the delay; to watch for, but not restlessly; to feel that if he does not come, we will acquiesce, and yet to refuse to let the mind acquiesce in the feeling that he will not come.” – Dr. A.B. Davidson, Waiting on God (quoted in The Hidden Life of Prayer by David McIntyre) I originally read this quote here.

“Be waiting for the Lord, and keep his way; and you will be lifted up, and have the land for your heritage: when the evil-doers are cut off, you will see it.” Psalms 37:34

Psa. 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord”

Eyob B Kassa

June 13, 2011

Are you living a life of Reflection or Refraction?

Posted in A New Beginning In Christ, Christian Life, religon, Thought of the day on 03/05/2011 by Eyob B Kassa

Reflection, in its true definition, is a “mirror-like” representation of an object’s image being bounced back from another surface. Refraction, on the other hand, is a distorted or bending of image of an object.

However, in either case both are representations of an object but the difference is in reflection there is a perfect or almost perfect representation of an object, however, in refraction, as the word indicates, the image is refracted or distorted.

Living a Christian life is not about reading your bible once in a while, praying when you can or when you want something from God, going to church, not cursing or doing something “bad”, or dressing, walking, talking a certain way. Living a Christian life is displaying the true image of God in your life.

Before you became a Christian you were under absolute power of darkness (Colossians 1:13) You think, walk and live according to darkness. The word “darkness” as used throughout the New Testament points to a spiritual and moral condition dominated by sin.  It is used to describe the realm of evil. You were also an enemy of God (Romans 5:10), lost (Matthew 18:11) foolish, slaves to passions (Titus 3:3) far from God (Ephesians 2:13) without hope (Ephesians 2:12), and walking in darkness (John 8:12), etc. But when you became a Christian, you redeemed and reconciled (brought back or reestablished) to God through Jesus Christ. Our salvation or relationship with him does not hinge on personal holiness, good works or any type of religious performance. The scripture says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-10). Reconciliation involves a change of disposition, from enmity to a right relationship. The change is based on the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10) and v. 11 says, “Now have received the reconciliation”. God has not changed because of the death of Jesus Christ; he is still both righteous and gracious. It is man’s responsibility and obligation to change his/her attitude, and accept the provisions God has made, whereby his/her sins can be remitted and can justified in the sight of Christ.

Now, the scripture also confirm that as the result of Christ’s redemptive work we become “NEW”. Indeed it is written: “Therefore if ANY man BE IN CHRIST, he is a NEW creature: OLD things are PASSED AWAY, behold, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.” 

A Christian is a new creation. To be “in Christ” signifies our total access, position and relationship status. It signifies the presence of the Spirit of Christ in the spirit of a person who receives Christ by faith. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Rom. 8:9). When a person is “in Christ” and Christ is “in them,” they become a “new creature” (II Cor. 5:17), a “new man” (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), raised to “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4) by the presence of Christ’s life in their spirit. They have a new spiritual identity as a “child of God” (Jn. 1:12; I Jn.3: 1,2,10), “sons of God” (Gal. 3:26), Christ-ones or Christians.

When we are “in Christ” as the scripture says, the old thoughts, lifestyle, and thinking patter have dispersed, for now our life and thoughts are of Christ, NOW we have the MIND of Christ who has made ALL things NEW in those who “in Him”.  As Paul says in Gal 2: 20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet NOT I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the SON OF GOD, who LOVED ME, and gave HIMSELF FOR ME…”

To be a Christian is nothing but to be an authentic reflection of Christ. This life is not for those who primarily engaged in pastoral work but we all are called as royal priesthood of believers.

Our lives should reflect Christ. No matter where we are or what we do, we must mirror our Lord Jesus Christ. The scripture says, “You are the epistle of the living God” (2 Cor. 3:2-3). In other words, your life should be a way through which the Lord can address the world (Acts 1:8). To be a Christian is nothing but to be a display for God’s love and saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. If your life is something other than this basic truth you may be a carnal Christian but not the reflection of Christ. You are the exact representation of a life that lives after the flesh that can testify to being saved but still lives under the power of the flesh that has not been crucified.

A life of a true follower of Christ reflects nothing but Christ. Your life should create difference. Your presence brings down the heaven. A Christian is a person who is born of God and has Life, and this life is abundant and reflection of the life that is in him. He/she is not an ordinary person. He/she’s the expression of the image of God; the representation of God’s sovereignty on earth.

Your life is the “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor. 2:4). To be a Christian means to be Christ-likeness. It means to be the exact reflection of Christ. Is it too much, I don’t think so. God’s way of life is not burdensome. It is not about legalism or following some kind of weird life style in the name of Christianity. To be a true follower of Christ is as Paul mentions in Col 2: 6-7 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” To be a Christian is to reflect the highest quality, which is of course the heavenly kingdom. You are representing the heavenly kingdom in all your lifestyle, which includes of course, how you walk; how you talk; how you dress; how you eat; how you perform duties at a job; even how you think! As an ambassador of God, you are an example to others, regardless if you are aware of it. The question is are you living a life of Reflection or Refraction?

Eyob B Kassa

March 5, 2011