Are you truly free in Christ?

IMGP6872 by Alexbraum

Are you truly free in Christ, or is that freedom qualified in some way? Maybe some little tiny way?

Jesus Christ, and Him alone.  (Word and Sacrament)

He is the Word, and He is the Sacraments. Since He commanded that we baptize, He is the Baptizer. Since He commanded that we eat His body and blood, He is the body and blood.

So what about the add on’s?

There are Popes and Bishops ordained in historic episcopacy. There are good works. There are decisions for Jesus, and there is your ‘serious effort’. There are inerrant Bibles, and there are uses of the law other than to expose us and drive us to Christ. There are annointings of the Holy Spirit. There are speaking in tongues. There are fruits of the Spirit. There’s membership in particular churches who alone know the truth. I’m quite sure there are many things which I missed that people say are necessary for one to be a true Christian.

Can you think of others? And are some of these folks correct? Is there a little bit more that we need to add to Christ and His finished work?

Thanks.

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Thanks to flickr and Alexbraum, for the photo.

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Is Christ really Enough?

YES!  (you’d better hope so)

Hey! Let me into this Fight!

Get out of my way!  Make some room for me in this rhubarb!

You can’t have a battle of sin, death, and the devil and leave me out of it! I’ve got to get a couple of shots in!

Oh yeah, I’ve heard Luther’s great hymn ‘A Might Fortress is our God’, but sometimes ‘I am the right man on our side.’ Sometimes I do contain within me that spark of righteousness that can make me a better man! Oh I’m not saying that I do it alone. I’m saying that the Holy Spirit, or the law… helps me. Sound familiar?

“If in our own strength confide our striving would be losing, I’m not the right man on our side ‘the law’ of God’s own choosing.”

Did I mess up again? You mean those aren’t Luther’s Words? But Luther said this, and Luther said that, and Luther, Luther, Luther.

I love Luther. Period. Do I believe he was right when we said that we should run the Jews out of town and burn down their synagogues? Do we take to heart every utterance from the mighty Luther’s lips?

Luther was a sinful man, just as we are sinful men and women. The Lord used Luther in a mighty way to uphold the cross of Christ and his sufficiency…ALONE!

Anywhere and any place that the sufficiency of Christ is challenged by either the free will of man, the power of other gods, the helping hand of the law, or any other counterfit method to attain righteousness, we ought to be engaged in lifting high the cross of Christ. Higher and higher. We must increase, He must decrease…right?  Wrong!!!  I was just seeing if you were awake…or if you were a Pelagian sympathizer.

He must increase, I must decrease.”   He has done, is doing, and will yet do everything…for you!

Now isn’t that a relief? No! You mean you really do want back into this fray?

The Top 10 Reasons that you might not even be a ‘Real Christian’

In addition to the person of Christ Himself, mankind has always deemed it necessary to add on something that the ‘real believer’ ought do, say, feel, or think in order to be included amongst the true believers.

The following are some of the things that many people believe you need (in addition to Jesus)

#10 You don’t “Speak in Tongues” as proof that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in your heart.

I do believe that some people can actually speak in tongues. But I believe that many people just babble because others around them are babbling and because they won’t be considered a ‘real Christian’ if they can’t exhibit this behavior. St. Paul told us that the important thing about the ‘gifts of the Spirit’ is their use. I fail to see any great utility in the speaking of tongues. But then again… I may not be a ‘real Christian’.

#9  You haven’t received the “Fifth Annointing” of the Holy Spirit. Or the Fourth Annointing…or the Third Annointing. I don’t even think I know what they are, all I know is that I haven’t received them yet.

#8 You haven’t had a real “Spiritual Experience” that you can point to as evidence that God has made you one of His own.

#7 You haven’t made a “Decision for Christ”. You haven’t publicly announced your decision to follow Jesus and make Him your Lord and Savior. You’ve never recited the ‘sinner’s prayer’. You’ve never walked down the aisle at an altar call, and if you did it didn’t stick because you were not really serious about it in your heart.

#6  You don’t believe that the “Bible is Inerrant”. You don’t believe that every jot and tittle of scripture fell from heaven on a silver platter. While you may believe the ‘message’ of the Bible is inerrant, that is not quite good enough, after all, if the Muslims can have a text that is perfect in every way, why can’t we?

#5 You do not believe in “Free Will”. If you do not believe that we have the capability of choosing God as we can choose whether of not we eat Chinese or Mexican food tonight, then you really do not understand how God operates.

#4 You do not believe in the “Historic Episcopacy”. If you think that the power of God is totally sufficient in His Word alone, and where it is present, alone, and that the power of Bishops that were supposedly touched by other Bishops going all the way back to Christ is nothing more than superstition and tradition…then you may not be a ‘real Christian’. Besides, how can we know that there is any real power in the sacraments then?

#3  You believe that Christ is really present and active in “His Sacraments”. This might show some bias on your part towards God and His action, while taking away from ‘our faith’. After all, the important thing in this whole Christian enterprise is our faith, is it not? That God has to give us this faith and keep us in that faith somehow, takes a back seat as we need to get on track ourselves and show that we really are serious and worthy.  

#2 You do not have a “Pope” as one who can decide on all matters of faith and life, and accurately interpret scripture for you. I know this related to #4, but I wanted to drive the point home that you say you are a Christian, but if you are not deferring to a higher power on earth that  will distribute God’s grace to you on the basis of your worthiness then you are just kidding yourself. And if you are outside of that system then you are more than likely just playing church. For the Pope IS the ‘real church’, here on earth. And don’t you forget it.

And now the #1 reason that you may not even be a ‘real Christian’ ….(drumroll please)…..

you may not even be ‘a real Christian’ if you are  not exhibiting the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’.

That’s right. You thought that you were trusting in Jesus Christ alone and His death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave, but it is quite obvious from your lackluster performance that you do not trust Him. You flat out refuse to do things He tells you to do. You talk a good game, but are you going out of your way to help the poor, the needy, the outcasts in society? Are you walking the walk?

Are you living on a thin margin of income, eschewing the baubles and bangles that extra money above subsistance might bring, and giving the rest to the Church for mission, or to help feed the hungry?

Do you visit nursing homes and prisons on a regular basis, instead of watching television, or going out to dinner, or going on vacations?

Are you attending Bible studies enough? Are you reading your Bible and praying enough? Are you involved at church like you ought?

Are you getting a handle on your sinning? Surely to exhibit ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ you cannot be sinning the way you used to.

Not exhibiting the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ is ‘THE DANGER SIGN’ that you may not even be a ‘real Christian’ after all. But any or all of the above add-ons will work to let you know where you really stand with God.

I know I left some good ones off the list. Can anyone think of another?