“Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” (3:6)
HALLELUJAH!! We have been adopted into the family of God! This new identity shapes everything.
During my time here, in Armenia, I have had a few conversations with a couple evangelical Christians about what makes someone a “good Christian”: No smoking (which is a big one for guys, because smoking here is what makes you a man), no tattoos, and no drinking (again, big deal for guys, because vodka). I didn’t find any major cultural sacrifices for women.
Domestic violence is a major problem in this country, so when I noticed “friendly slapping” happening a lot between guys and gals, I would always say, “HEY! No hitting!” Which was always laughed off. One time I followed it up with, “American Christian guys have tattoos and drink, but they do not hit girls!” This was an impossible idea to swallow. Another time a girl was woefully telling me they think their brother is no longer a Christian, because she knows he smokes sometimes and I had enough.
WHAT REALLY MAKES US CHRISTIAN? Ephesians 1-3
- The gracious choice of God
- The redemptive blood of Jesus
- Being “in Christ”
- Adoption into God’s family
- The seal of the Holy Spirit
HOW CAN YOU RECOGNIZE A CHRISTIAN? Ephesians 4-6
Christianity isn’t being counter-cultural by modified behavior. It is being counter-earthling by understanding our identity in a Heavenly Family; a family marked by unconditional love and unshakable security.
You can decide to abstain from whatever activity you want, but the WHY will always be most important. Is it to inherit God’s favor? You have that! Is it to distinguish yourself from others? You are!
“Stop living like a Gentile (non family member)!” Paul implores. Why? They don’t get it! “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and given themselves up.” (4:18-19)
We did not find Christ this way. He has given us a New Spirit.
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (4:25)
Surely we all have behaviors we modified when we started following Christ. Today I challenge us to check our why. Is it to be a “good Christian”? Or is it because of our identiy in Christ, filled with the Spirit, members of God’s family?
Let’s not put the yoke of “should” and “should not” on each other, but instead be constantly reminding each other of this great and glorious TRUTH.