Christians are honored to be a part of the body of Christ, the assembly of believers in Jesus Christ, the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. When a person turns from his sin toward God [Acts 20:20-21] by faith in Jesus Christ [Romans 5:1] many things happen. Sins are forgiven [Colossians 1:13-14]. Justification [Titus 3:5-7] and reconciliation [2 Corinthians 5:18] establish a right relationship between the person and God. The Holy Spirit comes to indwell the life of the Christian [1 Corinthians 3:16] beginning the process of sanctification [1 Corinthians 6:11]. A changed and changing life results from God’s saving of a person from his sins [2 Corinthians 5:17]. It’s a life of purpose and fulfillment which far surpasses the temporal world in which we live [Proverbs 3:5-6].
The body of Christ is universal in that it includes Christians around the world, but it is also local as Christians assemble together in communities to worship, testify, grow, and serve the Lord Jesus. Christians are ‘many’ assembled together as ‘one’ for a common purpose [Romans 12:5]. Also Christians are endowed by God with Spiritual gifts to use in ministering to and with the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:7]. These gifts are to be used by individual members of the body for the body’s edification and common good [1 Corinthians 14:12]. The Holy Spirit gives these gifts to whom He chooses, and uses them to fulfill His will in the life of the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:11]. Christians have an awesome God who is powerful and able to accomplish His will through the local body of Christ [Psalm 68:35]. He will not ask Christians to do anything He is not already equipping them to accomplish [Philippians 4:13] even to the point of putting thoughts into their minds and words into their mouths [Luke 12:12].
If Christians have this awesome God who has done so much for them and provided so much for them, then why are Christians so inept? Why is there no evidence of change in their lives? Why do they seem no different than those who do not believe in Jesus and His work of redemption? Why does their sin and sin nature still control them? These are startling questions which the assembled church seems abhorred to address. To address them would be offensive, if not divisive. Yet to ignore them will lead many one day to face a Judge instead of a Savior [Matthew 7:21-23].
If a ‘Christian’ is inept in his new life there can be only one of two reasons. First, in reality the person is not saved but deceived [1 Corinthians 6:9]. People are able to convince themselves that because they have participated in some religious rite or had some religious experience that things are fine between them and God [Job 15:31]. It is not the things people do but the change God accomplishes that is important in the end [Galatians 6:15]. It’s a person’s faith in Jesus’ person and work and God’s grace which produces spiritual life in a person [Ephesians 2:8-9]. False assurance of one’s salvation is a dangerous thing because it will blindly lead the person to an eternal existence in hell [Matthew 22:1-14].
Secondly, a Christian will be inept if he or she is living a life that grieves the Holy Spirit [Ephesians 4:30]. This life can be one of fear, which includes ‘shyness’, pride, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and self to name a few. These are acceptable “safe” sins. They may be ok in our society, but they are just as harmful to our souls as murder, adultery, stealing, homosexuality, and drunkenness [Galatians 5:19-21]. A life of continuously grieving the Spirit’s work will eventually lead to loss of self-esteem, un-fulfillment, anxiety, and depression in a Christian. The Spirit may still be present, but His purpose, power and blessings in a Christian’s life will be quenched [1Thessalonians 5:19]. The Christian will find himself under the Father’s reproof and correction as He seeks to bring about repentance and restoration of fellowship [Hebrews 12:5-11].
By faith Christians need to believe God [Romans 4:3]. By faith Christians should humble themselves in God’s presence [1 Peter 5:6]. By faith Christians should submit to God [James 4:7]. By faith Christians obey God and prove their love for Him [John 14:15]. By faith Christians need to be involved in the local worship and ministry [Hebrews 10:25]. By faith Christians need to exercise the Spiritual gifts God has given to them for the benefit of other Christians and to the glory of God [1 Corinthians 14:12]. By faith Christians need to fulfill the work to which God has called them [Ephesians 2:10].
“We need to be encouraged to realize that God’s grace is both sufficient and effective. We can, by His grace, fulfill whatever ministry He has given us to do in the body of Christ.” – Jerry Bridges
Minister of Education and Youth