Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
Christ vs. Self: Pinocchio Religion
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his (Romans 6:5).
Marionette Salvation & Mechanical Faith
When you’re dead, you cannot make yourself alive. However, many buy into Pinocchio-like religion, hoping that something they do on their own can make them alive. The nature of death, however, is the utter absence of life—a hopeless state apart from outside action. Similarly, the late-80’s film Short Circuit featured a robot named “Johnny 5” who pursued knowledge in hopes that the “input” would make him alive. Both view self as the imparter of life, rather than trusting the gracious character of God. Sadly, this practice is rampant in both secular and Christian circles. Whether it be education, humanitarian causes, or the mechanical “do better, try harder” faith our religious hearts default to, our good deeds and religion replace a humble child-like reliance on a gracious Father. The gospel, however, is that life is given apart from the hopelessness of self-salvation. Christ Jesus imparts life on our behalf.
United with Christ
Although the post-Reformation church focuses on the believer’s status before God as salvation, the pre-Reformation church understood salvation in terms of union with Christ, as Paul addresses in Romans 6:
- We are united in his life, death, burial, and resurrection (vv. 3, 5, 8).
- Since we are united with him, we participate in his triumph over sin and death (vv. 6, 9-11).
- Our present life is a proclamation of the future hope promised to those united with him (v. 4-5).
Life is not imparted by the acquisition of knowledge, whether theological or otherwise. Nor is life imparted by the self-efforts of desire or good works. May we not affirm the hopelessness of self-saving religion. Rather, may we cling to the promise of living under grace. To be continued.