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Victim or Victorious - Where are you living in Christ?

"Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:13-14)

There are different gospels out there. Here are two that are contrary to each other. The Gospel of brokenness(us as victims of sin) and the Gospel of victory(over sin). Essentially, enabling sin or encouraging righteousness.

One has NO impact, and NO life in it...

One gives us permission to stay where we are with the assumption we won't have to change and can’t. That the meager day to day existence is ok with God, that our broken, sinful and flawed person is not just loved by God, but is in fact, our continued expected state of salvation.

This gospel preaches it's ok where we are and not to expect a change in our personal actions, attitudes or agendas. They use statements such as, ‘God loves you the way you are’, as if to say, God accepts our sin, our problems, and is ok with us staying that way(in other words condones or sanctions it as acceptable).

This version of God’s love is an enabling attitude, that seems to give the idea, that He can’t change our heart, nor would He dare to challenge us to live differently. Further, that He expects we will live continually bound by sin, anxieties, desires, thoughts, and emotions which are contrary to His nature and purposes in our life.

Many will use statements similar to, ‘God is acquainted with your suffering’ as if to say, 'God gets it, it’s ok’. Such statements end up conveying a message, that either it doesn’t matter to God or He’s unable to help as if His hands are too short to deliver us, and we'll just have to deal with it and make the best of it. Others may say such things like 'you will probably never be healed, or set free from things like, ie., depression, rage, fear, anxiety, various sins. In their attempt to ease our pain, they are unknowingly saying, 'learn to live with the leash the devil controls you with’.

This is more of an affirming and enabling gospel than a true gospel. It will affirm us, our feelings and desires while enabling our sins, our error, our actions, and attitudes. It won't even have the hint of a challenge toward righteousness because even the smallest amount of conviction is deemed as judgment against the person and is an anathema against this gospel of brokenness. It’s a gospel that coddles us while we continue to wallow in the miry clay of shameful behaviors and demoralizing attitudes.

Is that really the Gospel? Is there any Hope in that? Isn't it just more of the same treadmill, continually walking in the same circles?

Don’t we want to hear the rally and battle cry that encourages us to rise up out of the muck and mire of sinful attitudes and actions? Don’t we want to hear the voice of the Lord call out of darkness

What is the actual Gospel? It is the good news that in our brokenness, while enemies of God, Christ died for us, paid the price of our sin and paid the ransom that we who believe might be set free, and walk in the power of His Resurrection to live as witnesses of His Love, Glory, and Grace.

In other words, we, having been taken out of the hands of our captors, unleashed from the taskmaster and enemy of our soul, set free from the wages of sin and wrath of God, in order to walk in a manner that is worthy of Him. It is by His equipping power we can be made new, changed, new creations, no longer bound by desires and sins.

The true gospel is one of victory, and not just the victory that Christ Himself experienced, but that we can and should experience in Christ. It challenges us to live higher, exercising and walking out in the equipping power of grace that continues to grant greater and greater conquests and triumphs. It's the Hope of the Gospel, that we are being sanctified, being made progressively holier, as we continue to walk in pursuit of the heart and mind of God through our lives in every thought, attitude, action, and agenda. That the old man, that former sin-nature, would eventually not just come to surrender to the will of God, but be dead to the things of this flesh and the world.

To live in a manner where our every gaze is upward, where there is a constant conviction, where the pressing of the Holy Spirit is ever on us, as a loving reproof and yet simultaneously a compelling call and loving instructions, we will rise and seek to lay hold of those things for which we have been redeemed.

Countless verses and examples through scripture tell us that we are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37), that we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13) that sin will no longer be our master (Rom 6:14), that we can stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph 6:11), having been called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), being born of God we overcome the world (1 John 5:4), God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor. 10:13), that when evil comes we can stand our ground ( Eph 6:13), being refashioned into a new creation (2 For 5:17), delivering us from the power of darkness and translating us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13-14). I beseech you, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1-2).

Yes, Brokenness is part of our testimony, part of our walk, part of our struggle. And brokenness over our sin, repentance, is a completely different brokenness. BUT, brokenness is not what we are to focus, condone or define our lives by. If it is, then we live with a gospel that is impotent and essentially worthless. If Jesus had only died, though as a man, acquainted with us in sorrow, temptation, and all other ways, but didn’t rise from the dead, our hope would be worthless. 1 Corinthians 5:17-20 plainly says that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. The resurrection of Christ is the Hope of the Gospel, that in Him, here and now, we can have life and light while pursuing holiness, and living victoriously. Though we may walk the rest of our life with a limp, from an encounter and struggle with the Lord over an issue in our heart, if we hold on for Him to bless us, our very nature can be changed from that someone who undermines the things of God, to someone who flourishes in them.

Philippians 3:13-21 esv

I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

17 Brothers, join in imitating me and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Are we willing to be challenged by Grace?

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