Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2005
The Cross and Santification
[Title] The Cross and Sanctification
[Text] Romans 1:5; 6:1-16; 1 Corinthians 1: 2; 2 Corinthians 5: 17; Matthew 7:24; Galatians 3: 1:5:16-25; Hebrews 5:9; 10:10; Colossians 3: 1-4;
[Use] March 19, 2005
Which came first in your Christian experience: (a) learning the doctrines of a specific denomination or (b) falling in love with Jesus because of what He did for you on the cross? The way you answer that question may bias you in our Bible Study this week as we study about the gift of Sanctification.
Pastor Kevin asked his young adult group, "How many of you want to be a better Christian?" [Hands go up] "How many of you are sick to death of trying to be a better Christian?" [More hands go up].
There appears to be an unwritten perception that in order to be a good Christian there is a measuring rod by which one has to be considered to determine if he or she is a more "perfect" person. The more good works you do, the higher your mark on the rod. The more it hurts the better your chances of measuring up. The more you criticize other churches the more you feel good about your own. The implication is that the more you strive to be a better person or a member of a better church, the greater the chance you have of obtaining salvation and the reward of eternal life. All too soon, you find you cannot keep up the image of the good Christian or a perfect church congregation. It is just an act. It's a mask put on for show. Onlookers can tell it's not real.
It takes a mere 45 minutes for Edward Moss to morph into the likeness of Michael Jackson. Moss is in the news in some form or another almost every day. He is the Jackson impersonator who stars nightly in E! Entertainment Television's "The Michael Jackson Trial." With the help of MAC and LaFemme makeup, Edward's olive skin is made several shades lighter. He draws in the eyebrows, contours the nose and cheeks to make him thinner, adds a cleft to his chin dons a wig and Jackson-style clothing. March 11th he wore his pajamas into the mock court room because Jackson wore his that day into the real court room.
When Moss is impersonating Jackson, the gestures he makes the way he holds his hands and bows his head, Moss's image makes you think you are seeing the real Michael Jackson. You aren't!
Edward Moss has had plenty of practice. He has been a professional Michael Jackson impersonator for over a decade. The 27-year old owns more than 90 Jackson look-alike costumes and has taken his act around the globe.
It does us all good to take some time to evaluate whether or not we are impersonating the Christian life. Are we professional Christians or real ones? It's easy to have all the looks, moves and actions and even the clothes of a perfect Christian but inside we know it's just an act. We might even try to prefect our act so others assume we are perfect. We can take our "show" to church, onto our campus or into our work place and sometimes even get by with it in our home. The danger is that we may become sick to death of trying to be a better Christian and grow weary of pretending. We crucify ourselves with guilt that we cannot be perfect enough, good enough or holy enough to be saved.
Hebrews 10:14 NIV states that it is because of Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross that he HAS MADE PERFECT FOREVER those who are BEING MADE HOLY (emphasis supplied). Eugene Peterson's The Message translation amplifies the text: "...we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus... Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people." (p. 472-473)
"Those who are sanctified will not set up their own opinion as a standard of right and wrong nor will they be bigoted or self-righteous." (My Life Today, p.248) The measuring rod of self-righteous bigots has no place in any Christian's home, school or church. Sanctification is an individual and personal response between sinner and Savior.
It's a choice we make daily.