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CHUCK COLLINS: Discipleship is not a self-improvement project, "I am already there"

CHUCK COLLINS: Discipleship is not a self-improvement project, "I am already there"

By Chuck Collins
May 5, 2023

People talk about DISCIPLESHIP as if it's a self-improvement project or steps to make us more acceptable to God. St. Mutant's Church is good because they have "good" spiritual exercise programs for all ages to make us better Christians. But the starting point of biblical discipleship is understanding that "I am already there."

Here's what I mean. Either Jesus meant that our full salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification) was accomplished in the It-Is-Finished moment on the cross, or it is "almost" finished. Either we are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, or just some. Either nothing can be added to the completed work of Christ on our behalf, or something on our part in missing to complete what Jesus started -- our repentance, our obedience, our faithfulness in the spiritual disciplines. Either we are invited into his rest, or we need to get to the gym for holiness class.

So, instead of looking at prayer, Bible reading, serving, and church-going (and did I mention tithing?) as ways to inch our way closer to God's blessing and affection, Christian disciplines, to be "Christian," are pried from the hands of "you must" and "you ought" and completely redefined to be the grateful responses to God's prior love. God is wildly in love with us and rejoices over us with gladness, and from this awareness it becomes our joy to respond by wanting to be with him and to follow him. Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us that we should be called sons of God!

Repentance and faith in Christ do not bring us into God's love, they are responses to his love. Knowing this, breaths enjoyment (in-joyment) into the sometimes-dusty spiritual disciplines. We do them now, not because we must, but because it is the natural overflow of a changed heart. We do them not to draw closer to God (because there's no "closer" than union with Christ), but to revel more fully and deeply in the finished work of the One whose love is boundless. Discipleship is growing more deeply into who we already are "in Christ."

This means that John 6:56 (eat my flesh and drink my blood) is not specifically about the Lord's Supper. But John 6 and the sacrament of Holy Communion are both about the most profound mystery in the universe: that we have been put into Christ, and Christ in us. That we were joined with Christ in his death and resurrection - the hope of glory! We are already there, so now Lord, will you please open our eyes to see the hope, the riches, and the incomparable great power that is ours in him.


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