"The gospel is not the imitation of Christ; it is the implantation and impartation of Christ. We are call to do more than mediate truth. We are called to manifest Jesus' presence."
Jesus Manifesto, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola
When I read this, I struggled with it and then became surprised as to how much I have been unrealizing what the gospel meant to me. What has it meant all these years? Is it Redemption? Grace? Obedience? Salvation? Ransom? Christlikeness? Relationship with God? Gift? Sacrifice?
The answer is YES! And then some! But, if all I can do with the gospel is to imitate Jesus, is that a cheap Gospel? Is that truly waht Jesus wants us to do? Just be like Him? I think now that that is an incomplete gospel! If Jesus is not living in me, which gives true meaning to my obedience, faith, Christlikeness, relationship to God, salvation, what is He to me? Just someone to emulate? If Jesus is not living in me, what is the point?
I will never be able to completely be like Jesus in what I say and do!
Can I love like Jesus did?
Can I forgive like Jesus did?
As Sweet and Viola say,
"Always turn the other cheek?
Always walk the second mile?
Always love your enemies?
Never think an unsanctified thought?
Never even have a hint of a pity party?
Always be prepared to give a 'word in season'?"
No! But isn't that why He IS living in me!? That is why I CAN become more Christlike each day! Because His presence in my life MAKES me this way!
"PRAISE BE TO GOD FOR HIS INDESCRIBABLE GIFT!!!"
This is not a cheap Gospel, this Gospel cost the King of Kings His life! So that He might live in us...righteous deeds saturated like filthy rags, prayers saturated with sinfulness, my repentance saturated with self-righteousness...yeah that's me! And He desires His presence so much He would die for that presence, that kind of life, that kind of change and transformation!
"PRAISE BE TO GOD FOR HIS INDESCRIBABLE GIFT!"