Breaking Spring part 2

Posted: March 22, 2013 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Uncategorized
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Yesterday we began considering the pervasive Spring Break Culture: a time to enjoy life like there is no tomorrow. We examined some of the common reasons to avoid going CRAZY for a few days, and really none of them make the cut if our life is all that there is.

In Kevin DeYoung’s excellent little book “The Hole in our Holiness”, he considers many of the difficulties and objections we have against holiness. Proverbially, we perpetuate the error of sinning plentifully so that grace will be more abundant.

Is it legalistic to talk about personal holiness? To say that you should not be overcome by drunkenness, that drugs should not be on your plate, that free sex is simply plain wrong? Is it not going against a Gospel of grace? Should we not be proclaiming that we can join Vanessa, Selena and Franco, eat drink, be merry and still go to heaven?
Let’s think biblically:

1. Nobody in the whole world will ever be saved by being good or avoiding spring break. This may save you from diseases, heartbreak and heartburn, but not from hell.

2. Salvation is fully from grace, through faith in the work of Jesus Christ – he has paid it all in the cross so that partying people like us can be saved from God’s wrath and from our own foolishness.

3. He saves us to adopt us in his family – this truth is so precious and yet so underappreciated in our churches. I recommend heartily Russell Moore’s book Adopted for life. The idea for us here is that the goal of adoption is to cause us to be more like Christ by uniting us to him and causing us to, beginning in this very life, be similar to him.

4. This adoption causes us to imitate in love our older brother Jesus Christ

5. That is what he saved us for: holiness. Think, for example, about the famous passage of the Great Commission in Mt 28:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Do you see in this passage Jesus saying that the mission of the church has to do with teaching people to obey what he commands? Good news of salvation from sin means good news of God adopting us and making us more like the family.

6. It is a common thing to hear people say: “Christianity is not about a set of rules and commandments, but about a relationship” Hmmm…this is only partially true. If I had a penny for every time I heard phrases such as this, I would not be rich , but I would at least have more cash for movies.

As we saw earlier, the Gospel is a set of news about what Jesus did for you. And yet, being brought into this relationship results in rules and commandments that serve to seal and protect the relationship (as DeYoung puts it). It would be very weird if your wife told you : “I love you so, so much that I can sleep around as much as I want. Our relationship is not about rules, only about love” What would think about that? In one occasion Jesus said “if you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15.

The whole idea of divorcing behavior from love is what the apostle John is combating in his first letter. I call you to read it prayerfully. In it John explains how it is that those who are born again are necessarily called to live righteous lives; no, nobody will be sinless for now. But if we sin we have Christ to advocate for us. And yet, because we were adopted in his family,

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” 1 John 3:4-10

The reason we do not Spring Break is ultimately not because it will give us AIDS or kill neurons. It is because we have been rescued from thinking that the delights of the world and the devil are better than imitating our brother Jesus Christ. From him springs life, and he breaks the power of sin.

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