Daily Dose, Oct. 26 — Whole Life & Holy Living

"What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." (Romans 6:1-10) During my time at the Candler School of Theology, I was blessed to sit under the teaching of Dr. Carl Holladay for New Testament. He pointed something out that I had never really considered. He revealed how essential a certain phrase is to our Christian faith. Dr. Holladay reminded us that the phrase “in Christ” is used almost 100 times in the New Testament. This should tell us something! It gives us a glimpse into an essential part of living a devoted and faithful life. In Matthew 5, Jesus gave the instruction to “Be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect.” It’s possible he’s echoing the words in Leviticus 11: “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” I can’t speak for you, but I know that I have a hard time doing this. Living a holy life seems at times to be completely unreachable. So long as I stay within my own human limits, thoughts, and behavior, it IS unreachable! And this is the key. To live a holy life, I need to live as though Christ is living in and through me. I need to truly be “in Christ” if I hope to be seen by God as holy. This causes me to look carefully at my life - at my aspirations, my desires, and my motivations. Am I living only for me out of the strength and wisdom that I can generate? Or am I asking and inviting Christ to live in and through me? If I have any hope of “being holy” then it’s going to have to be the latter. --Rev. Brad Greene