Friday, October 16, 2009

The Formula for Christian Living

A quote from Dr. Harold Senkbeil's book Dying to Live:

The truth is, all of the New Testament’s imperatives are based on its indicatives. In other words, everything God demands of His children He first gives His children. Everything God wants us to do He has already done in His Son, and He continues to work in us in and through Jesus Christ. He is not a departed hero gone off to heaven to watch how well we’re doing here on earth without Him. He is present here and now with His church in those sacred mysteries we call the Word and the Sacraments. There’s a link between the life Christians lead and their living Lord. And that link is Baptism.

People keep looking for the key to a dynamic Christian life, some magic formula to bring zest to dull, half-hearted commitment. Unfortunately, most of the formulas suggested tend to be do-it-yourself projects. A do-it-yourself approach to the Christian life is doomed from the start. Reform a sinner and you get a reformed sinner. Discipline a sinner and you get a disciplined sinner. Educate a sinner and you get an educated sinner. In every case you still have the same sinner you started out with.

No, the Old Adam will not be tamed or reformed or disciplined or educated. He can only be killed. And this is just what God does; in Holy Baptism we are put to death and buried. But since it is the death and burial of Jesus, it makes all the difference in the world. His death and burial brings with it resurrection and new life. By Holy Baptism the Triune God crucifies our Old Adam, buries our sin, raises us as a new creation, and clothes us in Jesus Christ–thus giving us a whole new life to live. This is the authentic formula for Christian living!

Harold L. Senkbeil, Dying to Live: The Power of Forgiveness (St. Louis: CPH, 1994) 79.

photo credit: Lawrence OP


Anonymous said...

Vintage Senkbeil--always a good read, and as usual, he's right on the mark. We need to hear more of this in our congregations each Sunday.


AB said...

Great blog about Christian living!
Check out mine, if you want.