The other day I stumbled across a copy of the essay I had to write for my seminary application. Part of that essay prompted me to give a “comprehensive account” of my “relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Given the size constraints of the essay, I was not allowed to mail them a Bible for my answer. (I think that might also have been considered plagiarism.) So, instead, I scratched out the paragraph below. When I found this the other day, I was stirred anew by the truths I had been asked to recount, and I thought maybe we might enjoy being truth-stirred together. I think maybe that’s what the Church is all about.
I believe that Jesus is the promised Christ, the Son of God, and I trust him as my Savior and Lord. Though I share in the guilt of Adam, my original representative, and though my natural self is totally depraved such that I would never have chosen to embrace God by my own will, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ (who is the second Adam and my new representative) has paid the full penalty for all my sins, satisfied the wrath of God toward me, drawn me to repentance from my sins, given me newness of life through the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, and reconciled me to the Father through adoption into his family. Furthermore, Christ is the sovereign Lord over all things as their Creator and their rightful object of worship and service. In his goodness, he has crafted man in such a manner that submission to his will and obedience to his commands are the only path to fulfillment in life as they better fit us to enjoy him. The good works achieved through me are not my own, but rather the work of Christ in me, performed as a thankful response to his abundant love. Indeed, every aspect of my relationship to Jesus–my regeneration, justification, adoption, and ongoing sanctification–is a gift of grace from the hand of God, received solely by faith in Christ Jesus the Savior and Lord. Because of these gifts, the way has been opened for me to partake in genuine fellowship with God and with his body, the church, which is a constitutive part of my life in Christ and is my true family in this world.