The first importance.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scripture (NIV)
Many churches, preachers, and Christians have placed a higher priority on the lifestyle of Christ judging those who do not act the way Christ acted. The emphasis is on behavior. But this is not the root of our walk with God. The root is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A life of holiness is the outgrowth of this root. Without the root, there is nothing.
Losing sight of His death and resurrection renders us powerless to live better. It is no more possible than pushing our house off its foundation. We cannot live like Jesus without His power.
In our sinful state, we are slaves to the carnal nature. We are also blinded to this. We are slaves to sin and don’t even know it. Being unaware, we never think to break free. It is only as sin is played out in our own hearts and those around us does a sense of unfulfillment emerge opening our spirit to something new. And we begin to seek something greater.
Sin’s mode of operation attempts to garner love from others. This is what we all want. We want to be loved. Sin pursues love however through manipulation, money, sex, people-pleasing, success, and more. But the love that must be earned is not love at all. At some point, pursuing the love of others in this deformed way leaves us empty, unfulfilled, and in search of more. Here, the Spirit of God meets us not with a demand to be better, but with a love for us just as we are.
This love is born in us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This love breaks the chains of sin and releases a power to live differently, to live better.
His death in our place creates in us a desire to honor the One who has honored us by loving us when we were utterly sinful. His resurrection opens our eyes and breaks the power of sin giving us the power to live in a way that does honor Him. True holiness manifests only when our motive is to love Christ more than ourselves. This requires a transformation from within. The power to initiate and perfect this transformation is beyond human ability. But the love of God found in His death, and the power released through His resurrection makes possible a rebirth into a new creation. This is the first importance.
Prayer: Lord, help me keep the first importance at the forefront of my mind each day. Amen.