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Friday, April 20, 2007

Voice of Lordship

Paul encourages the reader to keep seeking things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. But he has not called them to action without explanation. Paul presents Christ as Lord when he presents our salvation. We have been raised up with Christ. Paul speaks of "sunegerio" in close proximity to transgressions and death. We should speak the gospel the same way.

But Paul did not just give us a vocabulary clue. His voice presents Lordship.

It should be obvious to us that our resurrection from the dead is not an active event. We do not raise ourselves, nor is a dead person capable. Dead people cannot act on their own accord. Just understanding "raised up" should be enough for us to see ourselves as helpless in conversion. We have been raised up with Christ.

But just incase we missed the point, Paul presents the verb "sunegerio" in the passive voice. ntgreek.org explains:
Grammatical voice indicates whether the subject is the performer of the action of the verb (active voice), or the subject is the recipient of the action (passive voice). If the subject of the sentence is being acted upon, then the verb is referred to as being in the passive voice.
If Paul places our being raised up in the passive voice, then Paul is directing that the action was done to us. We did not make it happen. We did not even participate in the event. We were lifeless and Christ raised us.

We cannot expect a person to submit to Christ's Lordship if they have not been called to it. Calling a person to His Lordship begins at conversion. If our gospel does not confront a person with their sin and spiritual death, we are not presenting Christ in His full glory. However, we may not merely diminish Christ's Lordship with watered-down gospel content, we can do it with our voice as well. As with most things, it's not just what we say, but how we say it.

It may be tempting to shrug off such a thing. Shouldn't we just be pleased that the gospel is being preached? Certainly, Christ is honored with gospel preaching, even when the preacher's motives are not pure (Philippians 1:18). How much more, believing our men have the purest of motives, should we care about our voice and our content? We should all be willing to have these conversations and re-evalute what we have come to know as regular methods.

When we do not speak to men as being dead, we open the door to denying His Lordship. It then becomes easier for us to take an active role in conversion.
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.--1 Corinthians 3:7
The evangelist must be careful to communicate his role accurately. None of us have ever saved a soul. Conversion is not an issue of societal, economic, political, racial or even generational barriers being torn down. Scripture declares it is simply a spiritual battle. Every man stands before God incapable of understanding the gopsel without God illumining the heart (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Certainly, we do not desire to put any stumbling block before people. People will stumble over the cross (1 Corithians 1:23). I would still stumble over the cross had Christ not turned my heart toward Him. We must declare with our lips that He alone is the One who raises us up to life. We do not participate in our own salvation, nor do we participate in the regeneration of another person.

We may articulate that with our lips, but find our actions are contrary. This can be done when we:
    1. Fail to celebrate gospel proclamation if conversion has not occurred.
    2. Ask, "But does it work?" when someone describes a Biblical evangelism model.
    3. Speak of our "saving someone"
    4. Claim that it is up to us to find the "God-shaped whole in every heart."
    5. Speak of moral people as closer to being saved than others.
    6. Emphasize fabricated words like "pre-evangelism" and "pre-Christian."
    7. Depend on business marketing techniques to make God famous.
    8. Believe that the nonbeliever simply being around believers for an extended period of time will eventually open them up to the gospel.

"The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows--how, he himself does not know."--Mark 4:26-27
I do not make Christ Lord; He already is. I do not save myself; He does all the work. I do not save anyone else; He does the work of regeneration.

I was dead when I was raised up with Christ. The definition of "sunegerio" reminds us of this. The voice of the verb reinforces this.

But we're not done seeing how Paul points us toward Christ as Lord...


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