Right now I’m reading a great book by Matthew Anderson (of MereOrthodoxy.com) called Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith. Here’s a quick reason why:
Our “union with Christ” is the inauguration of a new form of life. When we hear and believe the good news that our sins have been washed away by the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ, the patterns and habits of our lives will never be left alone. That change in our status, wherein we transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s glorious light, transforms our horizons and reorients our lives. Where our relationships were once marked by the hostility of violence, envy, pride, and anger, our union with Christ opens the possibility for a new mode of being.
Though grace—the presence of God himself in our hearts and lives—is not a technique, it does have a shape. And it looks like Jesus. The love that Jesus’ disciples are known by takes the shape of a cross. . . . Christ is not only the pattern for our lives—he is also the power. The union we have with Christ is a union through the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. The sanctification of our lives and bodies is not disconnected from our salvation, but is the necessary consequence of our life in Christ. The Holy Spirit is both Lord and giver of life—and the life that he gives is the life of conformity to Jesus.
The reduction of our lives and morality to a “technique” is at the root of the malaise within the evangelical world. . . . In contrast, a gospel-ethic of our embodied life is encompassed by the reality that our sins have been forgiven by the one who died for us, and that the proper response to our forgiveness is impossible except through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption . . . ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’ ” (1 Corinthians 1:30–31). (Earthen Vessels, pp. 27-28)
One of the things I really appreciate about this book so far is Matt’s connecting the practical stuff of life to the gospel—from body image, our “iPhone-shaped bodies”, sexuality, and even the issue of tattoos (when we were chatting at T4A in October, he was telling me about this, so I’m very excited to get to that chapter). The gospel has implications for all of it. Looking forward to wrapping up the book and sharing more thoughts from the book soon.
Question: Have you previously considered how the gospel impacts our daily habits and patterns? If so, what impact has it made on your daily life?