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A Covenant-Keeping Forgiven People | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

A Covenant-Keeping Forgiven People

This Sunday, we are moving our series on Cross-Shaped Faith into Paul’s epistles. This week, we will look at one of my favorite Pauline passages, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. Today, I’d like to look at a bridge from the Upper Room in John 13 to Paul’s writings to the Corinthians.

There were two major points in last Sunday’s sermon:
  • Christianity requires a unique act of cleansing to have a relationship with Jesus (John 13:8b-10). Christ's death brought forgiveness and salvation.
  • Foot washing is an enacted-parable of servant love, mandatory for disciples of Christ to replicate (John 13:14-15).

Forgiveness is the requirement for participation in this new life with Christ. It is the start of transformation into Christlikeness. But Christ did not merely die to forgive sins. He died to create a covenant-keeping forgiven people, a people devoted to this crucified and resurrection Lord. This new community is to embody His servant love. Look again at Jesus’ mandate to the disciples, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15).

We’ve talked about cross-shaped faith having a vertical and horizontal dimension (faith comprises a vertical relationship with God and horizontal relationships in our love of neighbor). Don’t miss the vertical dimension of the cleansing forgiveness of the Christ and the horizontal act of foot washing.

As we move into 2 Corinthians, Paul is working hard to show the church in Corinth that they are this community of forgiven people and this changes everything in their lives. As Paul writes, “...those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

It is my prayer that as His community; we hear Paul’s call to action this week. May the message of salvation through Christ be visible in our midst!