Earlier this week, I had to write a short sermon on what exactly does it mean to have and live a transformed life in Christ. Basically, I was sharing with my audience three simple truths about being a Christian. The first truth was explaining what it meant to be made a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The second truth that I shared was that a believer must put their faith into action. Lastly, I shared that the driving force behind why we should live a transformed life is because we owe it to Christ. Due to His love for us, we become adopted children of God (Romans 8:15). However, the reason why I am sharing this with you all today is to set the stage for today’s message. This message is about explaining the foundation of Christian living, and why we should live it.
It is written, “But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your [heavenly] Father is merciful.
Do not judge [others self-righteously], and you will not be judged; do not condemn [others when you are guilty and unrepentant], and you will not be condemned [for your hypocrisy]; pardon [others when they truly repent and change], and you will be pardoned [when you truly repent and change]. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return,” (Luke 6:35-38, AMP).
In this piece of Scripture, Jesus teaches us the foundation of Christian living. He teaches us seven aspects of unconditional love which is how we should live out our faith in Him. Jesus teaches us to: (1) love our enemies; (2) do good to those who hate us; (3) bless those who curse us; (4) pray for those who mistreat us; (5) do not retaliate against those who wrong us; (6) to give freely, and (7) to treat others the way we want to be treated. Jesus is teaching us to have the same unconditional love as our Heavenly Father has for us, and this is the foundational principle to Christian living. What each one of us sows, we will receive in return. Jesus makes it plain that when we show mercy, we will receive mercy. Our judgment will lead to judgment. When we condemn others will lead to our condemnation. If we pardon others, we will be pardoned. When we give freely, God will give to us freely.
These lessons may seem difficult to accomplish in the flesh, however, this is why God has given us the gift and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit can and will give us the strength to live a simple Christian life. This required Christian life is grounded on the foundation of humility (being able to place others’ needs before our own happily), and by having unconditional love for our neighbors (just like our Heavenly Father has for us). You see, living Christ-like should not be difficult if we have Christ in us. This truth is plain and clear. We need to be able to emulate Jesus’ love, emulate His mercy, and be willing to sacrifice our wants for others’ needs. This is how we can live a life worthy of Christ’s sacrifice for us, and that humbling realization is the foundation for Christian living.