How to Avoid Living a Fragmented Life

Resurrection is a benefit that we wait for eagerly during our current death-stained lives, but we should not think that resurrection is merely a future blessing.

Is fragmentation an all too real and present danger? Absolutely, but we have been united to a Savior who is whole. In our union with Him, we, too, can taste the heavenly gift of wholehearted worship and life. To be sure, sin is still at work in us to draw us away from this gift of wholeness, but sin does not rule over us as it did once before.

 

Those who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ are saved unto a treasure trove of covenant blessings, not the least of which is the kingly inheritance, which Christ alone deserves but which is nevertheless shared with those who have been united to Him. Jesus alone has secured that prize by His own energies, but He gives it freely to those who believe. On one hand, this is an alien inheritance that comes to us through Christ, while on the other hand, it is a true inheritance, meaning that we can boldly come to the Father as true sons merely and only on the basis of our union with Christ (Rom. 8:15–17; Gal. 4:1–7).

The Father has already disbursed this inheritance to all Christians, even if we are not yet able to enjoy its benefits to their fullest extent. For instance, our inheritance in Christ includes, but is not limited to, resurrection unto everlasting life. Resurrection is a benefit that we wait for eagerly during our current death-stained lives, but we should not think that resurrection is merely a future blessing. After all, we have already seen the resurrection in human history in the event of Christ’s resurrection. He is the first of what we might call “the eschatological man,” the citizen, indeed the King, of the world to come (1 Cor. 15:22–24). As Christ emerges from the tomb, we get our first glimpse of the hope that awaits us in the new heavens and new earth.

Christians, however, also experience their resurrection in a more existential or personal way. When the spirit of the risen Christ gives life to the heart of the believer, the result is that the believer is drawn irresistibly into saving faith (1 Cor. 12:3). But the regeneration of the heart is not merely the basis of faith; it is, in fact, the beginning of the work of resurrection, a kind of resurrection of the inner person. Paul’s description of this inner resurrection could not be clearer: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17; cf. Gal. 6:15). The resurrection is brought to bear in the regenerate hearts of the followers of Jesus so that Christians can now breathe the fresh air of the new heavens and new earth.

As we might expect, a tension arises between the re-created heart and the perishable body (Rom. 7:15–25). This tension will not be resolved until the body is likewise remade imperishable. But the tension is a sign of our hope. The expectant waiting, the yearning to be free from this “body of sin,” is a necessary vital sign of spiritual life. We have tasted the resurrection, and that taste should appetize us for the full feast.

Resurrection is a benefit that we wait for eagerly during our current death-stained lives, but we should not think that resurrection is merely a future blessing.

WHOLENESS: BEING AND BECOMING

This brings us to the issue of biblical wholeness. As I have written elsewhere, the call to wholeness is perhaps one of the most common of biblical imperatives. The Shema of Deuteronomy (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”; Deut. 6:4–9), introduces this call to wholeness, and it is repeatedly alluded to in the Historical Books, the Prophets, the Psalter, the teaching of Jesus, and the letters of Paul. Jesus refers to it as the summary of the Law and its greatest commandment (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27), and it seems to be the verse that is on His mind when He is about to be betrayed (John 17:20–26).

Like other benefits of salvation, biblical wholeness can often seem like a far-off goal, a wonderful idea but not something we can experience in our daily lives. After all, who has not suffered from the fragmentation (the opposite of wholeness) of busy lives, multitasking, private guilt from besetting sins, and private pain from past abuse? We are too acquainted with division, hiding, and our own desperate attempts to protect the personal fiefdoms that give us control over our lives. But God has called us out of fragmentation to wholeness.

Is fragmentation an all too real and present danger? Absolutely, but we have been united to a Savior who is whole. In our union with Him, we, too, can taste the heavenly gift of wholehearted worship and life. To be sure, sin is still at work in us to draw us away from this gift of wholeness, but sin does not rule over us as it did once before.

We are truly whole, individually and corporately, in Christ already. His wholeness has been declared true for us as persons and as a people. So how should we then live? We lay hold of those promises in Christ, and we repent toward the wholeness that we have in Him. We confidently pursue the wholeness to which we have been saved.

The Apostle Paul has no problem calling Christians “saints” before pressing them to be sanctified through repentance and belief (1 Cor. 1:2; 6:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1). He is saying, “In Christ, you are saints, so go be saints.” Let your identity form your behavior. Let your being form your becoming.

The same logic holds true for biblical wholeness. In Christ, you are whole, so go be whole.

Dr. Scott Redd is president and associate professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. This article is used with permission.

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