Aaron Jeffries | @arjeffries1
In my "Intro to Corrections" class, we talk about prisoners being institutionalized (person, especially a long-term patient or prisoner made apathetic and dependent after a long period in an institution.) They have a dress code, they have a schedule they must follow or face consequences, and too often when a prisoner is released they cannot transition back into society because they have been institutionalized. However there are exceptions to this, some prisoners do great at rejoining the world; some simply trade one institution for another. For example, a prisoner took classes in prison as a rehabilitative process offered (often required) so when he was released he continued higher education and eventually received his master’s and became a professor.
Now let’s talk about church, when a sinner comes to Christ, often they join a fellowship that simply changes their behavior -- instead of actually dealing with the problem. That problem is SIN. Coming to Christ is not a behavior modification process where you change your clothes, go to meetings three times a week, and call it Christianity.
Following Christ is so much more than just exchanging one institution for another one. When Jesus died for our sins, it was to reconcile us back to fellowship with the Father. If the point of Christianity was to modify behavior, there would have been no need for Christ to die, because we already had Moses and the law (that’s not to say Christ abolished the law, because it is written He came to fulfill the law). Instead, it's a complete and total life change, inside and out, that reconciles us with our Lord.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:1-11 ESV
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:15-23 ESV
Aaron Jeffries lives in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. He is married to his beautiful wife Kristen, and has been blessed with two amazing little boys. Join him as he writes about life and our amazing Heavenly Father. He can be reached on Twitter at @arjeffries1.