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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

20 July 2005

On Being Christ-Like

Q: To be a Christian, do you have to be Christ-like?

HolyAbsolutionA: You are “Christ-like” when you are remade by God in Jesus’ image. Thus, to be a Christian is to be Christ-like. This happens when the Holy Spirit comes in Word and water, forgiving you and leading you to believe and trust in God; for at the same time, God works in you, enabling you to “put on Christ. (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27)” You cannot make yourself this way; it is the work of your loving God. The Holy Spirit nurtures, sustains, and grows a Christ-like person through the Gospel; specifically, preaching of forgiveness, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.

If your life of thought, word, and deed is contrary to the Christian faith, then you should take note — and, perhaps, beware. While you won’t be able to fix this crisis, you can turn in repentance and confidence to the One who can. Immerse yourself ever more in His Word, especially his forgiving Gospel and cling to a Church that teaches God’s love and Jesus’ works on our behalf instead of focusing on human actions or obligations. You will find even more that God is making you a “new creation” while at the same time always making more and better of you.

The strange paradox is that as we grow in the Faith, we also grow in knowledge of our own sinfulness. Thus, the more Christ-like we become, the less Christ-like we often feel.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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