As a Christian I bear the name of Christ. I was baptized in the name of the Christian God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In my baptism God has put His mark upon me, owning me and declaring to me, “You are mine. You belong to me now.”

Although formerly I was outside of Christ, an enemy of God, and an object of His wrath, now, by His grace, I am God’s child through faith, born from above and renewed by the Spirit’s power. God has reconciled me to Himself in Christ and He testifies to my spirit that I am truly His child through the work of the Spirit living in me.

This great Christian privilege of belonging to God and being called His own also places great responsibility upon me and upon my fellow believers. Since we belong to God in Christ we ought to live a life devoted and pleasing to Him. Our lives must show forth His grace in us. Our actions must be consistent to His will. Our words must reflect the kindness and truthfulness that are characteristics of Christ and His true disciples. We must think Christ-like and speak Christ-like as Christians.

This is very clear in the writings of the apostle Paul especially when he said God is working so that ”those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:15).

As children of God, the Lord’s transforming grace is directed “on our hearts and our tendency toward idolatry. [And]…the most powerful and pervasive of all idols is the idol of self. All sinners serve it in some way. Like Adam and Eve, every sinner has the desire to be God and to have the world operate according to his or her pleasure and will” (Paul David Tripp, “War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles,” 111).

Oh how true this statement is in my life! Without Christ, I have no hope of cure and of overcoming this idolatry. But as Paul David Tripp says, “Jesus lived, died, and was raised again to break our bondage to this idol. His goal for us is that we who once lived for ourselves would be turned, by his grace, to worship and serve him alone. As he changes us, more and more we will be like him. We will be able to truly represent him, and as his ambassadors, we will be able to speak in ways that contribute to his purposes in others’ lives as well as our own.” (“War of Words,” 111).

The Gospel As the Cure to My Idolatrous Heart

Vic Bernales is an ordained minister in the Pearl of the Orient Covenant Reformed Church. He pastors the Davao Covenant Reformed Church in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his Master of Divinity at Mid-America Reformed Seminary at Dyer, Indiana, U.S.A.

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