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We've Won the Lottery—Now What?
Ah, but do I hear the anxious whisper or an astonished shout? "Can we then just go on sinning since our striving for holiness accomplishes relatively little, since we are called first and foremost to gratefully believe in the gospel?" (Rom. 6:15).
But why have we played the lottery in the first place? Because we were tired of living in the squalor of poverty. We were hoping against hope to someday enjoy a decent life, with a solid roof over our heads and attractive clothes on the body, with a car that will not break down and enough money in the bank to forestall a night at the homeless shelter. With the winning lottery ticket in hand, are we going to use our new credit rating to get liquored up or squander a few nights in Las Vegas? Or are we going to put a down payment on a home, and take a trip to Nordstrom's, and visit the Toyota dealership, and open a savings account at Chase?
It is precisely because we are guaranteed transformation that we, in gratefulness and a sure hope, can start to live as if we've already collected our winnings. And when done in gratefulness, instead of anxiety or striving, well, the yoke of Christ is easy, feeling less like doing and more like resting.
In the meantime, we remain in spiritual poverty. We're still desperate, needy, broken, sinful people. Blessed are those who know this, for they know the hope of the coming kingdom! Blessed are those who do not confuse the future with the present, the kingdom of heaven with the present age. Blessed—happy, joyful, thankful!—are those who live not by sight, but by faith in a sure promise.
Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today. He is author of A Great and Terrible Love: A Spiritual Journey into the Attributes of God (Baker).
Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Previous SoulWork columns are available on our site, including:
The Great Evangelical Anxiety | Why change is not our most important product. (July 16, 2009)
The Scandal of the Public Evangelical | What we really have to offer the world. (July 2, 2009)
Chaos Theology | Finding hope in the midst of the terror of creation. (June 18, 2009)
In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
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