(Photo: Bob Kellemen)
Christians often overlook the fact that they are "new creations in Christ," as written in the Bible, and forget that in essence they are people who have been resurrected, says a Christian counseling expert.
"I find that in our evangelical Christian world we rightly understand our depravity and sinfulness and need to repent and put off the old ways. However, I find that we do not understand and apply – to our lives and ministries – the truth that we are new creations in Christ," RPM (Resurrection Power Multipliers) Ministries founder Bob Kellemen told The Christian Post.
"So, we end up counseling Christians as if they are non-Christians. And we end up seeing ourselves as predominantly as sinners, instead of as saints made new and given victory in Christ," wrote Kellemen in an email to discuss his recent blog post, "I See Resurrected People."
He plans to write more on the subject in a series by the same name. Much of the material comes from his book, Soul Physician. As a seminary professor and seminar speaker, Kellemen trains biblical counselors and pastors. He also provides counseling to ministry leaders, including pastors and missionaries.
"My vision with this mini-series is the same as the vision of RPM Ministries: Equipping You to Change Lives with Christ's Changeless Truth," Kellemen told CP. "I believe in and practice the sufficiency, authority, and relevancy of God's Word to equip God's people to live new lives in Christ and to speak the truth in love to one another so that we can all grow up in Christ, who is the Head (Ephesians 4:11-16)."
He writes in his blog, "In the movie 'The Sixth Sense,' young Cole Sear (played by Haley Joel Osment) tells Bruce Willis' character (Malcolm Crowe), 'I see dead people.' Cole is cursed with the 'ability' to see dead people.
"In our Christian life, we're often 'cursed' with the wrong perception that makes us think we are dead people. In our ministry to one another as spiritual friends and biblical counselors, we're often 'cursed' with the wrong perception that makes us think that our fellow Christians are dead people."
Kellemen continues, "When we fail to understand salvation by grace through faith, then we end up counseling Christians as if they were non-Christians. As if they were still spiritually dead people.
"When we fail to apply our salvation by grace through faith, then we end up reentering our old, dead life of bondage, law, and works. Paul calls this "Anathema!" (Galatians 1:6-9; 3:1-5; 5:1-7). Salvation is the broad term for new life through regeneration, reconciliation, redemption, and justification. Through regeneration, Christ instantaneously imparts new spiritual, eternal life," he wrote.
"In Christ, we are no longer spiritually dead people. We are spiritually resurrected people."
Kellemen then asks, "When you look at yourself, do you see a dead person, or do you see a spiritually resurrected person? When you look at other Christians, do you see dead people, or do you see people resurrected with Christ?"
He said he hopes people who read the series and Soul Physician come away with a fresh awareness of what the Bible teaches about salvation and sanctification.
"Theology is for real life. And biblical theology teaches us that we are not only forgiven through the grace of justification, but that Christians are also empowered through the grace of redemption to have victory over sin, and made new in Christ through the grace of regeneration," he said. "I want Christians to know who they are in Christ."
Bob Kellemen, Th.M., Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition (www.biblicalcounselingcoalition.org), the Executive Director of the Association of Biblical Counselors' Center for Church Equipping, the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries (www.rpmministries.org). He has pastored three churches and has chaired the MA in Christian Counseling and Discipleship department at Capital Bible Seminary for 17 years. Kellemen is the author of nine books including "Equipping Counselors for Your Church."