Church of England Diocese of Carlisle Brampton

Charisma

In today’s world, “Charisma” is thought of as the compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. It’s often associated with actors and politicians. We often hear people say that so-and-so has got charisma.

It’s not an easy thing to define. Even in a modern secular world, Charisma is felt to have something other-worldly about it.

The name Charis has become popular in recent years. The Greek word “Charis” means grace. In the New Testament, Charisma is a gift of grace, a gift from God.

The Pentecostal or Charismatic movement in Christianity is one which puts emphasis on the spiritual gifts given by God. In Romans 6, the “Charisma” of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This Charisma is not something we can earn. God is the giver of all things. God is the One who gave us life in the first place, and He alone is the giver of eternal life. This Charisma is not something we have any right to. It is not something we can ever buy, or earn, or demand.

God’s Charisma of eternal life is a free gift to those who believe and trust in the Lord Jesus. And this Charisma is something we begin to experience now.

Paul tells us that we have been saved by the amazing grace of God. And now we are to live our lives according to that grace. One much loved chorus put it this way:

I am a new creation,

no more in condemnation,

here in the grace of God I stand.

My heart is overflowing,

my love just keeps on growing,

here in the grace of God I stand.

To live in grace, or under grace, means to have been freed from bondage to sin. Paul writes in verse 14: For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

This choice between sin and grace runs through this passage of scripture. It’s put in terms of slavery and of enslavement to one of two masters. Slavery to sin, or obedience to God.

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.”

When you love God, you hate sin, and the disastrous effects it has on people’s lives. Conversely, the people who love sin, hate God, because the word of God calls them to turn away from the sins they love to indulge in.

Jesus Christ died and rose again from the grave. As Christians, we have died and risen with him. We are united, by faith, to our risen Saviour. We want to live lives worthy of our risen Lord.

Our Lord Jesus taught us that the first and greatest commandment is:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind,

and with all your strength.

As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, we grow to love the Lord God more. As we become channels of His grace, we want to obey His commandments; to turn away from sin in all its forms, and embrace His law of love.

As we become channels of His grace, we experience more and more of the fruit of the Spirit growing in our hearts, bring about righteousness and holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Many world leaders from history, who are said to have been “charismatic”, were anything but godly men.

Charisma is not about force of personality, or looks, or stage presence. Charisma is about godliness, a quality of life, fashioned by the grace of God.

We can encounter this “Charisma” in our everyday lives and in ordinary people: in those whose lives are shaped and fashioned by the word and Spirit of God. Paul finishes with these words:

For the wages of sin is death, but the Charisma of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

May we be counted among those who are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amen.

Let us pray.

Almighty God and Father,

giver of all grace,

have mercy upon us who acknowledge our sin;

create in us a pure heart and a steadfast faith;

and lead us in the paths of holiness and righteousness,

until we come to the eternal joy that you have

prepared for us; in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Revd Stephen Robertson

28th June 2020