I wouldn’t say I was born with… but I grew up, rather, with a special privilege. When I was in third grade, I attended my first college football game. My parents bought season tickets for football games at the University of South Carolina, and one of the tickets was for me! For the next 15 years of my life, I hardly ever missed a home football game. I had many experiences (good and bad) that I’ll never forget because of the privilege of being able to attend those football games.
While I was attending these games it started to occur to me that not every child who grew up in Columbia, SC had the same privilege I had. Not every child got to wake up on a Saturday morning, drive to the stadium with their parents and enjoy a fun afternoon together with 80,000 people. In fact, most children did not get to have that experience.
There’s a lot of of talk about privilege today in our culture. One hears about racial privilege, social privilege, cultural privilege and economic privilege. But the truth is if a person lives in America, that person is privileged in some way. Even if a group feels disadvantaged in America, they still have a far better life and more advantages than the vast majority of the world. For instance, if a household earns an income of $30,000 per year, they are in the top 5% of wage earners in the world. If a household earns an income of $50,000 per year, they are in the top 1% of wage earners in the world. When compared to the rest of the world, all Americans are privileged.
Privilege can be defined as: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people. Many people in our country are privileged.
Did you know, however, that Christians are spiritually privileged? Not culturally privileged… not socially privileged… but spiritually privileged. Christians have privileges that other people of other faiths and philosophies do not have.
With privilege comes responsibility. We can be tempted to simply accept all of the privileges we have in Christ. Yet, those privileges exist so that we will take responsibility for our calling.
There are three main ways a Christian is privileged. First, Christians have the Word of God.
The Apostle Paul states in Romans 3:1-2, “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.”
As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have access to Scripture. Scripture is interpreted by the Holy Spirit which now indwells you. To try to live the Christian life without reading, teaching, and consulting Scripture, is to try to live without your spiritual privileges. When you come to church, serve in church and get fed God’s word, your privilege becomes advantage. But if you don’t act on that privilege (especially if you never truly trust Christ) that privilege becomes fuel for judgment.
Hebrews 10:26-27 states “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume adversaries.”
If you know Christ you have been saved for God’s glory: not your own comfort or glory. God has given you a life-giving guide. Are you neglecting it?
Secondly, Christians are privileged because they have God’s promises.
God keeps His promises whether we keep our promises or not. We are in a covenant relationship with Him through His death, burial, and resurrection. God has promised to save us! Once we trust in Him, He will continue to save us even if we fail to obey Him. We will still sin against Him, yet He will never forsake us. God is a God who eternally keeps His promise to be our Savior.
Those outside the faith do not have this privilege. They cannot bank on the promises of God because they do not have them nor have they accepted them. Christians, however, do. We have the privilege that we can trust in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.
Finally, Christians have the privilege of having the indwelling Holy Spirit.
In New Testament times, some people falsely claimed that Christians had the freedom to live however they saw fit. Some even heretically claimed the more they sinned, the more grace God would give them.
They claimed that their life of spiritual privilege actually allowed them to live how they pleased – sin and all. This would be a form of extreme freedom in Christ. Yes, we are freed from sin; but we are not free to live however we see fit. You have God’s Spirit if you are born again. You cannot and will not desire to live in unrepentant sin. You will still have sinful desires and you will still sin. But the Spirit of God will cause you to feel guilt. He will cause you to feel sorrow. He will cause you to ask for forgiveness, if the Spirit of God is in you.
The born again believer has three clear privileges: the truthfulness of God’s Word, the reliability of God’s promises, and the leading of God’s Spirit.
Where in your life are you not exercising these privileges? Where in your life are you responsibly using these privileges for the glory of God?
Are you regularly reading God’s Word? Are you allowing His word to change your heart and mind? If not, you are wasting this privilege.
Are you regularly trusting in God’s promises? Do you even know what His promises are? When you read Scripture, trust that God is who He says He is. It’s one thing to read Scripture. It’s another thing to believe it and put it into action.
Are you regularly yielding to God’s Spirit? Are you obeying Him when He convicts you of sin and shows you what to do with your life?
These are the three privileges that every believer has. Are you taking your spiritual privileges and putting them to good use?