Selection Sunday was this past weekend. The day where nervous college basketball programs across the country wait to see if/where they will be seeded in this year’s NCAA Tournament. A selection committee sits in a room and compares strength-of-schedules, road records, and conference championship runs in an effort to pick the best field of 68.

There are the blue blood programs (Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky) that always seem to be at the top. There are the up-and-comers anxious to dethrone the kings (Oklahoma, Oregon, Miami). And then there’s the annual debate of comparing the over-achieving little guys (Butler, Wichita State, Gonzaga) with the mediocre big boys (Maryland, Purdue, Iowa State, Wisconsin).

These comparisons and debates are what make March Madness awesome – this is what makes millions of casual college basketball fans obsessed for an entire month! This is what makes office pools and bracket challenges so fun (I fully intend to repeat as the Uttermost office champ)!

And... this is how most people assume Christianity works.

Most people live as though God is sitting in his heavenly office with print outs of believer’s resumes – ready to hand down his rankings, eager to see who will emerge as the best rule followers and tithers.

The only problem with this view of Christianity is the Bible.

The Apostle Paul never actually uses the word “Christian” in his writings to describe people who follow Jesus. Over 160 times Paul refers to Christians as people “in Christ.” For Paul, to be a Christian is to be in Christ. That is the essence of Christianity. There is a special attachment or union with Jesus where by we receive all his perfect blessings and he receives all our shameful sins. Our fusion or connection to Christ results in our justification (Rom 8:1), glorification (Rom 8:30), sanctification (1 Cor 1:2), adoption (Gal 3:26), and election (Eph 1:4). In short, every part of the Christian life is based on Jesus’s resume not our resume. His life, death and resurrection is the basis of our salvation not our efforts, works or attempts.

This is what Paul meant when he said “it is by grace who have been saved...”

This March, as you watch 12 seeds advance and 1 seeds fall, be reminded that your salvation is based on, and secured with, Jesus' perfect and finished work on your behalf.

Bubby Bryan, DOC
Uttermost Sports