April 5, 2016

In dying I live . . .

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Unlike me, the Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human and totally sinless —without any need to deal with a sin nature. He also qualified as a spotless lamb and died for sinners, now living and interceding for us. He also lives in His people and gives new life to our old sinful humanness. Because of my ‘dual’ nature, I relate a tiny bit to the experience of Jesus in Gethsemane as it is interpreted by Oswald Chambers.

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” (Matthew 26:36–38)

Chambers says that Jesus was not in agony because He dreaded death; He came to earth to die. He knew that as God the Son He would come through; Satan could not touch Him there. However, getting through this ordeal as fully man was being challenged. Satan had already attacked His identity as the Son of God (Matthew 4), but this was different. Jesus was being attacked as the Son of Man for it was as a man He must die.

Who knows the lies of the enemy to Jesus in Gethsemane, but if they are anything like the junk he feeds me, they would include things like, ‘It won’t work’ and ‘This will fail’ and ‘You cannot pull this off.’

When God calls me to a task, I pray admitting that I cannot do it. However, I know that Jesus lives in me and through Him, I can do all things. Because I was crucified with Christ, I don’t rely on my old nature (or at least know that I don’t have to), but can live by faith in Jesus.

Jesus faced a different situation. He could not call upon ‘deity’ to go to the cross and do the dying; He had to die for sin as the Son of Man. No other human being could do this; our sinfulness disqualifies us.

I cannot fathom His agony in Gethsemane as the Son of God, but even more, I cannot fathom dying for the sin of the world as fully man. Such an onslaught is incomprehensible.

Jesus prayed that if it was possible, could this not happen, yet He yielded saying “Not my will, but Your will be done.” That is the part that I understand. Jesus living in me always says that, always accepts whatever God wills for the human part of me. This includes my body, emotions, relationships, my life here on earth. With Him, I can trust the Father to bring me through whatever He ordains for me, but without Him, I cannot do that. Unlike Jesus, in sin, selfishness, and mistrust, my old nature will fight the will of God without any submission.

This is why He crucified me with Jesus. Unless I also was crucified, I could never live in the power of Christ nor experience what it means to abide in Him and trust Him with all my heart. Jesus even said that without dying there is no life . . .  

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)

Chambers finishes: “The agony in Gethsemane is the agony of the Son of God in fulfilling His destiny as the Savior of the world . . . .” For some reason, today I feel some of that agony and also a great deal of gratitude. Because Jesus died, I died too — and because Jesus lives, I also live.

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