November 29, 2018

Now alive . . .

Devious. Not all the time, but sometimes even a small child with determination to have what he wants becomes devious in his efforts. No matter how often or how strongly he hears the word NO, he calculates how he can have that toy or that candy. Maybe by being sweet. Maybe by raising a ruckus. Maybe some sort of distraction, but the deviousness can be seen in his eyes. He is not going to give up easily.

Try that with God? I should know better by now. It does not work. God is Lord of all and no matter my efforts to cajole, persuade, beg or bargain, I can no longer get what I want simply because I want it. If the thing is in my best interests, He is generous. Otherwise, He knows how to deal with this spoiled child and all my self-effort . . .

“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)

Why He takes drastic measures is obvious; sin has spoiled us all. But what does it mean to be crucified with Christ? Some analogies help me get the gist of it. One is that I was ‘in’ my grandfather’s loins before I was born so in a sense, whatever happened to him was also part of my future. That is, if he lived, I would live. If he died, I would die with him.

It is the same with Christ. God put me in Christ so that when He died, I died. Sounds grim, but then He didn’t stay dead. The resurrection is the jewel of the Gospel, the shining light, the hope of all who believe. Because Jesus rose from the dead and because I am ‘in’ Him, then I also have new life! And I’m not to forget it . . .

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1–4)

My destiny is summed up in these four verses. I died with Christ and am raised with Christ, exhorted to put my mind on eternal matters, remembering that the old me is dead and my life is ‘in’ Christ. Whatever happens to Him happens to me — and He is eternally alive and planning to return. He will transport all His people home to glory with Him.

Crucified? It is a done deal. I died in Christ and am raised to new life with Him. No matter what I do, I cannot change that. God did it, not me nor my actions or failures to act. Instead of trying to walk a different path, I can take His hand, turning away from life’s passing interests and temptations and whole-heartedly walk with Him.

Jesus, sometimes the good news is so overwhelmingly joyful that my heart feels full to bursting. Thank You for including me in Your grand plan of salvation. Thank You that I can set my mind on things above. Thank You also that the things of this earth have lost most of their luster, not that they are fading but that such stuff has no appeal to a dead person!

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