Friday, July 26, 2013

"He Lives, We Live"

(Thanks to Hugh for inspiration on this one.)

      "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

     The Apostle Paul testifies of an interesting journey of faith in this often-considered passage concerning life in Christ.

     First, Paul declares himself departed - "I am crucified with Christ."  Immediately, however, the Apostle returns - "nevertheless I live."  He leaves again - "yet not I" - but finally returns to stay and to live, albeit by and through Christ - "the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God."  Herein we discover the dynamic spiritual process whereby God delivers us from the futility of fleshly independence unto the faithfulness of living by the auspices and power of Another.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9).

    God made the human race to serve as His dwelling-place.  In Adam, however, we embraced the lie that we could "be as gods," and thus live in and of ourselves (Genesis 3:5).  This delusion must end as as our Heavenly Father calls His trusting children to believe that the godless, independent person of our unbelieving life was "crucified with Christ."  Paul also taught that we are "risen with Him," and thus, were not annihilated when we trusted in the Lord Jesus.  The Apostle therefore affirms, "I live" (Colossians 2:12).  However, we must discover that the person we now are in Christ cannot independently live the Christian life anymore than we could have accomplished such a lofty goal before we believed.  "Yet not I" confesses Paul regarding this truth, or as the Lord Jesus said, "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).  We must discover that our living is the fruit of Christ's life actualizing and empowering our unique personhood and faculties.  We still live, but we do so "through Him."

    A growing understanding of this New Testament dynamic of life through Christ leads us to proper dependence upon the Lord Jesus, and also to proper exercising of our capacities and faculties.  We obey Paul's command to "exercise thyself rather unto godliness," but we do so in the recognition that the strength for such endeavor arises not from ourselves.  "
I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily" (I Timothy 4:7; Colossians 1:29).  We "labor," but we do so from the basis of confidence in "His working."  This understanding delivers us from the laissez-faire and unbiblical passivity of "letting go and letting God," unto the Scriptural truth of a Christ-actualized person and life.  We live in the enthusiasm of expectation that God will faithfully show Himself strong on our behalf as we trust and submit ourselves to Him.

     The Spirit of Christ lives in us so that we may live through Him.  This comprises the prevailing New Testament teaching whereby our Lord inhabits us for the purpose not of removing or replacing us, but rather of enabling us to consciously live in both dependence and active exercise of the marvelous human faculties He bestowed upon us.  "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).  Is it Christ?  Yes, of course!  Without Him, we can do nothing.  Is it us?  Yes, of course.  I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).  He lives in us, and we live by and through Him...

By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
(I Corinthians 15:10)

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