Thursday, November 20, 2014

"He Lives, We Live"

   Early in my Christian life, a school of thought influenced me that proposed the notion that "believers cannot live the Christian life, so Christ must live it in and through us."  I latched onto the concept, which does in fact bear some truth.  It is not true enough, however, and the results of the teaching limited my experience of walking with the Lord at best, and at worst, led to doctrinal and practical diversion from God and His truth.

    "Christ in you, the hope of glory… I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily" (Colossians 1:27; 29).
    "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9).

    A careful and thorough consideration of the New Testament reveals the foundational truth that the Spirit of the Lord Jesus lives in us so that we may live through Him.  As the Apostle Paul testified, he labored, but through the presence and power of "His working".   Rather than the elimination of our humanity in the living of the Christian life, we rather present our selves, our members, and our faculties to God in the expectation of their full engagement, as led, motivated, and empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Salvation does not remove us from a life lived to God's glory.  It rather redeems us to the enabling whereby our Lord's births a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).  Note that this spiritual person we now are was not created as righteousness and true holiness, but rather in these qualities of Christ's sublime character.  Thus, our Heavenly Father calls us to "reckon ye also yourselves to be… alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11).  Christ serves as the life, the power, the provision, the love, and the essence of all spiritual qualities.  We are ourselves alive, however, as spiritually constituted in His life.  Again, we live - through Him.

    This perspective bore revolutionary impact in my life, delivering me from the half-truth, as it were, referenced above.   I remain very much a work in progress, of course, but having the proper Biblical affirmation established in heart and mind more consistently enables the proper response of faith, submission, and the realization that whatever challenge of obedience to God the moment may present, the Spirit of Christ lives in me that I may live through Him.  Certainly we cannot walk in faithfulness apart from the Lord Jesus - "Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).  By definition, however, believers are not apart from our Savior - "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).  Thus, we go forth in confidence of His life empowering our living, to the glory of God and a far more consistent response to His Word and His presence in our hearts.  Rather than passively waiting for the Lord to move us, we rather engage ourselves in the faith that affirms His present and dynamic enabling of heart, mind, faculties, and members.  Yes, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus lives in us so that we may live through Him.  Or, as Paul vividly described…

"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)

Weekly Memory Verse
    My flesh and my heart faith, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:26)

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