Friday, December 18, 2015

“A New and Living Way"

    "If Christ be in you…" (Romans 8:10).  Suppose we had never read this conditional clause included in the 8th chapter of the Apostle Paul's epistle to the Romans.  How might we expect him to conclude the sentence?

   "If Christ be in you… God's glory is revealed and exalted."
   "If Christ be in you... He enables us to walk in His triumph."
   "If Christ be in you…  you walk in peace and joy."
   "If Christ be in you…  you can do all things that pertain to God's will."

   We might imagine many such affirmations, all which reflect Biblical truth.  However, Paul finished his thought with a starkly different conclusion.

    "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin" (Romans 8:10).

    "The body is dead because of sin."  Rather than affirm some wonderful glory related to Christ's indwelling presence, the Apostle references death in the believer's body.  By this, Paul means  that our bodies have yet to experience the direct presence of God's own life.  Thus, they are "dead" in terms of His definition of life and death.  "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Corinthians 15:53).  Conversely, the Spirit of God dwells in the believer's spirit.  Therein we are "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11).  The earthly faculties and members of our body, inherited from Adam, has yet to be enveloped in this glorifying vibrancy of Christ's direct presence.  We therefore acknowledge our spirits as alive through the righteousness imparted by the direct presence of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus.  Conversely, 0ur bodies are "dead because of sin", the sin that separates devils, people, and things from direct proximity to the very life of God.

    In practical terms for the believer, this simply means that our bodily members and faculties possess no inherent capacity to fulfill God's will according to His standard of life and righteousness.  The power for such being and life rather resides in the Holy Spirit, and in our spirit where He dwells.  "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (enliven) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:11).  Such truth establishes all Christian living as a resurrection miracle no less that the rising of our Lord Jesus from the dead.  If we are to pray, think, speak, act, and relate in "a new and living way" provided by Christ, He will have to energize our mortal bodies by His risen life (Hebrews 10:20).  This He does as we trust and submit ourselves to Him in the confidence of His promised provision of power.  Every act of obedience in the lives of Christians requires this life out of death process executed by our Lord, and received by us.

   The Lord Jesus told His disciples that they could not independently fulfill any aspect of genuine faith and faithfulness - "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).  Our bodies, still possessed of a "law of sin", are inherently dead to such godliness (Romans 7:23).  Within our trusting spirits, however, resides the Spirit of the Lord Jesus who enlivens our bodily faculties and members to walk in His Life beyond life.  Our calling involves "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith", trusting and submitting ourselves to Him in the expectation of His mighty enabling (Hebrews 12:2).  The Christian life requires Christ's life, the resurrection life of our blessed Lord that day by day, moment by moment enlivens us from death to empower lives of love, faith, and faithfulness.  As Paul prayed for the Ephesians, let us pray for each other that we will know the glory of the empty tomb and its risen Christ not merely as the historical fact of His life, but as the great power and enabling of our own...

"What is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places."
(Ephesians 1:19-20)
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
(John 10:10)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "Come unto Me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
(Matthew 11:28)


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