"The Death Sentence"
The challenges of life serve to encourage and challenge us to trust the "Christ, who is our life" (Colossians 3:4).
"We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead" (II Corinthians 1:8-9).
By definition, born again believers have joined our Lord in His pronouncement of a death sentence regarding faith in ourselves. Our relationship with God began by the realization that we could not redeem ourselves from our sins. We looked away to the Lord Jesus who died and rose again to obtain for us the salvation that required His extreme work of grace on our behalf. "Nothing in my hands I bring; only to Thy cross I cling!" proclaimed the hymn writer. We trusted Christ to be for us and do for us that which we could never be and do for ourselves. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5). This is salvation, and there is no other. The Judge has ruled accordingly, and again, we have agreed that hope lies not in ourselves, but in the mercifully provided Son of the Judge.
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6).
We continue in the same way we began. This requires specific applications of the death sentence. When challenge comes, our natural tendency often elicits the question, "How am I going to deal with this?" Such inquiry originates in the fleshly holdovers of our former trust in ourselves rather than the Lord. We do have to deal with the matters of life, but we do not do so as merely "I". Just as we did not begin our relationship with God by wondering "How am I going to save myself?", we also pass the death sentence on any notion that we must navigate challenging seas by ourselves. "How will the Lord lead, enable, and provide, and how will He direct my response to Him in this matter?" This constitutes the the glory of life lived as "We" rather than merely "me". The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to execute, as it were, our natural tendencies to live as if we are merely ourselves, rather than being ourselves as inhabited by His vibrant revelation of the life of Christ in us.
The Judge has ruled. We are to "look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Thereby we carry out the decreed sentence of death regarding faith in ourselves. We choose to trust the Lord Jesus for the living of our lives in the same manner our life in Him began. The challenges are great. He is greater. We experience such greatness as we rejoice in His life, and execute the necessary death sentence on the delusion of pride and independence. Or, as the Psalmist declared…
"He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool."
"If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
Weekly Memory Verse
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
(I Timothy 2:1-2)