(We just sent this one out earlier this year, and have repeated the theme on numerous occasions. But it seemed to fit so well with yesterday's message, I decided to send it again. Glen)
"I Can't! I Can!"
In the believer's relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, what is His part, and what is our part?
No simplistic explanations suffice to answer this question, as evidenced by the Apostle Paul's fascinating declaration of life in Christ, written to the Galatians (2:20).
"I am crucified with Christ." Paul is dead and gone.
"Nevertheless I live." Paul rises from death and returns.
"Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Paul leaves again, declaring that his Lord has taken active residence in his heart.
"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." Again, Paul returns to live. However, the circle of life in the Lord Jesus culminates in Christ living in Paul, and Paul living through Christ.
Paul's accounting of life in Christ reflects the New Testament teaching that the Spirit of the Lord Jesus lives in us so that we may live through Him. "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). The Christian life therefore involves not only the Lord Jesus and not only us. Life is rather a "we." The Spirit of Christ indwells, motivates, leads and enables. The spirit of the believer responds in faith, submission, and confident anticipation that we are powerfully enabled through Christ to trust and obey God.
Emphasis solely on the life of Christ inevitably leads to passivity and failure to access the power of God already provided to every believer (II Peter 1:3). Emphasis solely on our own dedication and determination leads to pride if we believe ourselves to be successful, and despair when our failures reveal our weakness apart from the Lord Jesus (John 15:5). How, therefore, are we to understand His role in living within us, and our role in responsive living to His dynamic presence?
This question of all questions requires a lifetime to answer. We must increasingly discover the wonder of life lived as a "we" rather than simply a "He" or a "me." There is no more fulfilling or joyous experience of living, and in real terms, there is no other genuine life. The Spirit of Christ lives in us so that we may live through Him. We must grow in the grace and knowledge of a Savior whose indwelling presence does not annihilate us, but rather actualizes the God-given gifts and faculties of our humanity. Again, the holy process and dynamic of life in Christ proclaims with Paul, - I die. I live. Yet not I. Christ lives in me. I live by Christ. We!
"We shall live with Him by the power of God."
(II Corinthians 13:4)
Weekly Memory Verse(s)
"Without Me, ye can do nothing… I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
(John 15:5; Philippians 4:13)