Die to live
Christ came, Christ died, Christ lives.
- If he was a myth; do nothing
- If he was a great philosopher; study his teaching
- If he is the Son of God; then you must die
In Behind Closed Doors I mentioned some paradoxes of God. Here is another: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The one who believes Jesus is the Son of God has no choice but to die to self and live as if Christ is all. Because to be set apart for the Lord is impossible if we don’t first elevate Christ to his rightful place upon the throne. Not just in heaven, but in our lives as well.
Regularly we acknowledge that Jesus was at the beginning, with God and was God. We declare that through him all things were made. From the outset he was the prescribed answer to the problem of sin. And in the Father’s perfect time, he was born, lived, obeyed, suffered, died, rose, and ascended. Presently, he waits, intercedes and offers salvation to all who come to him. And one day he will come again, to judge, and to reign.
If this is true, Christ deserves honour, respect and reverence. But not just a little … or some. Not even a lot. He deserves all. Because in creation, redemption, salvation and judgement, Christ is all.
Let go and hang on
Our God elected Christ to be the Word through whom all were saved. Through Christ’s work on the cross, all have access to the Father. And through Christ alone we have peace with a Holy God. Our Father is …
- Forgiving – through Christ
- Merciful – through Christ
- Just – through Christ
- Saves – through Christ
Before God, there is no other ground on which we stand apart from Christ. Our works are nothing; his alone are acknowledged. Our righteousness is insignificant; only his has substance. The ground on which we stand is formless; only he is stable. Unless we approach the throne with nothing, we gain nothing. If we cling to anything other than, or in addition to, Christ, it is not enough. He must be all.
Whether we have been a follower of Jesus for years or days, we must constantly ask ourselves,
“Do I place confidence in my faith to save me?”
It is not our faith that saves, but our faith in Christ.
“Is it the work of the Holy Spirit that saves me?”
The Spirit will flow and transform those who are grafted into Christ.
“Am I confident in my experience of grace to save me?”
Experience and feelings fade, but it is genuine relationship with Christ that saves.
To fulfil the call to be holy–set apart–we need to drink water from the Rock, eat the Bread of Life, stand on the Cornerstone and lift our eyes to the Cross.
Step into the unseen
A follower of Christ cannot have it both ways. Either we live to ourselves and die to Christ, or we die to self and live in him. We cannot survive the flood, part the sea, walk through the fire and endure the lion’s den standing on our own ground, in our own strength. Clinging to a rock in a storm watching a lifeboat won’t save us. We need to release the rock and climb into the boat. There is no other way.
It is a significant thing to acknowledge the truth of Christ, and even more to experience, accept, and place hope in that truth. But if we don’t step out and live it, we are missing the reality of that truth. For what is faith but to step out in assurance into and onto that which we do not see.
Are you ready to die?
This Easter let us not be complacent in the gift we have received. Let us not sit idly in the knowledge that Christ died for us. This is not enough. Let us each open ourselves to the Spirit and ask him to show us how we are going, not in relation to our neighbour, or even our own progress from last year, but in relation to Christ.
Then, once again, when we have been humbled and shown to be incapable, unworthy and unrighteous, let’s move aside and allow Christ back onto the throne in our lives. Use this timeout over Easter to consider the ground on which we stand.
Do we stand on our own unstable, insignificant ground clinging to our lives, our rights, our purpose, our glory? Or are we standing firm in Him.
For if Christ is to be all, we need to live …
- Through and
- To …
And him alone.
For the follower of Christ there is no other way:
To live, first we must die.