Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's My Life.....Isn't it?

              As I was writing and preparing the lesson for the children this coming Sunday, I came across our memory verse, and was struck by the power that was hidden inside it. You know me to be a treasure hunter, so anytime I find a glimmer of treasure, I have to go digging. So, this morning, I took out my treasure kit (my bible, pen and paper) and started to excavate the Word of God. I can say with all confidence that today I have changed, I have grown and I have become new.
                2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.” Whenever I read the word, “Therefore” I have to back track- I have to dig a little deeper into what the Holy Spirit is speaking to me. My digging took me to verses 14-15 of chapter 5. “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all then all died; (15) and He died for all that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) As I read these words, one of my favorite scriptures was brought to my remembrance, “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
                The life that I once lived was dead, and the life that I now live is not my own life- but it is Christ’s because He gave Himself for me. I have been given life through Jesus Christ. I was once dead in my trespasses and sins, but Christ died so that I could live. When the scriptures say, “He died for them” it is saying that He took upon Himself our dead and sinfulness and buried it with Him in that tomb. We were dead- we had no life, no breath, we were darkness and full of emptiness. We were lifeless bodies, who had no hope of life. But God, came in the likeness of our flesh, and died for us. He took my dead and lifeless body upon Himself and buried me with Him in the tomb. Then He raised me up into new life. I became a new creation. Just like a caterpillar that goes into a cocoon, and comes out a butterfly. I went into a tomb with Christ and came out a new creation. The very life that I am living right now, it is not my own. It was given to me through Jesus Christ. And the life that I now live, I am able to live because I believed in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.
                “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” (2 Corinthians 5:16) Because we know that our life is not our own, and that the lives we as Christians live is actually Christ living through us, we do not look upon one another as fleshly beings. We do not regard, or know and perceive, our fellow brothers and sisters from the outward appearance. We now know them as Christ is known- in the Spirit. The life that they are living is Christ’s, we no longer live for ourselves, because we were dead in that. We now live in Christ, and through Christ.
                How much easier it would be to love the brethren if we knew and understood and believed that each one of us is not “us” but it is Christ. That what we see as flesh is just the outer covering, the part of us that has died. How much more would we love one another if we stopped looking at the outward appearance and sought only to know Christ in them?  “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2) How greatly our love would be for one another if we sought only to know Christ in each other.
                My treasure hunt didn’t end here, I kept digging. “Now, all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
                God the Father was in Christ trading His life for mine. He did not deal to me my due; instead He took His riches and transferred them to my account. He took the life of Christ and traded mine for His. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, because we know and understand the reconciliation that God wrought upon the Cross of Christ for us. We have been committed with the message of reconciliation, the message that God, through Christ, desires to receive us into His favor.
                Now that we know and understand the sacrifice that was made on our behalf, should this not now compel us, urge us, implore us to plead with others to be reconciled with God? God does not desire to hold our sins against us; He does not desire us to be separate from Him. He took our sins, our death, our rotten flesh upon Himself, and gave us His grace, His love, His mercy, His riches, -HIS VERY LIFE, because He desires to be with us that much. It was the only way He could be with us, live with us and dwell with us. For the life that you now live is not yours. It was given to you by God through Christ. It is Christ who lives in you- you have breath because Christ gave it to you. He took your sins, your death, and your emptiness and replaced it with His righteousness. Shouldn’t this knowledge of His sacrifice for us compel us to serve Him, to love Him, to be all for Him?
                Father God, thank you for opening my eyes to see as You see. You came to this earth; You took my sins, my darkness upon Yourself through Christ Jesus so that I could have a life with You. But it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me. When You look upon me, You see Christ in me, and the life that You poured out into Him when You raised Him from the dead is the life that now lives in me. Father, help me to see only Christ and help me to be only Christ. To You be glory forever and ever. Amen