Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Are We Really Following Christ?
The modern equivalent would be to walk down a hallway toward an electric chair. Death is the destiny, and we are in a grim death processional. At least we are not first and, hopefully, we are not alone. If we "deny ourselves", and commit ourselves to death, we can no longer place any hope in this world. By "taking up our cross", it is as if all our natural passions and desires are doomed.
Luke 14:25-33 (Phi) "If anyone comes to me without 'hating' his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be a disciple of mine. The man who will not take up his cross and follow in my footsteps cannot be my disciple. If any of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn't he first sit down and work out the cost of it, to see if he can afford to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and found himself unable to complete the building, everyone who sees it will begin to jeer at him, saying, 'This is the man who started to build a tower but couldn't finish it!'... So it is with you; only the man who says good-bye to his possessions can be my disciple."
A.W. Tozer: "Among the plastic saints of our times, Jesus has to do all the dying, and all we want to hear is another sermon about his dying."
The Death Sentence
Gal 5:24 (Jer) You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.
Gal 5:24 (TEB) And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature, with all its passions and desires.
1 Pet 2:24a (Phi) And he personally bore our sins in his own body on the cross, so that we might be dead to sin and be alive to all that is good.
Consider Yourself Dead
T. Austin-Sparks: "We have not to die; we are dead. What we have to do is to accept our death... [In] baptism... we simply step in there and say, 'That position which God has settled with reference to me is the one which I now accept, and I testify here in this way to the fact that I have accepted God's position for me, namely, that in the Cross I have been brought to an end.'"
Col 3:3-7 (Phi) For, as far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in God, through Christ. One day, Christ who is your life, will show himself openly, and you will all share in that magnificent revelation. Consider yourselves dead to worldly contacts: have nothing to do with sexual immorality, dirty mindedness, uncontrolled passion, evil desire, and the lusts for other people's goods, which amounts to idolatry. It is because of these very things that the holy anger of God falls upon those who refuse to obey him. And never forget that you had your part in those dreadful things when you lived that old life.
Rom 6:11a (KJV) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead...
Rom 6:11a (TEB) Think of yourselves as dead to sin.
Rom 6:11 (NIV) In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Rom 6:11-14 (Phi) In the same way, look upon yourselves as dead to the appeal and power of sin but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Do not, then, allow sin to establish any power over your mortal bodies in making you give way to its lusts. Nor hand over your bodily parts to be, as it were, weapons of evil for the devil's purpose. But, like men rescued from certain death, put yourselves in God's hands as weapons of good for his own purposes. For sin can never be your master; you are no longer living under the law, but under grace.
Rom 7:4-6 (Phi) So, my brothers, the death of Christ on the cross has made you "dead" to the claims of the Law, and you are free to give yourselves... to another, the one who was raised from the dead [Christ], that we may be productive for God. While we were "in the flesh", the Law stimulated our sinful passions and so worked in our nature that we became productive--for death! But now that we stand clear of the Law, the claims which existed are dissolved by our "death", and we are free to serve God, not in the old obedience to the letter of the Law, but in a new way, in the Spirit.
Rom 8:12-13 (NEB) It follows, my friends, that our lower nature has no claim upon us; we are not obligated to live on that level. If you do so, you must die. But if by the Spirit you put to death all the base pursuits of the body, then you will live.
Death To Self is NOT Optional for Christians
Jn 12:24 (NIV) "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
Rom 12:1-2 (Phi) With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remake you so that your whole attitude of mind is changed.
T. Austin-Sparks: "The unalterable basis of an open heaven is a grave, and a crisis at which you come to an end of your own self-life. It is the crisis of real experiential identification with Christ in His death."
Rom 6:2-4 (Phi) We, who have died to sin--how could we live in sin a moment longer? Have you forgotten that all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were, by that very action, sharing in his death? We were dead and buried with him in baptism, so that just as he was raised from the dead by that splendid revelation of the Father's power, so we too might rise to life on a new plane altogether.
Gal 6:14 (Phi) Yet God forbid that I should boast about anything or anybody except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which means that the world is dead to me and I am a dead man to the world.