Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Gospel-Powered LIfe, part 3

"I have been crucified with Christ;
and 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

Let me remind you where we began:

How has the gospel affected you this morning?  What about yesterday or the day before?  Is the gospel necessary only for salvation or does its purpose stretch beyond?  

Keeping these questions in mind, I want to dissect our verse above before you form your answer.

1.  I have been crucified with Christ
  • What exactly does this mean?  What has been crucified with Christ?  Here's an answer from my Ryrie study Bible - "Crucifixion with Christ means death to or separation from the reigning power of the old sinful life and freedom to experience the power of the resurrection life of Christ by faith."  Our sin has been crucified.  Our flesh has been crucified. Our own way of doing things has been crucified.  Our selfishness, our pride, our anger, our depression, our anxiety, our lust, our critical spirits, our complaining hearts, our doubt, our complete helplessness to save ourselves - everything about us was nailed on that cross and put to death.  The penalty was paid for and it was cast out of the court system into oblivion.  It's over.  Done with. Period.
2. And it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me
  • If everything I ever was - every aspect of my old self - is dead, then what am I now?  I'm not dead. I breathe, I walk, I talk, I eat.  What is alive and powering my body now?  Three simple words:  Christ in me.  That's it. I am dead, my old self was crucified on the cross, and now everything has changed.  I am alive because Jesus is alive IN ME.  IN ME.  It is not I who live now, but Christ.   Do you believe this? Do you live like this?  This is a part of the gospel, friends, and by now you should be able to answer the questions above, right?  
  • Salvation - Jesus in my place 
  • Day-to-day existence - Not I, but Christ
3.  And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God
  • For the time being we're stuck with this flesh, but it no longer rules and reigns in us - Jesus does. So this new life that I have is powered by the presence of Christ in me (the Holy Spirit, to be exact) and by faith - believing the Word of God and acting on it - the faith I have in Jesus Christ, revealed to me through His Word, leads me through life and is my life.  It's not just What Would Jesus Do, but What DID Jesus Do - the truth of the gospel is alive and well within me.  How I respond to life is now different, how I talk to my children is different, how I love my husband is different, what I do with my free time is different - if my old self is crucified and dead, and Christ lives in me, then my whole life is now changed and heading in a different direction. Where is the anger, the selfishness, the lust, the sin?  It is dead and Jesus stepped in its place.  
  • Don't get me wrong - we're not perfect, but we now have the Holy Spirit guiding, comforting, convicting and leading us in a new manner of life.  We must know His Word, hide it in our hearts and meditate on it, so that we understand just exactly what "Not I, but Christ" looks like, but let me encourage you that it is not a "to-do" list - it is a "to-be" list.  Jesus makes us someone new. When He rules and reigns in us, we can't help but change
4.  Who loved me and gave Himself for me
  • The Gospel 101 - Jesus in my place - He gave Himself FOR ME - where I should have paid the price, He stepped in and took my guilt, my shame, my sin, my punishment.  Isn't this the motivation to live a different life?  We are no longer ruled by the sinful flesh, but have freedom from the bondage of sin and can live a life led by the Spirit, immersed in truth, overflowing with righteousness and submerged in grace.  
Does the gospel affect your daily walk?  It absolutely should.  

Does the purpose of the gospel stretch beyond salvation?  Again, absolutely yes!

If it doesn't, you need to go back to the basics - Jesus in my place, Not I, but Christ.  Those two simple truths are enough to change your life.  Start each day at the foot of the cross - look up at the suffering Savior and remember the cost, grace and love revealed on Calvary.  See the empty tomb and the power that comes from serving a living God. Gaze into the heavenlies where Jesus sits and advocates for you. Let the truth of the gospel be the power behind your choices, your attitudes, your actions and your goals.

Jesus in my place.

Not I, but Christ.  

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