Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, March 31, 2013

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study by the same name. That (2012) study can be read here or watched here.

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #2

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Jesus knew Bible prophecy had to be fulfilled: He had to suffer in accordance with the Old Testament prophets. Even when He spoke seven times from the cross, He quoted various Old Testament verses. The Old Testament prophets also gave Him comfort: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (today’s Scripture).

For instance, He remembered that Jonah’s prophecy had to be fulfilled: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the third day, He would live again, and be reunited with His heavenly Father!

He knew that His Father would resurrect Him. His spiritual torment and physical death were only temporarily, as David quoted Jesus 1000 B.C., “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:24-31).

Our Lord thought of reigning over that glorious kingdom that His Heavenly Father would give Him after His resurrection. As the psalmist wrote centuries before Calvary’s crosswork, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:6-8). “Begotten” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, not His nativity in Bethlehem (Acts 13:33,34).

Jesus Christ, during His torturous crucifixion, thought about and rejoiced in the promises in the Scriptures that applied to Him. Likewise, we, during difficult circumstances, can remember and joy in God’s promises to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We too can share Messiah’s joy amidst grief! 🙂

 

What is the Grace Life?

Friday, October 19, 2012

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:11,12 KJV).

The only life acceptable to God in the Dispensation of Grace is the grace life!

When the Bible speaks of God’s grace to us in Christ (as in today’s Scripture), it refers to “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” The cost to enter heaven is far, far too great for us sons and daughters of Adam to ever pay. But, we have a wealthy relative who paid our sin debt in full. God became one of us: “God sending his own Son [Jesus Christ] in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3). Sin separated man from God, so God did for man what he could never do for himself—pay for his sins.

Unquestionably, the greatest life ever lived in a human body was that of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is always well pleasing to His heavenly Father (John 8:29). Even in death, as His body beaten beyond recognition hung limply on Calvary’s cruel cross, His sinless blood literally gushing from His veins and falling to the ground, Christ was well pleasing to Father God. The greatest human life ever lived then ceased…. He gave up His life, to take it up again (John 10:17,18)!

On Calvary’s cross, Jesus Christ gave His life for us, allowing us to die to sin with Him (Romans 6:3,4a). But then He was raised again, so He could give that resurrected life to us (Romans 6:4b,5). God accepts us in Christ (Ephesians 1:6). We appropriate (impute) Christ’s perfect sacrifice on Calvary by faith alone in the Gospel of Grace—“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

The Gospel of the Grace of God is not only meant to impact our eternal destiny, but our life now (today’s Scripture!). The Christian life is not us keeping rules, but us walking by faith in God’s Word to us, letting Christ live His life and through us (Galatians 2:20). That, dear friends, is the grace life! 🙂

*These past seven devotionals are advanced versions of our “Original 7.” With our blog’s second foundation laid, we now press on to deeper Bible teaching!

Walking in the Spirit #7

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, and this identity should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

“For in that he [Christ] died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members [body parts] as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:10-13).

We Christians “yield [ourselves] unto God,” not by keeping a list of church rules and regulations (which we can never obey perfectly anyway), but by simply “walking in the Spirit,” walking by faith in our resurrection life in Christ (described in this sound Pauline doctrine). We let the Holy Ghost take His written Word that we study and believe rightly divided, to transform and renew our minds, and produce in us Christ’s life.

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation [lifestyle] the old man [old nature], which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man [new nature], which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:9,10).

Beloved, the indwelling Holy Spirit desires to transform our lives to match our new nature in Christ. Will we allow Him?

Saints, let us “quench [hinder] not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), but let us “walk in the Spirit” (today’s Scripture).

Walking in the Spirit #1

Thursday, October 4, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, which should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

Saints, from conception, we had an identity in Adam. Imagine, when we were still forming in our mothers’ wombs, God exclaimed, “They look so cute and innocent, but I know better!” As King David wrote, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). This identity in Adam caused us to sin, and thus we lived in rebellion against God and His will for our lives. We could not help but sin, for it was our very nature.

So, on Calvary’s cross, when Jesus Christ died, we died to sin, too. “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20a). Today’s Scripture explains that, as Christians, we “have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” The “flesh” here is the old sin nature, our old identity in Adam, and it was put to death at Calvary: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin [our Adamic nature] might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).

But, God did not leave us dead. When He resurrected Christ, He also raised us: “that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life” (verses 4b,5). We have a new identity in Christ, and this new identity will produce “newness of life.” “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh [physical body] I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Saints, we do not have to serve sin: we can walk by faith in our identity in Christ, and let Christ live in and through us. 🙂

Who is the Deceiver?

Friday, September 28, 2012

“So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day” (Matthew 28:15 KJV).

Today’s Scripture has a very incredible context….

In Matthew 27:63-66, after Jesus’ burial, the chief priests and Pharisees come to Pilate, “Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”

Lest the disciples come and steal Christ’s corpse, and stage a “resurrection,” Pilate allows Israel’s religious leaders to place Roman guards before Christ’s tomb.

Three days later, when Christ’s female disciples come to His tomb, there is a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord finally rolls away the stone to reveal the empty tomb (Matthew 28:1-8). The Roman soldiers are aghast! Despite their precautions, the tomb was not “sure [secure]” enough (Jesus has resurrected and escaped). The soldiers flee to the chief priests and report the miraculous events they beheld (verse 11).

“And when they [the chief priests] were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s [Pilate’s] ears, we will persuade him, and secure you” (verses 12-14). According to today’s Scripture, “they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”

Interestingly, guards were to keep Christ’s body from being stolen. Yet when He did resurrect and escape, they lied and said His body was stolen. Actually, they were the “deceivers,” not Christ, for He did physically resurrect as He had claimed.

Are We of All Men Most Miserable?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV).

Is our Christian service done in vain? Today’s Scripture explicates.

Today’s Scripture is excerpted from the Bible’s greatest passage regarding resurrection (1 Corinthians chapter 15). According to verse 12, some of the Corinthians deny bodily resurrection (thus denying Christ’s resurrection). So, the Holy Spirit through Paul provides 58 verses on the topic. Notice the argument Scripture gives for bodily resurrection (verses 13-18):

  • “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:”
  • “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”
  • “Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.”
  • “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:”
  • “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
  • “Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”

If there is no such thing as resurrection, everything we believe and do would be “vain” (worthless, empty): it would mean Christ never resurrected, that our preaching eternal life in Christ is “vain,” that our faith in Christ is also “vain,” that Paul lied when he preached Christ’s resurrection, that we are still dead in our trespasses and sins, and that we will never again see those who have died in Christ. We would be “of all men most miserable” if that were true: if we Christians had this brief, earthly life, and nothing else, we would be the most depressed of all people (today’s Scripture)!

But, verse 58 gives us hope: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” We are not “of all men most miserable!” Our Christian service is not in vain—there will be a resurrection! 🙂