Monday, May 4, 2009

The Christian Must Die! Part 4

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism, and a founding member of the Confessing Church. His involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler resulted in his arrest in April 1943 and his subsequent execution by hanging in April 1945, shortly before the war's end. Under such extraordinary circumstances how did he obey the commandments of Christ knowing that his life would be required? I think we can glean a little insight by one of his very succinct and profound quotes; Bonoeffer said “When Christ bids us come and follow, He bids us come and die,”

Now think of those wonderful Paul is teaching in the book of Galations and view this very informative scripture through the fact that you have died in Christ and your response is to believe.

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Also note the very personal relationship that you now have to Christ, not through a religion or a priest or a teacher but with God himself in Christ. Not the “I” and the “me” and how God gave himself not only for the world as John 3:16 teaches but for “me”. So what is our rightful response to this miraculous truth? One word – BELIEVE. Believe that Christ has died and that you were in Him thus you have been crucified with Christ and even now there is a perfect “John Smith” that is united with Him and sits at the righthand of the Father. Now it makes so much sense when we look back at this verse.

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love for us
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead because of our offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Eph 2:6 raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly realm in Christ Jesus,

This is an indisputable fact that we can now rest or abide in because Christ Himself, God in the flesh, has secured it by His life’s blood. The world, the flesh and the devil have no authority over us except what we allow because He has delivered us and broken every chain of bondage to our old master sin.

But the fact is that many will not enter His rest because they fail to believe and fail to heed His voice. This is nothing new, we see it over and over again in the Israelites. The same sin has been prevelant throughout all of human history and started in the garden of eden; self-deification. And sin is born out of this in many ways. Each time we desire to do something apart from God we again take the fruit not from the tree of life but from that which satan said was good. Our disobedience comes from a disbelief and a heart that continues to fight against God’s goodness, because we want it OUR way.

Heb 3:18 And to whom did he swear that they would never enter his rest, if not to those who disobeyed him? Heb 3:19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of their unbelief.

Our first step in walking in the spirit is to continually consider or reckon the truth in God’s Word. Stop disbelieving and living like the is not a God that loves you and has given Himself for you but reckon that you HAVE BEEN crucified with Christ. The word for reckon can also mean to “take an inventory” or “take into account” or “reason” and it is our job to do as Paul said:

Rom 6:11 In the same way, you too must continually consider (reckon) yourselves dead as far as sin is concerned, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Next time we will look at the next step in living a life of walking in the Spirit and not walking in the flesh. The Christian life is a victorious life and one that is full of rest in Christ.

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