For years I ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17) instead of the tree of Life (Gen 2:9). I was constantly gauging whether or not my behavior was good or bad and would meet with the requirements that God wanted for me. I tried and tried to walk in line with what I thought God commanded me to do…live my life by the Ten Commandments.
I thought that I should monitor my every behavior and for the most part I found that I was not committing sin, whether by repression or suppression my behavior on the outside looked good. Yet I struggled with the words of Jesus to the Pharisees (Mat 23:27) because I knew that my heart was still dirty and the more I compared my thoughts, intentions, words, and actions (both or omission and commission) to the law and to right and wrong, the more I knew that something was drastically wrong.
I had been told a half-truth of the gospel…yes, I knew my sins were forgiven but I did not know “The Rest of the Gospel”. In fact, the more I tried to live the Christian life the more I seemed to fall into more desperate acts of sin and even had a greater desire for it. I would read verses that said I was no longer a slave to sin (Rom 6:18) yet I still felt like a slave to sin because I continued in it (John 8:34). I wanted to be set free and to know what that freedom was like to live in but my entire belief system was set up to keep enslaved to sin. I tried and tried to do all I could do to gain victory over sin but continued to fail.
I was living in unbelief and I didn’t even know it. The victory was already won and given to me as a free gift…not just our salvation but our sanctification too. The more I tried to win the victory by living by right and wrong, the more I was telling God that I don’t believe that you want to give me Your victory and I can do it on my own by my own will and works. I didn’t know the Gospel in it’s entirety…it had been subjected to just being a “get out of hell free” card. I think the world sees Christians as hypocrites because that is all it really is to them…because they don’t know the complete Gospel or realize who they are in the New Covenant.
You died (2Cor 5:14) with Christ on the Cross and He bore all your sins (1Pet 2:24) in His body…past, present and future, He alone suffered and paid your penalty for sin. But that is not even the good news…if it were He would leave you free from the penalty yet still locked in the dungeon of your own carnal nature. In fact when you receive Christ (Joh 1:12) you receive His very Life (2Pet 1:4) in you. You were once spiritually dead (Eph 2:1) and hostile (Rom 8:7) with God but He reconciled (Rom 5:10) you to Himself by His very life, the blood (Luk 22:20) of the new covenant. And when He was raised from the dead you were in Him and you too were raised to newness of life (2Cor 5:17). He has come to give you His life (Joh 10:10) and to give it abundantly…it is finished, it is yours, now simply receive and believe this Good News.
As I understood this Gospel, the true Gospel, the Bible made complete sense. Look at every verb tense that is taught about what happened to us on the cross…here are a few to consider.
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.
Rom 6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?Rom 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?Rom 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Col 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Rom 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
Rom 7:5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. Rom 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
2Ti 2:11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
Rom 6:7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.Rom 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Col 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses
Now I would ask that you look at the scripture…all of this is pointing back to a place and time in which a cosmic miracle in Christ took place. You were in Christ, all of your perverted personality and junk was laid upon Him and He bore you in His actual body. He did this so that we could have eternal life, His life, which starts at the moment of being born again.
Now our adversary walks about wanting to steal His very life (John 10:10) from us and put us back into bondage. He does so by deception and lies (John 8:44) wherein we give him authority in our lives when he actually has none. Hudson Taylor called this “The Exchanged Life” and what an exchange it is…the saddest part is that many will not believe the truth (John 14:6) because it is too good to be true.