No matter what your past has been,
Trust God to understand.
No matter what your problem is
Just place it in His hand–
For in all of our unloveliness,
This great God loves us still–
He loved us since the world began
And what’s more, He always will.
Helen Steiner Rice
“I have been crucified with Christ; 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 (NKJV)
“I have been crucified with Christ” is not to be regarded as hyperbole, metaphor, or allegory. It is not just a figure of speech that we are dead with Christ, that we put off the old man and put on the new. In Christ we are new creations. Old things are passed away. All things are become new. These things are divine realities in God through Christ.
True believers, new creations in Christ and therefore possessors of divine nature, are distinctly and definitely different from the natural man–sons of Adam who are regenerated by the power of God. All that we were by Adam’s nature is gone by way of the cross. We “are” crucified with Christ, we “have been” crucified with Christ, we have died to the world. The old man is crucified and only the new man (Christ who is our life) remains. He alone is to be expressed in our walk, in our talk, and in everything we do.
This is a great responsibility: but have you ever stopped to think of the tremendous honor God has conferred upon us as His children? God–eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, sovereign God–choosing poor, hell-deserving sinners, made new by God’s grace through the shed blood of Jesus. And then, as new creatures in Christ, God puts His Christ on display in this world, in us. Our bodies, the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, the house of divine nature. We–the vehicles used of God for the presentation of His Christ in a dark world.
Responsibility? Yes. But honor beyond man’s imagination–to think that God would allow us so great a privilege.
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants
to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
and all who oppose you.
When I look at the night sky and see the
work of your fingers–
the moon and the stars you set in place–
what are mere mortals that you should
think about them,
human beings that you should care for
Yet you made them only a little lower than
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you
putting all things under their authority–
the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills
Psalm 8:1-9 (NLT)
Grace has been defined as getting what we don’t deserve, while mercy is not getting what we do deserve. We deserve to spend eternity in hell for our sins. But Jesus chose to die in our place, bearing our punishment and paying our debt. As a result, our Father can forgive us and grant us eternal life.
We are to submit to God in worship and service, not so He will love us, but because He already does. Not so He will bless us, but because He already has. Not to earn His favor, but to express our gratitude for His mercy.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26 (KJV)
Faith is the key, the heart, the soul, the life, the essence of salvation. Salvation does not come through baptism, confirmation, ceremony, joining the church, turning over a new leaf, doing the best you can, living a good life, being honest and upright. Salvation comes by faith alone. Faith that saves is ours only by hearing the Word of God, and faith which is living faith–saving faith–does not abide alone. Faith which saves will do more than save. Fire which smokes, burns as well as produces smoke. Faith which saves produces works–the work of love. The salvation we enjoy through faith is without works–but faith which does not work is dead. “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” James 2:26 (NASB).
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV)
Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed His blood for me;
Died that I might live on high,
Died that I might never die;
As the branch is to the vine,
I am His, and He is mine.
O the height of Jesus’ love!
Higher than the Heaven above;
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lasting as eternity;
Love that found me–wondrous thought!
Found me when I sought Him not!
Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me;
All my wants to Him are known,
All my sorrows are His own;
Safe with Him from earthly strife,
He sustains the hidden life.
“Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (Amplified)
What does it mean “to save to the uttermost”? The Greek term used in Hebrews 7:25 literally means “fully.” In other words, the One who is able to save “forever” is the One who saves “altogether.” He is able to save “all the way,” even to the valley of the shadow of death. He is able to save perfectly, nothing lacking–complete salvation with no flaw, complete as only a holy God knows completeness and perfection.
Jesus died once, to die no more. He died for the sins of the whole world, but now He is alive forever. Christ has an unchangeable priesthood. He has this unchangeable priesthood on the merit of His finished work, His shed blood. He died to save us from our sins. He lives at the right hand of God the Father to plead our case, to stand in our stead before God’s holiness. He will never let us down, He will never fail us. His intercession for us is uninterrupted and we have an absolute, divine, guarantee that we shall not perish in the wilderness of sin; we will enter the rest God has promised for His own: “There remains therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).
If you are a child of God through faith in the shed blood of Jesus the Savior, press on! Do not look upon things around you, but look to Him, the author of eternal life. Look to Him, the author and finisher of our faith. Look to Him who is our Savior, Redeemer, Lord, Advocate, and High Priest.
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21 (KJV)
Faith seems simple and easy what all goes right. It is easy to say “I will be faithful to death” when there are no clouds on the horizon. None of us knows how we would react in the face of dying for our faith unless we have faced that threat. We know how we hope we would act, but there is no certainty.
As Paul thought about the possibility of dying, he saw it as another opportunity to bear witness for Christ. He wanted to speak with boldness, with the freedom that comes from knowing he was where God wanted him to be and that he was doing what God wanted him to do. It was a freedom that came only from the presence of God’s Spirit in his life and from knowing that God was in control of the situation. All that mattered was that Christ be exalted. It made no difference to him whether he lived or died. He could see advantages to both. To live meant that Christ was living and working in him–but death was gain. The trials of earthly life would be gone. Fellowship with Christ would be richer and more wonderful beyond the grave. Faith gave Paul confidence to face the possibility of death with courage.
Our faith has the same quality of endurance. For faith is commitment to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ. And faith knows that God is in control of all things and is in the process of bringing to pass His eternal purpose. There is no reason for faith to falter. It can face the unknown challenges of the future, because the nature of faith is endurance.
“The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of
And He knows those who
take refuge in Him.” Nahum 1:7 (NASB)
Never be sad or desponding,
If you have faith to believe.
Grace, for the duties before you,
Ask of your God and receive.
What if your burdens oppress you;
What though your life may be drear;
Look on the side that is brightest,
Pray, and your path will be clear.
Never give up, never give up,
Never give up to your sorrows,
Jesus will bid them depart.
Trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord,
Sing when your trials are greatest,
Trust in the Lord and take heart.