Now!

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 
For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
( 2 Corinthians 6:1,2)


The first time any of us imagines turning over all of his or her life to Jesus--giving Jesus permission to run things one-hundred percent--most of us imagine that we'll be forced to live dull, churchy, boring lives. Why can't I run my own life, or at least those areas of my life where I have the most experience? The answer is that we were not created to live in independence from God! It is a big lie (in fact, it's THE lie of the garden) that we can be our own gods, run our own lives, determine our own future, and pretty much do as we please.

The Christian life is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work. I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires, which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself; my own will shall become yours." (C. S. Lewis)

We tend to underestimate the nature of God's great love for us. "God is Love" --He created us for relationships of love. He understands us. His deep desire is to fulfill us. The world stifles individuality and uniqueness, Jesus liberates us so that we become whole and well-rounded--realizing in the end all that was originally created in us. God's nature is to pour himself out for others. He does not live "for Himself" as we are prone to do. The fulfillment for all eternity for the Persons of the Godhead is to be always pouring out love, and responding to love. Love requires at least two persons.

Both must give their consent or there can be no relationship, and real love involves both initiating and responding. (See A Personal God). Then there all those paradoxes Jesus taught us about losing one's life in order to find it, about taking up one's cross daily, and the necessity of a grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying in order to live. These ominous-sounding teachings are all part of the joyful good news of the Exchanged Life.

Norman Grubb in The Key to Everything said that we could think of Jesus being "the real new you" inside. As we allow Jesus to live in and through us we become more "ourselves"-- our individuality is neither stifled nor replaced; it is unfolded like a blossom. We are not unlike a butterfly, emerging from a cocoon when we become new creations in Christ yielded to our maker.

“There is only one way to God, Jesus said so.
But there are many ways to come to Christ.
Come to Jesus and He will take you to the Father.” (Ray Stedman)
 

But a real personal relationship with God involves a yielding of our wills to an infinitely superior Being. He is running the universe; we aren’t. To become citizens of heaven and live in sync with God is not a matter of a little cleansing with "grandma's lye soap" --plus some sorrows and regrets for our bad choices in life--which we now feel remorse about. Nothing we have done in the past or even the changed life we are now living counts one hoot with God. The only lasting works that will survive are the works we give Jesus permission to do through us. He even gives back our wasted years if we allow it!

This brings us back to the basics. We must die and allow Jesus to live through us. In times past this protocol has been called “the exchanged life” or “entering into the Sabbath Rest." Our “reasonable service” is described in Romans 12:1,2:

“I beg you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Because Jesus had died in our place, there is really not much for us to do, but to “Trust and Obey.” Our trespasses and our sins (past, present, future) were all paid for us by Jesus, and we have a clean slate in the record books of heaven effective immediately when we give permission to Jesus to be our Lord. Because God is love, He will use every available Christian to pour out His love into our broken world, but all our choices in life matter!

All this is packaged for us in Galatians 2:20. May I suggest you analyze and pray through this one verse, one phrase at a time. Note the subtle change implied in the five changing uses of the personal pronoun "I"-- if you allow God to crucify that old ego and be identified with Jesus in His Cross. No wonder that Norman Grubb called this verse “The Liberating Secret.”

“I have been crucified with Christ
nevertheless I live,
Yet not I,
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)



Christ in You / You in Christ

The phrase “Christ in you” is found in Romans 8 and also in Colossians 1.

“...So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:8-11)

“...the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:26-29)

The term “Christ in you” complements the teaching that we Christians are “in Christ.” (The latter phrase occurs numerous times in the New Testament).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-12)

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither the Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)


Wake Up, O Sleeper! 

General References

Wife of Jehovah / Bride of Christ The Ultimate Wedding The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Jewish Wedding Traditions Made in the Image of God The Meaning of Baptism
Love and Relationships: Song of Solomon Keys to the Song of Solomon 

 Jesus Plain and Simple

Born and Adopted A Glorious Church The Left Hand of God
The Story of the Great Harlot in the Bible  King Ego Intimacy with Jesus
The Ruin of Creation  Biblical Illiteracy It Takes Three to Tango
The Exchanged Life Intimacy with God Circumcision
Yin, Yang, the Tao and Wholeness How Saved are You?  The Exchanged Life
Logos and Sophia The Excluded Ones Jesus Plain and Simple
On Everlasting Destruction  Yahweh-Rophe: God our Healer  Jesus the Breaker

Are you Part Way There?

The Ego Problem

On Human Pride

Your God is Way too Small

The Last One Percent

We are all Accountable

Got the Wrong God?

Existential Christians | Cultural Christians The Rebellious Ones | Closeted Christians  |  Compromised Christians | Carnal Christians



 



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July 22, 2021