No Longer I

I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me.

Galatians 2:20 NASB

Despite evidence to the contrary, this is not the end of the world. There is much greater tribulation and persecution of the Church to come. So cheer up, there’s much work to be done before the final day.

This is the season for evangelism. When it seems like there’s nothing but more bad news and disasters daily, some natural, some man-made, there is a great hunger and thirst, pent up demand, for some Good News.

If we are to do the work of an evangelist, we must become supremely familiar with the message we spread. We must live the message. There should be no mistaking that we understand the Gospel, believe the Gospel and can clearly articulate the Gospel.

Let’s begin with the basics. God created everything that exists, including you and me. God’s plan is that humanity would live in harmony with God and each other. God is love, His message is love, and He wants us to become the embodiment of love.

However, there was a fly in the ointment. The devil, our enemy, the tempter of our souls, wishes to destroy everything that is good, pure and holy. He wishes to kill, steal and destroy. He is the father of lies. He is pure evil and incredibly wicked beyond all imagination. The source of evil is pride. Pride says I have worth that makes me special, and I no longer need to honor God and live humbly before Him. Pride is a liar and the devil is the source of all lies and untruth.

The original humans, we had to come from some place, are called Adam and Eve. You can read their story in the book of Genesis, not to be confused with the band. They were tricked by the devil, that’s how he works. He put doubt into their minds and made them think they had to do something to be like God. They already had perfect fellowship with God. Prior to the fall, they had no knowledge of evil. Only God is so powerful and pure that He can know what evil is without being corrupted by it. God cannot change. He’s perfect for all eternity before eternity began.

Adam and Eve consumed the forbidden fruit. They took into themselves the experiential knowledge of good and evil. They were no longer innocent. They sinned. They fell short of the incorruptible glory of God. Through them, all humanity fell under the curse. We became subject to the law of sin and death. If you sin, you must die at some point. God could not allow evil to live eternally. God requires absolute holiness and righteousness if you’re going to hang with Him.

Well, we have a problem here. It’s no stretch to realize that we’re all sinners. We were born into sin. The sins of our ancestors get passed down to us. We learn their sinful ways and pass them down to the next generation. It’s been this way from the beginning. There is none that is righteous, all have gone astray.

Yet, there is hope. God is merciful and kind. He knew that once we fell into sin there was no way we could rescue ourselves. No amount of good works can right our wrongs. It’s an all or nothing game. Either you’re perfect, or you have committed at least one sin and are no longer innocent. Have you ever taken anything without permission? Have you ever spoke unkind words about another person behind their back? Have you ever lusted? Have you ever lied? If so, welcome to the human race, you’re a sinner.

God, in His infinite mercy and grace, took pity on us woeful creatures, and took care of the sin problem Himself. He put on flesh and was born to a virgin and we came to know Him as Jesus of Nazareth. He lived among us and yet did not sin. He taught us everything we need to know about His Father and the Kingdom of God. Then, He was betrayed by one of His disciples for a small sum of money, and was delivered up to death, death on a cross.

In God’s economy, the only way to atone for sin is with a blood sacrifice. Life for life. The Jewish Law had an intricate sacrificial system that would atone for sin periodically. However, it could not deal with our inherent sin nature. No effort to keep the Law and its ordinances could change our nature.

So God took care of that once and for all. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He was the acceptable sacrifice. Pure and unblemished, He went to the Cross to take on all of the sin debt of all humanity. It was such a crushing load that He actually died. He was buried in a tomb.

And then something miraculous happened. Three days after He was buried He was resurrected from the dead. He walked around, talked with His disciples and gave them some final instructions. Then He ascended into Heaven where He remains until He returns again to rule and reign forever. Pretty neat, eh?

So here’s the deal, if you believe that, you enter into the story and life of Jesus. Baptism is a prophetic sign that we individually identify with Christ as our Savior by our own free will for all to see. We are baptised into His death, burial and resurrection. He took on our sin nature and we take on His divine nature. We are no longer slaves to sin. We have been freed from the law of sin and death. It no longer applies. We are under grace, God’s unmerited favor. The Holy Spirit enters into us and we become new creations.

Our lives are no longer our own. We were purchased by the blood of Jesus. We enter into Christ and Christ enters into us. We become a part of something larger, something eternal, the Church of the Living God. The rest of our short time here is meant to be lived in holy service to God. That’s what it means to be a Christian.

If you believe that, then show it by how you live your life. It’s not your life anymore anyways. It is no longer I who live, but Christ in me.

Father, forgive us when we forget our purpose here is to serve You willingly. Give us strength to finish well. Give us words to tell the story of what You’ve done to rescue us from the pit and how You’ve baptized us with Your Love. Let the knowledge of Your glory fill the whole Earth. In the Name of Jesus we pray. Amen and amen.

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:8‭-‬11 NET

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