I have been crucified and yet - I am alive!

“Jesus I am resting in the joy of what You are.”

Many years and several decades ago I heard a message from Major Ian Thomas and the truth of that message changed my life.  For years I had tried to live the Christian life but continually failed.  Discouraged, disappointed, depressed, I gave up on the whole thing and went far from God.  The happiest day of my life was not when I was saved and not when I got married.  Recently I was glad to hear DR. Stanley speaking on that vital truth which many Christians seem to miss.  The essential truth which transformed my life about 50 years ago.

Let’s take (Galatians 2:20) a refresher course.  I have been crucified – when?  With Christ on His Cross 2000 years ago.  What was crucified?  All that I had inherited from Adam, (Romans 6:6) a sin principle, a fallen nature that is opposed to God.  But God took me out of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22) and placed me in Christ.  What I was before, was crucified and I am as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) risen with Christ to a totally new life, eternal Life, the very Life of God.  The happiest day of my life was when I discovered that, not only is it impossible for me to live the Christian life, but God does not want me to waste any more time trying.  He wants me to keep out of His way and base everything on the reality of that Scripture verse – CHRIST LIVES IN ME!  Jesus said (John 16:7) it is essential for you that I go away but (John 14:17-18) I will come to you in the Person of the Holy Spirit, Who will be in you forever.  He did not leave us on our own to struggle and strive to work it out for Jesus.  It is (Philippians 2:13) God Who works in us for His pleasure in seeing the life that only Jesus can live, now lived by Him in us through the (Ephesians 3:16, Ephesians 6:20) power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  O.K. but if the old me is crucified and I am now a new creation, why do I sometimes sin?  God created the human body and gave it 5 senses which (Dr. Stanley) “have drives, appetites and desires.”  I sin when I attempt to gratify any of those desires in ways of self-indulgence and pleasing the flesh (the Adamic natural) and contrary to God’s will – failing to draw on the power within me.  The Lord did not eradicate my free will, the choice is always mine as well as the responsibility for my choices.  Satan can and will tempt me but he cannot overpower me (Romans 6:13) I have to choose to yield or to resist. The DNA of sin is selfishness and the ROOT of sin is pride.  Every time we sin it is unbelief.  Every time we sin by seeking satisfaction for some desire in our own way, we are telling God that we don’t believe (Psalms 37:4, Philippians 4:19) He can satisfy our desires and meet all our needs.  Even though He can in a much better and richer way.

Why did God choose me?  A child of poverty, uneducated, weak and despised.  God chooses the weak (1 Corinthians 1:27-30,  1 Corinthians 2:4-5) so that it would be obvious to all that the power is of God alone, not of any human individuals and that there is no limit to what God can do through an obedient Christian.  The justified (Habakkuk 2:4) live by faith.  If I believe what God says and live in (1 John 1:7) the light of what He says, I will receive the victory and glorious fellowship of the One (Colossians 3:4) Who is my life. Jesus said (Matthew 11:28-29) I will give you – not struggle, not self-effort, not burdens – but rest.

(Oswald Chambers) “The only supernatural life is the life that the Lord Jesus lived and He was at home with God anywhere”.  Wherever God places us we can know that we are in God’s will, which is the outliving of the indwelling Lord Jesus and that is (1 Timothy 3:16) the mystery of godliness.  Then we will be at home with God anywhere and everywhere.

I’m not talking about a life of passive coasting along on a flowery bed of ease.  There must be (2 Peter 1:5-7) consistent self- discipline, wise (Matthew 16:24) self-denial, prompt (John 14:21) obedience, ruthless pruning of (John 15:2) every habit, preference, prejudice etc. that would distort the reflection of Jesus.  We work out (Philippians 2:12) what God works in by obedience.  Feelings must never be allowed to over-ride difficult obedience.  In all things (Colossians 1:18) Jesus must have the pre-eminence.  The rest Jesus gives is not a recliner but a release from self-effort.  Jesus said (John 15:5) without Me you can do nothing, but with Him I can do everything He wants me to do because (Philippians 4:13) He strengthens me with His own strength.  (Oswald Chambers) “God’s commands are difficult because they are given to the life of His Son in us.  Jesus has been formed in our human nature because (2 Peter 1:4) we are partakers of the Divine Nature.  Instant obedience makes His commands divinely easy”.  We need to maintain (Acts 24:16) the habit of a good conscience.

The Lord said to Moses (Exodus 33:14) My Presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.  We read nothing of Moses spending hours sleeping.  His rest was the absolute assurance that God was the total source of all wisdom, guidance, protection and provision.  The one time Moses took control (Deuteronomy 34:4) it brought disaster.  The consequences of disobedience are very costly.  It’s the same with us.  If we don’t do it God’s way in willing subjection to Him, we forfeit the good Works (Ephesians 2:10) prepared for us and we rob ourselves of God’s best.  Whatever kind of life I’m living, if it is not the life of Jesus lived by Him (Colossians 1:27) in me, it is not the Christian life.

(Dr. Stanley) said that “Michael Angelo’s carving of David is probably the finest stone carving in history.  Apparently, he used a discarded piece of stone.  When asked how he could create that marvellous carving out of stone, he replied – I didn’t, I saw David in the stone and I used my tools to let him out”.  Jesus lives in us and the Holy Spirit chisels away at us until Jesus can be released, unveiled, revealed (Galatians 1:15-16) through our physical bodies.  We need to know (Ephesians 1:18) the hope of His calling, to know why God saved us.  It was so that His Son would be manifested in our mortal bodies.  When we are ‘born again’ we are immediately spiritually alive because Jesus indwells us by the Holy Spirit, Who takes up permanent residence in our human spirit.  Then God works in our soul (mind, emotions, will, personality) so our bodies will be (Romans 12:1) the clean vessels through which the life of Jesus is poured out.  Always bearing about in the body (2Corinthians 4:10) the dying of the Lord Jesus, so that the Life of Jesus also might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  For me to live is Christ (Philippians 1:11, Philippians 1:21) because He is my life, - the only possibility for me to live to the praise of God’s glory.  The best is yet to come for us who look forward to the future fulfillment of our present assurance (Romans 8:30, John 17:22) of being glorified.

“Jesus I am resting, resting in the joy of what You are” – because it is no longer I, but (Galatians 2:20) Christ Who lives in me.  Resting in Jesus means to live moment by moment in the reality of Incarnate Deity – God manifest in our mortal flesh!

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