Sunday, August 2, 2015

I've been crucified - yet I'm alive

Heaven, however defined, seems to be the heart’s goal after life on earth. Most people imagine it to be an improved version of earth in which they simply make an entrance through death. Trouble with that is Heaven would quickly become the type of Hell we have made earth to be.

According to the Judeo-Christian Bible holiness is the atmosphere of Heaven. That poses a problem for Humankind. None of us would pass the moral and spiritual ‘X-Ray’ investigation of our heart and mind. Also, from the Bible’s pages it is evident that there is only a certain quality of life capable of enjoying the atmosphere where God dwells.

What does the Scriptures reveal about our inner condition that makes us unacceptable to scrutiny by the Lord? ‘Sin’ would be the most common descriptive word. Fair enough. But what causes this offensive moral, spiritual, relational force? Romans 6:6 defines it as ‘The Old Man.’ We may not like the Biblical explanation for the ‘Old Man’s’ existence, as given in Genesis 3, the sad fact however is, we are infected and indwelt by It. People try all types of moral and spiritual cosmetics to soften, dilute or disarm ‘the Old Man’s’ expressions and power so as to pass Heaven’s ‘X-Ray’. There is only one way to pass the test. That is to have this indwelling Heaven offending ‘monster’ removed.


This would require a death and removal experience and at the same time a replacement to fill the void created by the ‘Old Man’s’ expulsion. All this is beyond our human capacity. For it to happen the Lord God of Heaven must choose to do it on our behalf and give us an indication that it has worked. Here again is another aspect of the wonder, the mystery and the power of the cross of Christ. The words of Galatians 2:20 unveil to our mind what Heaven has done to our soul: ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me…’

When Christ was crucified He accomplished and fulfilled a myriad of Biblical symbolisms, prophecies, justifications with death dealing removal of the ‘Old Man’. In Romans 6 Paul says we were ‘co-crucified with Christ.’ It was there on the cross Jesus saw you down the tunnel of time and reached out, embraced you into His agony, death, burial and resurrection. For you that only became a personal reality when you heard and believed the good news of Jesus and the purpose of His crucifixion and resurrection.

What was left behind when Jesus rose from the tomb? The ‘Old Man’ of our soul. For if Jesus embraced us on the cross, He held on to us in His resurrection. Faith infuses us with the knowledge that we share in His resurrection life. He shares our life through the presence of His Holy Spirit. That answers the question raised above as to the quality of life required for Heaven. It is resurrection life! It also solves the problem of the ‘X-Ray’ investigation of our inner life. There is no evidence of that corrupt, offensive and antagonistic presence of the ‘Old Man’ of the soul.

How do we celebrate this unseen yet very real life and destiny transforming reality? Roman 6 links it with baptism. The Holy Spirit takes us in a moment of time when we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord and puts us into Christ and his experience on the cross. This then is expressed outwardly by a personal immersion in water as a testimony and identification with and for Jesus Christ. Acts 2:38 and 8:38-39 plus 1 Peter 3:18-22.

Where does all this lead us?

We begin a journey of discovery, worship, service and spiritual battles with forces opposed to Jesus Christ and His purposes. Some of those matters we have looked at before and others are still to come. However, in the concluding words of Galatians 2:20 ‘the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’


©Ray Hawkins August 2015.

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