What does it really mean to be crucified with Christ? Again, we have this picture of putting off the old and putting on the new self. It starts at the moment of redemption when as Romans 8:10 tells us, “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” But it also becomes a lifetime journey of deliberate and intentional decisions on our part to subdue our worldly and fleshly lusts and desires. And in doing so, our old self is crucified together with Christ so that sin cannot have preeminence in our life. (Romans 6:6)…as we purposefully live for the Will of God. (I Peter 4:2)
God is always on time and always at the proper moment. His creative activity is unfailingly right on time…never too early, never too late. That’s because He knows all events that have transpired in the past as well as all things that will occur in the future. Romans 11:33 says that the depth of wisdom and knowledge of God is incomprehensible, and Job echoed this sentiment when he asked, “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of The Almighty?” (Job 11:7) So even though we are totally incapable of understanding all this, we can grasp the idea that God has set eternity in our hearts…filling that “God-shaped” void by His Son, Jesus Christ, who came and died for our sins that we may have the gift of eternal life.
God does not desire nor does He delight in the eternal damnation of the wicked. He has given all of us a free will to chose our own actions and behaviors, but in this verse God is imploring us to reconsider our choices…and sadly, the consequences that come along with them.
The Holy Spirit is God’s pledge, providing Believers with the assurance of eternal life. In legal terms, the Holy Spirit is like a down payment or earnest money that secures a claim to something…like when we’re buying a car or a house. For when we put our faith and trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within…thus sealing us for eternity through the redemptive work of the Lord.
God’s gracious gift of salvation is for everyone…for He wants all to be saved.( I Timothy 2:4) But we shouldn’t take His slowness in judgement as a sign of weakness, indecision, or wavering…but rather as long-suffering. For it’s only by God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience is He willing to give all of us the time to change our minds and repent.
There’s nothing like a fresh, hot loaf of homemade bread just out of the oven. The wonderful smell fills the kitchen and my husband is usually there waiting patiently…butter knife in hand. But what happens to that homemade bread in a few days? What satisfies our hunger for a few days suddenly becomes moldy and uneatable. And that’s the biggest difference between natural and spiritual bread. Natural bread has a short shelf-life…but spiritual bread is eternal. Natural bread will never totally fill you up…you’ll keep getting hungry, while spiritual bread lasts forever. That’s why Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
This new life that Paul speaks of – is taking off the old and putting on our new self. But for many of us, this is a painful, almost impossible struggle. For when doubt and fear have our minds so conditioned, anything that’s new or requires us to be bold, will be met with resistance. We want to change, but fear has us so bound up – we can’t. And so we wrestle with God. But wrestling with God is a good thing. For God isn’t our opponent, it’s rather our old self and fear we’re battling against . And as long as we continue to grapple with God, we’re still engaged and interacting with Him…and hopefully listening along the way. In Genesis 32:28, after Jacob and the Lord had wrestled all night, God gave Jacob a new name. And God has a new name for you too, but it involves the renewing of your mind. It means taking on a new self-perception of who you are in Christ…and then accepting that daily restoration of your inner strength…so that you may be victorious over doubt and fear.
What does being a “good person” mean to you? Maybe your list contains all the things you do. You donate, you volunteer, you help your neighbor. Or maybe your “good person” list contains all the things you don’t do. You don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs. You don’t swear, or watch X rated movies. All of us have mental lists that make up what being a “good person” constitutes. But just being a “good person” will not get us to heaven…for our eternal life is not hinged on anything we will ever do or not do. That’s because it’s only by the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice for us that we can have the hope of eternity with Him. The very foundation of Christian faith is based on this one truth…Jesus Christ came to save the world from sin and He is the only way to God…for just being a “good person” will never rescue you from going to Hell.