I am saddled with a trial I don’t care for. It came and lingers on only by the awesome permission of God’s hand on my life, but I still don’t like it. This fact doesn’t help me understand why it continues to have to be this way for me.
I want answers, not grace; an increase in input, not patience. Yet, what do I value more: being true to myself, or abandoning all the pride I take in who I am to be more like Christ? Nothing short of profound grace enables us to choose the latter.
Forsaking pride could only be His way, and I am not overly anxious to take it. The way to new life as seen through Christ, is a painful path to the cross, a death by crucifixion — all for the sake of making sinful men live according to God’s grace.
I thought that sounded very nice, until I learned that He didn’t mean for it to stop there. Will I identify myself with His life, coming through death, or an existence by this world’s legacy of living death?
Am I willing to join Him in such a radical life — to leave behind all that pleased me in the life of sin He has destroyed, clinging only to what life He provides in the righteousness of God?
The whole thing, spells death to me and you, who choose to follow Him. Why? Because Christ, in uniting Himself with the spiritually dead, and absolving us of debt to our holy Judge, never came for any purpose but to satisfy His Father with His innocent death at Calvary. And we who would have a relationship with Him can meet Him no where else. In fact, we must meet Him in death, to go on to life in Him. For this oneness with God in Christ we cannot quibble over maintaining our identity and freedom as fully-accredited individuals. With Christ comes sacrifice: He sacrificed His own life to be life for us, we sacrifice our lives to know that life, and bear the fruits of His righteousness.
In light of all that God has delivered to us by means of Christ, Paul — a disciple who learned what it was to be giving up all to know this gift fully — poses the question of it’s affect on we who would repent and follow the new Way:
So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!
So, our response to God in Christ is either one of completely entering in to His life, or absolutely refusing to take the whole package. There is no half-way believer. We are either full-riders or resisters of grace.