My life is in You, Lord

Holy Week is near - our annual remembrance and celebration of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. This is not only Jesus' story - it's the story of all humanity. For by grace, and in love, Jesus united himself (and remains united) to all humanity as our representative and substitute.

This is the gospel truth.

The one who died on the cross on Good Friday, was buried dead in the tomb on Holy Saturday, and then emerged alive from the tomb on Easter Sunday morning was (and is) fully human and fully divine.

Jesus' resurrection (glorification) did not mean that he ceased to be human. Indeed, he remains "flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39) - fully human (though now a glorified human). And Jesus continues to be fully God. As the unique God-man (God-in-the-flesh), he continues to be our representative and our substitute.

Thus the story of Holy Week is Jesus' story and ours. Notice what Paul says about this in Romans 6:3-14.
...Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.

8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

When Jesus died, we all died in him. When he was buried, we were all buried with him. And when he rose from the tomb to new, glorified life, we all rose with him to newness of life.

And now all are invited and enabled by the Spirit to embrace the resurrection life that is ours in Jesus. Indeed, Jesus is our life, forever. But God will never force that life upon us. But he does offer it as a present reality - and as we embrace it, it grows and grows within us. Forever.

This Holy Week and every week let's celebrate the one who died for us and now lives for us (and with us). Jesus: He is risen indeed!

Comments

  1. Though Jesus never forces the life we have in him upon us, he gently invites us to receive it - which is to receive him.

    In that regard, I was struck by the following paragraph in the book "I am with you Always" by Gerrit Scott Dawson (PCL Publications: 2000) which comments on Mat. 11:28:

    "...Nowhere is God's supreme greatness so clearly seen than in the gentleness with which he approaches us in Jesus. Only the Almighty could come casting aside all trappings of royalty to issue this humble invitation... to come to him when he himself has already come all the way to where we are. And he continues to arrive on the threshold of our hearts in every stage and situation of life. Jesus invites us to look up for a moment from the burdens of the day and see him waiting for us with open arms. Of course, he could overwhelm our frail frames with one breath. But the Son of God is gentle and humble of heart. He comes to us and then he waits for us to turn to him" (p. 2)

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  2. Yes, our inclusion is wonderful. Yet, many people do not see nor understand this inclusion. It is as Paul says about not loving the truth:

    II Th 2:11-12--For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (NIV)

    John further says:

    I Jn 5:9-13--We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart.
    Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (NIV)

    Now, real faith for believers involves accepting God on His terms as expressed in His testimony about His Son. But, when humans feel that God doesn't know what He is talking about and thus call Him a liar, they end up
    believing a lie about God.

    So what then is the lie? Well, it is that specifically Christians and
    generally all humans don't yet have eternal life (at least the good kind.) So they must do stuff to qualify for eternal life as represented by teachings about being "good enough" to make it into the rapture or into heaven or into God's good graces. In other words, you must give, love, study, pray, keep law commandments, keep days, etc. real hard and good so that you might just be able to stay out of hell, the tribulation, or whatever fiendish torture regime there might be for those who fall short. But it is all a great lie. This is because, if you believe in the name of Jesus, you already have eternal life with God!

    My point is that God is telling us the truth about His Son. Therefore,
    please believe God and not the lie that is out there about our relationship with His Son.

    The best to you all!

    Richard

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  3. Amen Richard. And I like to use the word "embrace" or "trust" as synonyms for John's use of the word "believe." In our culture we tend to think of believe as acceptance of certain facts at the cognitive level.

    By "trusting" or "embracing" Jesus, we join our own rather weak human belief to his perfect believing for us. "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."

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