Wait a minute...I have the mind of Christ!

Round 'n round...on 'n on...ad infinitum, ad nauseum...one of those daytime uglinesses grabbed hold of my mind in the darkness of one night...which led to the next day/night and then the next and then...it wouldn't let go! then the prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace...

then the remake: where there is hatred, YOU sow love through me...

then the release...early before dawn, as I was waking up...the engrafted word that saves the soul:

But we have the mind of Christ. 

I have the mind of Christ!  Do you hear that, soul? I have the mind of Christ! That daytime ugliness is not the mind of Christ!!!!

So I scramble out of bed to find the passage and bathe myself in HIM and His Words.  I am set free!

The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 ESV

Thank you, Lord, for that Word grafted in by Your Holy Spirit that delivered my soul from the darkness of flesh and self!

The Rest of the Gospel: Union with Christ {a summary}

When I walk through the “gate” of salvation, I am thrilled with the revelation that my sins are forgiven through the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I am now reconciled to (at peace with) God my Creator. Not only that, I am His child, born into His family (John 1:12). But it doesn’t take long before an important question/problem comes up:  how do I live the Christian life?  Because of the kind of teaching/mentoring I am exposed to (legalistic)…and/or because of the simple fact that “my flesh likes to work,” I start out on the road of trying in my own strength to live the Christian life.  Of course I try to do it to please God, seeking God’s help…hoping I have enough or the right kind of faith (because without faith I can’t please Him, Heb 11:6) and hoping I ask (pray) correctly.

But sooner or later, I start failing, getting confused and frustrated, maybe even despairing and giving up.  This goes on for years!  Finally, the truth of what has been true all along begins to break through:

I can’t live the Christian life!

         I was never meant to live it!

         Jesus is the only one who ever lived it!

         This same Jesus lives in me!  Col 1:27

         He will live the life through me, as me, if I let Him!  Gal 2:20

         That’s faith.  It’s my consent, my yielding to the Risen, indwelling Christ to live His Life in and through me as me.

It’s then at my point of desperation that God reveals to my heart that  in the eternal, unseen realm, He had immersed me (baptized me) into Christ.  My old man (my sinful self inherited from Adam) died united to Him, was buried united to Him, and arose a new creation in Him (2Cor 5:14-21).  At salvation, I had become a new person in Christ, free from the power of sin, free from the law (the legalistic, to-do list Christian should’s and ought to’s), and free from the selfish self that makes me my frame of reference for all things.  I died to all of that.  I also died to the world (the earthly system in rebellion against God), the flesh (the pull of sin within that is in rebellion against God), and the devil (God’s evil, lying, rebellious enemy, the father of all unbelievers). Romans 6, Colossians 1&2, Galatians 4-6.

Once I realize that and begin to live from that truth (“Wait a minute!  I died to __________________!”), I am then free to live in newness of life right now: the Resurrected, indwelling Jesus united to my spirit in and through my earthly life as me (Gal 2:20).  I am His vessel, His container, His instrument to show forth the life and glory of the Father in this world.

OK, that’s all well and good.  But what about the fact that I don’t feel dead and free from sin, temptation, the pull of the fleshly, material part of me?  It feels like I’m two people or someone with two natures:  a godly one that wants only Him and an ungodly one that only cares about myself and my desires and “appetites.”

The problem lies in the fact that I still have a temporal, earthly, human existence in a world suffering the consequences of sin  (Romans 8). My humanness (body & soul) is changing, fluctuating, being pulled this way and that because it is connected to the seen & temporal realm.  The sin principle still indwells my body and soul, my “members” on this earth (Romans 7). My spirit (who I really am), on the other hand, is fixed, complete, righteous, holy because it is one with God in the unseen, eternal realm.

What I still suffer while on this fallen earth are the consequences of sin:  sickness, physical death, disappointment, grief, negative emotions, etc. and the pull of sin indwelling my fleshly human nature (body & soul).  But all of that is not who I really am.  It feels like me, but it’s not!  The real me is united to Christ.  My life is hid with Christ in God in the eternal realm (Col 3:3).

God uses all of these trials and fluctuations in my soul and body to teach me to live by faith and not by sight.  Now by faith I reckon (“count on”) being dead to this sin, that lie, the other ungodly pull…and alive to God and His will!  Reckoning doesn’t make it true.  I count on it (reckon it) to be true because it is true.

And I chose to live from the truth of who I am in the eternal realm.  Then my Lord Christ can have free reign because He is my life and I am His instrument!  Hallelujah!

 

The Rest of the Gospel: One Nature (chapter 8)

Chapter 8  One Nature

Key Verse

 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. Galatians 2:20-21  NASB

Key Question

Am I one person or two?  Have I one nature or two?

Read chapter 8 and answer the following questions:

1. What is the theological rut that most believers fall into? What negative effect does this rut have on us?

2. How does the Line help us understand our true nature?

3. What is external appearance and experience going to always tell you about your nature? How trustworthy are these indicators?

4. Of all the examples Dan uses from Scripture concerning how we can only have one nature, which one spoke to you the most? Why?

5. Is Dan teaching sinless perfection in this chapter? Why not? What is the essence of what he is saying?

6. Why is it vital to understand that we only have one true nature? What effect might believing you have two natures have on you?

The Rest of the Gospel: Day of Reckoning

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:11 KJV

Today is a Day of Reckoning...but not how you think!  Usually we use that term to mean to give an accounting, a calculation, a settlement of accounts.  In fact according to Wikipedia, it can mean a host of things from the Final Judgment Day to heavy metal albums and Nintendo games.

But in the Bible sense, EVERY day is a Day of Reckoning.  This word reckon in the Greek is often rendered consider.  In other words, "count on something to be true".  My reckoning doesn't MAKE it true.  It already IS true, so I count on it and live from it.  So each day is THE day to reckon to be true what God says is true...because it IS true.  I can take it to the bank and live from it :)

Last week, I described how I got free from the LIE that held me captive.  As you may remember, it was by considering myself (reckoning) to be dead to it, because I AM dead to it through my union with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.

For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1

How this can play out in the life of a believer in a practical way is found in Paul's letters, especially to the Colossians and Ephesians.  There he uses the imagery of clothing to show what reckoning yourself dead to sin, self, flesh, legalism, and the lies of the enemy looks like in real life.   Paul then shows what it looks like to live alive to God.  It's all wrapped up in the key words put off and put on.

Taking off clothing and putting on other clothing are things we do everyday.  We hardly even think about it (except to chose our outfits ).  Let's compare this to the spiritual activity of living from the life of the indwelling Christ each day.

from the ragbag 2009
Let me illustrate from my own "world of fashion".  About 15-20 years ago, I bought a beautiful nightgown to keep me warm and feminine in the cold Ohio winters.  I've loved that nightgown!  I could wrap myself in it and be cozy and comfortable.   And despite the fact that it's faded and worn, I've had a hard time giving it up to the ragbag.  Every year as the weather has turned colder I've taken it out of said bag to put it on "just one more year".

Now my husband is not a rich man, but he is a good provider and has enabled me to have other beautiful options.  But they are not as comfortable to my "flesh" as that old "friend".

one of my beautiful "options"

Yet in reality, that old rag is not consistent with who I am as John's wife...a well-loved and cared for woman.  I just have a hard time putting on those new gowns.  So out "she" comes for yet another season.

It's kind of the same way with our spiritual clothing as beloved believers united to our True Lover Jesus Christ.  He has provided His own beautiful character as clothing for our human life on this earth:  love, forgiveness, kindness, truth, compassion, peace, self-control...

But what do we do?  We continually go back into the "ragbag" of our fleshly life before Christ and put on those comfortable characteristics that are inconsistent with who we are in Christ:  things such as sexual immorality & impurity, pride, greed, jealousy & competition, unforgiveness,... [For further study look at these passages:  Ephesians 4:17-5:21; Col 3:1-16; Gal 5:16-26; Rom 12:1-3,9-20; Rom 13:8-14; 2Tim 2:22]

God says to put those off!  Every time we are tempted to live out of the ragbag, we can chose to

put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14

After all, the indwelling Lord Jesus Christ IS our wardrobe!  In fact, by choosing Christ in all His fulness of character, we are at the same time laying aside the ragbag characteristics of life without Christ.*

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life...is with Christ in God. He is your life.

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God...bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:3-14  MESSAGE

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

*For an inspiring, though challenging sermon on this very point, read The Expulsive Power of a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers.  This is not for the faint of heart, but you will be incredibly blessed!

 

 

 

Mystery of Christ in Colossians: a Day of Reckoning / Put off, Put on

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:11 KJV

Today is a Day of Reckoning...but not how you think!  Usually we use that term to mean to give an accounting, a calculation, a settlement of accounts.  In fact according to Wikipedia, it can mean a host of things from the Final Judgment Day to heavy metal albums and Nintendo games.

But in the Bible sense, EVERY day is a Day of Reckoning.  This word reckon in the Greek is often rendered consider.  In other words, "count on something to be true".  My reckoning doesn't MAKE it true.  It already IS true, so I count on it and live from it.  So each day is THE day to reckon to be true what God says is true...because it IS true.  I can take it to the bank and live from it :)

In my last post, I described how I got free from the LIE that held me captive.  As you may remember, it was by considering myself (reckoning) to be dead to it, because I AM dead to it through my union with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.

For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1

How this can play out in the life of a believer in a practical way is found in Paul's letters, especially to the Colossians and Ephesians.  There he uses the imagery of clothing to show what reckoning yourself dead to sin, self, flesh, legalism, and the lies of the enemy looks like in real life.   Paul then shows what it looks like to live alive to God.  It's all wrapped up in the key words put off and put on.

Taking off clothing and putting on other clothing are things we do everyday.  We hardly even think about it (except to chose our outfits ).  Let's compare this to the spiritual activity of living from the life of the indwelling Christ each day.

Let me illustrate from my own "world of fashion".  About 15-20 years ago, I bought a beautiful nightgown to keep me warm and feminine in the cold Ohio winters.  I've loved that nightgown!  I could wrap myself in it and be cozy and comfortable.   And despite the fact that it's faded and worn, I've had a hard time giving it up to the ragbag.  Every year as the weather has turned colder I've taken it out of said bag to put it on "just one more year".

Now my husband is not a rich man, but he is a good provider and has enabled me to have other beautiful options.  But they are not as comfortable to my "flesh" as that old "friend".

Yet in reality, that old rag is not consistent with who I am as John's wife...a well-loved and cared for woman.  I just have a hard time putting on those new gowns.  So out "she" comes for yet another season.

It's kind of the same way with our spiritual clothing as beloved believers united to our True Lover Jesus Christ.  He has provided His own beautiful character as clothing for our human life on this earth:  love, forgiveness, kindness, truth, compassion, peace, self-control...

But what do we do?  We continually go back into the "ragbag" of our fleshly life before Christ and put on those comfortable characteristics that are inconsistent with who we are in Christ:  things such as sexual immorality & impurity, pride, greed, jealousy & competition, unforgiveness,... [For further study look at these passages:  Ephesians 4:17-5:21; Col 3:1-16; Gal 5:16-26; Rom 12:1-3,9-20; Rom 13:8-14; 2Tim 2:22]

God says to put those off!  Every time we are tempted to live out of the ragbag, we can chose to

put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14

After all, the indwelling Lord Jesus Christ IS our wardrobe!  In fact, by choosing Christ in all His fulness of character, we are at the same time laying aside the ragbag characteristics of life without Christ.*

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life...is with Christ in God. He is your life.

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God...bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:3-14  MESSAGE

[*For an inspiring, though challenging sermon on this very point, read The Expulsive Power of a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers.  This is not for the faint of heart, but you will be incredibly blessed!]