Living in Christ by Faith

September 23, 2014

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

Three times in this verse Paul tells us he “lives,” and each time he tells us he lives, he tells us why and how he lives.  If we consider his three explanations for living, we discover a good summary of the book of Romans.

First, Paul says he lives because he is crucified with Christ. When Paul gets to the application in his letter to the Romans he tells us we should surrender ourselves to the Christ Who has done so much for us, and become “living sacrifices” for Him.  He tells us this is our intelligent worship when we understand all that God has done for us, in Christ.

Secondly, Paul tells us he lives because Christ lives in me. That summarizes the second section of his Roman letter where he tells us how the Christ Who saved us from where we are going (which is straight to hell), can save us from what we are doing, and from what we are.  We can be saved and live like saved people because Christ lives in us!

Thirdly, Paul tells us that he lives by faith – by faith in the Son of God Who loves him and gave Himself for him.  That summarizes the first section of Romans, which concludes, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

…The proof that we understand and are experiencing Paul’s message to the Romans will be for us to say, because we have really understood him, “I live, I really live! I live by faith, I live because Christ lives in me, and I live because I am crucified with Christ.”

Dick Woodward, MBC New Testament Handbook (p.284-285)

 


Words God Speaks Through Nature

September 4, 2012

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”  (Psalm 19: 1, 2)

At the end of summer we approach the threshold of the explosion of beautiful fall colors.  While you enjoy the explosion of color this year consider the words God speaks to us every fall.

Since that beautiful color is produced by the death of those leaves, the word God is speaking to many of us is that death can be beautiful.  In many ways the most beautiful reality you and I encounter in our three or four score years on earth is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to experience salvation and enter heaven.

Paul tells us the Gospel is that Christ died so we might live and now it is our turn.  We must die so Christ might live through us (Galatians 2: 20).  That means our death to ourselves can be beautiful.

Every spring our God speaks another word to us.  That word is seen through all the resurrection around us as we see black trunks and branches of trees we thought were dead sprout to life and bloom.

The Latin root meaning of rehabilitation is “to invest again with dignity.” Do we have the faith to believe God can bring to life that which we thought was dead?  Let’s apply that thought to our own life, to the lives of our children, and to secular people we know and love.


A Marvelous Salutation

February 24, 2012

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”       (Romans 1:7; 16:24)

The great Apostle Paul begins his letter to the believers in Rome with a marvelous greeting: “Grace to you.”  He then closes his letter with the prayer that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with them.

Paul dictated all his letters but one to a stenographer.  At the close of each of his letters he took the writing instrument from the scribe and in his own hand wrote these words: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Paul greets and leaves believers with a wish and a prayer for grace.  This is because grace is the dynamic of God that saves us.  We can define grace if we turn this five letter word into an acrostic and use each letter of the word to spell out:

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”

But grace is not only the way God saves us.  The grace of God is the dynamic we desperately need to live for Christ.

In the second verse of the fifth chapter of this same letter Paul writes that God has given us access, by faith, into the grace that makes it possible for us to stand for Christ and live a life that glorifies God.

Paul begins this letter and closes all his letters the way he does because he knows it is absolutely critical that we access the grace God has made available to us if we are to live our life for Him in this world.

Since grace is always our greatest need, consider meeting and leaving your fellow believers with a wish and a prayer for grace.