A new friend of mine mentioned that our identity in Christ is something that can’t be taught to people – they need a crisis and then the Holy Spirit can open their eyes.
With the term identity, he means grace, free grace, or the reality that it’s all about Christ.
I don’t know if I agree 100% with my friend, but I see his point. Sometimes it seems this message could be broadcast 24/7 in the churches and those who came for moralism, friendship, networking, community, charismatic gifts, et al – will stare off into deep space with glassy eyes. They walk away disappointed that they weren’t told how to be more positive like Zig Ziglar, how to do better next time they fail, how to try harder, how to depend on their friends for support, and how to impact the world.
Crisis or not, when a believer sees it finally, then it POPS. He feels “born again – again“. He wonders if someone gave him a new bible – one with verses in it that weren’t in it before. He reads, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20a) and no longer sees the pain of death, but union with Christ. He wakes up to the fact that, as Christ died ONCE, he in the same way has died once to the world in his union with Christ. We are united with Christ in His death, but not for no reason. We are united with Him in His death so that we may be united with Him in His life.
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20b).
It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus, the Christ.
I wonder if that only has value to us when we truly acknowledge in our own hearts exactly how far we’ve missed the mark with God. It’s easy to think of ourselves as good people, when we are, in fact, not.
What makes a person good? 100% purity in deed and thought. Not 98%. Not 99%. Not 99.9999999%. Nope. Holiness is purity. And purity works like this:
100% = kosher
99.99% = 0%
All in or all out. No ‘tweeners’ allowed. Two options: Yes / No. Circle one.
Jesus said, ““You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment.” (Matt 5:21)
and then he kicked it up a notch to show how things really work:
“But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” (Matt 5:22)
Why did Jesus say this? To make it absolutely clear that you, friend – (yes, YOU) can’t do it.
100% Obedience to God’s way of doing things – in both actions and thoughts. No excuses allowed. No I was born this way, I was raised this way, and no My mama took me off the booby too early.
“and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal 2:20c).
When we go about our day, it’s not about our ability to keep the rules. This is beautiful news – to the Zero Percenters. The ‘LIFE-ing‘ that I do is not my LIFE-ing. It’s Christ’s. I no longer live. GOOD NEWS: It’s not up to you, friend. You don’t live. You don’t do the LIFE-ing. The Son of God does it in you!
Dead people can’t do a bad job keeping the rules. Why? Because they can’t do a good job either. They’re incapable of living.
You, dear believer, if you really are in Christ… you are dead to you and alive to Christ.
“who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20d).
It’s not about rule-keeping. Jesus didn’t die for you because He was keeping the rules, and He didn’t die for you so that you could be religious. He died for you because “he loved you”.
It’s about LOVE. Religion sucks, so
Don’t keep the rules to love, just let God’s love rule – His love, in Christ, for you.
Now go find Galatians 2:21 to see whether or not the Son died for you so that you could become acceptable to God by keeping the rules.
* (Remember, “righteousness” = “absence of wrong-doing from God’s perspective”, as defined in Romans 4).
** (Galatians was written to Christians about their walk after having been united with Christ. In other words, we live with Christ the same way that we came to know him – there is no “one way for salvation but another way for walking in Him”)