No new thoughts here today from myself, but stunning truth from Martin Zender, who I am seeming to relate to more and more. Here are some comments from him that totally resonated with me and make sense out of the Scriptures. Martin talked about a passage from Paul’s writings, 2 Cor 5:14-17.
14 For the love of Christ is constraining us, judging this, that, if One died for the sake of all, consequently *all died.
15 And He died for the sake of all that *those who are living should by no means still be living to themselves, but to the One dying and being roused for their sakes.
16 So that we’, from *now on, are acquainted with not one according to flesh. Yet even if we have known Christ according to flesh, but nevertheless now we know Him so not longer.
17 So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo! there has become new!
We are no longer living for ourselves. We have been made completely new and compare more to Jesus’ resurrected state than we do to the world’s state, flesh, what we used to be. Verse 17 says the old has passed away (the primitive). What is the old? The old is the world’s system, the Israelite system, everything Old Testament and everything pertaining to Jesus’ instructions to the Jews that He came predominantly to instruct. Think about it. We are so self-absorbed. And no, I am not talking mainly about the unsaved in this life. I am mainly talking about those who should know better, believers in Christ. We Christians are so self-absorbed that all we seem to think about is how much we sin, how badly we sin, how much more we need to be like Christ in our actions, how much better we are than other believers, how much less we are than other believers, and on and on, gag me! The more we talk about, as Martin puts it, “surrendering the self”, the more we find ourselves having to dig out our old creation from the grave it was buried in with Christ and propping it up, and then abusing the old man (who is dead) and trying to make that corpse understand how bad it is, how much it is not following Christ, etc. News flash!: the old man is dead and CANNOT do anything for he is dead. He doesn’t hear nor understand your constant instructions to do better!
If we are no longer supposed to live to ourselves, and we are not, vs. 15, we are also not to know Christ any longer according to the flesh. Craig, what do you mean? I mean, we live to Christ, not self. We live to Christ not in the flesh but in the Spirit. Analyzing self all the time, like we are told to do in the traditional church today, is against what Paul said we should be doing.The pre-occupation with flesh goes back to the age-old problem the church has had. The church believes that unless people’s sins (flesh and fleshly living in particular) are kept ever before the average church members’ eyes, they will forget how awful they are and simply do whatever they want to do and begin to think the church irrelevant. They will leave the church for other things. Then the church will not have money to pay for pastors’ salaries and buildings and you name it. So, pastors must always preach sin rather than grace. In all the churches I have been a part of, sin was always more prevalent than grace. So, instead of Romans 5 and 6 ruling the day (especially “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound!), it is Satan’s stain of sin, Adam’s downfall casting all of mankind into sin and eventually eternal conscious torment in hell (which I don’t believe is true!), and then all the guilt we should feel about the fact that we are filthy sinners deserving of hell and torment, rather than new creations in Christ, enjoying the abundant grace that surrounds us at every moment.
Think more about it. We say we stand condemned before God because we are sinners, and when we are saved do we feel any less condemned based on what you hear in church every Sunday? Hell no! Paul says in Romans 8:34 that Jesus is our condemner, yet He died for us, and He was resurrected for us, and He is pleading our case to the Father, and so, are we still condemned? Hell no! We are no longer acquainted with Christ in His flesh but in His Spirit and in His resurrection and we stand no longer condemned. We are free in Christ to love Him more abundantly than ever. It no longer is the desire of the Christian to align himself with the shoulds (i.e. I should follow the 10 commandments, I should go to church more, I should give more, etc.) but aligned with wants (I want to love God more because I am no longer under condemnation, and I want to love His creation more, and I want to show my love to others in Christ, and I want…). Let me sum it all up this way. No matter how much I may sin (though my desire to sin diminishes and really should not even be a concern), God’s grace is covering over that in such a greater way that it obliterates the sin and focuses my desire more and more on His grace and love rather than wrath that I will not experience! Christian, quit analyzing your every behavior, which is self-focused, and focus on God’s abundant grace that comes in measures that would blow your mind!
Sorry for rambling on, and I hope this makes some semblance of sense (it sure does in my mind!). But, as always, my comment box is open and I would sure love to hear what you have to say, questions, comments, etc., especially the newer ones coming to my blog. Grace and peace to you!
In Christ’s love,