Saturday, April 18, 2015

Identity in Christ - 19 (Died with Christ)

In one of Paul's letters, he described how God uses the cross to pour grace on us. Grace wipes away our sin. He goes on to pose question, perhaps rhetorical, perhaps one people were asking.

God pours our grace when we sin. Grace is a good thing. More grace is a better thing. So, why don't we continually sin, go into full time grace production, and get the most grace possible.

Fire is a good thing. It gives heat and light. We use it to cook, to purify, and to manufacture. That does not mean if we drop a tanker full of gasoline on the fire, that it's a good thing. Fire is a good thing if it is controlled or channeled.

Sin is not good at any time. It moves us against our design. It moves us away from God. And there is more than one way to receive grace. (Refer to the last two posts as an example.)

Baptism is a representation of a person being immersed into the life of Christ, a complete identification of our lives with Christ, complete dependence on him.

Baptism is a representation of what a person goes through, whether there is a subjective experience or not, when they give their allegiance to Jesus.

They are identified with Jesus. They are put in Christ. As he was crucified, they were crucified. As he died, they died. As he was buried, they were buried. As he rose, they rose.
  • God's Perspective
We are looking particularly at the dying with Christ. Israel felt the law was very important. Rome felt the law was very important. The law was important. It showed where people went astray. Moreover, the power to punish wrongdoing comes from the law. Sin broke the law. Sin was condemned and punished by the law. And God sought to give mercy. To save people from condemnation.

But God created the law. It could not just be ignored. It needed to be satisfied, regarding each person alive now, in the past or in the future. So, God sent Jesus. And God punished Jesus for our sin.

And God put each person, who gave their allegiance to Jesus, in Jesus. So, as Jesus was nailed to the cross, all those people were getting nailed with him. As Jesus fought for each breath, all those people were there with him. As Jesus comforted the thief, declared forgiveness, and cared for his mother, all those people were there. As he died, and the Roman soldier thrust a spear under his ribs, all those people were there.

Jesus, as perfect sacrifice, satisfied the requirements of the law for all those people, who were there with him. And the Father declared that they were justified. He redeemed them. He adopted them into his family. He was reconciled to them. He could establish a relationship with each one.
  • Living My Life
Foremost, as I give my allegiance to Jesus, I am accepted by God, establish a new relationship with him and given a new identity. It is this identity that we have been exploring in these last several posts. The lynch pin to all of this is Christ's death ... and our "experience" of it.

I say "experience," because it is precisely the point of Jesus' crucifixion and death that we do not experience the punishment of sin.

We dishonor God by our sin and rebellion. We honor and give glory to him by beginning a new relationship with him, seeking to know him and to live by his rules, standards and example. (Rule #1: Love! Love! Love!)

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