Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lifting the Hammer

I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave His life for me.--Galatians 2:20

I can't help but wonder how many crucifixions Paul saw before he wrote this. More than dozens, probably hundreds. We see crucifixion as a metaphor, but not him. He knew well their bloody agony, their slow strangling torture. His choice of crucifixion to describe the progress of his life in Christ drew purposely on one of the most vivid images he knew.

All who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death. We were buried with Him through baptism...We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin is done away with and we should no longer be slaves to sin.--Roman 6:3-6

Paul says that baptism crucified our body, yet our physical body did not die. I think he means instead that baptism crucifies our sin, but does not kill real flesh. So I wonder, to what degree can sin die in a body that still lives? Paul explains that, too. If I can live my life by faith in the Son of God, sin can begin to die. To whatever degree I replace my own desires, motives, and actions with Yours, sin dies.

So how do I do that? I know that sin comes from within me, from outside of me through a fallen world, and through temptation from evil. The evil I leave to You through prayer. I am in charge, however, of the sin I admit into my life through my own natural flesh and through my affection for this world. Every time I settle for less, every time I blast by Your warnings, every time I grab for what I know does not last, sin leaps up, alive and kicking.

In the end, I have to do my part exactly as You did Yours. I have to grab up the hammer and nails, lay my own admitted failures down on two stout beams, and drive in the instruments of destruction. No one will do this for me, and it will hurt. I will think it impossible. I will feel like I am dying, that nothing of me will survive. And that is Your plan. I am not fit to live in me, but You are.

May I never boast but in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world--Galatians 6:14

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