Life In Christ 

Romans 7:4 “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”

Much of what the Bible says is revolutionary. There are statements, not just shocking to us, but to every generation that ever lived. Jesus spoke to his disciples saying, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24

Perhaps the strongest drive within the human body is the drive for survival. Yet we hear Jesus say, if we try to save our lives we will lose them. Life, according to Jesus, is found in death. On another occasion He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” ( John 12:24) The death Jesus is speaking of is the death that takes place when we come to Christ. Elsewhere, Paul speaks of us being crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). The old life, lived for self and sinful pleasure, is laid down when we come to Christ and we begin to live with a new-found desire to please God. I spent 18 years of my life without Christ, during that time I never once considered if my behavior was pleasing to the Lord. Since the time of meeting Christ, pleasing Him has been my first priority. My old life died the day I met Christ. The benefits of that death are what Paul is speaking of here. He declares,

Romans 7:6 “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Three amazing things happen when we die to the self life and live to please the Lord. First, we are released from the power sin holds over us. We were held captive by it because we saw sin as a means to a happy and full life. When we came to Christ, we realized the destructive nature of sin. When this happened, we began to be repulsed by the very things we once lived for. Solomon wrote, ” . . . the fear of the Lord is to hate evil . . .” (Proverbs 8:13), meaning, when we seek to please God, we will begin to despise sin. Second, death to the self-life will result in bearing fruit to God. The height of life is described by Paul as the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is born when we leave behind the desire to put ourselves first, and we seek to live for the glory of God. Finally, Paul speaks of our serving in the Spirit. The one who leaves the ‘me first,’ sinful life behind, replacing it with seeking to live well pleasing to Jesus, will find a an enabling from the Lord to serve Him.

Pastor Jim

 

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