Scriptural Gem for April 2013

In Romans 6:5 we read: 'For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his'.

In recent weeks Christians all over the world celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is in fact the very essence of the Gospel as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14 '...And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith'.

The resurrection life of Jesus is that life which we share in when He comes and makes his home in us (Which is what authentic Christianity is all about). However, look closely at our reading above. It is clear that only if we have been united with Him in a death like his, will we also share in His resurrection life. There is a condition attached...The question is, how do we share in a death like his? Must we too be tortured and crucified? Paul, in Romans 6 above is indeed talking about a death that needs to take place. A dying to sin. The self has to die and it is at this point where things get interesting. How does the self die? Do you 'murder' it in some way? Do you box it in and throttle it by sheer force?

Unfortunately, I have seen and experienced what I call a 'religious' approach to the 'killing' of the self. It uses strict rules and regulations based on the Law coupled with sheer will-power to force the self out of existence. Unfortunately, I have never seen this approach actually leading to success. The more one tries to 'kill' the self, the more determined it seems to stay alive. You may think you have killed it only for it to pop up elsewhere like a balloon squeezed out of shape. Paul alludes to this in Colossians 2:23 - 'Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence'.

So where does this leave us? If we cannot force the self to die, what are we to do? Let us consider Jesus' death. How can our death to self be 'like His?' Well, we can say many things about His death but one thing is extremely striking and He himself mentions it several times - His death was voluntary. This is extremely significant. He died willingly and so we also choose against ourselves voluntarily and submit. Submit to what? The answer lies in Colossians 2:11 - 'In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not done with human hands, but with a circumcision performed by Christ, stripping off the body of the flesh' (Amp)

Dear friends, as hard as we may try, getting rid of the self is beyond our capability. Have you tried to get rid of the self yourself? Rather submit to Christ willingly and voluntarily and ask Him to perform that circumcision of the heart which cannot be done by human hands. Hallelujah, what a Savior!