Real time 'inner' dramas of being a follower of Jesus
Being a follower of Jesus Christ unleashes an unseen and unrelenting spiritual battle within our hearts and minds. I wish to draw attention to how the New Testament approaches an emphasis on the 'mind of Christ' and 'following Jesus'.
To initiate this discussion, it is important to explain that the New Testament is divided into sections.
The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) reveals the story of Jesus life, death and resurrection. The early history of the church is covered in The Acts of the Apostles. The Letters to the Churches deal with many issues faced by young Christians. The book of The Revelation is the final book.
The letter Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia (central southern Turkey) deals with the spiritual battles within us. Paul's great theme is 'freedom' in Christ.
We pick up this theme in Galatians chapter 2 verse 20:
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
We need to unpack the concepts to grasp its significance.
"I am crucified with Christ"
Paul is saying, as Christ died for my sins instead of me, my old sinful self is all there on the Cross with Jesus.
"Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me"
In spite of my old self being crucified with Christ, I still live. But I am new person altogether, Christ is living within me through His Holy Spirit.
"and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God"
We see here how the two sides of life function side by side. First, our fleshly lives, the human part of us (we spoke of this last month). At the same time, in parallel, as if one and the same, this life of mine given over to Jesus Christ as Lord. It is something I cannot see but it is of 'faith'. It is 'faith' based on the historical fact and acts of Jesus Christ. This trust in Christ gives me inner freedom.
"who loved me, and gave himself for me."
What remarkably wonderful words are these. Jesus Christ, the God of the Universe, actually loves 'little 'ol me'. That is central to New Testament teaching. I am in the centre of His love in so far as He was not only willing, but actually died at Calvary and offered His blood for my Salvation. This is the truth of freedom that no one can steal from us. (remember last month where we spoke of that huge area in the rectangle in which God speaks into, the real me).
Statement: This is where the victory is won. It's within our hearts which control our actions. It's not a battle anyone can fight with knives or machine guns or nuclear weapons.
This freedom is beyond measure. It brings release that is truly liberating, just like a weight being lifted from our shoulders. The Lord, He is King, give Glory to the Lord! My next letter will continue this theme.