I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
To those of us who call ourselves Christians, we must be clear that we do not worship a dead savior, but rather the Living Lord who redeemed us and whose Spirit indwells us to now live for Him. As Jesus died on the cross to redeem us and make us His own, when we put our faith in Him for salvation, a great transaction occurs spiritually where we die to our sin and come alive unto God by the imparting of the Holy Spirit in us. For sure this is something I cannot fully explain in words as it is a mystery of God in how this is all done. What I do know for sure is that when I put my faith in Jesus in 1985, something incredible happened to me where I now knew for the first time that I belonged to God and could not just do as I desired. My will was transformed miraculously from serving myself above all else, to a strong desire to know and please Jesus. Oh yes, I still fell into sin and failed God often, but in my heart and will I no longer found this to be acceptable or the way of life; I now had something higher to live for! We all have different stories on how we found Jesus and how our life changed, but there must be some sort of major transformation internally if our life is truly to line with scripture. As Jesus rose from the dead on the third day in what we celebrate as Easter Sunday, so the new life of Christ should rise up in each one of us who have truly placed our faith in Him. For this new life to manifest in our words, behavior and attitudes, sin must die out in our life. If we are truly “born again” and “saved”, the death blow to sin has already been accomplished in us. Are we now justifying and trying to “nurse back to health” the very thing that Jesus died for, namely sin? We can have none of that! If we know and love Jesus Christ, we will do all we can to mortify and crucify the sin nature that still has remnants in our soul. We do this motivated by love and gratitude to Christ for all He has done for us. We do not accomplish this by our human will power, but by our faith in God as we daily surrender to Him and say to ourselves “Your will be done, not mine!” This month we celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday, two important events to our faith. To properly observe them, we must ask ourselves if we have truly trusted in Jesus for our salvation and is there evidence of a transformed life? Does our experience and way of living line up with what the Bible teaches in the above text about what our life should be about? If we can honestly answer “yes”, we have much to be thankful about; if the honest answer is “no”, we need to settle this matter with the Lord personally. I believe every day of life in this world we have after our salvation should be a “Easter/Resurrection Sunday” experience. We may have struggles and challenges each day, but our hope is in the Lord and His work in us by His Spirit. I hope all who read this can say a hearty “Amen” to that fact. Blessings!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek