I’m writing a book! My goal is to have a first draft completed by this time next year. For the past couple of years, I have been doing some study on what it means to embody the Christian life, because that is how we experience and engage those around us, and now I have started to put these thoughts together. I’m exploring this idea by looking at three aspects of the Christian’s physical life described in Scripture:
- First, life in the flesh: Every day each Christian must live out the reality of their faith through the physical body. This is how we engage with the world around us, and now as believers we are required to live our lives through the experience of the Cross.
- Second, life in the Spirit: We are commanded to cultivate life in the Spirit as part of an interconnected body known as the Church. We must allow the life of Jesus Christ to knit us together, as individually and corporately we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- Third, life in our culture: We are called to engage our culture; to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to all the world. We are ambassadors on Christ’s behalf. What does that mean for us as we interact with those around us?
What follows is an excerpt from a chapter I have tentatively titled Living by Faith. Pray for me as I progress through this journey.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
~ Galatians 2:20, ESV
What does it mean to live in this human body as a follower of Jesus Christ?
First, there is a very real implication that death is required. This death will appear to us to be gut-wrenching, horrifying and costly. Death must come first if there is going to be a life of faith. This is one of the premier mysteries of living by faith. Christ’s death applied to our lives creates the interconnectedness that makes up His body the Church. “I have been crucified with Christ… It is no longer I who live. There is a unity found in the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that knits all true believers together, regardless of race, gender, creed, or social status.
But it is not our death that should horrify us, nor the cost to us that should be the determining factor for new life. Rather, we should tremble at the horrifying death paid by the One who should not die, and we should be humiliated by the infinite price He paid at Calvary. A price that is incalculable to our human comprehension. This cost should cause us to recognize our helplessness and hopelessness in the battle against sin. Without crucifixion applied through faith, there is impossibility of resurrection, and therefore no chance for new life. The life of faith we are called to requires a new creation, and the old order of things must pass away.
Second, there must come the recognition that my life is no longer my own. The life I am now called to live by faith is a new life, not only born forth through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, but lived in the shadow of the Cross under His command and through His finished work. It is the very life of Christ lived in me, shaping the life I now live through an infinite grace that I am unable to comprehend or attain. The idea that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, the very richness of Heaven, should descend to the earth to offer me His life via the Way of the Cross should cause me to echo the word of the Apostle Paul, “I die every day!” (1 Corinthians 15:31, ESV).