maandag 19 augustus 2013

The Glory of the Cross 9

The Death of the Lord Jesus Christ Is the Fountain from which Proceeds a Holy Walk with God
The Lord Jesus Christ came to this world to save sinners from their sins. His death on the cross is not only the basis for the forgiveness of sins, but also the fountain from which proceeds the renewal of life; it empowers us to break with sin and live a holy life before God. The connection between the crucifixion of Christ and a holy walk before God is articulated in various passages of the New Testament. For example, in 2 Corinthians 5:15, the Apostle Paul states, “The love of Christ constrains us.” He then proceeds to explain that if Christ died as one on behalf of all, they have all died with Him. He died so that they would no longer live unto themselves, but for Him who “died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).
The love of the Lord Jesus Christ, who vicariously surrendered Himself to be nailed to the cross, is the fountain from which proceeds our love toward Him. The Apostle John wrote in his first letter, “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Paul wrote to the Galatians that the world was crucified unto him and he unto the world through the cross (Gal. 6:14). Since the cross of Christ had become the governing principle of his life, the world was no longer attractive to him, and he was no longer attractive to the world.
It is an essential component of the Christian life that we serve God voluntarily and wholeheartedly. Such readiness to serve proceeds from the fact that the love of Christ toward us, unveiled in His passion and death, has renewed our lives. The inseparable connection between the atoning work of Christ and the holy walk of the Christian is also formulated in Colossians 1:21–22: “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” The way Paul connects the cross of Christ and the holy walk of the Christian is yet another confirmation of the internal efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ.
It is inconceivable that those for whom Christ has died would not also tangibly begin to live a holy life. His death is the sole and complete foundation of both the forgiveness of sins and a holy walk with God. The stripes that Christ received on the cross are the cure for our sinful walk and existence. Christ has borne our sins so that we would die to sin and learn to live righteously (1 Peter 2:24). He who knows that his sins have been pardoned for Christ’s sake will desire to be conformed to Christ. We can only live a holy life before God if we have tasted the love of Christ. Only he who is in Christ will be a new creature. Living a holy life before God is a daily struggle; as we endeavor to do this, we will be opposed by the world, the devil, and our own sinful existence.
Meditating upon the passion and death of Christ and looking to Him who is seated at the right hand of the Father are divinely ordained means to mortify sin and live a holy life. It is how we can be connected to the fountain of a truly holy life, Christ Himself. Not only has He been given unto us to be our wisdom, righteousness, and redemption, but also our sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30).