Thursday, November 26, 2009

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

We are about 30 minutes away from sitting down to our Thanksgiving feast! I wanted to put up a brief post to share with visitors and friends who frequent this blog.

I, as well as every Christian, am most thankful for Jesus Christ. Everything else that I am thankful family, friends, fellow Christians, and acquaintances proceed from Christ.

This morning, I read a portion of Dr. David Jeremiah's new book, "Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World" where he explains the importance of focusing on Jesus' connection to you (me, us).

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

Colossians 3:1-4 reads, "If then you were raised with Christ....your life is hidden with also will appear with Him in glory" (emphasis added).

I've highlighted the word with to show just how critical it is in this frame of thinking. With is a word of connection, our lifeline to Christ. When He died, we died with him. When He was buried, so were we. And we shared in His glorious resurrection, so that now we can be seated in the heavenlies with Him.

When the Bible says that Jesus died for us, it doesn't mean simply that He died in our behalf; it means He died in our place. He died where we should have died. Just as Adam was the personal embodiment of our fall into sin, Christ is the personal embodiment of our salvation and glory. "For as in Adam all dies, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). We fell with Adam, but we were resurrected with Christ.

Do you see the importance of that little word with in our spiritual destiny? The great Chinese Christian preacher and writer, Watchman Nee, grasped it. In 1927, he had been struggling with issues of temptation and his sinful nature. One morning he was sitting upstairs reading the book of Romans, and he came to the words, "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him..." (6:6). For Nee, it was as if the words had come to life on the page. He leaped from his chair, ran downstairs, and grabbed a kitchen worker by the hands. "Brother," he shouted. "Do you know that I have died?"

The worker only stared in puzzlement. Nee blurted out, "Do you not know that Christ has died? Do you not know that I died with Him? Do you not know that my death is no less truly a fact than His?"

It was all Watchman Nee could do to keep himself from running through the streets of Shanghai, shouting about his death and new life. From that day on, his faith was confident and strong. His biographer wrote that it was impossible to say anything that might offend Nee. Why should he be offended? That Watchman Nee was long since dead!"

How powerful is Nee's testimony? Extremely powerful!

I think that this is where the divide between liberal Christian thought and Biblical Christian thought (that was partially articulated in the Manhattan Declaration) takes that proverbial 180 degree turn. If one hasn't died to self in Jesus Christ, then one cannot possibly experience the amazing phenomenon of dying with Christ.

Dr. Jeremiah continues:

Charles Spurgeon had his own way of explaining this:

I suppose that, if you were to meet your old self, he would hardly know you, for you are so greatly altered. I dare say he would say to you, "Come, old fellow, let us go to the theater, or turn into this beer-shop, or let us go home, and find out some way of amusing ourselves."

You would reply, "No, sir; I cut your acquaintance a long time ago, and I do not mean to have anything further to do with you, so you may go about your business as soon as you like. I am not what I was, for I have been crucified with Christ, and I am dead, and my life is hid with Christ in God."

That is what the Cross of Christ achieves for every believer! The old you is dead and in the grave; the new you is raised to walk in newness of life, and to live victoriously for Christ.

It is for this reason that no matter what transpires on this earth - we can have the utmost confidence to stay centered with Jesus Christ in our hearts; as our lives are hid in Him in God!


Susan Smith said...

Thanks for such a powerful post, Christine. You have given life to your readers this day.

Life from death... pretty neat. Shabbat Shalom to you and your family as we are thankful for our deaths the Messiah we have life...only HE can give us the power to die and live! (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Well said, as always Susan! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

I love what Spurgeon is quoted as saying:

"I suppose that, if you were to meet your old self, he would hardly know you, for you are so greatly altered.

God bless and enjoy the rest of this long weekend!

"...for you are so greatly altered." That describes the sanctification process we go through after the born again conversion experience in Christ!

As you so accurately stated:

" the Messiah we have life...only HE can give us the power to die and live!"


Susan Smith said...

Thanks Christine. After more than 20 years in the “gay” lifestyle, more than 30 years in bondage to the sin of drunkenness, and having had the smelly habit of smoking cigarettes for 40 years, my sanctification process continues.

Do we not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? We are not to be deceived in our lifestyles . . . and such were some of us. But we were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of Jesus the Messiah and by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

I love you my “little” sister on the West coast of the USA. Much love from the East... (ss)