Most Christians know Christ died for their sins and they know that they have peace with God. The load of sin is gone and a home in Heaven is sure. What happens now is perhaps the biggest tragedy in the Christian life. Having received a past and a future salvation they now set out to spend the present time fighting the fight of faith. They fight and struggle, they plot and plan, they worry and scheme, all with the best intentions of living the Christian life.
If their struggles entail suffering and hardship they accept it as part of the price they pay as they try to gain the victory day by day. They miss the Scripture message that there is more than having their sins forgiven and having a home in heaven. The whole verse of Romans 5:10 says:
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled toGod by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Because we have been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Most people would say they were saved by His death, yet here it states saved by His life.
The unfortunate fact is that these words: “We shall be saved by His life” are a very poor and inadequate translation of the original Greek. A more comprehensive translation is that given in the Amplified Version: “We shall be daily delivered from sin’s dominion by His resurrection life.”
That is the whole emphasis–daily delivered–a glorious present tense experience. How complete is the whole sequence: Justified by His blood, reconciled byHis death, and daily delivered by His life.
Matthew 1:21 says: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
And I Timothy 1:15 says “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Thus, first of all, I must realize that if I come as a sinner, if I confess my sin and recognize my need and claim Jesus Christ as my Saviour, then I can know by faith, that my sins are gone.
I now recognize, according to our Scripture, that there is much more than forgiveness of sins. Because my sins have been dealt with, then I am reconciled to God, I have peace with God, and am assured of a home in heaven.
Having identified myself with Christ in His death I now go on to claim the present salvation that is mine through His indwelling life. How can His resurrection life give me a daily deliverance from sin’s dominion? The Bible promises this; how can I make it mine?
First I must realize that when I became a Christian I was born again. I received a new LIFE, eternal life. This LIFE is Christ Himself. He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). We read in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 John 5:12 says: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Jesus Christ lives in me in the power and person of His Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 says: “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
[Second,] I now have to realize that Christ lives in me to give me daily deliverance from sin’s dominion. He is the present tense of our salvation. I must prove experimentally the truth of I John 4:4: “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” So often as Christians we accept the fact that Christ lives in us in a casual kind of way. The attitude we show is quite academic.”Yes,” we say, “Christ lives in us, the Holy Spirit lives in us–but what difference does it make?”
We accept the fact, but deny the consequences. To our own cost we push aside the possibility of a present-tense experience of God’s salvation, because we are so busy living the Christian life in our own way.
We never learn by experience that we cannot gain the victory over sin. We always hope to meet the victory somehow by our own endeavors. We believe that if we can only follow the right pattern, go to the right Church, or read the right book, then we can find the “super” experience. And all the time God has made full provision for our present salvation. Because we miss the daily deliverance, we miss the blessing of the next verse, Romans 5:11: “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord JesusChrist.” We never have the fullness of joy because we have either fully occupied ourselves in the struggle to do the impossible, or resigned ourselves to something which is less than God’s best for us.
For so many of us our biggest problem is the present. It is good to know my sins are forgiven, and very comforting to look forward to a home in Heaven, but many Christians are mainly interested with the actual present–its problems and its defeats. Most Christians are defeated at some point in their daily living. “The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16) work daily havoc in the lives of God’s children.
The vital truth of Christ living His life in me is the only answer to this problem.
Paul repeatedly used the phrase “Christ in me” or “In Christ.” This has been called Paul’s magnificent obsession, for he uses the phrase more than 170 times. Galatians 2:20 is a good example: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet notI, but Christ liveth in me.”
What a difference this sense of Christ’s life in me ought to make in my daily living. The responsibility should roll off my shoulders. As I commit my life to Him, I would become His responsibility completely, for He not only saves but He keeps. I would know victory in my personal life where once I only knew defeat. As the sin that tempted so successfully in days past returned to the attack, I could step back in simple faith and say “Blessed Lord, this thing is too big for me; I’ve always given in before, but Lord, nothing is too great for You. Please meet this for me in Your strength.” Then I would know that victory would be inevitable.
[Third,] I would also get a new standard of values. I would see that the priorities of the world’s system need no longer be the priorities in my life. As I seek first the kingdom of God the other “things” in my life would take their proper place. I could dare to stand back from the mad rush of life around me and know the peace of God which passeth all understanding.
Jesus said in John 13:17: “If ye know these things, happy (or blessed) are ye if ye do them.” How far is this truth working in your life? Is it only in your head? That will never bring peace and blessing. Dare you commit yourself and identify yourself with Christ so that He can take over the present tense of your daily life?
John Hunter, Living the Christ-Filled Life (Zondervan) pp. 24,25,26,27. The book is online at http://www.ccel.us/Hunter.toc.html
“John E. Hunter (1909-2005) was an educator, Bible teacher and Christian counselor. He spoke many times at Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center. He was associated with Major Ian Thomas, The Torchbearers and the work of Capernwray Hall for many years. He authored more than twenty books including Limiting God, Going On to Maturity, and Knowing God’s Secrets.”
Note the image above: when read upside down “life” appears as “death.”