To know the Person is to know th the Power [of living this new life]; for Christ is one and the same,
“For he that is dead is freed from sin (the old man). Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: … (for) I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Rom. 6:7,8; Gal. 2:20).
Do I, therefore, need all sorts of human faith to live my New Life? Surely God knows how weak my human faith can be, especially when the trials of life are burdensome with heaviness. Just when I find that I need faith the most; I find that I have none within myself. It is important that we don’t run slipshod over what God has to tell us. Look again at what has just been quoted from Galatians 2:20: “… and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.”
The New Life is lived exactly the way it began–by the faith given by God! “For by grace are you saved through faith; and (even that faith) is not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). All the human faith we need is the faith to make the decision to rely upon God’s faith, which is His ‘gift’.
Of course, Satan knows that even the most sanctimonious saint will never have enough human faith to perform in a manner pleasing to God. Satan would like to see us try, and then fail. Don’t let Satan defeat your enjoyment of living the New Life by the favorite of his many devices! God wants to live His life through your New Life, Christ’s Life. That life comes completely equipped with its own, built-in power source of inexhaustible faith!
Don’t be afraid to step out and try your newfound legs, “For we walk by faith …” (2 Cor. 5:7a). What kind of a life would a child have if it never had enough confidence to walk? Many are afraid to try, because Satan keeps reminding them that they may not have the faith to back up their commitment to God. You don’t have to back up your commitment with faith. Listen to God speak, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Take another, deeper look at what this verse is saying. Who does God say will make you will or want to do what is pleasing to God? God! Next question: Who is at work in you to do what God wants done? God is! You and I are conspicuous by our absence when God instructs us about wanting and doing. All that you and I have to do is to be! Be what? Be His! We are to abide, as a branch abides in the vine, to await the fruit formed by the Life that is in the Vine. Christ used this same example when He was describing how to live the New Life. Certainly, Christ was not longwinded, for He simply said: “… for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b).
Go ahead and die! God wants you to! Why? That He can begin to live His Life through you. He can’t do that when you are not willing to let go of the old life. Don’t take your life! Give Him your life! You are finished with it–well, aren’t you? Surrender yourself to Him that He may come in and give you a New Life! God gives many gifts, but He can give none until you receive the gift of New Life, the same new life that He gave Christ on that first Easter of history (see Eph. 2:5).
My first reaction [after my spiritual rebirth] was a common one, “Surely God must want me to do something for Him?” There are exactly three things that God told us to do. First, we are to open the door of our hearts to His knocking (Rev. 3:20). (For this, He even supplies the faith as we have mentioned.) Second, we are to abide in Him (John 15:5). It is in this abiding that we do everything that His Word tells us to do or be. Third, we are to stand in the victory of the Cross when Satan attacks (Eph. 6:11,13,14). It is the diligent seeking of these three characteristics of the New Life that we are to labor. If we labor for these, then we shall find rest,
“For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor (diligently seek) therefore to enter into that rest (of abiding and standing) lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Heb. 4:10,11 A.P.).
You see, Israel had been freed from her slavery in Egypt by crossing the Red Sea. God’s purpose was that they should go directly across the wilderness into the Promised Land of Canaan. Entering the Promised Land was referred to as entering into His rest, in the land of milk and honey. But, instead, Israel didn’t believe God. Because of their unbelief (Heb. 3:19), they knew no rest as they wandered in the wilderness to the point of perishing (Heb. 4:6).
As God had liberated Israel from the slavery of Egypt, so Christ had liberated me from the bondage of my old man. He had truly set me free! I must abide in that fact and stand fast, never again to submit to the yoke of slavery that Satan would try to strap on me (Gal. 5:1). To abide and never, never to submit again! That is labor enough!
Has my New Life ever let me down? Has my New Life ever been a disappointing burden? Never! Has my New Life been a ‘Cloud Nine’ experience? No! It was never intended by God that it should be!
‘Cloud Nine?’ What fantasy do you reflect upon the mirror of your mind when you think of being on ‘Cloud Nine?’ To me, ‘Cloud Nine’ was a place I would fly away to in the ecstasy of rapturous emotional excitement. A place, far, far away from the realities of the hideous world around me. No, my New Life isn’t like that–quite the contrary.
My New Life is a very real life, just as the life of Christ was a very real life, when He lived upon the earth. He hungered, thirsted, wept, and even got angry. It would be difficult to describe His betrayal, trial, and passion at Calvary as a ‘Cloud Nine’ experience! Yet, Christ always had an air of peace and love with Him. The very presence of Christ always seems to cast a protective covering of the power of peace in the midst of tension, intrigue, and despair. The Apostle Paul said that he knew how to suffer need and to be without food, yet he could say that in every situation, he found the secret of contentment because Christ was in Him (Phil. 4:11-13).
The concept that the soul of man (his mind, emotions, and will) has the creative ability within itself to make man be what he thinks he is, is a fictitious concept. The soul (mind, emotions, and will) is a response mechanism. In other words, contrary to humanistic belief, man’s will does not possess the intrinsic ability to shape and create life. Morally, the soul either responds to the power of darkness, as in the case of all those outside of Christ; or it responds to the Power of Light when that Light (Christ) is in him, through being born again. Thus, in the believer, the soul has a free will only to the extent that it has the capability of responding, morally, to either input from the spirit of Satan or from the Spirit of God–through making a decision of faith either to abide and stand in Christ or not to abide and stand, except in the meager capabilities of ‘self effort’. This is either one or the other; never both at the same time–“you either is or you ain’t”!
Romans 6:11 is very simple in its directions of what God intends to be ‘The Normal Christian Life’, for He says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
If we were to say this in modern language, we would simply say,
Make a decision of faith not to respond to the Powers of Darkness, because those powers no longer need have the control over you that they used to have. Through what my Son Christ did at the Cross, for all intents and purposes, you are as dead to those inputs. Rather, be alive to Me, by abiding and standing in Christ–in that way I can grant you everything you will ever need from My riches in Glory.
My New Life is a very real life, lived in a very real world. It gets up in the morning, eats breakfast, goes to work, drives cars, shops for groceries, talks, laughs, cries, makes love, cleans house, washes dishes, shares burdens; but spiritually it is alive unto God. It is through this ‘aliveness’ of the presence of His Life living through me that my mind, emotions, and will give a viable response, a recognizable response, as He would relate to every single, minute detail of my every waking moment … that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body (2 Cor. 4:10b). My New Life is a life of victory!
Life’s circumstances, no matter how ominous their cloak of desperation, can never bring my defeat! God gives us this promise. And God is faithful! He says very plainly, and with absolutely no reservations, that He will always cause us to triumph in Christ … in every place (2 Cor. 2:14a, A.P.).
How can my New Life be lived in such an air of confidence? According to the sovereignty of God, He, for some reason, chose me to be His child. Sounds conceited, doesn’t it? Quite the contrary, it is a very humbling experience, before God, to know from His own words that He chose me: “You didn’t choose me. I chose you!” (John 15:16a). And then He gives me assurance that what He has chosen, He will handle from here on out: “Being confident of this very thing, that He (God) which hath begun a good work in you will perform if until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6, A.P.)
What was that good work that He began? My New Life! What will be the work that He will perform? Most important, His gift is Love, then joy, peace, patience, a gentle spirit, goodness, faith, humility, and temperance (restraint).
As if that were not enough, He said that I could come to Him any time of the day or night, in every situation, by the means of what He calls ‘prayer’. Could it be that God would unleash all the power that He possesses to someone here, still on earth? Yes, He did! His Son said, You can go directly to the Father and He will give you whatever you ask for in My Name (John 16:23, A.P.)
My New Life, to me, is the power of prayer! If we could hear God speak, I am sure that day after day we would hear Him say, Don’t worry or be anxious about anything, I will never, never, never fail you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5a).
My New Life! It should be your New Life! God wants it to be! If you have never accepted Christ as your personal Savior, or perhaps you already have but have never appropriated His Life as Your Life; do it now! Then, you and I together can share this New Life!
How? Just tell Him in your own words! He knows all about everything–including the fact that you are frightened, confused, and don’t know where to begin. Trust Him! Give yourself to Him. I can assure you that whatever you are holding on to will only bring more tears, frustration, and anger. Isn’t that better, now? I must assume that you have made ‘a right decision’, by opening the door to the new Lord of your Life, Jesus Christ! You may never get another opportunity.
Part 2 of 2. Excerpt from chapter 6 of Suicide: An Illicit Lover. (Pigeon Forge, TN: Grace Fellowship International), second edition, 2012. John Stevens was a founding board member of GFI.
Scripture quotations in this chapter are from the JKV or J.B. Phillips translation.
See our blog dedicated to this theme: escapesuicide.wordpress.com.
The book, Suicide: An Illicit Lover, can from the GFI online bookstore or by calling toll free in the U.S. 1-888-66-GRACE.