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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006
About Crucifixion...
Can a man crucify himself?In Exodus 20:13 we read the sixth commandment:
"Thou shalt not kill." - [KJV]
That is an unfortunately misleading rendering of the text. Modern versions carry a more thorough and accurate rendering of the verse:
"You shall not murder" - [ESV]
We mention this first, because it is important to have the most accurate rendering of a text when you are going to use it for doctrine, and secondly because we want to understand that God doesn't give any command that contradict another. If God commands us not to kill, then commands the Israelites to judicially execute a person, or even if God executes a sinner in judgment of their sin - this is not murder, but it would be "killing." God's command does not contradict His own commands about capital punishment, nor did Jesus suggest that the correct interpretation was any more flowery. Paul writes in Romans 13:4 that the authorities that God Himself has placed over us do not bear the sword in vain - that is, they do no have the power to take life for the sake of justice in vain - but God has given that power to bring justice and order to the common weal.

This post however isn't about whether or not Christians can go to war, or get jobs as state executioners (they can - but this post isn't about that). I bring it up because when we look at Christ on Calvary we don't want to think for one moment that God murdered Jesus.

Christ took the elect into Himself through a union we don't fully comprehend we were taken on the cross with Christ and there God judged and punished us for our sins. Because we were in Christ, Christ bore the full force of our punishment and we bore none of it. Christ wasn't murdered, this was the judicial execution of us, but in order to satisfy the righteousness of God, the destruction had to be absolute - meaning that our Host would not live through so utter a destruction. This was the sacrifice that Christ made - He offered His own life to be destroyed instead of ours. Not a murder, not a suicide (murdering of self), but a sacrifice - a willing surrender of ones own life.

When we desire to live righteously, there are typically two ways we go about doing that. The first way seems right to most people, but it is an impotent way that always leads eventually to complete and utter failure. To be sure, it begins in failure too, but that failure is often obscured because it bears a likeness to righteousness. It is the keeping of the law.

The Pharisees were the best law keepers on earth - they had taken the art of law keeping to its greatest height - and Christ said of their righteousness that unless one surpasses that sort of righteousness one cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. This plain truth is typically missed entirely or ignored, such that the there are many Christians today who are trying to become righteous by keeping the law - or imagine that they are righteous because they keep the law. They think that they can do a better job than the Pharisees simply because they are Christians - but they set about trying to keep the law in the exact same way the Pharisees did, and they fail in the exact same way the Pharisees did.

The second way is right whether it seems to be or not. It is not through efforts of the flesh, but through the Spirit. The one who walks in the Spirit does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set that one free from the law of sin and death. It doesn't mean that the spiritual Christian can do whatever they want and it isn't sinful because they are spiritual - it means that anyone who is surrendered moment by moment to the Holy Spirit knows to do good and does it. It is the -promise- given in Ezekiel - God's law written on their new "Heart" (the Holy Spirit) whom God has given to them as promised.

The trouble starts after we have committed our selves to Christ in saving faith, to save us from the wrath of God - Then, because we receive the Holy Spirit, and have a new and gnawing desire to live a life that is pleasing to God - we immediately embark upon a regiment of obedience to the law.

Romans 6 (we don't sin because we are crucified with Christ) is an enigma to those who are trying to live in grace, but find themselves in Romans 7 where the good that they want to do they don't do, but the evil that they don't want to do - that is what they find themselves doing. They understand that they are somehow crucified with Christ - but they don't know how to appropriate that - so they try and make it happen.

Yet scripture no where tells us to crucify ourselves - Romans 12 tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, but we imagine we are supposed to go one step further - and not only lay down on the altar - but that we should bind ourselves there and slay ourselves as well! While many a lamb has gone silent to the altar, and perhaps a rambunctious few even leapt up onto the altar - we do well to reason this way: not one lamb has ever bound himself to the altar nor slain his own self there - that wasn't the work of the lamb who was offered, that was the work of the priest.

Christ is our High Priest.

We are commanded to offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice - but we are in-no-way the ones who "put ourselves to death." Romans six makes it plain, that God has already put our old self on the cross - it is actually done already, and not something that we must do, or try to "make happen." The part that has yet to be done however is the "going willingly" part. Christ went willingly to the cross, and so must we.

We might well indeed wonder why it is then that most of us seem to be "unwilling" to offer ourselves up when push comes to shove. I mean, we are thirsty enough that if someone were to give us a glass of water to drink, we would drink it readily enough - we just aren't thirsty enough to do more than that. Consider how Moses brought the Israelites to the promise of God (i.e. the promised land): the Israelites had only to go into the promised land and appropriate what was already theirs through the promise of God, but they weren't -that- thirsty. I mean, if God had gone in before them and removed the Canaanites, leaving only their wealth and property behind the Israelites would have swam the Jordan to get there - but because God made it so that they would have to trust him in order to appropriate the land - they were unwilling to do so - that is, God made faith in Him a requisite to appropriating the promise - and because of their unbelief they did not enter in.

Look, I want you to understand dear Christian that you are able to work out your own salvation from sin because God is right now working in you giving you both the desire and ability to be sanctified. All you have to do is believe that as you surrender your life, God will make your death in Christ real. The whole purpose (this side of heaven) of your being united with Christ in His death is so that you can be [1] justly reconciled to God, and [2] saved from the power of sin. That is why we are told to reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God IN CHRIST JESUS. We are to accept these as true, and act accordingly - that is, to stop ourselves from giving into sin.

Not that we use the power of positive thinking to break sinful habits - nor that we make semi-hypnotic auto-suggestions to our subconscious psyche, no, no, no! That is what you get in other religions - that is the counterfeit - that is self righteousness dressed up to look holy! Not that! No, this is one of those dip in the Jordan seven times, or the walk around Jericho seven times kinda deals.

Let me explain a bit more. You see, scripture tells us that God is light and in Him is no darkness whatsoever. Scripture also asks the question, what fellowship has light with darkness (and assumes the answer is "none whatsoever"). It isn't the act of stopping ourselves from sinning that saves us from sins power - that is suppressionism and not freedom. The suppression of sin is temporary being entirely the product of our own strength and will - and so only carries an empty semblance of victory. Wanting to sin while denying ourselves the pleasure of doing is not the "rest" promised by Christ - it is the means to the rest. Perpetually suppressing sin is --not-- sanctification, it is (and can only ever be) mere human effort, and as such is -not- sanctification. We obey (or are supposed to obey) not because doing so --is-- the sanctification of the Christian experience, but because obedience puts us in the light where God is, and thereby enables God to work genuine sanctification in us. The obedience is not the sanctification, it is the necessary prerequisite to fellowship with God, and it is through this communion that God is able to sanctify us.

When we reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus - to begin to offer our bodies as living sacrifices - to no longer present our members as instruments of sin, but instead presenting them to God (as those who are alive from the dead) to be used for righteousness - this is not sanctification - this is the first baby steps into the light - that is, this is a breaking of communion with darkness, and the beginning of the communion with light. We do this not because doing so is our victory - but because doing so puts us in the light, where God is able to make real in us the death we experienced to sin on the cross with Christ.

Did you get that? We obey because if we remain in disobedience God cannot make real in us what happened in Christ, because our disobedience is a wall that separates us - there is -NO- communion between darkness and light - we must walk in the light, as He is in the light in order to receive the benefits of the promises of God, there is not other way, but to trust and obey.

Brother, sister, this work of God was done on the cross - the place where the sacrifice was given. You were there if you are in Christ, and you need not wait around for God to crucify you - it is already done. But don't imagine that God is going to come to you if you are walking in darkness and make all the promises real - He cannot. God is no cosmic rapist - no murderer. He will not impose Himself upon you, nor will He take what isn't given (your life) - you must surrender to the process, just as Christ surrendered himself to the cross, so must you.

So reckon yourself dead indeed to sin, offer your body to God as a living sacrifice, offer your members to God for righteousness - not that the doing of these things will free you from sin's power, but that doing these things will put you in the light where God can begin to clean out your Canaan - not all at once mind you, for God didn't clear Canaan in one fell swoop either. When the house is empty we fill it with other things - God is the one who empties, and God is the one who fills, we must however, hold the door open.

Anyway - I am sure I will explain this again in a hundred different ways - it is really the other half of the gospel - the part that tells us how to live in Christ - and I can't preach or teach a thing without it being mentioned as it is the bedrock of everything I think and believe.
posted by Daniel @ 5:40 AM  
  • At 1:28 PM, October 24, 2006, Blogger Craver Vii said…

    Do you mean that the death of Christ was not in any way a murder or only that God did not murder His Son? The way I have understood it is that God gave His Son (not murder) and the the Son willingly laid down his life (not self-murder), but that the people who unjustly crucified an innocent man were still guilty of murder...and that is why Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

  • At 2:23 PM, October 24, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Craver - you got it. God murder? No. Christ self murder? No. Jews through the hands of the Gentiles? Yes.

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