Martha’s current ReadMK.com devotions have been dealing with the Old/New man. They’re amazing and full of Life! I highly recommend subscribing if you haven’t yet. But it has generated some questioning, as this subject often does. To paraphrase, the questioning centered on whether the “Old Man” died once and for all at the Cross, and if so, didn’t that mean that Romans 7 was just a phase to go through and leave behind? I think this is an interesting question, and I want to discuss it in this post.
I have been writing for the last few weeks about “Christ’s life as my life is His life in my life.” Most of us, if honest, have a struggle with this. If I am dead, then why do I seem so alive? And the more I know about His Life as my life, the less I feel I am able to do it. And there is the rub!
Now, I don’t want to exalt the struggle but I do want to expose a lie. Some exchanged life believers think that once we receive the revelation that we died with Christ on the cross, it’s all Christ’s life in us from now on. Basically, I no longer have to struggle to make a moment-by-moment choice because everything I do is now Christ. This would be GREAT—if true! But though there is a once and for all choice, this doesn’t mean that from that choice on, everything I do is Christ. I can’t acknowledge the truth and resolve to live as the new creation. To resolve to live the new man is effort and determination, both of which are characteristics of the old man. That doesn’t work. I am not freed from responsibility simply because I know the truth. Here is why.
I believe with all my heart that God wants union with us as His bride. He yearns for our fellowship and interaction, but that is experienced in our utter dependence. By simply acknowledging and resolving, I’m seizing an independence from God; as if having the truth means I no longer need Him. Actually, it is Him not me. If I were able to make a single choice and then be free from further choice, it would defeat the purpose of this life. This life is for relationship, as well as training to reign and rule with Christ. I’m trained to reign with Christ by daily taking up my cross! The cross is laid upon each of my choices for His Life and will over mine.
Christ’s Life as my life doesn’t alleviate me from the choosing of Life and being dependent on God. The finished work of the cross frees me to live in that reality. The cross didn’t win me independence from God; it unified me to His LIFE. Our fall was predicated on our desiring independence from God; His cross doesn’t gain me further independence.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Luke 9:23 NKJV