Everything which happened to Jesus Christ should come to pass in
the soul and in the body of each Christian. - Pascal
God's ultimate purpose is for us to be with Him. When Jesus chose His twelve disciples, Mark records that He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses. The sad fact is, is that religion teaches us that God wants a work force and not a relationship. The number one reason He chose His disciples is so they might have a relationship with Him.
Many believers put the cart before the horse and want to be sent by God to do amazing exploits. The world is filled with disciples who want to preach and have power, but these things seem that they are by products of being with Him. Daniel said "them that know their God shall be strong and do exploits." He did not say that those who are strong and do exploits will know God. When our relationship with God is more like an employee and boss relationship, we reduce our relationship to God by what we do for Him. The times we spend with Him become, merely, times where we try to get the power to work for Him.
One of the greatest misconceptions is the belief that we are only with Him when we spend time with him. This type of mentality puts God on the outside of our hearts, and He only meets with us at certain times and locations. The Bible teaches that God abides with us, which means, He lives with us. We never need to beg Him to show up, because, He goes where we go.
We are "with Him" this is a present tense reality. We have become connected to Christ, we are now together with Him. Paul wrote, "For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives." The Bible says that we died (past tense) and were buried (past tense) with Him. Many believers do not consider themselves as dead, but are in a religious struggle with the old man to crucify it. We say things like, man I really had to crucify myself today. But the Bible proclaims that we have already been crucified with Him and that we should consider ourselves dead.
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ, so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Our sinful selves were crucified (past tense) for the purpose and intention that sin might lose its power in our lives. The fact that we are struggling to die to sin, is evidence to the fact that we do not believe we are dead already. The fact that we call our sinful nature "our flesh" is an indication that we believe that that it is very much alive.
A person goes to a funeral service to bid their loved one farewell; to pay their last respects is what people usually call it. This is symbolic of what should take place with our, "old man". We are to consider ourselves dead to the old nature. Sin will not die; we have to die to it. The one thing we need to do is to bid the old man farewell, this is the only way to freedom.
Paul wrote to the Galatians "I have been (past tense) crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." This is a present tense reality; it's no longer we that live. I have been to many funerals throughout my life, and have seen their life-less body in the casket. One thing that I am sure of is dead people do not speak. There are many people crying over their bodies yet they do not respond. When it comes to our old life, it is to be considered crucified with Christ. Dead people are no longer living, they no longer move. We need to understand that the old life is no longer to be active.
This old concept of spirit and flesh battling over your body is not the way God intended our life to be. In fact, the Bible says, "that we are no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit if the Spirit of God dwells in us." We as believers begin to co-exist with "the flesh," and begin to make excuses for our lifestyles. The number one excuse is, "we can't help but sin, because were only human". We must understand that believers are different, because, we have been given a new nature.
When Paul says it's no longer I that lives, he is saying that ego, is no longer controlling his life. This is where sin had its beginning in Satan when he thought in his heart "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High." We do not have to co-exist with our ego; part of being with Him means we are dead with Him.
Paul wrote, "When you came to Christ, you were (past tense) "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision; the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized, and with Him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead." The Bible talks about circumcision of the heart; this is the spiritual circumcision that Paul is referring to. When we came to Christ, we had a heart operation where God took the stony heart out of our flesh and gave us a heart of flesh. God has cut away the sinful nature and, thereby, has given us a heart that longs for righteousness. We have been given a new heart, a new spirit, and God has given us the ability to walk, in His ways. The only struggle we have left is to renew our mind.
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