Thursday, October 29, 2009

Devotional 291009

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The wind subsides. The sun is warm and the bay is so beautiful! While I was listening to Scripture reading (Mandarin) along with my coffer, I didn’t feel the traffic jam at all. Yes, there were a lot of cars on South bound 101 to San Mateo Bridge. But when my focus was not on the traffic but on the Word of God, everything seemed so smooth and fast. It feels like having someone whom you love to talk to while you drive. And I believe this is the experience of walking with Christ.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:.21). The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy. The New Testament view is that He bore our sin not by sympathy, but by identification. He was made to be sin. Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the explanation of His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy with us. We are acceptable with God not because we have obeyed, or because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and in no other way. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the Fatherhood of God, the loving-kindness of God; the New Testament says He came to bear away the sin of the world. The revelation of His Father is to those to whom He has been introduced as Savior. Jesus Christ never spoke of Himself to the world as one who revealed the Father, but as a stumbling block. Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father” (see John 15:22- 24). Jesus proclamation, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9b) was only spoken to His disciples.

That Christ died for me, “therefore I go debt free” is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that "He died for all" (not - He died my death), and that by identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have imparted to me His very righteousness. The substitution taught in the New Testament is twofold: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." It is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me.

In another word, the redemption of the cross is not effective on me if I do not identify with His death as the only way to be free from sin. The word identification is therefore the central idea of new creation in Christ. A new life is born from within me as I identify with the death of Christ for all sinners. In this way, as the life of Christ matures within me, the death of Christ becomes my daily reminder that "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20). This may sound too profound to us today. But it is how the earlier church and believers conducted their lives daily. We can never explain why the early church braved severe persecutions, and the threat of losing everything they treasured in life (including their family and loved ones), just to bear witness for Christ in their lives. To them, it was not them who died for Christ but Christ in them who died for all. The Body of Christ on earth will continue to brave persecutions for the sake of proclaiming the Good News to mankind. The Church does not sacrifice for the needs of mankind. The church sacrifices because of her obedience to Christ who lives in them and continues to offer Himself as living sacrifice for the salvation of all people.

Something for you to meditate and respond to your Master today…

Love you through Christ,

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