ADVENT DEVOTIONAL FOR 2017
REIGNING WITH CHRIST
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? we were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:1-7
It is absolutely true that by grace God adopts us into His family without regard to any deserving on our part. One minute we are without God and lost in sin, and at the moment we surrender our lives to the Father through Jesus we are at that moment children with Jesus on the throne. This did not happen because we were trying to be good, but when we arrive on the throne we find that the experience of reigning with Christ is one and the same as dying with Him.
FJ HUEGEL: Just so in the experience of the Christian, there cannot be one without the other. We would all gladly share the resurrection and participate in the life of the throne. But we cannot have co-resurrection without co-crucifixion. The way to the throne leads to Calvary and the grave. The throne is not for our pride and swollen “self-life”, which is of earth and the fruit of Satanic deception. The throne is not for our vanity and our bigotry. The rivalries of “the flesh” must all be consigned to the cross. It was the cross to which, after all, the Savior bore all this and much more; for as we have it in Romans 6, “our old man was crucified together with him (Christ) that the body of sin might be destroyed.”
But this consummated redemption, the Savior having taken the old creation to the cross in a judicial sense, can only become actual in the Christian’s experience as he accepts and cooperates with the Holy Spirit, whose function is to take the things of Christ and make them known. He applies these things. But he does not do so without the Christian’s consent and cooperation. The redemption would have no actual value in experience, great as is its value in the mind of God, without the consent of the will of man which God will not over-ride.
The believer must “ratify” the divine council and achievement. He must give a hearty Amen to Romans 6. He must be willing to the stripping wrought on Calvary. Not only was the Savior stripped [of clothing, position, dignity, and life!]. He, the Christian, was stripped and he must enter in by faith. So it is in a very real sense, as it is in Galatians 5:24, that he the Christian crucifies the flesh.
PRAYER: Dear God, I am surrounded and absorbed by irritation, prejudice, selfishness, and anger. It is in the air I breathe and the water I drink. I understand that if reigning with Christ means anything at all, it is to become an overcomer by dying to these things. You will be as gentle as possible but as firm as necessary in joining me to the death of Jesus and His victory over sin. All you want is my willingness. I give it. In Jesus’s name. Amen.