REIGNING WITH CHRIST
I have been crucified with Christ and 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. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing. Galatians 2:20-21
In the ancient church a martyr’s birthday was the day they died and were taken to heaven. In a way, Christmas celebrates something like a death in that Jesus gave up heaven to come to Earth to be with us. At the same time it celebrates the beginning of life for us. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, there is the possibility of our rebirth, of a new kind of life that is completely free from condemnation.
FJ HUEGEL: The trouble with us Christians is that we have not realized that the Christian life not only begins at Calvary (where Jesus died) where we found a Savior and forgiveness. The Christian life can only be lived if Calvary is more than just a starting point from which we go on more or less in our own strength to greater things, and instead is a present reality that looms ever larger as we enter, in an ever deeper way into its Mystery. With Paul we must cry: “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” For only as the Christian lives in an ever fuller realization of the fact that all his sins were put away at Calvary and rejoices in the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ, which according to God’s Word as it is in John’s first epistle 1:7, is forever cleansing him (the Greek: present active tense), can the Christian stand up against the accuser of the brethren and rout the foe. It is only here that he finds weapons which are not carnal but mighty through God for the pulling down the strongholds of the enemy. Against all odds, let conscience burn as it will, let the accuser throw up to him his entire wretched past, let the law thunder its overwhelment “Thou shalts” and “Thou shalt nots”, be appearances immeasurably to the contrary, still the Christian may, yea, must claim the right to a perfect freedom from all condemnation. “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36). The highest angel who never sinned has no more right to be clear of all condemnation. A newborn babe is no freer from guilt than the Christian. His Redeemer was made sin for him that he might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Prayer: Dear God, I have believed that Jesus Christ was crucified for me. Let me also believe that I, and all of my selfishness, arrogance, insecurity, and fear, have been crucified with Him. Do not allow me to think that I can live by my own ability, goodness or “niceness”. Instead, grant that the complete freedom from condemnation that I have in Jesus would work in me your goodness and your love. In Jesus’s name I pray this. Amen.