Posted by: mybroom | May 17, 2013

CHRIST IN ME – part 6.

Why do I do the thing I don’t want to do ?

Short answer first; because you can’t live right ~ same as you can’t save yourself.

Long answer; This tension, as expressed by Paul in Romans 7, is highlighting a dilemma that has caused Christians to chase their tails for generations ~ yet today, as in Pauls day, it remains as perplexing as ever… “why cant I do better?”  The solution hasn’t changed in 2000 years either, Christ is still the only way out of this fix…. ‘He has rescued us from this body of death’.

So why is it still so hard to live right?

We must venture all the way back to the roots of our faith to get this ~ the layers of religion have changed Christianity from the original. It was never Christ’s intention to save us, and then leave us to live a life worthy of that salvation ~ it was always His plan to save us, and then to continue to live out that salvation through us, by His own presence in us. We are unworthy recepients of His salvation, and we are equally unworthy recipients of His indwelling Spirit. But it was not His plan for us to receive salvation, and then to spend the rest of our days trying to be worthy of it…. that would be like receiving only half of the gospel.

Most Christians I know believe that Christ came and saved them, and then left them to live a life of love and service in honour of His sacrifice! What if that is our big mistake? What if Christ came and saved us and then moved in with us and said; “give me the steering wheel, I am going to drive from now on, your part is to trust me” – from now on your right-living will be an overflow from within you, as you rest in me“.

So that means; we depend on Christ not only for our salvation, but also for our right-living… and that is why the gospel is too good to be true ~ because Christ does it all, if we let Him. How does this work? It can only work if we dare place our confidence in the crazy notion that Christ can (and wants to) do it all.

This takes us all the way back to the start ~ it is impossible to do the thing that we want to do, only Christ can, the adventure is learning how to rest in His ability in us.

It’s the old problem of mixing the covenants all over again ~ the old covenant is all about our efforts to please God by satisfying commandments and rules ~ the new covenant is about trusting in Christs satifaction of the rules on our behalf. The trick for us is to resist the temptation of slipping back into the old covenant once we are saved, but instead to continue trusting in Christ for the whole deal.

To do this we must fight back the old covenant each time it rears it’s head and accuses us of wrong doing, this sin-consciousness leads us back into the circular conversation of Rom. 7 ~ ‘I want to, but I can’t’. The more we fix our eyes on our failings, the more we remain on the treadmill of failure.

The only way forward is to hold tight to the new covenant, this righteousness-consciousness breaks the cycle ~ ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’. The more we fix our eyes on Christ, the more we rest in His ability, the more we live spontaneously good lives.

The old covenant is like an echo that keeps bouncing back at us reminding us of who we were ~ but we are not that person anymore, now we are IN CHRIST, now we are listening to a new voice as the Holy Spirit testifies all day long of the wonders of the work of Christ. It’s not that we don’t mess up and fail at times ~ it’s just that (in the scheme of things) it’s not about us – it’s about Christ in us. And besides; all this excessive self-analysis is not actually causing us to live any better, it’s just making us feel bad about ourselves ~ when all along God is not even looking at our failings, He is looking a whether we are resting in Christ.

Here’s my suggestion; do not judge yourself more harshly than God judges you ~ instead trust that Christ is as good as His word, learn of Him, rest in the stunning work of the cross ~ and watch as He spontaneously produces in you the good works He prepared for you before time began.

I for one; do not plan to get to heaven only to have the Father say to me; “why didn’t you rest in my goodness in you? why did you put yourself through such anguish trying to please me, when I was already completely pleased with you because of Christ?”

cheers Graeme

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Responses

  1. Christ in me the hope of glory. We will fall short (and do what we don;t want at times). But Christ in me the hope of glory.

  2. I think Romans 7 has led many Christians a merry dance down the path of dual covenants….Paul struggled with his sinful nature and so do I and it’s a battle that we fight every day…to want to do the things that we ought to do but then we do the opposite…and Romans 7 clearly says Paul had the same problem. This just isn’t a correct reading of Romans 7, it isn’t what Paul is describing as his life as a new creation, it is his description of his life under the law. Romans 7 must be read in the light of Romans 6 and Romans 8 and then in the light of Romans and fundamentally all scripture is to be read in the light of the Christ and his finished work on the cross. If we understand that Romans 7 is Paul explaining life under the law then we grasp the difference between life in the Spirit and life under the law….Who will save me from this struggle??? Praise be to God Jesus Christ. Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ….because the sinful nature has been crucified with Christ….It’s so much bigger than not saving our self or letting Jesus sort us out daily, it’s knowing that there is no struggle, there is no sinful nature, as the phrase goes..’there is no spoon’.

    • Hi Mags,
      I couldn’t agree more, altho I’m not familiar with the’spoon’ phrase?
      cheers G

      • ‘there is no spoon’ is a quote from The Matrix film where a young kid is making a spoon wobble about and teaches Neo that it isn’t about trying to bend the spoon it is the reality that there is no spoon…It’s a great film for seeing the gospel….people held asleep unaware of their true identity and ‘hero’s’ who have been woken up to the reality…waiting for ‘the one’ who will destroy the system that holds them all in bondage…the spoon analogy is great for helping people see that we don’t battle against something that doesn’t exist – our sinful nature….if you haven’t seen the film it’s a great modern day parable…

      • Hey Mags, got it – the analogy works for me – there is no sinful nature, so move on into life in the Spirit. I watched The Matrix ages ago, forgot that bit. cheers G

  3. I’ve never been a fan of the ‘I’ve been saved’ brigade, that thinks they have Christ in them and should therefore do no wrong – and go on behaving exactly as they did before they were ‘saved’. Never made sense to me.

    WE don’t have to work to get ‘Christ in Me’ – that is a Gift – but we have to work our butts off to live like He is. Most will never get ‘it’ – they love the easy way and one thing being in the spirit is not ( at first) is in any way easy for the human body. It takes constant daily effort and a supreme act of will to submit ours to His.

    God Bless.


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