Posted by: mybroom | July 29, 2013

What if?

What if the work that Christ completed on the cross was greater than we imagine?

What if Christ not only paid the penalty for our sin, but also went one step further and crucified our sinful nature?

To answer this we need to understand what our sinful nature actually is. Our sinful nature is that independent, self-determining, ego-based nature that was first evident when man made the choice to live by his own wits in the Garden of Eden. At that time man chose to step out of his all-sustaining union with Christ (the tree of life) and strike-out on his own, sustained instead by his ability to live a good v. evil existence (the other tree).

For many years I was taught the sinful nature was all about my disobedience, my failures, my weaknesses… when in fact these are simply fruits of my sinful nature. My sinful nature is that essence of my being that is dedicated to controlling my destiny by my own efforts. It is capable of operating in the realm of both good and evil and that is the truly sinister part, because it is all about being in control. Some people control their own destiny by doing good, they are convinced that a virtuous life will result in a favourable standing before God and man. Others control their destiny by doing evil, they decide to beat the system by living outside of the law, taking for themselves whatever they desire.

Either way both of these approaches to life flow from the sinful nature, both of them are dependent on the capacity of the individual to determine their own future, both of them are all about the individuals capacity to control the outcomes of life. In other words they are independence-based rather than lifestyle-based, because it is not the choice of lifestyle that defines the sinful nature – but the choice to make it on your own.

Millenia have passed since man-made the stupid decision to exert his right to be independent in the garden… the earth is populated by humans all exerting their best efforts to survive in the jungle (figuratively), all climbing over each other to make it to the top, all doing it their way – walking to the beat of their own drum – masters of their own destiny. People doing good / people doing evil – all trying to draw benefit from their choices…. the sinful nature is rampant.

Enter Christ: He paid the price for our sin – job done. But surely He didn’t leave mankind with a sinful nature so that we would remain on the treadmill of good v. evil until we die.

That is the scandal of the gospel, that is the very heart of His work on the cross – He came to both pay the price of my sins, and then remove from me the sinful nature that caused them in the first place. It is shocking, inconceivable, perhaps even ridiculous… but that’s the gospel message. My old sinful nature was crucified with Christ, it no longer lives, now I live by faith in the Son of God.

So complete is this work of Christ; that Paul tells us we don’t have to live according to our old nature anymore. My sinful nature is deader than dead, as dead as Christ was when they took him down from the cross, it does not have to be obeyed any longer because it no longer exists. It didn’t rise up again with Christ on the third day, no it stayed in the grave, and in its place I was given the nature of Christ – I no longer live but Christ lives in me.

If that wasnt enough; Christ also went so far as to say “I will become in you, the capacity to do good” – you no longer have to find this capacity within yourself, now I will be this capacity – all you have to do is trust me….

And that’s the kicker. People who have depended on their own virtue all their lives find it hard to let go and depend on Christs virtue. It is a surrender that defies logic, it is a scandalous surrender, it is a surrender that has determined that ‘Christ in me’ can carry me through every issue of life and present me perfect before the Father.

Thats why Paul said; “that which is not of faith is sin” because it is one or the other. Either we confidently rest in Christs ability to be and to do all that He claims – or we mix in our own virtue, effectively neutralising faith and re-energizing the sinful nature.

Any thoughts?

cheers, Graeme

 

 

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Responses

  1. beautiful post!

    • Thanks for dropping by, I’m not posting so much now as writing is taking much of my spare time. Cheers Graeme

      • WELCOME

  2. Great post Graeme! This what everyone needs to realize: In Christ, we don’t have a split personality… we’re not Jekyll & Hyde… we’re either dead or we’re not… Christ lives in us or He doesn’t… we’re either new creatures or we’re not… we’re either sin-based or grace-based… sin-conscience or grace-conscience…

    • Hi Phil, thanks for your encouragement as always. Hope you doing well, will write soon. cheers G

  3. Awhile back, I read Timothy Keller’s “Prodigal God” (written about the parable we normally call “The Prodigal Son”). In the book, Keller points out that we often concentrate on the foibles of the younger brother and forget about the older brother who bases his relationship with his father on his own good works (Luke 15:28-30). The older brother becomes angry and jealous because he’s done everything right and feels cheated by his father’s outpouring of grace towards the repentant younger brother. I think it’s easy for us Christians to fall into that “older brother” trap. We think that our good behavior should earn God’s favor. If you’ve not read the book, it’s a good one!

    Great post, Graeme.

    • Hi Terrie, thanks for the encouragement, I will check out the book. cheers G

  4. Thanks Graham, I only found your 365 late in the year and loved it….so my husband and I have a blog although we’re not very consistent as I tend to only write if I’ve something to say…but then a friend told me that was just an excuse as I always have something to say 🙂 I think on this particular thread snakes and ladders might be interesting….http://philandmagstyler.blogspot.co.uk/

    • I think you do have something to say Mags, something that is clearly thought out and important for the bloggosphere to hear. Cheers G

  5. I do struggle with understanding this. Where does it say the following: If that wasnt enough; Christ also went so far as to say “I will become in you, the capacity to do good” I would like to read the whole chapter. Thanks, Diana

    • Hi Diana, as always you cut to the chase and ask the penetrating question.
      This issue is summed up well in Gal. 2:20 “I died, Christ now lives in me, the life I now live is by faith”. I’m not advocating idleness, I am advocating faith – the kind of faith that says “it is Christ in me that enables me to do anything good, without that confidence in His presence I am simply mustering up my own best efforts from my flesh”. Check out Phil 2:13, Heb. 13:21, 1 Cor. 15:10, 1 Cor. 12:6. Tell me what you think, cheers G

    • P.S. “In Him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28

      • Oh yes I’m aware of those passages I just thought you were quoting a scripture that I had missed. So what you are saying is it is by faith in Him that I trust the good I do is not of the flesh but is in trusting in Him within me…?

      • Yes, it took me a long time to get over the compulsion to do good things to get Gods favour – now I do everything because I am constantly in His favour through the blood of Christ. For me, it all came down to “who am I trusting?” my works / Christs works – by trusting that Christ has done it all I am set free to serve Him and Love Him with all my being. Hope that doesnt sound too circular!! cheers G

      • I suppose it comes down to our identity, who are we….If we believe we are ‘in Christ’ that is the core of our identity, we live from our true identity, so if we believe we are fully saved, fully in Christ, fully seated in heavenly places, saints not sinners then we live from that identity,…if we believe we are sinners saved by grace, and do not take the step that, that was a complete work, then we continue to believe we are still a sinner covered by the blood and we live from that identity and will continue to be struggling with an identity that is sin based rather than grace based….
        it is interesting to note the phrase: ‘the flesh’ and to consider what is this now we have been crucified with Christ. Can it be said that ‘the flesh’ is the ‘old man’ ‘the sinful nature’ and therefore there is no longer ‘a flesh’ to pull us around in the good/bad behaviour. Perhaps we have a new nature, a spirit that is co-joined with Christ and only a mind that needs renewed. Our mind is certainly the place where we need to remember truth, especially the truth about the Jesus and his complete work, the constant love of the Father towards us, the Holy Spirits indwelling-ness and therefore our true identity ‘in Christ’. The mystery being we have also been given the mind of Christ and just need to remember it….we can live in a sense of good/bad and bungee jump our Christian life, in favour with God, out of favour with God, bouncing in and out, or even snakes and ladders, good day up the ladder, bad day down the snake, or pulling petals off a daisy, he loves me he loves me not…..or we can eat from the tree of life, constantly in favour, constantly in Christ, nothing can separate us from the love of God….just a thought or two 🙂

      • Mags, I am so pleased to be having this conversation with you.. we are so on the same page – its just that you are on the other side of the globe. Do you have a blog or other regular writing medium? I wrote all last year , every day about what a renewed mind looks like, and you have hit the spot in just a few paragraphs. I also find the term “the flesh” a much deeper issue than just our sinfulness – its that aspect of me (which was my old identity) that Christ nailed to the cross so he could become my new self (again). What else have you got to say Mags? cheers G

  6. Spot on…I have been crucified with Christ – past tense, 2,000 years ago, the mystery of the cross and the good news of the gospel. We no longer are slaves to our sinful nature as it is dead and buried. We now live ‘in Christ’, we live and move and have our being ‘in Christ’. New creation, the old has gone the new has come. 🙂

    • Yeah, this is the message the whole world needs to hear, Christ has done it all and we are hidden in His righteousness. Good for you Mags, great to hear from you, Graeme

  7. I love the idea that my old man in buried; I am coming to realise that what we could call sinful actions are my flesh in action, which has that striving for independence at the root. I am convinced that victorious living is about trust, a resting in what Christ achieved at the mercy seat (cross) on our behalf. Nice one Graeme. 😀

    • Hi Mark, good to see your smiling face. Yeah, makes you want to get up in the morning when all the battles are already won. How are thinks at your end of the globe? still focusing on your teaching via video? I’m still stuck in good old fashioned written word blogs!! cheers Graeme


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