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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Identification with Christ

Our own salvation is a difficult thing to grasp. We think of ourselves as self-contained beings. This concept means that our minds and souls remain our own. Therefore, all decisions and changes we make are made internally. But when we come to know Christ, things change.

We never lose the responsibility for our decisions but we are inhabited by the Holy Spirit who empowers us to over-ride our fleshly desires and follow Him. It is through the Holy Spirit that we identify with Christ. This identification is so strong that though we were never on the cross with Jesus, we were indeed on the cross with Him in our identification.

A woefully inadequate illustration of this is seen in a marriage. My wife will charge something on a credit card that we share. Though I was never with her during the purchase, I am with her in my identification with her so that I am responsible for that purchase. Thus, I was on the cross with Jesus because of my identification with Him. I receive my salvation by His sacrifice on the cross. I have so identified with Him that I also died with Him.

What continues to connect me with Him? My fear of God and my love for Him keep me working out my salvation with fear and trembling. Yes, i am saved by grace but I cannot possess a grace that does not cause me to identify with my Lord. Again, let me use the example of a marriage.

Let's say that I married my wife but never lived with her. I never identified as one with her. I rarely, if ever spoke to her. What kind of marriage would it be? Wouldn't the marriage ceremony itself be a sham? Too many times I have heard a groom exclaim at his wedding reception, "It's finally over!" I say, "No, it just began!" Thinking that your salvation is complete at your baptism is like thinking your marriage is complete after the reception. There is much more. Much, much more.

So, today I renew my identification with Christ. I have to do so continually. I have to remember who I am now. I am not unto myself alone. I am His and He is mine. And I had better act like it.

Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

2 Corinthians 5:14 (ESV)
14  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;

Philippians 2:12 (ESV)
12  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

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