Friday, May 29, 2015

Dead in his death

I think we don't talk about the death of Jesus enough, or at the very least we don't talk about it in certain ways.  We talk about Jesus dying in our place, we talk about Jesus bearing God's wrath - okay, we could and probably should talk about these things more, but they are there.  What we don't talk about nearly enough is the fact that when Jesus died, we also died.

The New Testament is really, really clear on this.  Because one has died for all, all have died.  Objectively, it is true that the end of sinful humanity under God's judgement has taken place in Christ's death.  Subjectively, it comes to be true that the end of my personal sinful humanity has taken place in him at baptism.  Or didn't you know that when you were baptized it was into his death?

It is not only that Jesus died so that I wouldn't have to; it is also Jesus died and I died with him.

This is one half of the basis for the NT appeal to live a holy life as a new creation.  How can you do otherwise?  The old self is dead; the old way of doing things is dead.  (The other half is resurrection, and the vivifying power of the Spirit to enable a new way of doing things).

One important implication is that my sin is always in the past.  Sin is never the future.  Even the sin which I will commit tomorrow is decisively in the past, because it belongs to the old self which is dead.  It cannot therefore define me.

This is no fiction.  Sanctification is not by imagining that the sinful self were dead and seeking to live out our imagination.  It is real, real in Christ Jesus.  Faith means letting that reality as it is in Christ be my subjective reality today by the Spirit.

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