For August 8, 2021
Crucified with Christ may seem odd or masochistic, but it is not. It is the victorious, Spirit-filled life that allows God’s people to live free from the bondage of sin, guilt, shame, and unforgiveness through His blood,
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20 AKJV).
As members of His universal church, or the Body of Christ, we have experienced God’s love and forgiveness through Christ so that we can share it with others. In this way, we perform the “ministry of reconciliation” outlined in 2 Corinthians 5:18. God reconciled us to Himself through Christ and empowers us to reconcile with others. Here, the three-step process outlined in Matthew 18:15-17 can serve as our guide:
- Contact the offended person(s) for reconciliation.
- Use a mediator or mediators to help clarify the issue(s) to everyone’s understanding.
- Utilize appropriate local church leadership (i.e., pastors, deacons, elders, etc.), who are led by the Spirit to resolve the matter through the Word of God and prayer.1
Performing the ministry of reconciliation while taking heed to forgive (and forget) our past blunders will help us participate in a lifelong process of spiritual wholeness. This process will allow us to express more of the Kingdom Characteristics our Lord Jesus Christ outlined in Matthew 5:3-16.
By our humility, or being poor in spirit, toward Jesus Christ, we possess the Kingdom. This is when our repentance (mourn) results in God’s eternal consolation through His forgiveness of our sin.
With restrained human capacities under control (meek) we inherit a world where God reigns forever and satisfies our yearnings as we hunger and thirst for righteousness.
We are a people who show pity or mercy because we are the benefactors of His mercy. Now more than ever, we need to celebrate mercy to contrast the vengeance that is so widely practiced. Mercy is the noble, Spirit-driven capacity to demonstrate grace and forgiveness towards our offender, who is guilty of wrongdoing.
The Spirit gives us pure hearts, which enable us to be peacemakers so that others can identify us as the children of God who abide in Him and will share in His majesty and splendor very soon.
The Lord Himself brings us His comfort when the world reviles and persecutes us or criticizes and mistreats us because we belong to Him. Even in the worst of circumstances, we can rejoice and be exceedingly glad because the rewards are great that await us in the Kingdom of Heaven.
In addition, we are the “salt of the earth,” and “the light of the world” as the Spirit radiates the Fruit of the Spirit from within us to season and preserve those around us as His moral, spiritual instruments of grace and love.
Fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control with love as the centerpiece. Here, we are affable, courteous, and gracious as our joy yields a Spirit-suppled delight from our deeply fulfilling relationship with the Spirit , in whom we have all we need for this life and the next.
We create and preserve peace with others as Jesus, the Prince of Peace works through us. We are gentle as we impart goodness into the lives of those we encounter around us. Others witness our faith by our reliable dealings with people, as we express meekness or humble submission to the Lord’s will in everything. With temperance, we show self-control when the old nature craves attention as we continue to persevere in all things through long-suffering.
Christ is our ultimate example of righteousness. Now, we have taken the charge to be His living examples as the Spirit empowers right living in us and through us. Psalm 139:14 tells us we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God, and it would benefit us greatly to see ourselves from His perspective as the unique and significant parts of His wonderful master plan.
We are not mistakes or afterthoughts because God created us to fulfill His perfect, eternal design. Each day features a new opportunity for the Lord to “reset” our lives and circumstances to accommodate His perfect will for us:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT)
Confident that our forgiving, omnipotent, loving and faithful God will provide His absolute best for us in every situation. Jesus taught that it will be our love that gives substance to our Christian witness and makes it an attractive alternative to a dying world, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV). We can emulate this perfect love by forgiving intentional and unintentional wrongdoings, showing mercy instead of judgment, and extending goodwill toward others in need.
Being crucified in Christ allows us to live rightly in the eyes of God and humanity. In God’s eyes, we are His children and can experience and express His glory. To humanity, we are the brilliant reflections of God’s practical and tangible love, which proves we belong to His Son, Jesus Christ.
We should never think it strange to be united in Christ. For only then can our loving, Eternal King transform us into receptacles of His grace and mercy to others around us daily. Won’t you live for Him completely today?
What a Wonderful Savior!