I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Dying to Live
A week from today Christians will celebrate Good Friday. A casual observer might deem it more appropriate to call it Gruesome Friday or Gory Friday. After all, the focus is on the death of a man who lived long ago. The death of a man in the prime of life. The death of a man who was innocent. The death of a man by an instrument of pain and torture. Death by crucifixion…gruesome and gory indeed.
If you aren’t already planning to do so, I would encourage you to muster up the courage to attend a Christian Good Friday service. Why? To make you more depressed and down on life and the cruelty of the human race? To fill you with dark and morbid thoughts? To make you feel more guilty than you already do when you hear the preacher tell you that it was your sin that caused all this? To scare you into living a better life for God and others? No. None of those things. Go so you can see why Christians call this “Good” Friday.
Someone who understood this was a man named Paul. In a letter called Galatians (found in the New Testament of the Bible) he gives us the deeper truth and meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion: See on the cross more than a man…he is the Son of God. See there a love that is willing to go to the ultimate extreme to rescue and redeem. See there a sacrifice by the innocent on behalf of the guilty…willingly and joyfully carried out that the guilty might be declared innocent. See there…you yourself! Jesus’ death is your death…a death that erases everything – the evil, the wicked, the perverse, the weakness, the guilt, the shame – all that can be counted against you as sin in God’s sight! Paul relates a profound truth: We (our natural selves) must die before we can truly live. He wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.”
The account, that of Jesus and that of those who are connected to him through faith, does not end in death but in life! Don’t forget to attend a Christian Easter service too. The greatest day of the Christian calendar celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. He didn’t stay dead. His resurrection is a validation of the truth that sins, your sins, are forgiven. His resurrection ensures new life for his followers, now and forever. His life is your life…connected to Jesus’ resurrection by faith you have a new status before God: spiritually and eternally alive as his holy child! But you don’t even have to wait until next week to say joyfully and confidently with Paul, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me! I live [fully and forever] by faith in the Son of God who loves me!”
Lord Jesus, I thank you for your sacrifice on my behalf. Let me find comfort and confidence in your life, crucifixion, and resurrection, trusting that my sin is forgiven and new life, real life, lasting life is mine through you. In your name, I pray this. Amen.
Source: WELS Devotions