Life In Christ

Life In Christ

Thanking God For Life In Christ

28-06-2020

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are so many things to consider when it comes to this passage. 

We come to consider them because of the truth of what it is that is given within these words. Infinite words. Words of greater value than even a single sermon has any hope of being able to propound. There are words within this passage alone that tell us of our state. They tell us that the true nature of the Christian is one that includes struggle. 

Yes, we have a struggle with the outside world, but what is not told you before you came to Christ is that there is also an internal struggle. A wrestling with the flesh. A striving, the Spirit against the flesh and the flesh against the spirit, that ye cannot do that which ye would” (Gal 5).

To those of you who are born again, you know this is true. You know it is true by experience. It seems that, on the one hand, you are doing nothing but following the dictates of another…yet on the other hand you also know full well that you are responsible. You feel at times as if you are going mad. How can it be that I do that which I would not, yet do not do that which I would? What madness is this?

Beloved, it is this madness that drives us to Christ on bended knee. It is that madness that sees little in you and all in him.  You come very soon to understand that you simply cannot live without Christ.

  • Not only did he save you from the penalty of death.
  • Not only is there a place in heaven reserved for you, and not only are you preserved to that end when you see the Saviour face to face, but you are given life now, life in Christ!
  • Full life now, abundant life now.

I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly” 

Yet incredibly as it might seem to some of you to discover, but it is also true that “we have not an high preist which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are. Yet without sin” (Heb 4:15) 

So we cry. We cry and cry deeply and loudly; “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” and to it we have at our right hand a ready answer, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord”.

Fail we do in understanding why it is, we do what we do, but wonderful it is to know that “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of” (2 Cor 7:10). He it is that is faithful and just to fogive us our sins (1 Jn 1:9).

Why?

Because we are to live and to live abundantly in Christ Jesus, for we have a work to do, more valuable, more worthwhile than any other work that can be done in the world! A good work, a work “which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10)

Thanking God For Sending His Son

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Too often I have raised my head to the Lord and asked one question. I was not the first person to ask this question, and I dare say I would not be the last.

“What is man?”

Its not a question relating to the material composition of a body. Pauls speaks of our bodies and bodies of death. Scripture speaks of our bodies as “dust”, as “a wind that passes away”, as a “vapor” even as “withering grass”, while the body is in use it is merely a vessel employed, but at its end…which is not far away in the scheme of eternity, the Bible refers to our bodies as that which is set to see corruption…decay and decomposition is what is referred to at death.

So, no, the question “What is man” does not refer to his material substance.

Job was the first historically recorded to ask the question. In Job Chapter 7 and verse 7 Job refers to his life as “wind”, but then in verse 17 he asks God directly;

17 What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?”

The second time the question is asked it is asked by one of Job’s friends, Eliphaz the Temanite in chapter 15 and verse 14. He asks the question rhetorically and provides a reasonable answer as to the truth saying;

14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” (Job 15:14-16)

No doubt a great contrast to how man usually sees man individually. Yet the question Eliphaz asks is not an unreasonable one when man is being compared to God. If the heavens are not clean in his sight, then What is man that he should be clean?

But it was David the King and the sweet psalmist of Israel who’s question I aksed many times of the Lord in Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Ps 144:3-4)

These are those questions that I so often ask of the Lord, it is my own commentary on Pauls cry… “who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”.

And to that I can’t help but respond as Paul did…I thank God for sending his Son!

Why he would do so, long remained a mystery to me…until I understood what love his.

Love, such a precious word, such an ancient word.

We see it first used in the Bible of another father toward yet another son. Perhaps that surprises you, but perhaps you will understand why it is this particular father and this particular son. 

Just as God loves his only begotten Son in Jesus Christ, so too Abraham loved Issac.

Just as God would sacrifice the Life of his only begotten Son, so too did he say to Abraham; 

Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Gen 22:2)

Do you want to know why it is that God magnifies man?

Do you want to know why he sets his heart on him?

Are you ever thinking why it is that God is ever mindful of man or takes knowledge of him?

It is love, beloved. It is love. It is love that moved him to make the world, it is love that gave command to man to prosper in accord with his commands, it is love that mourns man’s sin and it is love alone that motivated God to send his Son. 

But we don’t understand it, we don’t comprehend why it is that “…unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…”, I mean who would do such a thing? We don’t understand it, who would send his Son to die for a wretched man like me? 

It’s not a question of incredulity beloved, I am not asking from disbelief, I am asking even from ignorance as to the power, love and nature of God. 

The writer of the 30th Proverb asks;

Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? (Pr 30:4)

As to the question of the name of that Son that is given, it was Isaiah who responds, his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:6)

If God did not send his Son, I would be yet in my sin. I Thank God for sending his Son.

Thanking God For Delivering My Soul

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I often wonder how this world would be if people did not think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. I wonder that if self-characterization was done from a state of truthful humility rather than vain glory, how different this world would be today.

Why is it that man sets himself on such a pinnacle? 

Why does man elevate himself so much? 

Why does he so often think of himself more highly than he ought to think?

Paul refers to himself as a “Wretched man”, why? Because he has a desire and a will to obey God and finds himself unable to, so much so that that very realisation motivates the most humble of cries. But most of the world is the exact opposite of this and yet they idolize themselves to the cost of their own soul.

Paul is saved and is clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Jesus became sin that Paul may become righteous. Paul is biblically identified as a saint, and so too are all those who have died to themselves and have life in Christ.  But these others, who stand condemned to a lake of fire, elevate themselves even to the point of thinking they are gods….how on earth did that come about?

Genesis 3:1-5

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Well man did indeed take of the fruit and did eat and from Eden to this very day man thinks himself as gods….well perhaps not all and not completely, but compared to Paul’s assessment of himself, man elevates himself as if without any degree of wretchedness, yet Paul identifies his entire body as wretched, “who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” is what he asks.

Where would we be if God did not deliver our souls through Jesus Christ?

There was a time when the world did not have Christ.

It was a time of great confusion.

It was a time of great idolatry. 

It was a time when monuments where erected for the very worship of ignorance.

Turn to Acts 17:16

The entire concept of truth that has been discarded and relativized today, was also discarded and relativised during the time of Jesus. Ignorance ruled the day then just as it is now. Even the governor of Jerusalem, Pontius Pilot, questioned the entire concept of ‘Truth’ in the face of he that came to bare witness of it. (Jn 18:38)

16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. 18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. 19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. 21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) 

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. (Acts 17:16-23)

Do you recall the ignorance you lived in before he delivered you?

Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

God had already delivered you from a mind of such ignorance.

You search in vain for truth in a world filled with lies, some of you are becoming all too aware of the levels of deep deception people are in today. 

But is that all?

24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

It is that from that judgment that you have been delivered.

Thanking God For Future Hope

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are very few people that, at some point in their lives, were not afraid of death. Death introduces to mankind what, without any revelation, can only be described as the great unknown. A multitude of speculative ideas have been believed by people around the world from the very beginning of history.

The concept of death was questioned in Genesis 3, both doubt of its cause and the merit of its extent was up for discussion between the serpent and Eve. Nevertheless, it was God who revealed the truth of it to the man whom he had created;

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Gen 2:16-17)

Though the consequences of disobedience to the Lord was well understood by Adam, and the nature of death, though not yet experienced, he realized would be the very opposite of life, the fear of death was certainly placed in man from the moment he fell and to this very day.  And with good reason!

It’s not fear of experiencing the unknown, that is not man’s concern, man does many things that he has not known by experience, from the first moments of walking through to school, and driving a car, or getting married etc, no, its not fear of the unknown that bothers man about death. 

It is death itself. There is, naturally placed in man, a fear of those things that will cause man harm. God has blessed man with this natural experience in order to preserve man. 

People fear if they believe harm might come to them. Yes, there are those who believe they are called to tasks that might endanger their lives, but bravery and courage is not the natural absence of fear, it’s the willingness to endure life’s trials in spite of fear. 

Fear is the cautionary alarm in man to warn him of danger.

Fear of death is the cautionary alarm placed in man to warn him of the greatest danger of all, and that is Judgment.

Turn to Hebrews 9:27-28

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

That is what man is afraid of, that is why man is doing all he can to keep himself deluded into thinking there is no God, man simply does not want to be responsible nor accountable for his actions. He does not want to be judged for his manner of life;

Solomon wrote the last words of the book of Ecclesiastes saying;

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Eccl 12:13-14)

Paul wrote of that day saying;

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel (Rom 2:16)

We will come back to this passage in Hebrews in a moment, as verse 28 gives the hope we all should be longing for. But consider how will a man be able to stand before God in that day? Does man have a right to be afraid of death?

Paul desired that he might be delivered from the body of this death, he was speaking of a deliverer, yet many think they shall deliver themselves….how?

 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)

Isiah spoke of the lost saying;

fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isa 33:14)

This is that judgment that will condemn those who think to deliver themselves, who unwisely think far too highly of themselves. 

Who shall deliver?

Who shall stand in that day?

Does man have a reason to fear death?

Absolutely, but man have convinced themselves that there is nothing to be delivered from, they have no fear of death, just like they have no fear of God. 

Think for just a moment;

  • Do you truly believe people would do what they are doing today if they feared an everlasting punishment reserved for the Devil and his Angels?
  • Do you think that the murderer would murder if he knew he would be judged for it? Not many.
  • Do you think the rioter would riot?
  • Do you think they their would steal?
  • Do you think those who dishonor their mother or father would do so if they knew they would receive the same condemnation as the murderer?
  • Do you think the telling of lies identifies you as wicked?
  • Do you think those who indulge all manner of sexual perversions would do so if they would be held to an absolute standard?

No, the reason such things abound today is because, unlike Paul, many believe there is nothing to be delivered from. 

The world does not see itself as “Wretched”, but has hope in the vanity of their own minds.

But those who sought for a deliverer and found him, these have hope. These have a future and glorious hope.

Back to Hebrews 9:27-28

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Heb 9:28)

True hope of Salvation begins with first having a fear of death.

It is good to fear death at the first, it is wise. Though the fear of death comes the answers to life.

And that life is found in Christ.

Thanking God For Life In Christ

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gal 2:19-20

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 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.

Rom 6:11

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Col 3:3

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Turn To Ephesians 2:1-7

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 7:25

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Rom 8:1-4

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

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